Penn-Trafford ready to tackle the challenge of staying on top

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Thursday, August 11, 2022 | 12:24 PM


Penn-Trafford football coach John Ruane is faced with something he’s never encountered before: preparing a team to defend a WPIAL and PIAA Class 5A championship.

It’s a challenge Ruane will embrace.

Penn-Trafford celebrated the school’s 50th anniversary by winning its first WPIAL and PIAA titles last season.

Now Ruane said it’s time to turn the page and focus on 2022.

If the Warriors hope to repeat, they can thank the WPIAL for loading up their nonconference schedule to prepare them for the tough Big East Conference.

On the Warriors’ nonconference slate are matchups with Class 6A Canon-McMillan, 4A McKeesport, 5A Woodland Hills, 3A Belle Vernon and 6A North Allegheny.

The conference is a little different with the addition of Hempfield, Norwin and Plum to go along with Franklin Regional and ever-dangerous Gateway.

“Our schedule will definitely test us,” Ruane said. “We have a difficult nonconference schedule followed by our always tough conference schedule.

“We have some work to do to replace 22 seniors. We’ve been working really hard to fill the holes we have. The players are eager to get started.”

The biggest job is replacing quarterback Carter Green and running back Cade Yacamelli, who combined to rush for more than 3,000 yards.

Yacamelli, now at Wisconsin, rushed for 1,866 yards, caught a team-high 21 passes for 351 yards and scored 29 touchdowns. Green rushed for 1,155 yards and completed 84 of 153 yards for 1,265 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Two guys battling for the quarterback spot are seniors Conlan Greene and Tommy Kalkstein. Greene completed 5 of 9 passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns, the biggest in the PIAA championship game when he tossed a jump pass to Jack Jollie with less than a minute to play to tie the score.

Kalkstein saw some limited snaps behind center his junior season; he mainly played wide receiver, where he caught 12 passes for 264 yards and four touchdowns.

“Both are familiar with the position,” Ruane said. “The two of them are good athletes. Both will get an opportunity.”

Penn-Trafford returns six starters on offense and five on defense. Ruane said they also have a lot of other players who saw a lot of playing time.

Back on offense are Greene (tight end/quarterback), Kalkstein (wide receiver/quarterback), center Joe Enick, right tackle Zach Tomosovich, guard Mike Paterra and wide receiver Jake Otto.

“We have a lot of talent returning and we need to bring the newcomers along quickly,” Ruane said. “There will be a wide variety of skill players touching the ball this season.”

The running back position will be more of a committee that should include senior Owen Demari and sophomores Tasso Whipple and Dom Smith.

Some of the targets for the quarterbacks at wide receiver will include senior Nolan Marasti, Otto, Carmen Metcalfe, Ben Cardiff and Josh Huffman. Greene and Kalkstein are also receiver options.

Senior linebacker Daniel Tarabrella, who had numerous key blocks in the PIAA championship game to spring Yacamelli, led the Warriors with 126 tackles. Other key players on defense include end Greene, who ended the championship game with a sack, tackle Enick, linebacker Huffman and defensive back Otto.

Greene, who committed to Temple, had 13 sacks, and Enick, who committed to Central Michigan, will be a force up front.

“The defense needs to be outstanding for us to compete,” Ruane said.

Penn-Trafford

Coach: John Ruane

2021 record: 13-2, 5-0 in the Class 5A Big East Conference

All-time record: 320-195-10

SCHEDULE

Date, Opponent, Time

8.26 at Canon-McMillan, 7

9.2 McKeesport, 7:30

9.9 Woodland Hills, 7:30

9.16 at Belle Vernon, 7

9.23 at Hempfield*, 7

9.30 Norwin*, 7:30

10.7 at Gateway*, 7

10.14 Plum*, 7:30

10.21 at North Allegheny, 7:30

10.28 Franklin Regional*, 7:30

*Conference game

STATISTICAL LEADERS

Passing: Carter Green*

84-153, 1,265 yards, 12 TDs

Rushing: Cade Yacamelli*

194-1,866 yards, 29 TDs

Receiving: Yacamelli*

21-351 yards

*Graduated

FAST FACTS

• Since John Ruane became coach in 2010, the Warriors are 109-30. He is a teacher at Gateway High School and is a Gateway alum.

• Penn-Trafford had reached the WPIAL championship game three times — losing to Upper St. Clair, 28-27, in 1997, to Central Catholic, 24-17, in 2015, and to Gateway, 21-16, in 2017 — prior to winning on its fourth try, a 24-21 victory against Moon.

• Penn-Trafford was a merger of Trafford and Penn Joint in 1972. In their first season, the Warriors finished in second place in the Keystone Conference with a 6-2-1 record. Jeannette won the conference with an 8-0 record.

• On Penn-Trafford’s 50th anniversary, the Warriors not only celebrated their first WPIAL title but also their first PIAA title, a 17-14 win against Imhotep Charter.

ROSTER

No., Name, Pos., Ht./Wt., Cl.

1, Anthony Mativa, WR/DB, 5-10/165, Jr.

2, Carmen Metcalfe, WR/DB, 6-0/180, Jr.

3, Gavin Chappie, HB/LB, 5-9/180, Jr.

4, Jacob Otto, WR/DB, 6-0/185, Sr.

5, Derek Carr, QB/DB, 5-10/175, So.

6, Owen Gisi, WR/DB, 6-0/170, So.

7, Mason Newell, WR/DB, 5-11/170, Jr.

8, Paul Darrah, HB/LB, 5-11/185, Jr.

9, Bryce Martin, WR/DB, 5-10/175, Sr.

10, Josh Huffman, HB/LB, 6-0/210, Sr.

11, James Birdsong, WR/DB, 5-10/170, Sr.

12, Tommy Kalkstein, QB/DB, 6-2/185, Sr.

13, Brendan Zierski, WR/DB, 5-11/170, Sr.

14, Brandon Roher, QB/LB, 6-0/180, Jr.

15, Jonny Lovre, QB/DB, 5-11/180, So.

16, Jessie Lisbon, WR/DB, 6-0/165, So.

17, Conlan Greene, QB/DE, 6-4/250, Sr.

18, Chuck Fontana, QB/LB, 5-10/200, Jr.

19, Trent Comito, TE/LB, 5-9/180, Jr.

20, Nolan Marasti, WR/DB, 6-0/180, Sr.

21, Daniel Tarabrella, WR/LB, 6-3/215, Sr.

22, Nikolas Reiff, WR/DB, 5-9/165, Jr.

23, Dom Smith, RB/LB, 6-2/200, So.

24, Eric Black, RB/LB, 5-9/180, Sr.

25, Tyler Anthony, WR/DB, 6-0/170, So.

26, Nathan Mikula, RB/DB, 5-9/170, Jr.

27, Jamison Yurt, RB/LB, 6-0/185, Fr.

28, Jack Weishaar, WR/DB, 5-9/155, So.

29, Max Schwenning, WR/LB, 6-0/185, Jr.

30, Heath Dunlap, HB/LB, 5-11/185, So.

31, Brady Paliscak, RB/DB, 5-11/175, Sr.

32, Parker Guy, RB/LB, 5-10/175, So.

33, Owen Demeri, RB/LB, 5-9/170, Sr.

34, Tasso Whipple, RB/LB, 6-0/185, So.

35, Elias Habura, WR/DB, 5-9/155, So.

36, Joe Jackson, WR/LB, 5-10/170, So.

37, Jack Staranko, HB/LB, 6-2/185, Jr.

38, Quentin Lucov, TE/LB, 5-10/185, So.

39, Brady Newell, WR/DB, 5-10/165, So.

40, Cole Pokrant, TE/LB, 6-3/200, Jr.

41, Blake Branthoover, WR/DB, 5-11/170, So.

42, Ben Cardiff, TE/LB, 5-11/195, Sr.

43, Dom Basista, RB/LB, 5-10/175, So.

44, Ryan Grabowski, TE/LB, 5-10/200, Sr.

46, Jake Pavlik, WR/DB, 5-8/155, So.

47, Kellan Taylor, TE/LB, 5-11/205, So.

50, James McNally, OL/DL, 6-0/205, Jr.

51, Joe Enick, OL/DL, 6-3/290, Sr.

53, Michael Botti, OL/LB, 5-10/200, So.

54, Michael Paterra, OL/DL, 6-1/260, Sr.

55, Waylon Fetty, OL/DL, 6-0/310, Jr.

56, Matthew Sarnowski, OL/DL, 6-4/355, Jr.

57, Vito Scarcelli, OL/DL, 5-10/265, Jr.

58, Ethan Septak, OL/DL, 5-10/235, So.

59, Nico Scarcelli, OL/LB, 5-10/230, Jr.

60, Logan Debruyn, OL/DL, 5-9/205, So.

61, Tommy Cheplick, OL/DL, 6-0/200, So.

63, Gary Earhart, OL/DL, 5-10/210, Jr.

64, Stew Pfeil, OL/DL, 5-11/210, So.

65, Riley McCaw, OL/DL, 6-0/260, Jr.

66, Brandon Long, OL/DL, 6-1/215, So.

70, Derek Burgeson, OL/DL, 6-0/215, So.

71, Tom Hetherington, OL/DL, 5-10/260, Sr.

72, Ivar Linde, OL/DL, 6-2/200, Jr.

73, Alex Voit, OL/DL, 5-11/240, Sr.

75, Zachary Tomosovich, OL/DL, 6-5/315, Jr.

77, Michael Cheplick, OL/DL, 6-0/200, So.

80, Mark Jollie, TE/DL, 6-3/210, Jr.

88, Logan Swartz, K/P, 5-9/165, Sr.

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

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