Scholastic Notebook – 09/02/2011

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Friday, September 2, 2011 | 2:59 PM


When it comes to Rushel Shell and records, most of the talk is about the Hopewell senior running back having a good chance to break the WPIAL all-time rushing record.

But Shell actually has a good chance to break an impressive national record.

First, the WPIAL record stuff. Shell needs only 881 yards to become the WPIAL all-time leading rusher, breaking the mark of 7,646, set by Fort Cherry’s Mike Vernillo from 1995-99.

Now, the national record stuff. Shell has 29 consectuive 100-yard games. When he rushed for 238 yards in last season’s finale against Thomas Jefferson, Shell moved place Emmitt Smith and Steve Worster, who both had 28 consecutive 100-yard games. Smith, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, played at Pensacola Escambia (Fla.) from 1984-86 and Worster of Bridge City, Texas, from 1965-66.

If Shell rushes for 100 yards in every game this regular season, he will reach the national record for consecutive 100-yard games. Billy Sims of Hooks, Texas, set the record of 38 from 1972-75. Shell is only four away from the second-place mark of 33, set by Brad Hocker from 1988-90.

Hopewell begins the season tonight at home against Belle Vernon, as high school football kicks off around Pennsylvania. The last time Shell was held below 100 yards was the fifth game of his freshman season, when had only 17 yards on five carries against Blackhawk. That was before he became Hopewell’s starter.

Since then, his next two lowest totals also came against Blackhawk. He had "only" 133 yards as a sophomore and 130 as a junior.

"Classic" Matchups

Two of the best games this opening weekend are Sunday at the Gateway Kickoff Classic. Central Catholic plays Philadelphia Archbishop Wood at 2 p.m. in a game being televised live nationally by ESPN2. Archbishop Wood has five players who already have committed to Division I colleges. Central Catholic is the MSA Sports No. 1 team in Class AAAA of the WPIAL.

At 6 p.m., Gateway plays Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt, a team that features Noah Spence, who is ranked among the best defensive ends in the country.

Sunday Games

It wasn’t all that long ago when you never saw Sunday games in WPIAL sports. They weren’t allowed. Nowadays, it is not uncommon at all to see Sunday games in many sports.

The Gateway Kickoff Classic was originally scheduled for Saturday, but was moved to Sunday to accommodate TV. But this Sunday, there are a few dozen soccer games being played – mostly from tournaments that start Saturday.

Nifty Niko

It looks like sophomore Niko Thorpe might be the starting halfback for Shaler. He has good genes on his side. His father was Chris, a star running back at Fox Chapel who graduated in 1985 before moving on to play at Penn State.

Bowl Game for Hillers-Big Macs

Go ahead and now call the Trinity-Canon-McMillan game a Bowl game.

Tonight’s game is called the Absalom Baird Bowl. The U.S. Army came up with the name as part of its U.S. Army’s 2011 Rivalry Tour that highlights the best high school football rivalries in Pennsylvania. After the game, the Army will present the winning team with a "traveling" trophy as the winner of the Absalom Baird Bowl.

The U.S. Army Rivalry Tour is a unique celebration of American youth and the American Soldier. The Absalom Baird Bowl is named after honor Union Army General and Washington, PA-native Absalom Baird (1824-1905) who earned Medal of Honor for most distinguished gallantry in action at Jonesboro, Georgia during the Civil War.

Burgettstown Moves to Saturday Games

No more Friday night football games for Burgettstown – at least this year.

Burgettstown has taken down the lights at its stadium after a recall on light poles put up by a defunct Texas company. Burgettstown hopes to have lights again by next season.

Baseball at Consol Energy Park

The WPIAL baseball championships will stay at Consol Energy Park.

The Park is home of the Washington Wild Things and the WPIAL has played its championships there for a number of years now. Consol Energy Park and the WPIAL recently agreed to a new contract that will keep all four title games at Consol the next three years.

The WPIAL looked into having the games at PNC, but PNC couldn’t guarantee the WPIAL the dates.

A Streak for Subway

Here is a strange but true high school story: A high school baseball team’s winning streak is so impressive that the team will be featured in a commercial for Subway sandwiches.

Martensdale-St. Marys in Iowa set a national record at the end of the season with its 87th win in a row. Because of the feat, Subway has decided to put the team in a commercial, which was recently shot in Iowa.
 

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