Penn-Trafford’s Cade Yacamelli shines under bright lights of WPIAL final

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Saturday, November 27, 2021 | 12:01 AM


Cade Yacamelli is headed to Wisconsin to play defensive back.

The Badgers might want to give him some reps at running back.

The film doesn’t lie.

The senior from Penn-Trafford put on a show Saturday night in the WPIAL Class 5A championship at Heinz Field, rushing for 136 yards and scoring two touchdowns, one on a 92-yard reception from senior quarterback Carter Green, as the Warriors celebrated their first football championship with a 24-21 win over Moon.

“I think I can play both ways, but honestly, I don’t care about Wisconsin right now,” Yacamelli said. “I’m sorry coach (Paul) Chryst … but we just won the WPIAL championship.”

It was a coming-out party for Yacamelli for those who hadn’t seen him play, and another day at the office for those who have.

With the Warriors trailing 14-3, he broke loose for a 53-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. He finished with 17 carries. About seven minutes later, he broke character as a decoy and became a pass-catching threat, pulling in a short pass from Green and bolting 92 yards to the end zone.

“It’s like anything,” Yacamelli said. “Like coach always says, the next play is the most important play.”

Yacamelli said earlier in the week he didn’t want his teammates to become complacent and satisfied with just making it the final.

He made sure that sentiment carried over into the game — before, during and after — as the Warriors watched Moon senior Jacob Wieland’s 33-yard field goal miss right with seven seconds left to finally get a monkey off their back and raise the trophy in their fourth finals appearance.

“He’s a bull,” Moon coach Ryan Linn said of Yacamelli. “He can run, he runs through tackles, he’s super athletic. He cut some runs down and made some plays that we thought were going to pop through and break, and he was there in six or seven yards.”

Yacamelli added five tackles, one for loss. Junior Dan Tarabrella led the determined Warriors defense with a game-high 17.5 tackles, 13 solo, 1.5 sacks and a fumble recovery.

“We didn’t come out like we always do, especially on defense,” Yacamelli said. “At halftime, we were able to reflush. Coach said there are no X’s and O’s. Just play ball. That’s what we did. God willing, we were able to get the victory.”

Yacamelli even had an 80-yard touchdown run called back in the second half because of a hold, but he bounced back a litte later, picking up 28 yards for a key first down with 4:03 to play.

These are things you see next-level players do on Saturdays. A TV audience got their share of Yacamelli in the WPIAL’s biggest stage.

“I think they are considering it,” Ruane said of Yacamelli running the ball in college. “There is an old saying, big-time players show up in big-time games. Last week, he takes over the second half. Tonight, we’re struggling and he makes two humongous plays to keep us in that game. … Then we went on defense and he was sticking people. He had a few big hits, tone-setters in the second half. He’s a fantastic kid. Nobody works harder. Nobody deserves it more.”

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

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