After taste of playoff success, Fox Chapel back for more

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Friday, August 12, 2022 | 11:01 AM


Fox Chapel won five games in the 2021 football season — and one of those victories was quite significant.

The Foxes won their first WPIAL playoff game since 1997, a 13-10 victory at Upper St. Clair, a school with one of the highest winning percentages in WPIAL history at .702, a 473-193-9 overall mark.

It meant for a pleasant ride back to the Fox Chapel campus.

“It honestly felt great for us,” said senior Roman Mason. “It kind of felt like our whole season. It was tenacity. We’d get knocked down, but we always came back. The whole season we were doubted. We were prepared and, collectively, thought it was our game.”

For returning lettermen like Mason, a running back and outside linebacker, it was a nice carryover into the offseason, even though the Foxes lost the following week to eventual WPIAL and PIAA Class 5A champion Penn-Trafford. Mason is also Fox Chapel’s senior class president and a Sharpsburg Borough junior councilman who’s already expanded public parks usage there.

A key replacement is needed for graduated quarterback Collin Dietz. Ready to step up is junior Ben DeMotte, who saw limited action last season, sophomore Matt Begg, freshman Max Melocchi and Nathan Johnson, a transfer from Florida.

“Ben did well in the 7-on-7s we were doing in the summer and he has a football IQ in that he can run our offense and get us into the proper formations,” said Fox Chapel coach Tom Loughran. “He just has to understand the passing concepts and the running concepts. He has a strong enough arm with all the passing routes we want to throw. We just have to get him under fire in the heat of the action and see how he works with that.”

The Foxes also have to replace Khi’lee Patterson, who played several positions, including quarterback in the Upper St. Clair game when Dietz was hurt. Likewise, top-notch running back Zidane Thomas and receiver Colin Kwiatkowski have graduated.

Landyn Moore is a returning receiver and Loughran would like to work more tight ends into the lineup after running a four-wideout offense last season.

Besides Mason, who made 53 tackles, returning on the 3-4 defense for Fox Chapel will be inside linebacker Jack Visco, nose guard D’Angelo Hamilton, who started toward the end of the season as a freshman, and cornerbacks Tyrese Samuels and Christian Jackson.

The Northeast Conference stayed pretty much the same, with the exception of Kiski Area moving down to Class 4A. Woodland Hills has replaced Kiski Area. Woodland Hills is Class 3A in enrollment but has chosen to play up to Class 5A.

“In the last four years, two of the state champions have come from our conference and last season, we played Penn-Trafford in a playoff game, and they won the state,” Loughran said. “In my opinion, 5A is the most difficult league and our conference is very good.”

Seven of the 10 teams on Fox Chapel’s schedule this year were playoff teams last year. There are about 75 players to start the season, about a quarter of those in the freshman class.

Fox Chapel

Coach: Tom Loughran

2021 record: 5-7, 2-3 in Class 5A Northeast Conference

All-time record: 226-363-8

SCHEDULE

Date, Opponent, Time

8.26 Peters Township, 7

9.2 Plum, 7

9.9 at Norwin, 7

9.16 Upper St. Clair, 7

9.23 Pine-Richland*, 7

9.30 at North Hills*, 7

10.7 Penn Hills*, 7

10.14 Woodland Hills*, 7

10.21 at Kiski Area, 7

10.28 at Shaler*, 7

*Conference game

STATISTICAL LEADERS

Passing: Collin Dietz *

87-190, 1,296 yards, 12 TDs

Rushing: Zidane Thomas *

171-1,023, 6 TDs

Receiving: Colin Kwiatkowski*

23-470, 6TDs

*-Graduated

FAST FACTS

• Fox Chapel will play the 600th game in school history Sept. 9 at Norwin. Despite playing in higher enrollment classifications for years, the two schools have never met in football.

• Coach Tom Loughran has 210 career victories, fourth among active WPIAL coaches behind Bill Cherpak, Bob Palko and Art Walker Jr.

• Zidane Thomas was second in the Northeast Conference with 108 tackles. Pine-Richland’s Jeremiah Hasley led the way with 135 tackles.

• On Oct. 28, Fox Chapel will try to defeat Shaler three seasons in a row for the first time. The Titans, however, lead the all-time series 30-15-1.

ROSTER

No., Name, Pos., Ht./Wt., Cl.

1, Christian Gaston, WR/DB, 5-9/180, Sr.

2, Landyn Moore, WR/DB, 5-8/185, Sr.

3, Will Fera, WR/DB, 5-9/175, Sr.

4, Aiden Aluise, WR/DB, 5-8/170, Sr.

5, Roman Mason, RB/LB, 5-11/210, Sr.

6, Rayquan Smith, WR/DB, 6-4/170, Sr.

7, Matt Fugh, RB/LB, 5-9/190, Sr.

8, Isaac Jacobs, TE/LB, 6-1/180, Jr.

9, Kenny Kidd, WR/DB, 5-8/175, Sr.

10, Ben DeMotte, QB/DB, 5-8/165, Jr.

11, Peter Tran, WR/DB, 6-0/190, Sr.

12, Tyrese Samuels, WR/DB, 6-1/160, Jr.

13, Elliot McCann, QB/LB, 6-3/175, Jr.

14, Victor Nernberg, WR/DB, So.

15, Cooper Hendren, WR/DB, 6-0/140, So.

16, Matthew Begg, QB/LB, 6-3/185, So.

17, Andrew Olando, WR/DB, 5-10/150, Sr.

18, Nathan Yeske, WR/DB, 5-11/160, So.

19, Charlie Lusk, WR/DB, 5-8/145, Sr.

20, Anthony Fourquet, RB/DB, 5-10/165, So.

21, Lincoln Burgess, WR/DB, 5-10/135, So.

22, Jack Visco, TE/LB, 6-0/200, Sr.

23, Henry Stallings, WR/DB, 5-8/150, So.

24, Ben Bonidy, RB/LB, 5-9/150, So.

25, Nolan Childs, TE/LB, 6-0/180, Jr.

26, Caleb Shirk, TE/DB, 6-0/150, So.

27, Liam Koffler, RB/LB, 5-7/180, So.

28, Jack Viti, WR/DB, 5-11/165, So.

29, Adrian Valdez, RB/LB, 5-9/160, Fr.

30, Owen Zaremby, WR/DB, 6-0/145, So.

31, Joe Geller, QB/LB, 6-0/170, Fr.

32, Andrew Kratsa, RB/LB, 5-8/140, Fr.

33, Nathan Johnson, QB/DB, 5-11/140, Fr.

34, Richie Staus, WR/DB, 5-9/147, Fr.

35, Max Melocchi, QB/DB, 6-2/170, Fr.

36, Krisztian Salvador, TE/DL, 5-11/145, Fr.

38, Shane Browell, WR/DB, 5-7/115, So.

39, Alex Tsai, K, 5-7/160, Sr.

40, Harlan Sheehan, K, 5-10/140, Jr.

42, Troy Susnak, TE/LB, 5-9/195, Jr.

43, John Jump, WR/DB, 5-8/130, Fr.

44, Vic River, OL/DL, 5-11/180, Sr.

45, Mason Miles, RB/LB, 6-1/215, Jr.

47, David Shurina, WR/DB, 5-8/105, So.

49, Vinnie Delaney, WR/DB, 6-0/139, Fr.

54, Luca Catone, OL/DL, 5-6/205, So.

55, Luca Poli, TE/LB, 5-7/200, So.

56, Ramadani Mada, OL/LB, 6-2/220, Sr.

58, Nasir Nelson, OL/DL, 6-1/220, Jr.

60, Martin Martinez, OL/DL, 5-7/235, Jr.

62, Darin Davis, OL/DL, 5-8/265, Fr.

63, Blake Kuhn, OL/DL, 6-2/330, So.

65, D’angelo Hamilton, OL/DL, 6-1/290, So.

67, Kaleb Hartman, OL/DL, 5-6/205, Fr.

68, Sean Feczko, OL/DL, 6-4/230, Sr.

69, Kris Bandurski, OL/DL, 6-2/215, So.

70, Rowan O’Connor, OL/DL, 5-6/185, Fr.

71, Andrew Shepard, OL/DL, 6-0/195, Jr.

73, Owen Mettrick, OL/DL, 6-1/225, So.

74, Aidan Elwood, OL/DL, 5-11/200, Fr.

75, Maxwell Farber, OL/DL, 5-10/245, Fr.

76, Liam Foley, OL/LB, 5-9/190, So.

77, Alaric Waters, OL/DL, 6-0/245, Jr.

78, Tom Billings, OL/DL, 6-2/175, Fr.

80, Jeremy Hnatow, TE/DL, 5-11/145, Fr.

81, Parker Burgess, WR/DB, 5-6/115, Fr.

82, Luca Conte, WR/DB, 5-9/145, Fr.

83, Ryan Wang, WR/DB, 5-7/135, Fr.

84, Zach Sullivan, TE/LB, 6-0/175, Sr.

85, AJ Colbert, WR/DB, 5-6/105, Fr.

86, Owen Wilson, RB/DB, 5-6/140, Fr.

87, Chase Hendren, OL/LB, 6-1/155, So.

88, Dylan McCaffrey, WR/LB, 6-3/170, So.

89, Kagan Joyce, WR/DB, 5-5/125, Fr.

Krisztian Salvador

Adrian Valdez

Ryan Wang

Owen Wilson

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