HARRISON CITY, Pa. — The regular season finale between two of the WPIAL’s top Class-5A teams held up to be as good as advertised. Penn Trafford entered the night outside of playoff contention meaning it was “win-or-go home” for the defending champions. The Warriors needed a big-time win over the No. 1 team in the Big East conference to earn a spot, and they did just that as they took down Franklin Regional in overtime 28-21.
The Warriors are made-up of a veteran core that consists of multiple upper-classmen playing in key positions. This core of players won the WPIAL and PIAA championships last year as Penn Trafford enjoyed a dream-season. Having a group of players that have experienced winning and know what it takes to achieve the overall goal gives this Warriors team an advantage over most.
The leader of the team, Temple-commit Conlan Greene makes impact plays at both quarterback and defensive line for the Warriors. On Friday night Greene recorded two rushing touchdowns and a passing touchdown on offense, while adding a defensive sack and a fumble recovery. The fumble recovery occured late in the fourth quarter which gave the Warriors life. Greene would go onto score the game-winning touchdown in overtime
Greene spoke with Pittsburgh Sports Now after the crucial victory and gave credit to previous accomplishments as to how the Warriors were able to pull this late comeback off. “It was a good team we played and it came down to experience at the end there. We have been in that situation before which helped us a lot at the end of the game.”
Greene added that head coach John Ruane delivered the obvious, but needed statement before the game of “It’s do-or-die,” which helped give the team an edge.
A run-first team like the Warriors need to dominate the trenches in order to control the game. Penn Trafford does just that with Central Michigan-commit Joe Enick and junior Zach Tomosovich. Both of them play offensive and defensive line which helps build a strong chemistry between the groups.
Players like Tommy Kalkstein and Carmen Metcalfe are the “unsung heros” of this Warriors squad.
The junior Metcalfe plays as an important role on this team as anybody. He is the teams top-reciever and one of their defensive backs. On Friday night, Metcalfe made a sensational 30-yard touchdown catch and forced the fumble that helped the Warriors send the game to overtime.
Kalkstein is a senior who had one of his best games of his career in the win over Franklin. He had electric kick returns, a interception and thumping-runs out of the wildcat. Kalkstein is a leader of the team as he was voted a captain on “Senior Night” and was seen leading the team onto the field prior to the game. His style of play and leadership has gained praise from his teammates. “Conlan, Tommy, all of these seniors [are] great, great leaders and I love them,” Metcalfe said about his teammates after the game.
As the playoffs begin, the Warriors will continue to lean on this group of players and their “experience” for the chance of bringing another championship or two back to Harrison City.