Penn-Trafford to rely on returning linemen in search for consistent play
Wednesday, August 9, 2023 | 9:44 PM
Things didn’t go as planned for the Penn-Trafford football team in 2022.
Expectations were high coming off the school’s first PIAA and WPIAL titles. The Warriors returned numerous key starters from the championship team and were hoping for a repeat.
But various injuries and inconsistent play hampered the team all season.
As a result, the Warriors finished 6-5 overall and dropped a first-round playoff game to eventual WPIAL and PIAA Class 5A champion Pine-Richland.
“We were too hot and cold offensively,” Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane said. “We had good games and then we struggled to finish drives in others. We also turned the ball over too many times, and we put our defense in some tough situations.”
But this is a new season, and some of the players who played key roles in helping the Warriors to 2021 titles have their eyes on another title or two.
The Warriors return six starters on offense and two on defense as they try to win another Class 5A Big East Conference title.
The strength of the team is on the offensive line, where three starters — right tackle Zach Tomosovich, left tackle Matt Sarnowski and guard Vito Scarcelli — return and a fourth player, Riley McCaw, saw considerable playing time.
Also back are senior wide receiver Carmen Metcalfe, senior tight end Mark Jollie and junior running back Tasso Whipple, who started half of the games.
“I’d rather have experience coming back up front than in the skill positions,” Ruane said. “We have a lot of guys on both sides of the ball pushing for playing time at all positions.”
Others linemen vying for jobs include Stew Pfeil, Ethan Septak, James McNally, Nico Scarcelli and Brandon Long. The Warriors graduated center Joe Enick (Central Michigan) and guard Michael Peterra from the offensive line.
Another key position up for grabs is at quarterback where juniors Jonny Lovre and Derek Carr are battling to replace Conlan Greene, who is now at Temple.
Whipple, who rushed for 386 yards and three touchdowns, is the leading candidate at running back. Junior Parker Guy, sophomore Jamison Yurt, senior Dallas Oxendine and senior Joe Jackson also are vying for playing time.
Metcalfe is the most experienced wide receiver returning. He caught 17 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns. Dan Tarabrella (Duquesne) was the leading receiver in 2022.
Ruane said he’s looking for a big season from his talented senior.
“I’m expecting big things from Carmen,” Ruane said. “He is a rare three-sport athlete. He came on late in the season for us.”
Seniors Mason Newell, Nickolas Reiff and Max Schwenning, juniors Jesse Lisbon, Jack Weishaar and Owen Gisi and sophomore Tyler Boss should see playing time at wide receiver while Jollie, junior Dom Smith and senior Paul Darrah are fighting for the tight end jobs.
On the defensive side of the ball, only Smith, at middle linebacker, and Metcalfe, at defensive back, return. Metcalfe picked off four passes in 2022.
Ruane is counting on Smith and Metcalfe to be leaders on defense. He doesn’t expect there to be much of a drop-off on defense.
“Like on offense, we have a lot of guys battling for positions,” Ruane said. “There is a chance that we might be able to platoon more guys this season.
“Everyone on the offensive line will see time on the defensive line. We also have a good battle at linebacker with Tasso and Dom battling with senior Gavin Chappie, Nico Scarcelli, Yurt, Guy, senior Dylan Tirpak and Darrah.”
Ruane said the secondary will build around Metcalfe. Battling for playing time include Carr, Lisbon, Newell, Reiff, Weishaar, Gisi, Schwenning and Boss.
Coach: John Ruane
2022 record: 6-5, 3-2 in Class 5A Big East Conference
All-time record: 326-200-10
Date, Opponent, Time
8.25 Canon-McMillan, 7
9.1 at McKeesport, 7
9.8 at Woodland Hills, 7
9.15 Belle Vernon, 7
9.22 Hempfield*, 7:30
9.29 at Norwin*, 7
10.6 Gateway*, 7
10.13 at Plum*, 7
10.20 North Allegheny, 7:30
10.27 at Franklin Regional*, 7
Passing: Conlan Greene*
112-224, 1,478 yards, 14 TDs
136-750 yards, 10 TDs
Receiving: Daniel Tarabrella*
40-629 yards, 4 TDs
• Penn-Trafford needed a win in the final regular season game in 2022 to qualify for the playoffs. The Warriors defeated Big East Conference champion Franklin Regional, 28-21, in overtime.
• Penn-Trafford 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 in its fourth try, a 24-21 victory against Moon.
• Since Ruane became coach in 2010, the Warriors are 115-35. He is a teacher at Gateway High School and is a Gateway alum.
• Penn-Trafford was a merger of Trafford and Penn Joint in 1972. The Warriors finished in second place in the Keystone Conference with a 6-2-1 record in their first season.
• On Penn-Trafford’s 50th anniversary, the Warriors not only celebrated their first WPIAL title, but also their first PIAA title — a 17-14 overtime win against Imhotep Charter.
No., Name, Pos., Ht./Wt., Cl.
1, Tyler Boss, WR/DB, 5-10/160, So.
2, Carmen Metcalfe, WR/DB, 6-2/200, Sr.
3, Gavin Chappie, H/LB, 5-11/185, Sr.
4, Joe Jackson, RB/LB, 6-0/185, Jr.
5, Heath Dunlap, H/LB, 6-0/185, Jr.
6, Owen Gisi, WR/DB, 6-3/180, Jr.
7, Mason Newell, WR/DB, 5-10/170, Sr.
8, Paul Darragh, H/LB, 6-0/190, Sr.
9, Brady Newell, WR/DB, 5-10/175, Jr.
10, Nick Laskey, H/LB, 6-4/210, So.
11, Derek Carr, QB/DB, 5-10/175, Jr.
12, Jack Weishaar, WR/DB, 6-0/165, Jr.
13, Blake Branthoover, WR/DB, 5-11/170, Jr.
14, Nick Reiff, WR/DB, 5-8/160, Sr.
15, Jonny Lovre, QB/DB, 5-11/190, Jr.
16, Jessie Lisbon, WR/DB, 6-2/180, Jr.
17, Ben Grabowski, RB/LB, 5-11/180, Fr.
18, Michael Desmond, QB/DB, 5-10/165, So.
19, Trent Comito, H/LB, 5-9/185, Sr.
20, Nico Casciato, WR/DB, 5-8/160, So.
21, Ben Lenart, WR/DB, 5-9/150 , So.
22, Jacob Briggs, TE/DE, 6-3/210, So.
23, Dom Smith, H/LB, 6-1/220, Jr.
24, Reese Radocay, H/LB, 5-9/180, So.
25, Colton Tyburski, WR/DB, 5-9/170, So.
26, Nick Ponko, WR/DB, 6-0/165, Fr.
27, Jamison Yurt, RB/LB, 6-0/200, So.
28, Dylan Tirpak, WR/LB , 6-2/190, Sr.
29, Max Schwenning, WR/LB, 6-0/185, Sr.
30, Dallas Oxendine, RB/DB, 5-10/175, Sr.
32, Parker Guy, RB/LB, 5-10/190, So.
33, Landyn Stikkel, H/LB, 5-10/170, Fr.
34, Tasso Whipple, RB/LB, 6-1/195, Jr.
36, Abram Stahl, WR/LB, 5-10/170, So.
37, Evan Lawson, RB/DB, 5-11/175, So.
38, Alex Nicolette, RB/LB, 5-9/165, So.
39, Elijah Pecorari, WR/DB, 5-10/165, So.
40, Tommy Cheplick, TE/LB, 6-1/210, Jr.
41, Mason Driskill, WR/DB, 5-9/155, So.
42, Quentin Lucov, TE/LB, 5-11/205, Jr.
44, Kellan Taylor, TE/LB, 5-10/210, Jr.
45, Evan Sadler, K/P, 5-6/140, So.
48, Aiden Ledonne, TE/LB, 5-9/170, So.
49, Blaise Burrell, TE/DL, 5-10/200, So.
50, James McNally, OL/DL, 5-11/255, Sr.
51, Lucah Butler, OL/LB, 6-1/200 , So.
52, Bryce Ruby, OL/DL, 6-0/220, So.
53, Michael Botti, OL/DL, 5-10/195, Jr.
54, Stew Pfeil, OL/DL, 5-10/250, Jr.
55, Waylon Fetty, OL/DL, 6-0/320, Sr.
56, Matthew Sarnowski, OL/DL, 6-4/260, Sr.
57, Vito Scarcelli, OL/DL, 5-11/255, Sr.
58, Ethan Septak, OL/DL, 6-0/235, Jr.
59, Nico Scarcelli, OL/LB, 5-10/210, Sr.
60, John Zarod, OL/DL, 6-0/260, So.
61, Aiden Corbett, OL/DL, 6-1/225, Fr.
62, Garrett Meyers, OL/DL, 5-11/220, So.
63, David Dziedzic, OL/DL, 6-1/215, So.
64, Aiden Toth, OL/DL, 6-0/210, So.
65, Riley McCaw, OL/DL, 6-1/250, Sr.
66, Brandon Long, OL/DL, 6-2/215, Jr.
70, Joseph Boulware, OL/DL, 5-11/185, So.
71, Robert Volovic, OL/DL, 6-0/210, So.
72, Ivar Linde, OL/DL, 6-4/235, Sr.
75, Zachary Tomosovich, OL/DL, 6-5/310, Sr.
77, Michael Cheplick, OL/DL, 6-1/200, Jr.
80, Mark Jollie, TE/DE, 6-4/210, Sr.
81, Alexis Brown, K/P, 5-8/125, Jr.
88, Carl Heller, K/P, 5-9/160, Sr.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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