Penn-Trafford’s Caleb Lisbon ready to display ‘incredible motor’

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Saturday, July 13, 2019 | 10:49 PM


The Tribune-Review and the TribLive High School Sports Network are profiling each member of the 25-player Trib HSSN Preseason Football All-Star team. The players will be recognized July 23 during HSSN Media Day at Kennywood Park.

With exceptional, Division I speed, Caleb Lisbon has that bounce-outside-and-go ability opposing coaches envy and opposing tacklers loathe.

John Ruane, Lisbon’s coach at Penn-Trafford, loves it.

Ruane didn’t say his running back will have a big senior season.

He used the word “huge” to describe his expectations for the 5-foot-11, 205-pound Lisbon, who will be a third-year starter in the Warriors backfield.

“He knows the expectations our team has of him and how he will factor into our plans,” Ruane said. “What makes him go is his incredible motor at practice every day. Each carry is a 40-yard sprint, and each play on defense is full go. It has become habitual, and it translates into playing fast on Friday nights.”

Lisbon ran for 1,329 yards and scored 19 touchdowns last season as Penn-Trafford went 9-3 and reached the WPIAL Class 5A quarterfinals. The previous season, Lisbon played a key role in the team’s WPIAL runner-up finish. The Warriors lost to Big East Conference foe Gateway, 21-16, at Heinz Field and finished 11-2.

“Yeah, it is a big year and an exciting year,” Lisbon said. “The plans never change: win a championship. The whole line is back as well as our starting QB (Gabe Dunlap).”

Lisbon’s final game of 2018 was one of his best. In an offensive shootout that saw Penn-Trafford and Peters Township rack up 42 points in the first quarter, Lisbon ran for 192 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the Warriors were tripped up 38-35 in the quarterfinals.

Penn-Trafford never led in the see-saw playoff game, which had its share of highlights.

Lisbon ran for a 64-yard score and later capped a thrilling, hook-and-lateral play that covered 63 yards with another score.

“He has attributes of outstanding running backs: vision, balance, explosion, cuts and finish,” Ruane said. “He has been superb as a safety for two years, as well.”

Quietly, Lisbon had 26 tackles and a sack last year, using his closing speed to wrap up ball carriers who managed to evade the linebackers.

Yardage can pile up rapidly for a player of Lisbon’s ilk. But he is more than capable of being a workhorse back. He had six 100-yard games last season but only needed five carries to reach the century mark against Connellsville (101) and nine attempts to hit 164 against Plum.

Conversely, he carried 28 times for 178 yards and three scores against Latrobe, and he went over 170 yards against tough defenses of Franklin Regional and North Hills, on 18 and 14 carries, respectively.

Lisbon’s talent brought out the college coaches this offseason.

Navy, Fordham, Albany and Delaware have offered.

He might be quick, but he doesn’t appear to be in a major hurry to commit.

“I’m talking to a lot of schools and just looking for the best fit for me,” he said. “All of my options are looking great at the moment.”

Said Ruane: “We hope the options continue to grow.”

Caleb Lisbon file

School: Penn-Trafford

Class: Senior

Ht/wt: 5-11/205

Positions: RB/DB

Division I offers: Navy, Delaware, Albany, Fordham

2018 statistics: Rushed for 1,329 yards and scored 19 touchdowns. He also had 14 catches for 258 yards.

Trib HSSN Preseason All-Stars

A.J. Beatty, Central Catholic

Fintan Brose, Hempfield

Tui Brown, Gateway

Michael Carmody, Mars

Josh Casilli, Peters Township

Johnny Crise, Highlands

Derrick Davis, Gateway

Daniel Deabner, Thomas Jefferson

Deamontae Diggs, McKeesport

Dorien Ford, Baldwin

Aaron Gunn, Union

Dayon Hayes, Westinghouse

Nahki Johnson, West Mifflin

Josh Kaltenberger, Seneca Valley

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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