Penn-Trafford blanks Hempfield
It was back to basics for Penn-Trafford on Friday night — ground and pound.
After being embarrassed by Gateway last week, Penn-Trafford ended the regular season with an impressive 16-0 victory against Hempfield at Spartan Stadium.
Penn-Trafford (7-2, 7-1) forced five turnovers, got three field goals by Matt Loughnane and got a 162-yard rushing performance by Tom Stinelli to help erase the bad taste of last week's loss. It will open the WPIAL playoff at home thanks to its second-place finish in the Quad East.
“Tom ran the ball hard,” Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane said. “Because Devin (Austin) was injured, he probably doubled his carries.
“(Quarterback) Matt (Arzenti) was very efficient moving the chains for us. We even dropped a few passes. He didn't make any major mistakes.”
Arzenti replaced starter Dorian Stevens, who also missed the game with an injury. Arzenti completed 7 of 14 passes for 86 yards and one touchdown, a 5-yard scoring strike to Ryan Marasti in the second quarter.
Marasti also had a huge game on defense, intercepting a pass and recovering a fumble.
Loughnane kicked field goals from 42, 39 and 44 yards.
“He was Mr. Automatic,” Ruane said. “If we're going to be successful in the playoffs, we have to run the ball and play good defense.”
Hempfield (4-5, 4-4), looking for its first winning season since 1997, hurt itself with turnovers and penalties. The Spartans also were playing short-handed.
They were already without their top two running backs, both out for the season, and starting quarterback Ty George, who was injured at practice on Thursday. They lost running back D.J. Gearhart with an injury in the first half.
“It wasn't one of our better games,” Hempfield coach Rich Bowen said. “We are beat up, but that's no excuse.”
With Penn-Trafford leading 10-0, Hempfield blocked a punt and Joey Hoffner returned the ball to the Penn-Trafford 14.
But Hempfield fumbled on first down and linebacker Vincent Hetherington recovered. Marasti, Brian McDonough and Dom Cima had interceptions for Penn-Trafford.
Despite the loss, Hempfield returns to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.