Plenty of ‘heroes’ stepped up for Penn-Trafford football in PIAA semifinal victory

Sunday, December 5, 2021 | 3:15 PM

Exeter Township found out Friday there is more to the Penn-Trafford football team than the Cade and Carter Show.

Sure, running back Cade Yacamelli and quarterback Carter Green usually steal the headlines, but the dynamic duo had a lot of help in the Warriors’ impressive 49-14 victory in the PIAA Class 5A semifinals at Bald Eagle Area’s Alumni Stadium.

Penn-Trafford (12-2) advanced to its first state championship game at 7 p.m. Friday against Imhotep Charter at Hersheypark Stadium.

Numerous Warriors were able to put together highlight reels in the semifinals.

• Jacob Otto opened the game with a 73-yard kickoff return. He later had a key interception and caught two passes for 41 yards, including a clutch 11-yard grab on fourth down during the Warriors’ first touchdown drive.

• Seth Dunlap had an interception and return for 48 yards to set up a field goal to end the first half and a 65-yard run on a fake punt that set up a touchdown in the third quarter.

• Conlan Greene caught a 5-yard touchdown pass to put the Warriors ahead 10-7. He also had two sacks and forced and recovered a fumble forced by Declan Ochendowski.

• Guards Garrett Moorhead and Luke Jollie were crucial to the run game and pass protection.

“Seth had a huge interception before halftime,” Yacamelli said. “Conlan a big sack and stripped the ball and recovered it. Ian (Demari) scoring a touchdown. It’s guys like that (who helped us win).

“Me and Carter get the credit, but there are heroes on this team that aren’t talked about. Daniel Tarabrella had 18 tackles in the WPIAL championship game, arguably the biggest game of his career.”

Yacamelli did his share in leading Penn-Trafford to victory. He rushed for 142 yards and three touchdowns, caught three passes for 16 yards and a touchdown and intercepted a pass. Green completed 7 of 10 passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns.

Otto said he was just doing his job.

“Any time you get a big kickoff return, it sets the tone of the game,” Otto said. “On the pass play, my number was called, and it was time to make a play. On the interception, the ball was underthrown, and I just made the play.

“Cade and Carter do a lot, but, ultimately, it’s a team sport. Yes, they are a huge part of the team. We all have to do our part.”

Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane said just because Yacamelli and Greene have the ball in their hands the most doesn’t mean they’re the whole team.

“It’s the way we run our offense,” Ruane said. “There are a lot of working parts out there.”

Prediction motivation

Don’t think Penn-Trafford players haven’t noticed when media publications predict them to lose in the playoffs.

Those predictions quickly go on the bulletin board. The Warriors say they like it when they’re picked to lose.

“I love being the underdog,” Yacamelli said. “Everybody counts us out every week, and we keep winning. Going into next week again and guess what? I feel we’ll get the job done, God willing.”

Huge following

A more than two-hour trip didn’t stop Penn-Trafford fans from following the team to Wingate for the PIAA semifinal-round game.

The stands were full of Warriors fans, and Ruane acknowledged it after the game.

The fans showered the team with Hershey Kisses and candy bars after the game as they celebrated with them on the field.

As the team left the field, the band formed a tunnel and played while the players walked to their locker room.

Another large contingent is expected Friday night at Hersheypark Stadium. Tickets are available starting at 9 a.m. Monday at

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


More High School Football

Central Catholic QB Payton Wehner wins Willie Thrower Award
What to watch for in WPIAL sports on April 6, 2024: Top WPIAL QB to be honored with Willie Thrower Award
Aliquippa sues PIAA to prevent football team’s promotion to Class 5A
Vinnie Heller earns Thomas Jefferson’s prestigious Breisinger Award
Springdale hires Chad Walsh as football coach hoping he can change team’s fortunes