Penn-Trafford combo of Lisbon, Dunlap, Carr too much for Norwin

Friday, August 23, 2019 | 11:25 PM

There weren’t many things that displeased Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane on Friday in his team’s season opener against rival Norwin.

That’s because his team, though not flawless, dominated from the start in a 42-7 nonconference victory at Warrior Stadium. The trio of Caleb Lisbon, Gabe Dunlap and Ethan Carr turned out to be a handful for the Norwin defense.

Lisbon, a senior running back, rushed for 172 yards on 11 carries and scored three touchdowns: 68- and 45-yard runs, and a 38-yard pass from Dunlap.

Dunlap rushed for 131 yards on 14 carries and scored the game’s first touchdown on a 5-yard run less than two minutes into the game. He also completed 3 of 7 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns, one to Lisbon and the other to Carr for 82 yards.

Carr chipped in with two scores: 19 yards out of the wildcat and then a long touchdown pass on a seam route.

Penn-Trafford’s defense was outstanding, limiting Norwin quarterback Jack Salopek to 17 of 31 passing for 134 yards.

Salopek was a big reason Norwin won last season’s game.

“We came out hungry from last year,” Lisbon said. “We wanted to step up our game because we know we didn’t perform to the best our abilities. We just wanted to keep playing as hard as we could and show what we can do.”

While Penn-Trafford’s punter never got into the game, the two things Ruane said need cleaned up are turnovers and penalties.

“The 11 penalties and two touchdowns called back,” Ruane said. “You can’t expect to win football games with 11 penalties and a lot of critical mistakes. Fortunately, we were able to overcome them. A lot of times, it happens in Week Zero. It’s not acceptable. We’ll watch on film and kind of clean up.”

And with Gateway next week, Ruane said the team will work extra hard to fix those mistakes. But Ruane was pleased how the Warriors dominated the game with their rushing attack.

“We didn’t have to pass because we saw things we liked in the running game,” Ruane said. “We tried to pick up the tempo on defense. We had a couple unfortunate turnovers, or we would have been in better shape.”

Penn-Trafford lost two fumbles, and sophomore defensive back Dom Barca picked off a Dunlap pass.

Norwin’s offense struggled against Penn-Trafford’s quickness on defense. The Knights rushed for 73 yards, 48 by Salopek, and their lone score came on a Salopek 10-yard run in the first quarter that cut the Penn-Trafford lead to 14-7.

“Penn-Trafford is a very good team, and Lisbon is a great football player. Dunlap does a nice job, and their line does a nice job,” Norwin coach Dave Brozeski said. “We had a hard time stopping their running game, and they made some big explosive plays. That’s one of our goals: not to give up those plays.

“Their defense played fast, and they were able to swarm to the ball. They were definitely the better team.”

Ruane said the team picked up the pace because he wanted to make sure they were getting plays off with the 40-second clock.

Dunlap and Lisbon scored in the first quarter to build a 14-0 lead. The Warriors, leading 27-7 at halftime, iced the game in the third quarter by scoring touchdowns on one-play drives.

Lisbon went 45 yards, then Dunlap connected with Carr on a seam route for 82 yards to push the lead to 42-7 and invoke the mercy rule.

“Our players are in really good shape, and they’ve been working hard for this,” Ruane said. “It paid off.”

Norwin played without three-year lineman Aaron Bowen, who injured his leg in practice Tuesday. Bowen played on both sides of the ball.

Brozeski said watching the film will help correct the mistakes his team made as it prepares for a trip to North Allegheny to open conference play.

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

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