Penn-Trafford football team getting send-off before it leaves for PIAA championship game

Wednesday, December 8, 2021 | 7:16 PM

Penn-Trafford School District is planning a send-off parade for the football team Friday morning.

The Warriors are playing in their first PIAA Class 5A championship game at 7 p.m. Friday against Imhotep Charter at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey.

It is called “Off to Hershey the Warrior Way.”

The students and community will line the path from the school to the Warrior Center, where the players and coaches will board the buses for their trip.

Community members and parents may park at the Warrior Center lot or the municipal park and be in line by 8:30 a.m.

The Penn-Trafford drum line will lead the team and coaches down the hill to the buses.

Excitement at school

As the football team prepares for its championship game, running back Cade Yacamelli said the players and school are excited.

“My buddies who play basketball told me they are upset because they open the season Friday and are going to miss the game,” Yacamelli said. “They can’t make it.

“The community, the players, everybody is excited to be here. It’s really special.”

Yacamelli and assistant coach Dan Tarabrella were amazed to see the crowd at last week’s semifinal game.

“To be honest, I really thought we would get the atmosphere you get at junior varsity games,” Yacamelli said. “For us to get that kind of atmosphere there, especially being so far, that just shows the community support we have behind us, and it’s really special.”

Yacamelli said the seniors get together every Thursday night for some type of pregame meal.

He said the ritual before a game consists of a team prayer, they’ll listen to music then get each other ready mentally and then go out and do their jobs.

Yacamelli said the mixture of music is whatever Declan Ochendowski wants to play.

“Each week it’s something new,” Yacamelli said. “We never know.”

Band of brothers

Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane is proud of his coaching staff.

Almost the entire staff has been together since Ruane took over 12 years ago.

“We try to keep things loose as a staff,” Ruane said. “You better be ready to get jabbed once in awhile. I have a great bunch of guys. We may disagree at times, but it’s never in front of the players. We do everything for the players.”

Only Tarabrella has coached in the state championship game. That’s when he was an assistant coach at McKeesport.

Junior linebacker Daniel Tarabrella said a lot of the credit goes to the coaches and their dedication away from their families.

“They help us game plan,” Tarabrella said. “They get everyone working together.”

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


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