Penn-Trafford roughs up Connellsville
When the Penn-Trafford football team came to Connellsville last season, the Warriors dominated physically in a 39-0 win. The recipe for success worked so well for the Warriors that they decided to use it again Friday night, and the results were somewhat similar as Penn-Trafford rolled to a 38-17 victory to spoil Connellsville's homecoming.
“They physically kicked our butt again,” Connellsville coach Dave McDonald said. “We're not physically strong enough to compete with a caliber of a team like that.”
Penn-Trafford controlled the line of scrimmage and scored four rushing touchdowns. Sophomore Devin Austin rushed for 172 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. Penn-Trafford ran for 380 yards.
“We certainly ran the ball better than we threw it,” Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane said. “We won the point of attack, and we ran the ball well. We're getting better, and I'm happy with the effort.”
The Warriors (5-1, 5-0 Quad East) posted 10 points in the first quarter thanks to a Brian McDonough 6-yard touchdown reception from Dorian Stevens and a Matt Loughnane 37-yard field goal. In the second quarter, Austin broke loose for a 74-yard touchdown run that gave the visitors a 17-0 lead.
“We didn't tackle great,” McDonald said. “Tackling is an effort thing, and for some reason, we're still not tackling the way we need to.”
Down by three scores to start the second half, the Falcons (2-4, 2-3) went 80 yards on nine plays to get back in the game. Jade Maher's 39-yard pass to Darrell Ross highlighted the drive before Jordan McCrae finished it with a 1-yard run to bring the Falcons to within 17-7.
But the Warriors reclaimed the momentum in convincing fashion by responding with back-to-back touchdown drives. Tom Stinelli scored on a 3-yard run late in the third before Austin raced in on a 4-yard run early in the fourth to make it 31-7.
“It was a huge drive after Connellsville scored,” Ruane said, crediting Austin and Stinelli with big efforts out of the backfield. “Our kids responded, and our linemen came off the ball well.”
The teams combined for four turnovers. Stevens recorded two interceptions for Penn-Trafford. Dylan Knopsnider had an interception for the Falcons.
The teams traded a few late scores. Ben Kisiel booted a 39-yard field for the Falcons to make it 31-10. Then the teams scored on back-to-back plays. Penn-Trafford's Matt Arzenti raced in on a 72-yard run before Connellsville's McCrae took the ensuing kickoff and went 95 yards for the last score of the game.
With the win, Penn-Trafford pulls into a first-place tie with Gateway in the Quad East. The loss drops the Falcons to sixth in the conference.
“We're on to next week,” McDonald said. “The only thing we can do is show up Monday and practice to get better for our next game.”
On Friday, Connellsville travels to McKeesport, and Penn-Trafford hosts Kiski Area.
Jason Black is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-626-3534.