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Late touchdown lifts Penn-Trafford into WPIAL Class AAAA title game

Paul Schofield
| Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, 11:30 p.m.
Penn-Trafford's Tyler Bruno (5) catches the winning touchdown against Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinal Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Tyler Bruno (5) catches the winning touchdown against Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinal Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Penn-Trafford's Jonah Lisbon (11) reacts after beating Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Jonah Lisbon (11) reacts after beating Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Pine-Richland's Saige Simpson (1) rushes against Penn-Trafford's Jonah Lisbon (11) during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Pine-Richland's Saige Simpson (1) rushes against Penn-Trafford's Jonah Lisbon (11) during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Pine-Richland's James Willard (65) pauses for a moment in the locker room before playing Penn-Trafford during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Pine-Richland's James Willard (65) pauses for a moment in the locker room before playing Penn-Trafford during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Pine-Richland's Phil Jurkovec (15) adjusts his helmet before playing Penn-Trafford during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Pine-Richland's Phil Jurkovec (15) adjusts his helmet before playing Penn-Trafford during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Penn-Trafford's Andre Guest (75) leads his team out of the locker room before playing Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Andre Guest (75) leads his team out of the locker room before playing Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Penn-Trafford head coach John Ruane reacts after a touchdown against Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford head coach John Ruane reacts after a touchdown against Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Pine-Richland's Zach Lemirande (58) and Brandon Humphrey Jr. (5) react after a fumble by Penn-Trafford during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Pine-Richland's Zach Lemirande (58) and Brandon Humphrey Jr. (5) react after a fumble by Penn-Trafford during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Penn-Trafford's Colin McDonough (24) motions to the crowd after an injury against Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Colin McDonough (24) motions to the crowd after an injury against Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Pine-Richland's Phil Jurkovec (15) muscles past a host of Penn-Trafford players during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Pine-Richland's Phil Jurkovec (15) muscles past a host of Penn-Trafford players during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Pine-Richland's Tyler King (44) catches a pass in front of Penn-Trafford's Joey Peduzzi (7) during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Pine-Richland's Tyler King (44) catches a pass in front of Penn-Trafford's Joey Peduzzi (7) during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Penn-Trafford's Caleb Frye (40) celebrates his team's win over Pine- Richland with a cheerleader during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Caleb Frye (40) celebrates his team's win over Pine- Richland with a cheerleader during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Penn-Trafford's Brett Laffoon (10) celebrates a touchdown with Penn- Trafford's Jonah Lisbon (11) during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Brett Laffoon (10) celebrates a touchdown with Penn- Trafford's Jonah Lisbon (11) during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Pine-Richland's Ryan Duran (6) scores a touchdown against Penn-Trafford during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Pine-Richland's Ryan Duran (6) scores a touchdown against Penn-Trafford during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Pine-Richland's Jimmy Graf (8) celebrates his touchdown against Penn- Trafford during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Pine-Richland's Jimmy Graf (8) celebrates his touchdown against Penn- Trafford during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Penn-Trafford's Jonah Lisbon (11) knocks off Pine-Richland's Saige Simpson (1) during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Jonah Lisbon (11) knocks off Pine-Richland's Saige Simpson (1) during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Penn-Trafford's Alonzo Canady (36) pauses for a moment on the field after his team beat Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Alonzo Canady (36) pauses for a moment on the field after his team beat Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Pine-Richland's James Willard (65) reacts with Pine-Richland's Collin Shaffer (52) after a fumble recovery during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Pine-Richland's James Willard (65) reacts with Pine-Richland's Collin Shaffer (52) after a fumble recovery during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Penn-Trafford's Logan Hawkins (66) celebrates as time expires against Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Logan Hawkins (66) celebrates as time expires against Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Penn-Trafford's Ben Davis (22) reacts after beating Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Ben Davis (22) reacts after beating Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Penn-Trafford's Brett Laffoon (10) is bombarded by teammates after beating Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Brett Laffoon (10) is bombarded by teammates after beating Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Penn-Trafford's Jonah Lisbon (11) scores against Penn-Trafford's Luke Wentroble (42) during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Jonah Lisbon (11) scores against Penn-Trafford's Luke Wentroble (42) during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Pine-Richland's Saige Simpson (1) rushes against Penn-Trafford's Jonah Lisbon (11) during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Pine-Richland's Saige Simpson (1) rushes against Penn-Trafford's Jonah Lisbon (11) during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Penn-Trafford's Alonzo Canady (36) watches as time expires against Pine- Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Alonzo Canady (36) watches as time expires against Pine- Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Penn-Trafford's Tim Vecchio (3) brings down Pine-Richland's Matthew Zoeller (4) after a completed pass during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Tim Vecchio (3) brings down Pine-Richland's Matthew Zoeller (4) after a completed pass during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Penn-Trafford's Logan Hawkins (66) reacts as Penn-Trafford's Brett Laffoon (10) falls into the end zone for a touchdown against Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Logan Hawkins (66) reacts as Penn-Trafford's Brett Laffoon (10) falls into the end zone for a touchdown against Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Penn-Trafford head coach John Ruane embraces his team after beating Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford head coach John Ruane embraces his team after beating Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Penn-Trafford's Tyler Bruno (5) celebrates his game-winning touchdown with Joey Peduzzi (7) against Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Tyler Bruno (5) celebrates his game-winning touchdown with Joey Peduzzi (7) against Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Penn-Trafford's Nick Koval (34) reacts after beating Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Nick Koval (34) reacts after beating Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Penn-Trafford's Tyler Bruno (5) celebrates his game-winning touchdown with Tyler Lavelle (2) during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Tyler Bruno (5) celebrates his game-winning touchdown with Tyler Lavelle (2) during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.

There is something special about this Penn-Trafford football team.

Just when things looked bleak, the Warriors refused to quit. Take Friday.

No. 2 Penn-Trafford (12-0) needed a clutch drive in the final 52 seconds to edge No. 3 Pine-Richland, 38-34, in the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinals at Penn Hills.

The victory puts Penn-Trafford in the finals — its first since 1997 — against No. 4 Central Catholic, which upset No. 1 Woodland Hills. The finals are Saturday at Heinz Field.

Tyler Bruno caught the winning 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brett Laffoon to cap the Warriors' comeback.

Pine-Richland (10-2) took a 34-31 lead on Jimmy Graf's fourth touchdown run, but the Rams left the Warriors too much time.

“This is unbelievable,” Bruno said. “That ball seemed to take forever to get to me. Coach (John Ruane) told me to run an out-and-up, and no one covered me. Wow.”

The teams exchanged scores throughout. There were no punts, and the teams combined for 901 yards. Penn-Trafford outgained Pine-Richland, 503-398.

“I was just thinking that we could have tried to run off more time of the scoreboard,” Pine-Richland coach Eric Kasperowicz said. “They have a great team, and they made one more play than we did.”

Laffoon completed 19 of 33 passes for 291 yards and three touchdowns. He hit Tim Vecchio on a 59-yard score in the first quarter and then Jonah Lisbon on a 14-yard strike in the second.

“I looked forward to those moments at the end of the game,” Laffoon said. “It was time for me to be a man. We weren't going to lose this game. There was no doubt in our minds.

“When I threw it to Tyler and saw their defensive backs left him free, it was like a dream come true.”

Laffoon also rushed for 95 yards and two scores. Vecchio caught seven passes for 128 yards, and Lisbon rushed for 117 yards.

“Brett was the ultimate Warrior,” Ruane said. “We did everything we could on offense against that team. We knew we had to outscore them. I thought our defense played well. That's a ridiculous team to play.

“Colin McDonough got us a big-time stop with the interception to set up a touchdown, the play of the game. I felt the entire team stepped up.”

After McDonough's interception, Laffoon scored from the 5 to make it 31-27 with 4:48 left.

Pine-Richland then put together a big drive, aided by a pass-interference penalty to reclaim the lead 34-31 with 52 seconds remaining. Graf rushed for 76 yards and scored on runs of 6, 1 and 12 yards.

Rams quarterback Phil Jurkovec had a solid performance.

He rushed for 111 yards and completed 11 of 17 passes for 178 yards.

Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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