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Shell keeps Hopewell’s playoff hopes alive

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Friday night thoughts:

= Down 0-3 in the Parkway, Hopewell entered Friday night needing to win its final four games to have any reasonable chance to make the playoffs. Rushel Shell said this week that Hopewell hadn’t given up, and he was still optimistic the Vikings would be playing into November.

Seeing what he and his teammates did against New Castle, I believe him. Shell rushed for 383 yards on 32 carries, including touchdowns of 10, 78 and 92 yards in a 28-26 victory. Up next are Central Valley and Ambridge. That Thursday night game against West Allegheny in Week 9 might have meaning after all.

=The WPIAL saw two fantastic finishes:

First, a two-point conversion gave Shaler a Quad North victory over Erie McDowell in double-overtime, 43-42. Sharing the field were two of the league’s largest tailbacks: McDowell’s Jeremy Baronner (6-2, 215) and Shaler’s J.P Holtz (6-4, 233). There must be some tired linebackers.

Second, McKeesport kicker Zach DiBeradin made an 18-yard field goal in overtime to beat Penn-Trafford, 31-28, in the Quad South.

= Many seasons, Class AA is the deepest classification in the WPIAL football playoffs. Tonight, after watching South Fayette win a crucial Century Conference game over Keystone Oaks, 28-19, it’s clear Class AA is again deep with talent. Both teams will make the playoffs, and either could win a WPIAL title. But so could Aliquippa, Greensburg Central Catholic, Seton-La Salle or any of the other teams ranked among the Trib’s Top 10: Beaver Falls, Beaver, Ford City or Jeannette.

=Cornell is 6-0. Yes, Cornell in Coraopolis. When was the last time that happened? The most recent time Cornell was 5-0 was 1989, and the Raiders finished 5-5. They’ve bettered that mark, and have a chance to everybody with a win next Friday against undefeated Rochester.

Besides Cornell coach Dan Knause and his players, who else would have predicted this?

— Chris Harlan (charlan@tribweb.com)

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