Fox Chapel gets fresh start with new coach

Thursday, August 10, 2023 | 11:12 PM

There’s no reason for the Fox Chapel football program to carry forward last season’s frustrations. Following an 0-10 season, there was significant turnover in the program.

Longtime coach Tom Loughran stepped down, and Fox Chapel brought in former Springdale coach and Foxes assistant Dave Leasure to lead the program. Leasure, who was Fox Chapel’s defensive coordinator from 2005-10, spent last season on Freeport’s staff.

The Yellowjackets finished 9-1 and reached the WPIAL semifinals.

“Last year was enjoyable for me personally at Freeport,” Leasure said. “I don’t have any of the baggage from last year. It’s a fresh start. Last year doesn’t matter. … It’s hard to build a positive mindset when you are mercy ruled in seven out of 10 games. It’s hard to see the silver lining there. With a new start, it’s easier.”

Fox Chapel will have time to ease into the schedule with four nonconference games before Northeast Conference play starts. The Foxes will open with Peters Township on Aug. 25 on the road. Fox Chapel’s first conference game will be a trip to defending PIAA Class 5A champion Pine-Richland on Sept. 22.

Leasure said he has enjoyed going through the transition again. He is working on setting up a program based on accountability. Fox Chapel started camp with 65 kids, and Leasure felt comfortable that all would still be around when the season started.

“It’s been hectic, but it’s been enjoyable in large part because we have great kids,” Leasure said. “I see a lot of character. (Athletic director) Mike O’Brien, the community and the boosters have been supportive with the changes I want to make.”

One thing that Leasure will enjoy is having continuity under center. Fox Chapel quarterback Ben DeMotte is returning after passing for 1,191 yards and six touchdowns last season.

Leasure said DeMotte has leadership qualities that his teammates respond to.

“He can run, he can throw, and he’s mentally tough,” Leasure said. “The most impressive thing was as many beatings as he took last year, he never yelled at teammates or pointed fingers. He’s the epitome of what a leader should be.”

Wide receiver/defensive back Tyrese Samuels finished with 649 receiving yards on 39 catches. Victor Nernberg, Kellan Bleier, Anthony Fourquet and Caleb Shirk should make an impact at running back. Max Melocchi will see some time at quarterback.

Fox Chapel will also have linemen Blake Kuhn and Kris Bandurski and tight end Luca Poli back.

Leasure said that the offense will be a mesh of different philosophies.

“We’re going to be Wing-T in philosophy like we were at Springdale, Freeport and Saltsburg,” Leasure said. “You’ll see that whether we are under center or in the shotgun.”

Fox Chapel will also see five starters return on defense.

Troy Susnak (LB), Bandurski (DT), Mason Miles (LB), Isaac Jacobs (DE) and D’Angelo Hamilton (NG) will all be tasked to take on key roles.

Leasure said he is excited to get Fox Chapel back on the path to the playoffs. He knows there will be several important steps for the Foxes to get there.

“We want the kids to be in the weight room for summer workouts,” Leasure said. “Once they are in there, they are expected to perform at a certain level. I think once we get that consistently, the other things will take care of itself.”

Fox Chapel

Coach: Dave Leasure

2022 record: 0-10, 0-5 in Class 5A Northeast Conference

All-time record: 226-373-8


Date, Opponent, Time

8.25 at Peters Township, 7

9.1 at Plum, 7

9.8 Norwin, 7

9.15 at Upper St. Clair, 7

9.22 at Pine-Richland*, 7

9.29 North Hills*, 7

10.6 at Penn Hills*, 7

10.13 at Woodland Hills, 7

10.20 Kiski Area, 7

10.27 Shaler*, 7

*Conference game


Passing: Ben DeMotte

94-207 1,191 yards, 6 TDs

Receiving: Tyrese Samuels

39-649 yards

Rushing: Matthew Fugh

105-379 yards


• Foxes coach Tom Loughran stepped down last December after leading the team to one playoff win during his eight season in charge.

• Fox Chapel coach Dave Leasure worked last season with Freeport’s offense, which produced more than 35 points per game.

• The Foxes upset Upper St. Clair in the 2021 WPIAL playoffs.

• Fox Chapel has lost 11 straight games.

Fox Chapel

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

2, Nolan Childs, RB/LB, 6-1/168, Sr.

3, Anthony Fourquet, RB/DB, 5-10/171, Jr.

4, Cooper Hendren, RB/DB, 6-1/154, Jr.

5, Adrian Valdez, RB/DB, 5-9/159, So.

7, Jacob Schapira, QB/LB, 5-8/151, Fr.

8, Isaac Jacobs, TE/DL, 6-0/189, Sr.

9, Nathan Johnson, QB/DB, 6-0/143, So.

10, Ben DeMotte, QB/DB, 5-9/172, Sr.

11, Max Melocchi, QB/DB, 6-3/184, So.

12, Tyrese Samuels, WR/DB, 6-0/152, Sr.

15, Joe Geller, RB/LB, 6-1/175, So.

18, Abdul Hamadi, RB/DB, 5-10/145, Fr.

19, Lincoln Burgess, WR/DB, 5-10/141, Jr.

20, Kellan Bleier, RB/LB, 5-9/170, Jr.

21, Jack Viti, RB/DL, 5-11/168, Jr.

22, John Jump, RB/DB, 5-10/135, So.

23, Owen Wilson, RB/LB, 5-8/145, So.

24, Victor Nernberg, RB/LB, 5-10/179, Jr.

25, Ryan Wang, RB/LB, 5-7/143, So.

26, Luca Conte, RB/DB, 5-9/147, So.

27, Carson Festa, RB/LB, 5-10/148, Fr.

28, Richie Status, WR/DB, 5-10/152, So.

29, Parker Burgess, WR/DB, 5-10/137, So.

31, Sharu Cehum, WR/DB, 5-9/132, Fr.

32, Ben Bonidy, RB/LB, 5-8/151, Jr.

33, Caleb Shirk, RB/LB, 6-0/173, Jr.

34, Sincere Evans, RB/LB, 5-8/163, Fr.

37, Sullivan Slater, RB/LB, 5-7/155, Fr.

38, Shane Browell, WR/DB, 5-8/131, Jr.

39, Brady Givens, RB/LB, 5-8/142, Fr.

41, Juan Murray, RB/LB, 5-9/156, Fr.

42, Troy Susnak, TE/LB, 5-10/219, Sr.

43, Dylan Calig, WR/DB, 5-7/144, So.

44, Vince Delaney, TE/DL, 6-0/168, So.

45, Mason Miles, RB/LB, 6-0/216, Sr.

46, Quincy Keeton, WR/DB, 5-8/129, Fr.

50, Isaiah Baker, OL/DL, 5-9/259, Fr.

52, Liam Koffler, OL/LB, 5-9/196, Jr.

53, Andrew Shepard, OL/DL, 6-1/193, Sr.

55, Luca Poli, OL/LB, 5-9/207, Jr.

56, Jeremy Hnatow, OL/DL, 5-10/176, So.

57, Torrin Gniewkoski, OL/DL, 5-8/156, Fr.

61, Ethan Strain, OL/DL, 5-9/215, Fr.

63, Blake Kuhn, OL/DL, 6-3/305, Jr.

64, Gavin Hubbard, OL/DL, 5-8/158, Fr.

65, D’Angelo Hamilton, OL/DL, 5-01/282, Jr.

66, Cole Hendren, OL/DL, 5-9/155, Fr.

67, Caleb Hartman, OL/DL, 5-8/214, So.

68, Dylan Sneider, OL/DL, 6-4/265, Fr.

69, Kris Bandurski, OL/DL, 6-3/249, Jr.

70, Rowan O’Connor, OL/DL, 5-10/208, So.

71, Noah Finch, OL/DL, 5-9/238, Fr.

73, Owen Mettrick, OL/DL, 6-3/227, Jr.

74, Aiden Elwood, OL/DL, 6-1/226, So.

75, Collin Neff, OL/DL, 6-3/222, Fr.

76, Liam Foley, OL/DL, 5-10/207, Jr.

77, Alaric Waters, OL/DL, 5-11/234, Sr.

78, Thomas Billings, OL/DL, 6-2/207, So.

79, Chester Gilman, OL/DL, 5-8/230, So.

81, Owen Zaremby, WR/DB, 6-0/159, Jr.

82, Nick Seifried, TE/LB, 6-1/183, Fr.

85, Tristan Blum, WR/DB, 6-2/140, Fr.

86, Nathan Yeske, WR/DB, 6-0/168, Jr.

87, Chase Hendren, TE/DL, 6-1/160, Jr.

88, Dylan McCaffrey, TE/LB, 6-1/167, Jr.

89, Shane Snyder, WR/DB, 5-7/135, Fr.


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