Boy was I proved wrong. The next drive for the Explorers resulted in a 80 yard drive down the field ending in a Jordan Meachum one yard pound in. The Explorers' defense held against McDonogh and forced them to punt. Explorers took over, drove it down the field, and a seven yard pass from Kyle Shurmur to Nick Rinella put the Explorers up 14-7. McDonogh then struck back with a 22 yard pass from Jansen Durham to Eric Burrell. Tie game. The teams continued to trade defensive stops. With eight seconds remaining in the half, a field goal from Mike Shinsky put the Eagles up 17-14 . Some kind of halftime speech must have come out of La Salle coach Drew Gordon, because the second half, well mostly the fourth quarter, was all Explorers all the time.
McDonogh started with the ball and drove down the field to about the Explorers' 20. Jansen Durham lofted a pass to 6'4 WR Michael Cronwell, but a 5'6 La Salle senior, Mike Crone, lept up and picked the Eagles off in the endzone. The only other action in the third quarter was a field goal from Explorer kicker Mike Raczak tying the game up back at 17-17. The fourth quarter started with a 38 yard field goal from Shinsky to put the Eagles up 20-17. That was the last scoring McDonogh would have for the night. On the very next drive, RB Jordan Meachum took the handoff and took off 73 yards down to the one yard line. Two plays later, and Kyle Shurmur sneaks it in putting La Salle up 24-20 over the number one team in Maryland. The Explorer defense continued to stonewall any attempt McDonogh would try to put together. Halfway through the fourth the Explorers had the ball at the Eagle's 33. Shurmur dropped back and tossed a touchdown to who else but fellow senior Jimmy Herron. The catch put the Explorers up 31-20 and sealed the game away for the Explorers.
That touchdown catch was Herron's 29th of his career. That number breaks the city's all time career touchdown reception record. Just a fun little fact for everyone out there.
Tons of credit has to go to the Explorers' defense in this game. The team constantly pressured the McDonogh line and finished with four sacks on the game. Senior Ryan Brady had two, while Keith Wagner and Sean Collins both added one as well. Mike Crone added his first interception of the season and his career. The Explorers held the explosive back of McDonogh, sopohomore Mylique McGriff, to 133 yards and only allowed 200 yards on 12-21 passing to Durham. The defense continues to improve as the season goes on.
The Explorers offense didn't have the cleanest game, but they got it done when it mattered. QB Kyle Shurmur finished with only 168 yards passing on 15-31 attempts and 2 interceptions, but he did add 2 clutch touchdowns. Senior RB Jordan Meachum had an excellent game. He ran for 123 yards on 13 attempts including a 73 yard breakout and a touchdown. Nick Rinella added in 39 rushing yards and a seven yard touchdown catch as well. Shurmur was able to throw to five different receivers throughout the game which clearly had to keep the McDonogh defense guessing throughout the game. Herron led the Explorers' receivers with 69 receiving yards on 7 catches. What matters in the end is that the Explorers were able to produce against one of the nation's top defenses.
Next week, the Explorers will take on the #1 team in PA and two time AAA state champ Archbishop Wood. Look for a game preview later in the week!
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