Brandon McPherson did everything humanly possible to keep the Marmion football team competitive Friday night.
The Cadets' quarterback -- despite being sacked seven times by De La Salle for the game -- directed the Marmion offense to three consecutive third-quarter scores.
De La Salle had suddenly lost three separate two-score leads in the Catholic League Green contest in Aurora.
But the Meteors answered with three touchdowns of their own in a decisive fourth quarter as the Cadets' lone lead was erased in the 49-42 De La Salle shootout victory.
Marmion (5-3, 2-2) dropped its third straight decision and is not guaranteed a playoff berth with one week to play in the regular season.
"I would say no at this point," Marmion coach Dan Thorpe said of the Cadets advancing with five wins.
But it was a valiant effort nonetheless by Marmion against the storied South Side institution.
"What a great high school football game," Thorpe said. "I am so proud of our kids."
McPherson was almost directly responsible for all 6 Marmion touchdowns.
The senior had respective scoring passes of 36, 35, 7 and 79 yards to Miles Childers, Peter Ferraro, Brant DeMoss and Zach Urwiler.
McPherson also had a 5-yard keeper for another score.
Ferraro had a 2-yard burst off tackle for the Cadets.
"We have had tests before," said McPherson, who finished with 347 yards passing. "Montini (a 28-27 victory) was one of our toughest teams we played."
But an inescapable element to De La Salle (6-2, 2-1) prevailing was the disparity in rushing yards.
Jalen Thomas spotted the Meteors a two-touchdown lead in the first quarter with rushing scores, and De La Salle ended with 201 yards on the ground.
The Cadets, conversely -- with McPherson suffering 54 yards in losses the seven times De La Salle trapped him behind the line -- finished in the red on the ground.
"They were bringing the house," McPherson said. "That's not why we lost the game. We had some mental mistakes."
DeMoss' 7-yard touchdown reception gave Marmion a 35-28 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but De La Salle tied the score on Jameel Stephens' 48-yard run and catch from Rob Simental.
"It starts off with the first play," said Simental, who orchestrated the Meteors' 501-yard attack with 300 yards passing and 4 touchdown passes. "In the big situations, we know what to do."
Thomas' 40-yard run set up the Meteors' go-ahead touchdown on the ensuing drive.
"They continued to run the ball (effectively)," Thorpe said of De La Salle.