Penn-Trafford beats the heat, nearby rivals to win 3rd annual WCCA 7-on-7 tournament
With temperatures exceeding 90 degrees, Thursday's Westmoreland County Coaches Association 7-on-7 tournament prepared local football teams for more than just the competition in training camp — it got them ready for the heat as well.
“If they went through today, they're fine,” Norwin coach Art Tragesser said after the third annual tournament, held at Franklin Regional High School. “They'll be able to handle the heat. It's probably 15 to 20 degrees warmer (on the field today).”
While the heat tested local players, so did the competition — consisting of 12 teams from around the county.
Penn-Trafford won the tournament, going 4-0-1 through a pool of teams that included Greensburg Central Catholic, Greensburg Salem, Jeannette, Kiski Area and Valley before beating Norwin, 21-12, in the championship game.
“I'm happy we competed,” Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane said. “It's hot, and it's a long day. Everyone out here did a real nice job.”
After the graduation of Dorian Stevens, Penn-Trafford started sophomore Brett Laffoon at quarterback Thursday. Ruane said the number of repetitions gained through 7-on-7 play can help quarterbacks and receivers work on their timing.
“I think the (receivers) get accustomed to the way he delivers the football, and more importantly for him, timing,” Ruane said. “We have four different guys running at four different speeds, so (Laffoon) gets to learn about that from them.”
Norwin advanced to the championship after going 4-1 in a pool that included Franklin Regional, Hempfield, Mt. Pleasant, Southmoreland and Yough. Hempfield also finished 4-1, but Norwin advanced to the championship because the Knights beat the Spartans in head-to-head play.
“We're pleased — not satisfied, but we're pleased,” Tragesser said. “We saw a lot of good things today, but we have a lot of things we need to work on.”
With the PIAA adopting a new heat acclimatization policy for the 2013 football season — schools must go through a three-day adjustment process before regular practice can begin — coaches paid special attention to the temperature Thursday.
“It's a good learning experience for us,” said Jeannette coach Roy Hall, whose team went 4-1 in pool play. “... We are (careful), and keeping them hydrated, with lots of liquids before, after and during the games.”