Gorman: Penn-Trafford shows character counts
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Penn-Trafford calls it, for lack of a better term, The Game.
The Warriors have off-season meetings to engage in discussions not only about football but being a better person.
“They've really bought into it and have been tremendous about it,” Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane said. “You have to be conscious, at all times, of things going on around you. These kids are second-to-none in terms of work ethic and character.”
The Game is a team-building exercise where players are divided into groups and rewarded points for grades, attendance and community service.
“It gives guys who usually wouldn't step up as leaders a chance to step up,” senior captain Tom Stinelli said. “It's a huge part of bringing us together.”
It was that accountability, The Game within the game, that turned around the season for Penn-Trafford. The Warriors are in the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinals for the first time since 1997.
It started with Ruane. He turned down a chance to coach at Gateway, his alma mater and where he teaches, to stay at Penn-Trafford.
Penn-Trafford responded with a postseason run that surprised everyone — except, perhaps, the Warriors.
This was the expectation all along, even after a 4-3 start that included a 34-14 loss at Kiski Area in Week 7.
After that defeat, The Game showed up, as senior captains Stinelli, Fred Cook, Ryan Marasti, Adam Polakovsky and John Wilkie spoke up in the locker room.
“Without a doubt, it was the turning point,” Stinelli said. “We weren't playing to our potential.”
The Warriors have played with a chip on their shoulders since, beating Gateway the next week on a scoring pass and 2-point conversion with 16 seconds left. They beat Hempfield in the finale, Penn Hills in the first round, then previously undefeated McKeesport.
“The seniors are why we're winning,” Ruane said. “They don't give up in big games.”
Now, Penn-Trafford (8-3) plays Central Catholic (11-0), which beat the Warriors in the first round last year.
Win or lose, they've already won The Game.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pa. trooper ambush suspect Frein in court after long manhunt
- Medical examiner emphatic: Dr. Autumn Marie Klein died as a result of cyanide poisoning
- Pirates likely to seek pitcher, catcher when free agency starts
- 5 Cal U football players arrested for assault; Saturday’s game canceled
- Fleury, Penguins too much for Kings
- Veteran LB Harrison: Steelers must play to way defense is set up
- Steelers notebook: Fully healthy, rookie WR Bryant progressing fast
- Emaciated Lab-collie mix found in garbage bag in New Stanton
- Rossi: The best Penguins defense is ... a potent offense
- Hackers’ new Dyre malware infects W.Pa. computers, vexes FBI cyber agents
- ‘Big play’ moniker fits veteran Steelers cornerback Gay