If you presume Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett knows a little about the running back position, Hopewell freshman Rushel Shell is destined for stardom.
Dorsett, who graduated from Hopewell long before Shell was born, said he watched the Montour-Hopewell game Oct. 16 on FSN Pittsburgh. In that game, Shell rushed for 219 yards, one of his four consecutive 200-yard games, including a 238-yard effort Friday night in a 37-27 victory at Greensburg Salem in the WPIAL Class AAA first round. That gives Shell 1,362 for the season, with at least one more game to go next week in a quarterfinal game against No. 1 Thomas Jefferson.
“I can’t believe he’s a freshman,” Dorsett said. “Once he learns how to really run and get a body lean and make people miss, I would predict he’ll be the No. 1 recruit out of high school. That guy is going to be out of this world. The kid is a beast. And he’s only a freshman? Whoo-eee. That could be lethal.”
Dorsett offered these suggestions to Shell, who is surely smart enough to pay attention:
“He’s letting people hit him. He’s giving too big of a target. It’s not advantageous to take that much wear and tear. Give them shoulder pads and helmet to hit. And use a stiff arm.”
See you at Heinz
The WPIAL opened its four-week playoff sprint to Heinz Field on Friday night with a series of blowouts that indicate that some teams just don’t belong in the playoffs.
Of the 32 games in four classifications, 14 (43.7 percent) were decided by 30 or more points.
The four No. 16 seeds — Mt. Lebanon, Uniontown, McGuffey and Brentwood — have a respectable record of 18-17, but they lost their games to the top seeds by a combined total of 137 points.
The 2/15 games were only slightly more interesting — the total margin of victory was only 120.
Upper St. Clair proved that the WPIAL playoff committee was wrong when it made the Panthers a No. 14 seed. USC lost to No. 3 McKeesport, 34-28, after losing a 14-0 lead that it built in the first quarter. The other three 3/14 games were decided by 104 points.
The No. 11 seeds had a big night against the No. 6s.
– Mars, which made the move from Class AA to AAA this season, upset No. 6 Chartiers Valley, 15-6.
– Center beat Seton-La Salle, 31-10.
– South Side Beaver edged Springdale, 7-6, when the hard-luck Dynamos had a extra-point attempt blocked in the fourth quarter.
Two No. 10s were victors against the No. 7s. Montour beat Keystone Conference champion Yough, 40-14, and North Catholic defeated Black Hills runner-up Fort Cherry, 14-7.
All eight Keystone and Century conference representatives lost their first-round games. That makes eight seasons in a row that the Keystone has failed to win a playoff game.