Enthusiasm growing in Fox Chapel football program

Sunday, June 30, 2024 | 11:01 AM

Dave Leasure saw a referendum on how the Fox Chapel community was responding to the rebuilding process. During the early part of summer, Leasure said the high school program saw more kids come out for workouts and commit to playing than last year.

During Leasure’s first summer in charge, he said the Foxes went into August with 62 kids. This year, Fox Chapel has 78 players who have committed to workouts and expressed interest in playing.

Leasure even chuckled about the thought that weather could scare some athletes away.

“What do they do in Florida and Texas when it is 95 (degrees) ?” Leasure said. “They practice. Obviously, we take extra precautions. We give a lot more breaks and spend less time on the field. We do our best with the bigger guys and keep an eye on them when they are working and running.”

Leasure said the program has spent a lot of time on outreach. The middle school team held a camp at the high school’s facility. Fox Chapel also saw a new youth football program start, the Fox Chapel Little Foxes, which is solely for students in the Fox Chapel area.

“Now, you are getting down to second grade through seventh,” Leasure said. “Numbers there have improved a great deal. We’ve been involved with clinics for them.”

Fox Chapel players used to primarily come through Guyasuta Football & Cheer, which has been around for more than 40 years. There are still players who participate in both organizations.

“All of these things will definitely help down the road,” Leasure said. “I’m excited about where we are as a program. A lot of kids played at Guyasuta, which has served the district well. They also take kids in other districts. You would have four districts on one team. Since we made the switch, it’s 100 percent Fox Chapel kids participating. In the seventh grade class, you’d go from six kids starting to 19 or 20. That could make a huge difference.”

Regarding the high school team, Leasure feels that another year with the coaching staff will have a major impact on the field. Fox Chapel will be eager to put an end to a lengthy losing streak this season.

The Foxes haven’t won since they upset Upper St. Clair in the 2021 WPIAL Class 5A playoffs. Fox Chapel has lost 20 straight games.

“We’re light years ahead,” Leasure said. “Technique-wise, they all have their concepts down for the Wing-T. Even the ninth graders that came up are experienced with it from the middle school level. We are focused a lot more offensively on what we’re doing week to week. We are teaching all of the techniques.”


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