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How 2 became 1, History Penn and Trafford Football

Written by: on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018


This week is homecoming for the Penn-Trafford Warriors. A school that was created in 1965 to serve the communities of Penn and Trafford. The two areas once had separate school districts, Penn Joint and Trafford, with two long football histories.

Trafford High School started playing football in 1924 under Coach Alvin W. Paschal. They went 1-8 in their first season at the WPIAL Class B level. Trafford would remain nameless until 1938 when they adopted the name “Tomahawks.” a name that was created by student Josephine Henderson. The winningest coach in school history was Don Karanovich who went 50-54 and won 3 Alle-Fay-West Conference titles. His 12-year tenure also included the first undefeated season in Trafford football history. The 1960 Trafford Tomahawks finished 8-0 after going 0-8-1 the year before. Trafford outscored their opponents 189-19 that season. The Tomahawks won their first Alle-Fay-West title and their first conference title since 1949. The eleven seasons for Trafford would see 5 conference titles, 2 undefeated seasons, and 57 wins. The last season in 1971 Trafford football would not be as impressive, as the Tomahawks would struggle to a 1-8 record under Pat Cortazzo.

The Penn Joint Indians had a longer football history as they played their first season in 1914. They went 0-6-1 with no coach. Then, they went on a 25 year hiatus from playing until 1939 when Angelo Onder lead the team to 10-6 in two seasons winning the County Class B Championship. Angelo would be killed in action on D-Day as he stormed the beaches of Normandy. The winningest coach in Penn Joint history would be Tar Onder. He went 34-26-2 in 7 years as the head coach of the Indians. He won the second and last conference championship in Penn Joint history. The last coach for Penn Joint would be Pat Kelly. In the three seasons, he was the Indians head coach he went 10-16-1. When Penn and Trafford merged in 1972 he would take over the Penn-Trafford football program in their first 6 seasons going 29-29-6 while with the Warriors. The Warrior Stadium press box was named after him.

The Tomahawks and Indians met 18 times from 1939-1956. Both teams won nine games while they played. Penn outscored Trafford 325-228. The series would end after Penn won three straight games outscoring Trafford 86-8 and the Indians moved up to Class A. Players from Penn and Trafford wouldn’t play on the same field until September 8th, 1972 when Penn-Trafford high school played East Allegheny.

Note, I will be covering Friday’s homecoming game for Penn-Trafford when the Warriors play the Latrobe Wildcats. Follow me on twitter @Broadcaster_20 for live updates. Special thanks to Rush Pedder and the Warrior Football Hall of Fame for information on the Penn Joint and Trafford football teams.

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