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VIKINGS SET SAIL: Hopewell manhandles Montour

Written by: on Friday, October 17th, 2008


HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP, Pa. – During halftime, a valve on the Hopewell water dispenser burst loose, sending a steady stream of water onto the track.

Montour’s defense also had a valve burst, and the Vikings’ rushing offense poured through it all night long.

Hopewell (6-2) ran for 304 of their 392 total yards and systematically dismantled Montour (4-4) 26-13 from Tony Dorsett Stadium in an FSN-Pittsburgh Thursday night showcase game.

How dominating was it?  Despite the score only being 14-7 at the half, Hopewell had notched 15 first downs, averaged 6.1 yards per carry, and racked up 251 total yards of offense, in the first half alone.

For the game, the Vikings accumulated 72 total offensive plays run, 62 of which were rushing attempts.  Hopewell finished with 25 first downs, and averaged 4.9 yards per carry.

Talk about your rock-em, sock-em football in Beaver County, eh, Dave Vestal?

“We wanted to control the ball,” Vestal said.  “We wanted to keep our offense on schedule, getting first downs, and keeping their (Montour’s) offense off the field.”

Mission accomplished, primarily because of two stalwart Viking ball carriers – #1, freshman running back Rushel Shell and #43, senior fullback/battering ram Patrick Matty.

When Matty wasn’t bruising his way up the middle, Shell was darting to the outside.  When Shell was going up the middle, then Matty ran off tackle and picked up solid yardage.

All told, Shell had his third straight brilliant game for the Vikings, carrying the rock 36 times for 226 yards and one touchdown, a five-yard run to open the scoring with 6:08 left in the first quarter.

Shell’s five yard run capped a drive which saw him register six carries for 64 yards.

Montour answered right back, when Cary Deiter took a zone handoff from EJ Banks and darted 39 yards up the middle of the Viking defense to knot things up at 7 apiece.  Deiter finished the game with 13 carries for 123 yards.

After stopping Montour at its three yard line, Hopewell took the lead for good.  This drive was highlighted by Hopewell’s passing attack, primarily the Tyler George-to-Mark Ross connection.  The duo hooked up three times for 62 yards on the drive, including a 12-yard scoring pass to give the Vikings a 14-7 lead.

Hopewell widened the margin to 20-7 in the third quarter when Matt Hundenski picked up a Milton Banks fumble and returned it 27 yards to the house.  Banks had gained 11 yards on a wide receiver reverse play before he fumbled the ball away.  It would be Montour’s only turnover of the night.

But the Spartans proved they had a little life left when EJ Banks hit his cousin Milton Banks in stride for a 70-yard touchdown reception with 11:40 left in the game, narrowing the score to 20-13.

Hopewell, though, squashed any Montour hopes of a comeback, embarking on a 13-play, 69-yard, 6:15 drive, capped by Matty’s one-yard plunge.  Matty finished the game with 73 yards rushing on 18 carries.

EJ Banks, a commitment to Notre Dame as a defensive back, ran for 33 yards on seven carries while completing just 6 of his 18 pass attempts for 106 yards and a touchdown.

Drew Howard added 16 rushing yards for Hopewell, which could easily be 8-0, having held leads in both losses to New Castle and Blackhawk.

So just how good is this latest edition of the Hopewell Vikings?  Just ask Mr. Shell, who one observer on the Hopewell sideline said compares to Paul Posluszny, a star on the ’02 PIAA title team.

“We could be really good,” Shell said.  “We’ve got so many good backs, our line’s amazing, and the defense is good, too.”

And at a school that has been known to produce quality running backs and linebackers, look out folks, Mr. Shell looks like he’s destined to be the next one.

Montour will tell you.  They found out the hard way.


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