Penn-Trafford bounces back for shutout of Norwin

Friday, September 30, 2022 | 11:20 PM

Penn-Trafford shrugged off last week’s disappointing loss to one of its arch-rivals and took out its frustrations this week on another.

Conlan Greene passed for 132 yards and two touchdowns, and Daniel Tarabrella scored twice as the Warriors overcame a slow start to blank visiting Norwin, 28-0, Friday night in a WPIAL Class 5A Big East Conference game.

The victory comes a week after No. 5 Penn-Trafford, the defending PIAA Class 5A champion, dropped a 28-17 decision at Hempfield. All three schools are within a small circumference in central Westmoreland County.

Penn-Trafford (4-2, 1-1) had dominated Hempfield in recent years before the Spartans came away with a victory Sept. 23.

“The kids came in this week with the right attitude, the right mindset,” Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane said. “They weren’t happy at all, nor should they have been. The coaching staff wasn’t happy, and we decided to work our butts off.”

It paid off for Penn-Trafford, which built a 14-0 lead at halftime after Greene and Tarabrella hooked up on a pair of pass plays for 21 and 17 yards, the latter for a touchdown 7 seconds before intermission.

“Every game comes down to 4-5 plays. Obviously, we didn’t make those plays,” Norwin coach Dave Brozeski said. “One of them was the TD right before halftime. Without that, we come out and get the ball after halftime only down one score. It could have been a little different.”

Norwin (1-5, 0-2) was shut out a second consecutive time. The Knights were beaten by Woodland Hills, 25-0, on Sept. 23, a game that saw Norwin quarterback Tristyn Taveres leave with an ankle injury that kept him out of the lineup against Penn-Trafford.

“Any time you lose your starting quarterback, it hurts,” Brozeski said.

Ruane said he didn’t plan anything different knowing Norwin likely would be without its regular signal-caller, the freshman Taveres. Junior Luke Denny and senior Nick Urey split time under center for the Knights.

“We know they like to take some shots down field,” Ruane said. “I thought our defense was outstanding. Obviously, we shut them out. We ran the football well, but we’re hoping to get healthy in a hurry.”

Both teams were banged up. Penn-Trafford lost wide receiver/quarterback Tommy Kalkstein to an apparent knee injury and already was without receiver Jake Otto.

“That’s two of our top three receivers,” Ruane said.

But junior Carmen Metcalfe came through with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Greene in the third quarter that put the game away for the Warriors. On defense, his interception on the first play of the second half set up a 62-yard scoring drive that ended with Tasso Whipple’s 2-yard touchdown run.

“Carmen Metcalfe played a fantastic game tonight,” Ruane said. “He made some big-time plays on defense and on the passing game on offense. He’s ready. It’s his turn. He did a great job tonight.”

After a scoreless first quarter, Penn-Trafford’s offense came alive, leading the Warriors to a pair of scores and a 14-0 halftime lead.

While Norwin wasn’t able to take advantage of two Jackson Pons interceptions, Penn-Trafford shook off several injuries to its quarterbacks and finally broke through with the first of two Tarabrella touchdowns.

The senior wide receiver carried on an end-around play and scored from 10 yards out to give P-T a 7-0 lead with 4 minutes, 5 seconds left in the second quarter.

The Warriors added another just 7 seconds before halftime on Greene’s 17-yard TD pass to Tarabrella.

Penn-Trafford played the first half with three quarterbacks after Conlan and Kalkstein limped off. Sophomore Jonny Lovre saw limited action in their absence.

“We’ve got work to do yet,” Ruane said. “I was happy with the way we practiced all week. Obviously, next week is even bigger. You’ve got to go to Gateway and play a really good football team. So we have to have an even better week.”

No. 4 Gateway demolished previously undefeated Hempfield, 60-7, on Friday night.

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