Penn-Trafford pushes past Latrobe to keep pace in conference race
Much like its season as a whole to this point, Penn-Trafford started slow but came on strong against Latrobe.
The Warriors gave up the opening touchdown but came back with a powerful ground game to defeat the Wildcats, 34-7, in Quad East Conference play Friday at Latrobe Memorial Stadium.
Devin Austin led Penn-Trafford (4-1, 4-0), which now is ranked ninth in the Tribune-Review rankings, with 112 yards and a touchdown rushing. Tom Stinelli had two rushing touchdowns for the Warriors, and Dorian Stevens threw for two scores as part of his 127 passing yards.
Latrobe (1-4, 0-4) took the lead on a 1-yard run by Lucas Monteparte on its first possession, but that play served as a wake-up call for P-T.
“We started out a little low. We went three-and-out, and they scored,” Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane said. “It was kind of a wake-up call for us. I guess you need that sometimes.”
As Penn-Trafford's offense kicked into gear, its defense was unbreakable for the rest of the game, led by some of the Warriors' big run stoppers.
“Brian McDonough, Vince Heatherington and John Wilkie have all been outstanding for us the last couple of games as two-way players,” Ruane said. McDonough and Heatherington both start at linebacker spots for P-T, while Wilkie is a two-way lineman.
P-T will try to avoid another slow start on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Connellsville (2-3, 2-2), which is fighting for a playoff spot and coming off a high-scoring win over Norwin, 44-29.
“They're a wing-T team, but they're more diverse than that,” Ruane said.
“They have speed on the perimeter and have a veteran quarterback. We have to be basic and play fundamental football.”
Though Connellsville has struggled defensively for the last two weeks, Ruane said his team can't take anything for granted as the playoffs draw nearer.
“Every team is a threat,” Ruane said. “Over the next four weeks, we have four of the top teams in the conference. They're trying to win just like we are, and I'm not expecting anything less than their best effort. We have to be as sound as they are and play more physical.”
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5830 or firstname.lastname@example.org.