Penn-Trafford makes short work of upset-minded Fox Chapel

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Friday, November 12, 2021 | 10:17 PM


It didn’t take long for the Penn-Trafford football team to let upset-minded Fox Chapel know what was in store: a long Friday night in Harrison City.

The second-seeded Warriors scored less than two minutes into the game, scored on all five of their possessions in the first half and rolled over the 10th-seeded Foxes, 42-14, in a WPIAL Class 5A quarterfinal game at Warrior Stadium.

Penn-Trafford will face Pine-Richland in a rematch of the 2020 semifinals. Pine-Richland rallied to defeat Peters Township, 20-14.

The Warriors (9-2) are 6-0 against the Foxes, 5-0 in the WPIAL playoffs.

Fox Chapel (5-7) sent shock waves through the WPIAL with its first-round upset of Upper St. Clair, but it had no answer for Penn-Trafford.

The Foxes attempted an onside kick to begin the game, but the Warriors recovered. Four plays later, after a 29-yard run by quarterback Carter Green, the senior scored on a 1-yard plunge for a 7-0 lead.

Penn-Trafford made it 14-0 five plays after Declan Ochendowski recovered a Khi’Lee Patterson fumble at the Fox Chapel 32. Cade Yacamelli capped the short drive by scoring from the 3-yard line.

“We had a chance to recover the onside kick, but we didn’t and it went downhill from there,” Fox Chapel coach Tom Loughran said. “We knew that we needed special things happen in our favor to beat them.

“Their size was something we couldn’t combat. They controlled the ball on both sides of the line of scrimmage up and down the field, and we really struggled with it.”

Fox Chapel, which was playing without starting quarterback Collin Dietz, put together a drive into Penn-Trafford territory on its third possession. But Patterson’s pass from the Penn-Trafford 33 was picked off by Green and returned 25 yards to the Penn-Trafford 45.

On the first play after the turnover, Yacamelli ran untouched for a 55-yard touchdown to make it 21-0 before the end of the first quarter.

“We had arguably the best week of practice because Fox Chapel was coming off the upset,” Yacamelli said. “It was great to set the tone, and we finished it from there.”

Yacamelli rushed for 140 yards on 10 carries and added a third touchdown when he caught a 16-yard swing pass from Green just before halftime to make it 35-0.

Green, who scored his second touchdown of the game in the second quarter, finished with 101 yards rushing. He completed 5 of 8 passes for 56 yards.

Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane sat most of his starters in the second half after his team outgained Fox Chapel, 297-64, in the first half.

After the Warriors built a 35-0 lead at halftime, the second half was played with a running clock because of the mercy rule.

“I would agree with Cade about the practice,” Ruane said. “We didn’t know what the bye week would be like, but I have to credit the players and the seniors and their leadership. Not just the captains, but the entire team.

“It was super competitive for two weeks, not one week. Once we found out who we were playing, the mindset was all business. Didn’t look ahead in the bracket, didn’t look at anything except Fox Chapel for a good solid week. I think we were well prepared.”

Fox Chapel took advantage of a Penn-Trafford turnover in the third quarter when Patterson scored on a 7-yard run.

Penn-Trafford reserve quarterback Conlan Greene pushed the lead back to 42-7 in the fourth quarter on a 5-yard score, before Fox Chapel running back Zidane Thomas finished the scoring late in the fourth quarter on a 27-yard run.

“I have to give the credit to the guys up front,” Yacamelli said. “They were the ones who put the score up. They gave me the opportunity to score those touchdowns.”

Ruane said he felt they could run against Fox Chapel’s defense and that they would be able to break a couple long runs, which they did.

“They are scrappy and a very physical team,” Ruane said. “They tackle really well in the secondary. So we wanted to break a couple, but we knew it would be difficult to break a ton of them.

“Nonetheless, we did a good job at the point of attack. I thought the line, tight ends and H-backs played really well, and Carter and Cade did what they do. They are beneficiaries of great line play to go along with their talents.”

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 pschofield@triblive.com.

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