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Penn-Trafford defeats Norwin, 17-3

| Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, 11:30 p.m.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Penn-Trafford defenders Brandon Reddy (32) and Zack Queen tackle Norwin quarterback Nick Amendola during the first quarter of their WPIAL Class AAAA game on Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, at Warrior Stadium in Harrison City.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Penn-Trafford wide receiver Timmy Vecchio heads toward the end zone on an 85-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brett Laffoon as Norwin's Logan Deri looks on during the first quarter of their WPIAL Class AAAA game on Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, at Warrior Stadium in Harrison City.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Penn-Trafford quarterback Brett Laffoon throws an 85-yard touchdown to wide receiver Timmy Vecchio over Norwin's Corey Chrisman during the first quarter of their WPIAL Class AAAA game on Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, at Warrior Stadium in Harrison City.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Penn-Trafford wide receiver Timmy Vecchio (3) celebrates his 85-yard touchdown pass with teammates against Norwin during the first quarter of their WPIAL Class AAAA game on Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, at Warrior Stadium in Harrison City.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Norwin quarterback Nick Amendola attempts to gain extra yardage on a keeper as Penn-Trafford defender Fredrick Cook closes in for the tackle during the first quarter of their WPIAL Class AAAA game on Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, at Warrior Stadium in Harrison City.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Penn-Trafford defensive back Zack Queen (6) intercepts a pass intended for Norwin wide receiver Niko Socoolas (1) during the fourth quarter of their WPIAL Class AAAA game on Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, at Warrior Stadium in Harrison City. Penn-Trafford defeated Norwin, 17-3.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Penn-Trafford running back Devin Austin breaks a tackle attempt by Norwin defender Zach Hall for extra yardage on a long gain during the fourth quarter of their WPIAL Class AAAA game Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, at Warrior Stadium in Harrison City. Penn-Trafford defeated Norwin, 17-3.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Penn-Trafford running back Tom Stinelli dives short of the goal line in front of Norwin defenders during the third quarter of their WPIAL Class AAAA game on Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, at Warrior Stadium in Harrison City. Penn-Trafford defeated Norwin, 17-3.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Penn-Trafford running back Devin Austin dives for extra yardage in front of Norwin defender Garrett Cockeram during the third quarter of their WPIAL Class AAAA game on Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, at Warrior Stadium in Harrison City. Penn-Trafford defeated Norwin, 17-3.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Norwin wide receiver Logan Deri (10) attempts to tackle Penn-Trafford's Jonah Lisbon (11) on an interception during the fourth quarter Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, at Warrior Stadium in Harrison City. Penn-Trafford defeated Norwin, 17-3.

Penn-Trafford's opportunistic defense gave Norwin's struggling offense fits on Friday night, leading to a 17-3 victory for the Warriors in a game that wasn't decided until the closing minutes.

Devin Austin rushed for 182 yards and Zack Queen intercepted a pair of fourth-quarter passes — one setting up the game-clinching touchdown — as Penn-Trafford (1-1, 1-0) outlasted visiting Norwin (0-2, 0-2) in the Quad East Conference game.

“Hats off to Norwin. We struggled to keep their offense off the field,” Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane said. “Our tackling was atrocious at times, especially early on. And the turnovers — both teams seemed to just want to give away the game.”

In the end, it was Penn-Trafford's tenacious play that took over.

Queen picked off a pass by Norwin's Nick Amendola, wrestling the ball away from Knights receiver Niko Sacoolas at the Penn-Trafford 15 with 2 12 minutes left and P-T holding a 10-3 lead.

The Warriors then sealed the outcome on Tom Stinelli's 3-yard touchdown run to give Penn-Trafford a comfortable, 14-point lead with 1:45 to go.

Queen's second interception on Norwin's final possession allowed Penn-Trafford to run out the clock.

“You've got to keep playing,” Norwin coach Art Tragesser said. “I thought we played hard tonight. I told them afterwards, ‘It's coming. Keep it together. It's coming.'”

Norwin scored its first points of the season on Dan Passarello's 26-yard field goal in the third quarter, which cut the Penn-Trafford lead to 10-3. The Knights were shut out in their opener against Altoona, 21-0.

Penn-Trafford took an early 7-0 lead on Brett Laffoon's 85-yard touchdown pass to Timmy Vecchio, and it stood until halftime, thanks in part to Ryan Marasti's interception of an Amendola pass deep in Penn-Trafford territory with 1:33 remaining in the second quarter.

It was the first of four interceptions thrown by the Norwin sophomore quarterback, who totaled 76 yards passing and 75 yards rushing.

“He's doing alright,” Tragesser said. “He's young, but he's a tough kid. We're going to get better, and he's a leader.”

Earlier in the second quarter, Penn-Trafford squandered a great opportunity to add to its lead when Stinelli was stripped of the ball, and Amendola and Logan Deri recovered at the Norwin 9 after Stinelli had gained 30 yards on the play.

The Knights then drove nearly the length of the field before Marasti's interception.

“That one right before halftime was a big one,” Ruane said. “The late ones (in the fourth quarter by Queen) were equally important. And Devin (Austin) really ran his butt off when he had to.”

Austin gained 137 of his 182 yards in the second half.

Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at dmackall@tribweb.com.

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