The Funding Zone

Penn Trafford uses turnovers, four Yacamelli touchdowns to punch ticket to Hershey @PTWarriors @ptwarriorfb @cyacamelli

Tagged under: District 3, District 7, Gameday Hub, News

| December 3, 2021


Photos Nate Grella (@PaBackyard)

It’s no secret. Win the turnover game, win the game.  Penn Trafford’s defense came up big time after time tonight, forcing 4 interceptions and a fumble, and turned them all into points as the Warriors rolled over Exeter 49-14 to earn their first ever trip to Hershey to play for the Class 5A championship against Imhotep, a winner over Strath Haven. “We were very opportunistic on defense tonight, that kid that’s going to Penn State (Joey Schlaffer) is tremendous, he caught that touchdown pass early on and we just stepped it up. Our pass rush really got strong and our secondary played lights out” said Penn Trafford head coach John Ruane. “We knew they were gonna throw the ball, but when we stopped their run game our defense turned it up.”

Penn Trafford jumped out to a 3-0 lead on the first drive of the night. The drive was aided by a 73 yard kick return by Jacob Otto to the Exeter 22. Nathan Schlessinger, who has been “money” all year, nailed the 38 yard kick with plenty to spare. After exchanging possessions, the Eagles fought back and drove 57 yards to take the lead on a 24 yard td pass from Colin Payne to Schlaffer giving Exeter their only lead of the game.

It was all Penn Trafford after that. The Warriors drove 64 yards, capped by a 5 yard td pass from Carter Green to Conlan Greene to put PT back on top 10-7 to start the second quarter. Then Liam Hileman picked off Payne, setting up the Warriors on the Exeter 22. Yacamelli finished the drive from three yards out and the kick made it a 17-7 lead for Penn Trafford. After forcing a three and out, it took just one play. Yacamelli bolted 74 yards to put the Warriors up 24-7.

Just when it looked like the Eagles were about to get back into the game after driving inside Penn Trafford territory, Dunlap struck again, picking off Payne and returning the ball to the Exeter 21. Schlessinger hit another field goal, this from the 34, to give the Warriors a commanding 27-7 halftime lead. “That interception probably sucked the wind out of us” said Exeter Township head coach Matt Bauer. “You can’t commit that many turnovers. They had a great game plan.”

To start the second half, it looked again like the Eagles were going to climb back into the game but after driving to the 17 of Penn Trafford, the Eagles turned the ball over on downs. The Eagles held the Warriors to a punt, but another interception, by Otto, ended that drive.  Then Ruane sent in the dagger play. Facing 4th and 5 at their own 31, the Warriors sent a direct snap to Dunlap who raced down the sidelines to the Eagle 4. Yacamelli went in from the three to make it 33-7 with 1:37 to go in the third. More trickery, a direct snap to Schlessinger who went in for the 2 pointer made it 35-7. Cade scored again on a 15 yard td reception with the entire 4th quarter still to go.


“This teams great, we’re always underdogs.  Pine-Richland, Moon, this week. I hope we’re the underdog next week too. Nobody gives us a chance.” said a jubilant Yacamelli after the game.  Ian Demeri scored the final points for the Warriors after another Exeter turnover.

For Exeter, their season ends at 10-4. Penn Trafford will take on Imhotep Charter Friday night at 7PM for the Class 5A title


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