HOPEWELL HOPELESS: TJ makes 11 straight trip to WPIAL Semi-Finals
Written by: Billy Splain on Saturday, November 8th, 2008
McDonald, Pa- In high school football every team has up and down seasons, all depending on how the lower level teams do, and how many good players are brought up threw the system. Thomas Jefferson is the exception to that rule, and as has built a high school dynasty in Jefferson Hills.
The Hopewell Vikings came into South Fayette Stadium looking to do something no one in the WPIAL has done since November 11, 2005. Beat Thomas Jefferson.
Hopewell did have some hope coming into the game, after all it was the Vikings who gave TJ their last loss in the WPIAL Playoffs (which means excluding the WPIAL Championship) back when this years group of seniors were in 6th grade. Unfortunately for Hopewell (6-3) that was then and this is now, and here in the present Thomas Jefferson (10-1) is the Triple-A Jugernaught of the WPIAL.
This season did not go for nothing for the Vikings of Hopewell, they found a running back that could be the next great one to come out of the WPIAL. Freshman Russell Shell, who did something only one other back has done this season; rush for over 100 yards on the stingy defense of TJ. Shell the 210 pound, 6-foot 15 year old had one of the best seasons for a WPIAL freshman and could be seeing the Jaguars a little further down road on the Highway to Heinz in the up coming seasons. Sell Rushed for 153 yards on 20 carries, and concluded the season with 1,151 yards on 158 carries.
As for Thomas Jefferson and their pick-your-poison offense. Tyler Wehner had 283 total yards, and running back Brian Baldrige had 167 on 26 carries in the Jaguars 35-16 win. Dan Vigin had a good game as well with 6 catches for 128 yards.
The Jaguars look a 14-3 lead into halftime. Tj got the ball to start the third, 5 plays later Brian Baldrige ran in for 26-yards out. It was Hopewell’s turnovers that cost them in this game, “Answering after their first score, was big for us” Bill Cherpak said after his 147 career win in 13 seasons.
So Thomas Jefferson goes to the Semi-Finals another year, the WPIAL playoffs have became part of the season for the Jaguars and they are one more step away from the Thomas Jefferson invitational other wise known as the WPIAL Championship.
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