Big, physical offensive line makes Penn-Trafford offense go

Thursday, November 18, 2021 | 4:47 PM

It’s no secret the Penn-Trafford football team likes to run the football.

Senior running back Cade Yacamelli and quarterback Carter Green have rushed for more than 2,200 yards and scored 30 touchdowns between them. Yacamelli has rushed for 1,290 yards and 16 touchdowns, and Green has 916 yards and 14 scores.

But neither can do it without an outstanding offensive line.

After Penn-Trafford routed Fox Chapel, 42-14, in the WPIAL Class 5A quarterfinals last Friday, Yacamelli was quick to point out the offensive line deserves all the credit.

As Penn-Trafford built a 35-0 lead at halftime, Yacamelli already had 140 yards rushing and Green 101. Neither played in the second half.

“All those points on the scoreboard are because of the offensive line,” said Yacamelli, a Wisconsin commit. “They deserve all the credit.”

Penn-Trafford’s offensive line is big and physical. It returned three starters — senior tackle Declan Ochendowski, senior guard Garrett Moorhead and junior center Joe Enick — from 2020. The other starters up front are sophomore tackle Zach Tomosovich and, at guard, either senior Luke Jollie or junior Michael Paterra.

“We couldn’t match up with their size,” Fox Chapel coach Tom Loughran said. “They dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball up and down the field. The only team we played that can match their size is Pine-Richland.”

Penn-Trafford (9-2) will face Pine-Richland (7-4) at 7 p.m. Friday in the semifinals, and Ochendowski and Moorhead said the team isn’t using the loss to the Rams in last year’s semifinals as motivation. The returning PIAA and WPIAL champions defeated the Warriors, 49-14.

“We’re just focused on playing our game,” Ochendowski said. “We’re looking forward to the challenge. Our goal is playing our best and making it to Heinz Field for the championship game.”

Penn-Trafford is riding a seven-game winning streak after consecutive losses to Belle Vernon and Peters Township. The Warriors hurt themselves with penalties and turnovers, something they’ve cleaned up.

“The line has been improving all season,” Penn-Trafford line coach Dave Ruby said. “”They’re really jelling. Friday’s going to be a good test for them.”

Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane said the tight ends/H-backs have done a good job blocking, too. The tight ends are Conlan Greene and Jack Jollie.

Ochendowski said mental preparation is one of the big reasons for the improvement of the offensive line.

“We watch a lot of film,” Ochendowski said. “We do a good job knowing our assignments. We’re a very solid group. We have six or seven dudes battling for playing time.”

Moorhead said the line has good chemistry. The line averages 6-foot-3, 275 pounds.

“We work well together,” Moorhead said. “It’s rewarding making a key block and watching Cade or Carter take it to the house.”

Ochendowski agrees what thrills him is watching Yacamelli or Carter go 70 yards after making a key block.

“If we play our game, nobody can beat us,” Yacamelli said.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at or via Twitter .

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