Penn-Trafford jumps out to early lead in rout of Hempfield

Friday, September 3, 2021 | 11:10 PM

This scoring on the first play of the game thing is catching on at Penn-Trafford.

First-year senior quarterback Carter Green did it last week when he scored on a 99-yard run against Norwin. This week it was senior running back Cade Yacamelli who took the first snap from scrimmage to the end zone, setting the tone for another Warriors victory.

“Hopefully we can keep it going,” said Yacamelli, who scored on a 65-yard burst 17 seconds in and added a 58-yard score — on the second play of the second drive — as the Warriors mercy-ruled Hempfield, 45-14, on Friday night at Warrior Stadium.

All told, the Wisconsin commit rushed for three touchdowns and caught another one, totaling 207 yards of offense before resting in the second half.

Penn-Trafford had a 14-0 lead on just three plays. The Warriors’ fourth drive lasted three plays before they found the end zone.

Yacamelli showed his breakaway ability from the onset. He had three TDs in the first quarter.

“That’s what Cade does,” Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane said of his big-play ability. “What was most impressive was his third touchdown when he had to push through a couple guys. He is fast, but he’s also very physical.”

Yacamelli ran for 153 yards on five carries. He said Green made a call at the line on the first touchdown.

“He reads the defense and decides which way we should go,” Yacamelli said. “He made the call, it went that way and it worked out.”

Ruane was pleased to see his quarterback make the checkdown.

“That’s certainly how you want to start a game,” Ruane said. “Carter checked on that first play. He saw something there, and Cade took it the distance.”

Penn-Trafford (2-0), the No. 2-ranked team in Class 5A, has won 23 straight home games. It had not played Class 6A Hempfield since 2015.

A game with very few penalties and only one turnover, by the Warriors, was settled early.

Getting a push up front, the Warriors added to their lead as Yacamelli and Green scored on short runs before Green connected with Yacamelli for a 54-yard screen-and-run to make it 35-0.

Green ran for three scores last week at Norwin.

“(Yacamelli) is one of the better kids we’re going to see in the WPIAL,” said Hempfield first-year coach Mike Brown, who is a Penn-Trafford graduate. “He just feeds off that line.”

Senior kicker Nathan Schlessinger sent a 35-yard field goal into the bandstand just before the half.

Hempfield (1-1), which won its sixth straight season opener last week after rallying for 22 points in the fourth quarter against Greensburg Salem, tried to come back again. Down 38-0 at the half, the Spartans went into hurry-up mode and found some chemistry between junior quarterback Jake Phillips and senior wideout Jayden Talbert.

Phillips hit Talbert for touchdown strikes of 35 and 59 yards to cut into the margin.

Phillips was 13 of 27 for 166 yards, and Talbert had eight catches for 137 yards and the two scores.

“They came out quick, and we came out slow,” Brown said. “We got caught not being ready early, and that is on me. We have to do a better job being ready to play.”

Penn-Trafford also started to give its passing attack some momentum as Green threw for 156 yards and a score. His 39-yard throw to senior Liam Hileman set up his touchdown run.

Three completions of 11 or more yards set up Yacamelli’s third score. Two went to junior Conlan Greene, who came in as a backup quarterback in the second half.

“We want to be balanced,” Ruane said. “That is what we work on, and we’ll keep working on it. I thought our tight ends did a nice job catching some passes. We want to get everybody involved.”

Hileman had three catches for 54 yards. Five receivers caught passes for Penn-Trafford.

Senior Ian Demeri ran for 79 yards on 10 carries, and Garrett Mattes ran for a 51-yard touchdown in the fourth for the Warriors, who will face Class 4A No. 2 Belle Vernon next week in an intriguing nonconference matchup.

Junior defensive lineman Willie Nelson had a key sack for Hempfield on Penn-Trafford’s third drive to force a punt.

Senior Gino Caesar ran for 50 yards for Hempfield after gaining 101 last week. Freshman Ethan Zontek added 46 yards, most of them coming in the fourth.

Penn-Trafford is 43-1 at home since 2013.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at or via Twitter .

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