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Game of the Week

'Canes fall to Parkway foe Hopewell

New Castle (26) vs. Hopewell (28)
Written: Oct 09, 2010
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By JOE SIMON

j_simon@ncnewsonline.com

One of the most highly recruited running backs in the country had the game of his life last night.

Hopewell’s Rushel Shell ran for nearly 400 yards and three touchdowns, but it was a play he made on defense that allowed the Vikings to come away with a 28-26 victory over New Castle in a Parkway Conference shootout.

Shell batted down a pass late in the fourth quarter on a two-point conversion attempt by New Castle, which trailed 28-26 at the time.

“I was just in the right place at the right time,” Shell said.

That place was the end zone, a place Shell visited a lot. The junior, who said he’s leaning toward going to the University of Alabama after his high school career is over, shredded the ’Canes’ defense for a career-high 383 yards and had touchdown runs of 92, 78 and 10 yards. Yet, New Castle (1-3 conference, 3-3 overall) was nearly as productive when it had the ball as the two teams racked up 996 yards of total offense.

The ’Canes ran for 249 yards and passed for 226. Their problem, again, came in the red zone, where they twice failed to score. Junior running back Justin Fleo fumbled on the 3 in the first half and Hopewell (1-3, 2-4) recovered, and New Castle couldn’t convert on a fourth-and-4 play from the Hopewell 8 late in the fourth quarter.

It was a crippling loss for coach Frank Bongivengo Jr. and the ’Canes, whose hopes of making the playoffs took a big hit.

“We fought and we kept coming back, but that’s not good enough,” he said. “We had some opportunities to make plays and we didn’t make them tonight, and it hurt us.”

One of those chances came with less than two minutes remaining in the game. Wide receiver Marcus Carter broke open down the sideline but couldn’t hang on to a pass from Johnny Matarazzo. The ’Canes dropped several passes, including two that could have been touchdowns.

Shell made sure New Castle paid for its mistakes. After Jalen Holmes was stuffed for no gain on fourth-and-4 at the Hopewell 8, Shell darted up the middle of the field and outran everyone for a 92-yard score. The ’Canes struck right back as Matarazzo hit Nigel Whren for a 39-yard touchdown, making the score 28-26 with 2:17 remaining. New Castle tried to run a crossing route on the two-point conversion, with Carter running a fade to the corner of the end zone, but Shell was waiting for it and smacked the ball down to preserve the lead.

“We had an idea,” said Hopewell coach Dave Vestal about knowing where New Castle was going to attack on the play. “It was a pick route, and both (defenders) did a great job of playing the ball, but he made the play and knocked it down.”

Shell’s big plays always seemed to come at just the right time. New Castle had just taken a 20-14 lead in the fourth quarter on a 6-yard TD run by Holmes and forced the Vikings into a third-and-6 play. The ’Canes appeared to have Shell corralled for a short gain, but the 5-foot-11, 215-pound Shell stiff-armed one defender and ran past another to gain 11 yards and a first down. He ran for 34 yards on the next play and eventually capped the drive with a 7-yard TD.

“We had him wrapped up a couple times in the back field and boom, then he springs a big run,” Bongivengo said. “But that’s what a good back is supposed to do. That’s what a guy who wants to get to the end zone does, and he really hurt us tonight.”

Shell said he and another defensive back communicated on the play, which led to him making the play. In a game that saw nearly 1,000 yards of offense, it was the Vikings defense shined in the end.

“We made a lot of switches on defense,” Shell said. “Defense is the key. You really have to guard this type of team. They can pass the ball, they have great athletes and great linemen. We just played good on defense.”

Shell wasn’t the only back to play well, as Holmes ran for 146 yards and a touchdown for New Castle. The Vikings’ Zach Romah also broke the century mark, rushing for 101 yards and a TD on nine carries. Matarazzo was on point most of the night, going 15 for 30 for 226 yards and a touchdown. Fleo caught eight passes for 53 yards.

The ’Canes now face a situation where Bongivengo said they’re probably going to have to win out for a chance at the playoffs.

“Now our backs are really up against the wall,” he said. “I would assume, at this point, we’re going to have to win every game from here on out, and that’s tough to do in this conference. But we’ll come back on Monday ready to work.”

HOPEWELL NEW CASTLE

15 First downs 16

510 Yards Rushing 256

8 Yards Lost 17

502 Net Rushing 249

3 Passes Attempted 30

2 Passes Completed 15

1 Passes Intercepted 0

19 Yards Passing 226

521 Total Yards 475

1-0 Fumbles-Lost 1-1

3-36.6 Punts-Average 50.6

2-25 Penalties-Yards 7-40

HOPEWELL 7 7 0 14 —28

NEW CASTLE 6 6 0 14 —26

Scoring plays

NEW CASTLE — Johnny Matarazzo, 2-yard run (kick failed).

HOPEWELL — Zach Romah, 54-yard run (Nate Bowden kick).

HOPEWELL — Rushel Shell, 78-yard run (Bowden kick).

NEW CASTLE — Justin Fleo, 7-yard run (pass failed).

NEW CASTLE — Jalen Holmes, 6-yard run (Jesse Ambuster, pass from Matarazzo).

HOPEWELL — Shell, 10-yard run (Bowden kick).

NEW CASTLE — Nigel Whren, 39-yard pass from Matarazzo (pass failed).

HOPEWELL —Shell, 92-yard run (Bowden kick).
GAME SCOREBOARD
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 OT SCORE
New Castle 6 6 0 14 0 26
Hopewell 7 7 0 14 0 28
GAME OF THE WEEK ARCHIVE
One step short 12/3/16 Neshannock season comes to end 11/27/16 The (im)perfect season 11/19/16 WPIAL championship game 11/18/16 New Castle advances to WPIAL Class 4A title game 11/11/16 Neshannock routs Serra Catholic 11/4/16 Neshannock hosts Serra Catholic 11/4/16 Thriller 10/28/16 Union at Shenango 10/28/16 'Canes stumble; playoff berth on line in finale 10/21/16 New Castle hosts Ringgold on Senior Night 10/21/16 Wilmington falls in battle of unbeatens 10/15/16 Wilmington at Hickory 10/13/16 On the defensive 10/8/16 Neshannock hosts Riverside 10/7/16 New Castle struggles in home loss to Mars 9/30/16 New Castle hosts Mars 9/30/16 'Canes hope to even score against Mars 9/30/16 Stayin' alive 9/23/16 Union hosts Western Beaver 9/23/16 Ground assault 9/17/16 Wilmington hosts Sharpsville 9/16/16 Too many mistakes for Laurel 9/10/16 Riverside travels to Laurel 9/9/16 Neshannock routs North Catholic 9/3/16 Canes quipped 8/31/16 A good mix 8/27/16 Black Friday 11/14/15 Wilmington vs. Cambridge Springs 11/13/15 Defense steps up for Lancers 11/7/15 Neshannock vs. Bentworth 11/5/15 No doubt about it 10/31/15 Neshannock vs. Union 10/30/15 Crowning effort 10/24/15 Shenango vs. Riverside 10/23/15 Playoff hopes dashed 10/17/15 Laurel vs. Beaver 10/16/15 A costly brawl 10/10/15 New Castle vs. Central Valley 10/9/15 Inching closer 10/3/15 Union vs. Shenango 10/2/15 'They had us on our heels' 9/26/15 South Side Beaver at Union 9/25/15 Shootout 9/19/15 Neshannock at Riverside 9/18/15 Pivotal 9/13/15 Neshannock, Shenango clash Saturday 9/11/15 Under the weather 9/5/15 New Brighton at Laurel 9/4/15 Heartbreaker 11/15/14 Neshannock vs. Clairton 11/14/14 Weathering the storm 11/8/14 Neshannock vs. Jeannette 11/7/14 Fast and furious 11/1/14 Springdale at Shenango 10/31/14 Opportunity lost 10/25/14 Sharpsville at Wilmington 10/24/14 One for the books 10/18/14 Ellwood City at Laurel 10/17/14 Ground war 10/11/14 Ellwood City at Mohawk 10/10/14 Drenched with happiness 10/4/14 South Side Beaver at Shenango 10/3/14 The perfect storm 9/27/14 Moon at New Castle 9/26/14 Coming up short 9/20/14 West Middlesex at Wilmington 9/19/14 Back in the saddle 9/13/14 Neshannock at Riverside 9/12/14 Tough act to follow 9/6/14 New Brighton at Ellwood City 9/5/14 'We will get better' 8/30/14 West Allegheny vs. New Castle 8/29/14 End of the road 11/16/13 Neshannnock vs. North Catholic 11/15/13 'Sharks in a frenzy' 11/9/13 Lancers advance to WPIAL semifinals 11/9/13 Neshannock vs. Monessen 11/8/13 The best defense 11/2/13 Neshannock vs. Brentwood 11/1/13 'We battled to the end' 10/26/13 New Brighton at Mohawk 10/25/13 Costly blunders 10/19/13 Sto-Rox at Laurel 10/18/13 West Allegheny rallies in fourth to defeat 'Canes 10/12/13 West Allegheny at New Castle 10/11/13 Mohawk wins thriller behind McConahy, Barber 10/5/13 Ellwood City at Mohawk 10/4/13 Spartans ride big second half to win over Union 9/28/13 Laurel at Union 9/27/13 Burkes stars as Lancers escape upset bid 9/21/13 Shenango at Neshannock 9/20/13 So close ... 9/13/13 Neshannock at Sto-Rox 9/12/13 Run to glory 9/7/13 Laurel at Neshannock 9/6/13 Dando, Spartans roll over South Side Beaver 9/5/13 South Side Beaver vs. Laurel 8/30/13 Turnovers spell doom for Wilmington in D-10 title game 11/26/12 Wilmington vs. Hickory 11/24/12 Caught in a 'Bear' trap 11/17/12 Neshannock vs. Clairton in WPIAL Class A semifinals 11/15/12 Neshannock advances 11/10/12 Neshannock vs. Monessen 11/9/12 Neshannock vs. Monessen 11/9/12 Neshannock vs. Monessen 11/8/12 Neshannock advances 11/3/12 Neshannock vs. Jefferson-Morgan 11/2/12 Down and out 10/27/12 New Castle at Hopewell 10/26/12 Pugh paces Wilmington to win over Sharon 10/22/12 Wilmington vs. Sharon 10/19/12 Mohawk falls to Beaver 10/13/12 Beaver vs. Mohawk 10/12/12 ‘We tip our hats to them’ 10/8/12 Neshannock at Rochester 10/5/12 Big-play display for Union 9/29/12 Union vs. Laurel 9/28/12 Lancers rout Shenango for fourth win 9/24/12 Blend of old, new sparks Union win 9/22/12 Union hosts Western Beaver 9/21/12 ’Hounds rise up for win over Hickory 9/15/12 Wilmington vs. Hickory 9/14/12 Milestone victory 9/10/12 New Castle at Riverside 9/7/12 699 and counting 9/1/12 New Castle vs. Central Valley 8/31/12 Turnovers lead to season-ending loss for Wilmington 11/21/11 Wilmington vs. General McLane 11/17/11 End of the dream 11/12/11 Ellwood vs. Greensburg Central 11/11/11 Ellwood advances 11/5/11 Ellwood City vs. Freeport 11/4/11 Mixed reviews 10/29/11 New Castle vs. Blackhawk 10/28/11 Wilmington rolls to Region 3 title 10/22/11 Wilmington vs. Sharon 10/21/11 It's Polka time 10/15/11 Ellwood City vs. Laurel 10/14/11 Aliquippa cruises past Ellwood City 10/8/11 Aliquippa vs. Ellwood City 10/7/11 Wilmington holds on for thrilling win over Hickory 10/1/11 Wilmington vs. Hickory 9/30/11 Union pulls away for win over South Side Beaver 9/24/11 South Side Beaver at Union 9/23/11 Big plays spell doom for New Castle 9/17/11 Central Valley vs. New Castle 9/16/11 Defense delivers for Neshannock 9/10/11 Defense delivers for Neshannock 9/10/11 Neshannock vs. Serra Catholic 9/9/11 New Castle suffers disappointing loss in opener 9/3/11 New Castle vs. Butler 9/2/11 Sharon ends Wilmington’s dominance 11/22/10 ‘Underdog’ Greyhounds move on to a rematch with Sharon 11/15/10 Wilmington vs. North East 11/12/10 Tough lesson 11/6/10 WPIAL Playoffs: Ellwood vs. South Fayette 11/5/10 Wolverines earn playoff berth 10/30/10 Riverside at Ellwood City 10/29/10 'Hounds lose heartbreaker 10/23/10 Wilmington at Sharon 10/22/10 Wolverines outlast Spartans 10/16/10 Laurel at Ellwood City 10/15/10 'Canes fall to Parkway foe Hopewell 10/9/10 New Castle to battle Hopewell 10/8/10 Lancers fall to Western Beaver 10/2/10 Western Beaver at Neshannock 10/1/10 Wolverines fall to Beaver 9/25/10 Beaver at Ellwood City 9/24/10 Shenango runs past South Side 9/20/10 Greyhounds lay hammer down on Greenville 9/11/10 Wilmington vs. Greenville 9/10/10 New Castle comes through 9/4/10 New Castle vs. Butler 9/4/10 Memorable run ends for Wilmington football team 12/14/09 Wilmington vs. Greensburg Catholic 12/11/09 Wilmington survives close call against Forest Hills 12/4/09 Wilmington vs. Forest Hills 12/4/09 Wilmington blanks Sharon 11/28/09 Wilmington vs. Sharon 11/27/09 Laurel season ends with setback 11/21/09 Laurel vs. Clairton in WPIAL semifinals 11/20/09 West Allegheny ends New Castle’s season 11/14/09 New Castle vs. West Allegheny 11/13/09 New Castle holds off Greensburg Salem 11/7/09 New Castle at Greensburg Salem 11/6/09 Wilmington routs Slippery Rock 10/30/09 Slippery Rock at Wilmington 10/30/09 Shenango blanks Union 10/24/09 Shenango at Union 10/23/09 Spartans overwhelm Monaca 10/17/09 Monaca at Laurel 10/16/09 Mohawk outlasts Ellwood City 10/10/09 Mohawk at Ellwood City 10/9/09 Rochester turns back Laurel in battle of unbeatens 10/3/09 Laurel at Rochester 10/2/09 Laurel opportunistic against Neshannock 9/26/09 Neshannock at Laurel 9/25/09 New Castle ends streak against Blackhawk 9/19/09 New Castle hosts Blackhawk 9/18/09 New Castle passes test against Indiana 9/12/09 Indiana at New Castle 9/11/09 Ellwood comes up short against Freedom 9/5/09 Freedom at Ellwood 9/4/09 Wilmington wins PIAA title! 12/15/08 'Hounds headed for Hershey 12/6/08 Wilmington vs. Aliquippa 12/5/08 Wilmington holds off Martinsburg Central 11/29/08 Wilmington edges Slippery Rock for District 10 title 11/24/08 "Down and Out" 11/19/08 New Castle outlasts Indiana in quarterfinals 11/8/08 New Castle vs. Indiana 11/7/08 New Castle vs. Indiana 11/6/08 New Castle routs Franklin Regional 11/1/08 Franklin Regional at New Castle 11/1/08 Laurel wins, but not enough 10/25/08 Shenango at Laurel 10/25/08 New Castle routs Ambridge 10/18/08 Ambridge at New Castle 10/18/08 Rochester blanks Neshannock 10/11/08 Wilmington handles Sharon 10/4/08 South Side Beaver blanks Neshannock 9/27/08 Neshannock vs. South Side Beaver 9/27/08 Neshannock holds off Laurel 9/20/08 Rochester blanks Union 9/13/08 Union-Rochester 9/12/08 Mohawk routs New Brighton 9/6/08 Butler outlasts New Castle 8/30/08
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