BATTLE OF THE BACKS: Shell Outruns Caputo and Indians 34-26
Written by: Billy Splain on Saturday, October 17th, 2009
HOPEWELL, Pa. – For just the low price of six dollars anyone in Western Pennsylvania could have shown up to Tony Dorsett Stadium in Hopewell and been witness to a rushing clinic. The host’s of this event was none other than Mike Caputo of West Allegheny and Russel Shell for Hopewell.
Both West Allegheny (5-1) and Hopewell (6-0) came into the Parkway Conference showdown looking for a win that would put them in the driver seat of not only the conference title but one of the top seeds in come playoff time. Knowing all of that, both teams buckled up for a game that was sure to be a great ride.
Hopewell would put the games first points on the board just five plays in when quarterback Matt Hundenski called his own number and took the quarterback-keeper in from one yard out.
After West Allegheny was forced to punt Hopewell would light up the scoreboard once again as sophomore Russel Shell went 84-yards to give the Vikings a two score lead, and lead many to think that this one could be over before it started.
West Allegheny would put those thoughts to rest, after what looked like the Indians punting for the second time of the night, Bob Palko pulled out his bag of tricks and call a fake punt that kept the drive alive. That drive would end on a high not for the red and silver, when Mike Caputo caped off it off on one-yard dive.
The Vikings would answer the Indians first score with their third, when Russel Shell bolted down the West Allegheny sideline on his way to his score of the night this time coming from 77-yards out.
Russel Shell had 190 yards rushing at the seven minute mark of the 2nd quarter, and really was unstoppable. Shell has had his way vs. West Allegheny the last two years, which was his opponent for his first high school start. The WPIAL’s rushing leader rushed for his career best 350 yards on 23 carries and three scores, not to mention in his 18 games played has passed 3,000 yards.
“Yea, I was told he rushed for around 350?” said West Allegheny head coach Bob Palko, who still seemed like he couldn’t fathom that amount of yards. “I’d imagine he be getting a few more Division I college scholarship offers after that performance.”
This back and forth scoring between Caputo and Shell would continue when Caputo capped off the score in the first half on a 62-yard scamper to make it 20-14 going in to homecoming ceremonies at Hopewell. Caputo ended the night with 225-yards rushing and 3 TD’s.
In the second half in was more of the same, Hopewell only attempted 3 passes all game…which is uncommon even for the Vikings, who have a pretty solid passing game.
Even after Hopewell had taken a two score game late in the game, West Allegheny never called it quits with just under a minute left a Jared Buck threw up a “Hail Marry” pass which was tip and found the hands of Aaron McKinney. However the onside kick attempt failed and Hopewell was able to seal the deal.
The Vikings move to (7-0) on the season, and is three wins away from a perfect regular season, Even the 2002 State Champions can’t lay claim to that feat, in fact no Hopewell team can. The Vikings will make the trip to Mckees Rocks to take on the Montour Spartans (5-2).
West Allegheny (5-2) drops their second of the year, but is still in a good position to get second place in the conference not to mention a high seed in the playoff thanks to one of the toughest schedules in cass “AAA”. West A will get a week off of conference play hosting Freedom next week.
Turns out the “Battle of the Backs” was just as good a ride as expected, but this game doesn’t end this seasons ride for either team, however it does bring up one question. Will this be the last time we see Hopewell vs. West Allegheny in 2009? That according to Vikings head coach Dave Vestel would be worth the extra few dollars.
“It was a great game…fans got there six dollars worth tonight.”
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