Westmoreland high school football notebook: Penn-Trafford bounces back big

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Saturday, October 3, 2020 | 3:47 PM


The loss to Peters Township continues to shrink in Penn-Trafford’s rear-view mirror.

The Warriors have bounced back emphatically since a 24-21 nonconference defeat that saw the Warriors surrender seven turnovers.

They are 2-0 since, including Friday night’s impressive 38-6 win over No. 4 Woodland Hills.

“That loss motivated us,” Warriors coach John Ruane said. “We weren’t playing the way we can, but we didn’t freak out. We needed to make improvements in all phases of the game. Our kids have really worked hard at practice.”

Quarterback Ethan Carr said Penn-Trafford (3-1, 2-0) didn’t deserve to be ranked in the top five after that loss.

Carr ran for 116 yards and two touchdowns and threw for two scores Friday as the Warriors won for the 21st straight time at home — a program record.

Junior Cade Yacamelli did a little of everything, rushing for 132 yards and a touchdown, catching a TD pass, intercepting a pass and recovering a fumble.

Penn-Trafford was dealt a pair of devastating injuries last year when Caleb Lisbon and Sam Fanelli, who since have graduated, went down with long-term knee injuries.

Could that have been a blessing in disguise?

“Those injuries built depth for us,” Ruane said.

Yacamelli, Brad Ford, Nate Frye, Ian Demeri and Carr have shown the ability to run the ball effectively. A team that usually has a one-two punch in the backfield now has multiple options.

Yacamelli is the main guy, but the second option can change frequently.

“There are a ton of skill guys,” Ruane said. “It depends on what (opponents) give us.”

Ruane has been impressed with his defense since Week 1 and is enjoying watching his linemen mature.

“We had four guys making their fourth start up front,” Ruane said. “They are getting better.”

gateway up next?

Penn-Trafford is supposed to play Gateway next week, but the Gators have been shut down because of covid-19 cases in the school.

Gateway had to postpone this past Friday’s game against Latrobe, leaving the Wildcats without an opponent for Week 4.

Ruane and Penn-Trafford athletic director Kerry Hetrick said they expect the game to be played, but they are not sure when.

A player said next Saturday morning, Sunday afternoon and Monday night have been discussed as potential options as the Gators try to lengthen their stoppage.

Penn-Trafford can’t be thrilled with playing a short week, should the game get moved to next Monday.

“We’ll do whatever we can to help them,” Hetrick said. “We want to play. We’ll see if we can figure something out over the weekend or Monday.”

Ruane and Gateway coach Don Holl shouldn’t have a problem setting up a meeting. Ruane teaches at Gateway.

whitlock wins duel

Belle Vernon junior Devin Whitlock, a dual-threat quarterback and key playmaker for the Leopards, out-shined Laurel Highlands star sophomore Rodney Gallagher.

It was a battle of two-sport athletes with bright futures in football and/or basketball — maybe both.

Belle Vernon thumped Laurel Highlands, 49-0.

Whitlock ran for 109 yards and two touchdowns on four carries, completed 7 of 10 passes for 109 yards and two TDs and returned an interception for a score.

Gallagher had three catches for 34 yards.

streak buster

A seven-game losing streak is no more for Norwin.

The Knights took care of No. 5 Baldwin, 28-12, as senior Nick Fleming completed 10 of 16 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a score.

Senior Connor Chrisman had five catches for 108 yards and two TDs, including a 60-yard score.

vikings in first

Mt. Pleasant outdueled visiting Yough in a shootout Friday, 43-32, and moved into first place in the Class 3A Interstate Conference.

Oddly, the Vikings (3-1, 3-0) have been outscored 84-91.

But they outscored Yough, batting away several rallies by the Cougars.

Pete Billey led the Vikings with 138 yards and three touchdowns, and Asher O’Connor threw a pair of touchdowns to Donavin Bair and ran for a score.

Yough, battling injuries that include the loss of junior quarterback Tristan Waldier, turned to senior Gamal Marballie again under center. Marballie completed 13 of 18 throws for 266 yards and three touchdowns and involved senior wide receiver CJ Waldier.

Waldier, who led the WPIAL in regular-season receptions last year with 71, had 10 catches for 166 yards and three TDs.

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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