Penn-Trafford gets back on track with big win over Shaler

Saturday, September 25, 2021 | 7:31 PM

Saturday marked the sixth meeting between Penn-Trafford and Shaler on the football field. The Warriors were a perfect 5-0 and had outscored the Titans, 257-15 in those wins.

Even the return of Saturday homecoming festivities at Shaler couldn’t alter the one-sidedness of this series.

Senior running back Cade Yacamelli scored twice, and quarterback Carter Green threw a touchdown and ran for a score as the Warriors cruised to a 54-14 win over Shaler.

The loss ended a two game losing streak for the Warriors.

“We needed that,” Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane said. “The theme of the day was: Let’s be ourselves again. Let’s not play in our fears, and let’s play with some urgency.”

The Warriors did just that in racking up 40 first-half points.

A poor punt gave Penn-Trafford the ball on their first possession at the Shaler 40-yard line. The drive ended on a Yacamelli 1-yard scoring run.

The next time the Warriors touched the ball, they drove 74-yards in nine plays with the senior Green scoring on a 5-yard run. The drive featured Green throwing five times and running twice.

“We know what we have in him (Green). He’s the ultimate competitor,” Ruane said. “He’s a guy you want leading your team. He’s, obviously, a dual-threat kid who runs the ball well for us. I think it was important to him and to us to get back to throwing the football. He can do it well.”

Green completed 13 of 19 passes for 218 yards, plus he rushed for 32 yards.

After Penn-Trafford took a 13-0 lead, Ruane and his staff called for an on-side kick, and it worked to perfection. Senior kicker Nathan Schlessinger had booted two kickoffs through the end zone, but this time he skipped it toward the Penn-Trafford bench. It stayed in-bounds, and the Warriors recovered at the Shaler 33-yard line.

On the next play, Green handed the ball to Yacamelli, who then pitched it to junior Tommy Kalkstein, Kalkstein carried the ball toward the center of the field, then heaved a 33-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Liam Hileman for another Penn-Trafford score.

“It’s not uncommon for us to kick onside and go for a shot after that,” Ruane said.

The next time the Warriors had the ball, Green capped the drive with a 16-yard scoring pass to senior Jack Jollie.

The Penn-Trafford defense got involved with second-quarter interceptions by juniors Josh Huffman and Daniel Tarabella. The two thefts led to a 1-yard run by senior Seth Dunlap and a 17-yard run by Yacamelli as he powered his way down the sidelines with time running out in the first half.

“We were very physical, and we ran to the ball very well,” Ruane said. “We played a lot better in space. The last couple of weeks, we were giving up some quick stuff in space, and we tried to take that away early (Saturday).

“I was very happy with all three phases of the game.”

Titans sophomore quarterback Keegan Smetanka completed 12 of 19 passes for 129 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.

Both teams won their first two games this season then lost in Week’s 2 and 3.

Penn-Trafford (3-2) takes some momentum into their Class 5A Big East Conference opener next week at Woodland Hills, Shaler (2-3) will try to end a three-game skid when it opens up 5A Northeast Conference play with a game at Fox Chapel.

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