New faces tasked with carrying on Penn-Trafford tradition

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Wednesday, August 18, 2021 | 6:01 AM


Rebuilding is a word that isn’t used around the Penn-Trafford football program. They just retool or restock.

There is always a group of players ready to step in and take their turn.

Some coaches use the team “tradition never graduates,” and what John Ruane has built at Penn-Trafford is a testament to that.

The Warriors have made the WPIAL playoffs 24 of the past 26 years. Since Ruane took over in 2010, they only missed the postseason once: in 2016, when the team finished 7-3.

Penn-Trafford finished 6-2 in 2020 and reached the WPIAL Class 5A semifinals before falling to eventual WPIAL and PIAA champion Pine-Richland. But the Warriors were hit hard by graduation as 24 players left.

The biggest losses were on offense with the graduation of quarterback Ethan Carr, now at Villanova, and receivers Chase Vecchio, Mason Frye, Nate Frye, Brad Ford and Cole Darragh.

Carr threw for 1,027 yards and 16 touchdowns and rushed for a team-high 687 yards and nine touchdowns. Senior Cade Yacamelli, who committed to Wisconsin, rushed for 680 yards and scored 10 times.

Vecchio had 18 catches for 215 yards and five touchdowns, and Ford 13 catches for 246 yards and six touchdowns.

“Last year we had to replace the entire offensive line,” Ruane said. “It’s opposite this year as we have to replace a lot of skill. We like what we have returning. Hopefully they’ll open some eyes.”

One skill position Ruane doesn’t have to worry about is running back. While Yacamelli will get the bulk of the work, Ruane advised not to sleep on Ian Demeri, who rushed for 192 yards.

“Ian’s going to get his share of carries,” Ruane said. “He did well with his opportunities last year. He’s a downhill runner who is a physical runner. We need guys who can step up to give two-way starters a blow.”

Senior Carter Green and junior Tommy Kalkstein will get a chance to replace Carr at quarterback.

“We want to do the same thing offensively that we did last year,” Ruane said. “We’re looking for a dual threat at quarterback.

“Carter has all the tools to be a great leader. Tommy is very athletic. I can see both being on the field at the same time.”

Expected to see playing time at wide receiver are Kalkstein, seniors Seth Dunlap, Michael Frawley and Liam Hileman and juniors Jacob Otto and Daniel Tarabella.

Penn-Trafford returns three starting inemen: tackle Declan Ochendowski, center Joe Enick and guard Garrett Moorhead. Others back are tight end Conlan Greene and Jack Jollie.

“We’ll be OK along the lines,” Ruane said. “We have eight to 10 players who will get to see action on either side of the ball.”

Other linemen Ruane expects to see action include sophomore Zach Tomosovich, a 6-foot-6, 320-pound tackle, seniors Luke Jollie and Lorenzo Montalto and junior Mike Paterra.

Returning on defense are Yacamelli at strong safety, Jack Jollie at linebacker, ends Conlan Greene and Ochendowski and Enick at tackle. Tomosovich should also be in the mix at tackle.

Ruane also expects Green will see time at free safety, Dunlap, Kalkstein and Otto at defensive back and Hileman, Demeri, Tarabella, Ryan Bachar and Josh Huffman at linebacker.

“Fortunately, we have numbers,” Ruane said. “We have that next-man-up mantra. We have guys that have been waiting their turn.”

Penn-Trafford was co-section champ with Gateway in Class 5A Big East Conference. The teams didn’t meet last season because of covid-19 concerns.

Penn-Trafford

Coach: John Ruane

2020 record: 6-2, 4-0 in Class 5A Big East Conference

All-time record: 307-193-10

SCHEDULE

Date, Opponent, Time

8.27 at Norwin, 7

9.3 Hempfield, 7:30

9.10 at Belle Vernon, 7

9.17 Peters Township, 7

9.25 at Shaler, 1:30

10.1 at Woodland Hills*, 7

10.8 Gateway*, 7:30

10.15 at Connellsville*, 7

10.22 Franklin Regional*, 7:30

10.29 at Latrobe*, 7

*Conference game

STATISTICAL LEADERS

Passing: Ethan Carr*

68-114, 1,027 yards, 16 TDs

Rushing: Carr*

77-687, 9 TDs

Receiving: Chase Vecchio*

18-215, 5 TDs

*Graduated

FAST FACTS

• Since John Ruane became coach in 2010, the Warriors are 96-28. He is a teacher at Gateway High School and is a Gateway alum.

• Penn-Trafford has reached the WPIAL championship game three times — losing to Upper St. Clair, 28-27 in 1997, to Central Catholic, 24-17 in 2015, and to Gateway, 21-16 in 2017.

• Penn-Trafford was a merger of Trafford and Penn Joint in 1972. In the Warriors’ first season, they finished in second place in the Keystone Conference with a 6-2-1 record. Jeannette won the conference with an 8-0 record.

• Penn-Trafford won its first conference (Keystone) title in 1981. It was also its first playoff appearance, defeating Uniontown before falling to Knoch in the semifinals.

ROSTER

No., Name, Pos., Ht./Wt., Cl.

1, Nathan Schlessinger, K/P, 6-0/185, Sr.

2, Michael Frawley, WR/DB, 5-10/180, Sr.

3, Seth Dunlap, WR/DB, 6-0/190, Sr.

4, Jacob Otto, WR/DB, 5-11/75, Jr.

5, Cade Yacamelli, RB/DB, 6-0/205, Sr.

6, Dom Davis, WR/DB, 5-8/155, Sr.

7, Liam Hileman, WR/DB, 5-10/165, Sr.

8, Carter Green, QB/DB, 5-10/170, Sr.

9, Ian Demeri, RB/LB, 5-9/190, Sr.

10, Josh Huffman, HB/LB, 6-0/205, Jr.

11, Jonathan Moorhead, WR/LB, 6-0/175, Sr.

12, Tommy Kalkstein, QB/DB, 6-2/185, Jr.

13, Brendan Zierski, WR/DB, 5-11/170, Jr.

14, Brandon Roher, QB/LB, 5-10/175, So.

15, Jonny Lovre, QB/DB, 5-10/170, Fr.

16, Ryan Bachar, HB/LB, 5-10/185, Sr.

17, Conlan Greene, TE/DL, 6-4/240, Jr.

18, James Birdsong, WR/DB, 5-9/155, Jr.

19, Jack Jollie, TE/LB, 6-1/210, Sr.

20, Nolan Marasti, WR/DB, 6-0/170, Jr.

21, Daniel Tarabrella, WR/LB, 6-2/190, Jr.

22, Garrett Mattes, RB/LB, 6-0/205, Sr.

23, Jacob Haynes, TE/LB, 6-2/210, Jr.

24, Eric Black, RB/LB, 5-9/175, Jr.

25, Bryce Liller, WR/DB, 5-11/155, Sr.

26, Carmen Metcalfe, WR/DB, 5-11/170, So.

27, Brody Hoffmann, WR/DB, 5-10/170, So.

28, Mason Newell, WR/DB, 5-10, So.

29, JT Guy, TE/LB, 5-9/190, Sr.

31, Trent Comito, HB/LB, 5-8/160, So.

32, Paul Darragh, HB/LB, 5-10/170, So.

33, Owen Demeri, RB/LB, 5-9/170, Jr.

34, Tasso Whipple, RB/LB, 5-10/165, Fr.

35, Bryce Martin, RB/DB, 5-10/165, Jr.

37, Nathan Mikula, RB/DB, 5-8/150, So.

39, Anthony Mativa, WR/DB, 5-9/145, So.

40, Zachary Skalka, RB/LB, 5-9/175, Sr.

41, Gavin Chappie, HB/LB, 5-9/160, So.

42, Ben Cardiff, HB/LB, 5-10/175, Jr.

43, Dallas Oxendine, WR/DB, 5-8/125, So.

44, Ryan Grabowski, TE/LB, 5-10/180, Jr.

45, Max Schwenning, HB/DB, 5-11/170, So.

46, Matthew Sarnowski, TE/LB, 6-2/200, So.

47, David Bittner, WR/DB, 5-8/125, Jr.

48, Dylan Tirpak, WR/DB, 5-1/175, So.

49, Nickolas Reiff, WR/DB, 5-9/155, So.

50, Declan Ochendowski, T/DL, 6-3/240, Sr.

51, Joe Enick, C/DL, 6-3/280, Jr.

52, Mark Jollie, C/DL, 6-1/220, So.

54, Michael Paterra, C/DL, 6-0/250, Jr.

55, Lorenzo Montalto, G/DL, 5-10/255, Sr.

56, Garrett Moorhead, G/DL, 5-11/260, Sr.

57, Vito Scarcelli, G/DL, 5-9/230, So.

59, James McNally, T/LB, 5-10/180, So.

60, Luke Jollie, G/DL, 6-7/265, Sr.

61, Thomas Bittner, G/DL, 5-8/205, So.

62, Naythan Donaldson-Bennett, T/LB, 5-8/185, So.

63, Gary Earhart, G/DL, 5-9/215, So.

64, Waylon Fetty, G/DL, 6-0/325, So.

65, Riley McCaw, T/DL, 5-11/270, So.

66, Nico Scarcelli, G/DL, 5-9/215, So.

70, Lucas McDonnell, T/DL, 5-10/225, Sr.

71, Tom Hetherington, G/DL, 5-9/250, Jr.

72, Skylar Semen, C/DL, 5-11/200, Sr.

73, Alex Voit, T/DL, 5-10/225, Jr.

75, Zach Tomosovich, T/DL, 6-6/320, So.

77, Zachary Fordyce, G/DL, 5-11/240, Sr.

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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