GLENDALE, Ariz. - Cramps painfully constricted Shaquille Powell's hamstrings but the Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman running back was determined to let nothing stop him.
Not sore legs and especially not Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral's defense.
Nothing slowed down Powell in Bishop Gorman's 42-22 rout of Chaparral Saturday night in the Sollenberger Classic at University of Phoenix Stadium as the three-star finished with 303 rushing yards and six total touchdowns. To top it off, he added an interception in the fourth quarter.
A bruising 5-foot-11, 175-pound running back, Powell carved through Chaparral's defense especially on the left side where he followed the lead of four-star offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley who manhandled opponents and opened up gaping holes.
The Gorman back scored on three third-quarter runs of 45, 7 and 4 yards and then had two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter to ice the victory. His first TD came in the first quarter on a 30-yard pass from junior quarterback Jarrett Solomon, who must be considered one of the top underclassmen signal-callers on the West Coast.
"I'm so proud of him," Stanley said. "That's my brother. I would do anything for him. I'm so proud of the way he handled himself. I know he had some hamstring cramps during the half. He just kept fighting and that's what I like about him.
"Blocking for him you never know what's going to happen so you just try your hardest. He just needs a little space to get through. Shaq is just an amazing person, an amazing player and an amazing friend. I couldn't ask for anyone better."
Stanley, who has official visits set for Arkansas and Notre Dame so far, was not the only one affiliated with Bishop Gorman to heap praise on Powell, rated as the eighth-best all-purpose back in the 2012 class and third in the Nevada state rankings by Rivals.com.
Coach Tony Sanchez said whichever college program lands Powell is getting an outstanding player and person.
So far, Arizona State, Fresno State, Illinois, San Diego State, UNLV and Vanderbilt have offered but after Saturday's performance Powell could definitely receive much more attention soon.
"The thing about it is the guys that don't recruit him are just going to miss out on him," Sanchez said. "The guys who do recruit him they're going to get Shaquille Powell and he's going to have a great career there.
"Wherever he ends up, I'm not worried about him one bit. There are some kids you worry about but I don't worry about that kid one bit. He's going to go to college, he's going to graduate in four years, he'll play as long as they'll let him play, he's going to have a great career and then he's going to be a great dad, a great father. That's just Shaquille Powell. He's just fantastic."
Posting big numbers is nothing new to Powell, who rushed for 1,555 yards and 29 touchdowns in his sophomore year and 1,292 yards and 17 scores as a junior. His career-high before Saturday's showing was four touchdowns.
There has been no bigger stage for Powell and he shined brightly heading into Gorman's matchup against powerhouse Seffner (Fla.) Armwood next week.
After that game, Powell said he plans to schedule some official visits. It's believed that Illinois and Vanderbilt are two favorites but the cool, collected Powell said he is still open to all programs and willing to listen to anyone.
"I'm undecided," Powell said. "I'm just talking to schools and I'm open to anything. Illinois and Vanderbilt, I like them, but I don't want to close up any of my recruiting.
"Whatever school I like and I see I can play at I'm going to go there. I'm not going to hesitate if I see where I want to go. If I see the opportunity I'm going to take it."
Just like on the field.
Powell doesn't thrive because of top-end speed but because he's a tough, hard-nosed bruiser who almost always bounces off first contact. Once he's through the hole, though, Powell can break away from defenders.
Sanchez has seen it many times before. Saturday was a special night but Gorman's coach seems to expect that type of showing from his star running back again.
"Shaq Powell plays great every game," Sanchez said. "If we gave him the ball that many times every single game he could turn in the same performance. He's just a great football player. At the end he looked gassed running the ball, he was running around and defense, that really cuts in. He looked a little slower than he normally does. I think he was a little tired.
"He's one of those kids that says, 'Coach, give me the ball.' When he's tired he'll tell me he's tired and he'll get right back in there. He's the toughest I've ever seen."
Solomon finished 8 of 14 passing for 116 yards and one touchdown. Gorman's sophomore running back Nathan Starks, who has the potential to be a special player down the road, rushed for 32 yards on five carries.
For Chaparral, four-star quarterback Connor Brewer was 12 of 27 for 196 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. A big chunk of his passing yards came on an 82-yard touchdown toss to four-star receiver Davonte Neal in the final minutes.
Neal finished with three catches for 81 yards and he also converted a two-point conversion from Brewer. Other than his touchdown catch he was largely inconsequential on offense. He also played cornerback and seemed more productive there.