STEVE JONES' football life didn't end with third-string quarterback status.

Now, not only are the coaches at La Salle High mighty happy, he is too.

Jones is a 6-5, 225-pound senior and Lehigh is one of the colleges that has at least inquired about adding him to the program. East Stroudsburg and Bloomsburg also are in the early running.

For what? The situation is still evolving.

The occasion last night at Springfield Montco High was a nonleague game between squads that last year won Catholic League titles - La Salle in Class AAAA and West Catholic in AA.

Jones, who is mostly a tight end but sometimes lines up in the flat in the Explorers' multifaceted offense, made three catches for 27 yards, and his highlight was a 15-yard touchdown. Oh, he also punted four times an average of 40.8 yards and his best boomer carried 48 yards, in a 16-14 victory.

That was highly appreciated, seeing as how the line of scrimmage was La Salle's 15.

"Punting's an important part of the game. I enjoy helping us out there, too," Jones said. "I backed up Mike Donohoe for 2 years, but now he's at Albright, so...

"When you're kind of backed up in your own end, it's really important to make sure you get off a good punt. That time, I got hold of one."

Jones was mostly a pass-happy QB through his youth career for Pennfield Middle School, in North Penn, and the Plymouth-Whitemarsh Spartans. Then he entered La Salle and John Harrison (class of 2008) was in the midst of an outstanding career.

Harrison wasn't the only signalcalling roadblock. Next in line was Drew Loughery, now a senior and likewise outstanding.

"Yes, you could say that; I was third-string in 10th grade," Jones said. "Ryan Warrender was our tight end and he got hurt. No one really stepped up. The coaches said I could really be important to the team if I'd try tight end. It went well. I started the last half of that season.

"I like playing tight end. To not only be able to catch the ball, but hit people, too? I love that. You know it."

Jones' TD catch was the result of deception.

"It was a rollout wide to the right by Drew," he said. "I pretend to block and then just leak out to the left along the line. Everyone was flowing to the right. I was by myself on the left. I just caught it and made an easy run into the end zone."

La Salle had to go without offensive stars Sam Feleccia (wideout, ankle) and Jamal Abdur-Rahman (halfback, knee).

Loughery passed 10-for-17 for 131 yards and sophomore Tim Wade ran 15 times for 87. Loughery scored on a 3-yard run and Mike Bennett kicked a 22-yard field goal. A large chunk of the Explorers' yards (136 of 186) came on just three plays.

West rolled to almost twice as many yards (354) as Jarred Evans led the way. The senior passed 17-for-24 for 237 yards and one score apiece to Quran Kent (4-50) and Jaelin Strong-Rankin (5-92). Brandon Hollomon added seven snags for 83 yards.

The Burrs took over at their 14 with 1:56 left. Steve Szostak set an immediate tone with a 13-yard sack and Shane Brady recovered a fumble (forced by Anthony Cognetti) at 56.7.

Jones, who hopes to become an accountant, still lives in North Penn's district. The Knights, of course, are also a football powerhouse.

"I deal with all those clowns," Jones cracked.

In another game:

_Gratz 42, Communications Tech 6: Stanley Bayliss made four catches for 224 yards, breaking the one-game record for Public League receivers, as the Bulldogs rolled. Rich Drayton, who is in his first season as Central's coach, posted a 213-yard effort for that school in 1986. Bayliss caught a 95-yard pass from backup QB Khalil Brown for a score after first setting up one with an 85-yard reception from starter Montrel Stewart.