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Shell dominates late for Hopewell

For the past few weeks, Hopewell running back Rushel Shell has made a habit of staying after practice to run a few extra sprints, go for a jog or hit the weight room.

The added work, Shell said, has helped him remain fresh late in games, something that wasn't exactly what No. 7 Central Valley wanted a demonstration of when it visited Hopewell on Friday night.

During a wacky fourth quarter that featured four lead changes, Shell shined by scoring a pair of touchdowns, including a 6-yarder out of a Wildcat formation with 2:06 to go that sealed the Vikings' 26-22 win.

"My legs aren't getting as tired, and I'm getting stronger as we go through the season," said Shell, who finished with 35 carries for 302 yards and three scores, of the added workouts.

Shell's increased strength has also come at the perfect time for Hopewell.

Two weeks ago, the Vikings were 1-4 and teetering on the edge of the playoffs. Now, with Shell running for 695 yards the past two weeks combined, the Vikings are 3-4 overall, 2-3 in the Class AAA Parkway Conference.

"Our backs are against the wall," said Hopewell coach Dave Vestal, whose team will need to win its remaining two games against Ambridge and West Allegheny to make the playoffs.

S hell opened the scoring with a 92-yard touchdown run, which pushed him past McGuffey's Jason Barr and into fourth place on the WPIAL's career rushing list.

Quarterback Curtis Lewis put Central Valley (4-3, 2-3) ahead before his Hopewell counterpart, Nolan Harmotto, scored from 1-yard out to make it 12-7.

On the first play of the fourth, Aaron Law scored on a 2-yard run, but Shell answered with his own 4-yard plunge. Central Valley's Lukas Turley put the Warriors ahead, 22-19, before Shell took a handoff and forced his way into the left side of the end zone.

"Rushel played unbelievable once again," Harmotto said. "He turns it on [in the fourth quarter] and gets that little extra boom ... or whatever you want to call it."

Additional Information:

WPIAL career rushing leaders

1. Mike Vernillo, Fort Cherry (thru 1999): 7,646 yards

2. Matt Gavrish, Penn-Trafford (thru 1997): 6,512

3. Rodney Wilson, West Greene (thru 1993): 6,304

4. Rushel Shell, Hopewell (still active): 5,960

5. Jason Barr, McGuffey (thru 1993): 5,749

6. Chico Williams, Aliquippa (thru 1992): 5,417

7. Darrell Harding, Charleroi (thru 1991): 5,410

8. Max Suter, Gbg Central Catholic (thru 2006): 5,252

9. Todd Harris, Duquesne HS (thru 2001): 5,224

10. Keith Miller, Beth-Center (thru 1994): 5,121

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