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WPIAL AAA: New Castle wins, 18-0; takes over Parkway lead

Saturday, October 12, 2002

From local dispatches

In 1987, New Castle won its first seven games and ran up against Hopewell in week eight. The Vikings knocked New Castle from the ranks of the unbeaten.

Last night at Hopewell High School’s Tony Dorsett Stadium it was New Castle’s turn to put a blemish on the Vikings’ undefeated record.

Using a stingy defense, New Castle shut out Hopewell, 18-0, in a Class AAA Parkway Conference showdown. Hopewell came into the contest ranked No. 1 in Class AAA by the Post-Gazette, while New Castle was ranked No. 4.

It didn’t help Hopewell any that talented running back/linebacker Paul Posluszny did not play. The Vikings’ leading rusher, he has an ankle injury and probably will not play next week against Ambridge.

The victory upped New Castle’s overall record to 7-0. The Red Hurricanes are 5-0 in the conference, alone in first place and have clinched a playoff spot and a share of the Parkway title. Hopewell dropped to 6-1, 3-1.

“Posluszny was 85 percent but we did not want to risk him with the [sloppy] field conditions,” Hopewell Coach Dave Vestal said. “Hopefully we’ll have him for Oct. 25.”

With Posluszny, who has rushed for more than 600 yards this season, out of action, Hopewell couldn’t mount much offense against the talented New Castle defense. Hopewell rushed for 84 yards and had just 134 yards total offense.

New Castle scored all of its points in the first half. Fullback Noah Elliott got the Red Hurricanes rolling when he scored on an 81-yard run with 1:34 left in the first quarter. Elliott rushed just three times for 87 yards. New Castle finished with 186 yards rushing.

“We were able to pop a guard trap on Elliott’s run,” New Castle Coach Gary Schooley said. “If you look at our team stats you probably won’t be able to find him.

“We don’t call plays for any special people. we just call the play for the person who is there.”

Elliott has only a handful of carries because he also shifts to tight end in certain situations. Elliott’s run was set up when New Castle’s Leon Ward intercepted a Hopewell pass at the New Castle 2. New Castle quarterback Ross Crist then hit Cameron Reed for 11 yards on a third-down play that carried to the 19. Elliott popped the long run on the next play.

“We hadn’t given up a big run like Elliott’s all year,” Vestal said. “He just popped a trap.”

New Castle’s second score came on a 66-yard pass from Crist to Robert Calhoun with 10:08 left in the first half. It came on a third-and-12 situation.

Running back Zach Mariacher scored New Castle’s final touchdown on a 22-yard run with 6:38 left in the first half. The play capped a four-play, 55-yard drive.

“One of our goals is to win the conference,” Schooley said. “We’re very fortunate with the quickness we have, but the biggest thing is our team unity and unselfishness.

“Hopewell is a great football team and I would not be surprised to see them again.”

“This was a bump in the road for us,” Vestal said. “We will go back and work on getting ourselves better.”

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