Improvement, not revenge, is sole focus for Penn-Trafford in meeting with No. 3 Peters Township

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Thursday, September 17, 2020 | 5:43 PM


Peters Township ended Penn-Trafford’s season in the WPIAL playoffs the past two seasons.

Will revenge be the motivation for Penn-Trafford when the teams collide in a nonconference matchup Friday at No. 3 Peters Township?

Not exactly. When Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane addressed his team Monday, his focus was on improving from Week 1 to Week 2.

“We’re not worried about revenge,” Ruane said. “We respect the heck out of that team. They have a great coach and great players. It’s been a really great game the last two years.

“It’s a regular season game, not a playoff game. We’re happy to be playing in 2020. We’re not going to dwell in the past. I know it’s going to be in everybody’s mind. We’re just focused on the task at hand.”

Peters Township defeated Penn-Trafford, 28-10, in 2019 and, 38-35, in 2018.

Both games could have gone either way.

If Penn-Trafford has an advantage on Peters Township, it’s a slim one because the Warriors have been able to play two opponents.

Penn-Trafford (1-0, 1-0) opened the season with a 48-14 victory against Latrobe last Friday. Seven different Warriors scored touchdowns, including a 99-yard scamper by senior Brad Ford and a 75-yard jaunt by junior Cade Yacamelli, who recently received a scholarship offer from Penn.

The Warriors also scrimmaged Hempfield earlier this month.

Peters Township had a covid-19 case and was not able to scrimmage two weeks ago or play a game last week.

Indians coach T.J. Plack said not being able to face an opponent will be an obstacle his team must overcome.

“I’m sure it will be a crazy first half for us trying to adjust to the speed of the game,” Plack said. “Fortunately, we have a lot of experience returning.”

The Indians are led by quarterback Logan Pfeuffer, who completed 143 of 233 passes for 2,350 yards and 24 touchdowns last season. His main target is Florida commit Donovan McMillon.

Peters Township must replace two wide receivers, a starting running back and an offensive lineman on offense and four defensive backs, a defensive lineman and a linebacker on defense. McMillon returns at safety.

Michael Peyton, who missed the 2019 season with an injury, will be the running back.

“We do return a lot up front,” Plack said. “One thing we do have is depth.

“I told my players to be ready to play a tough opponent. It’s going to be a battle.”

And while Plack said his team wants to win the season-opening game, the biggest game for his team is Sept. 25 against No. 5-ranked South Fayette.

“We respect Penn-Trafford a lot,” Plack said. “They have a lot of good players, but our big game is next week.”

Penn-Trafford will throw a lot of different looks at Peters Township. Senior Ethan Carr replaced graduate Gabe Dunlap at quarterback. Carr caught 42 passes for 764 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior.

“We have a lot of little things to fix,” said Carr, who last week threw for 171 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 35 yards and a score. “We have to crack down on our mistakes.

“It’s just another game in the 2020 season: new year, new team.”

Penn-Trafford has many different offensive weapons and formations that will keep Peters Township on its toes.

Ruane said because the schedule is condensed, he’s treating every game as a conference game. He also said most of the improvement a team can make is between the first and second game because everything is on film and it’s easier to show players their mistakes and fix them.

“We’ll do anything to win,” Ruane said. “We work on the same stuff every day. We’re trying to get better. We have a lot of improvement to make.”

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

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