Fox Chapel looks to ride deeper roster into postseason

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Thursday, August 19, 2021 | 6:01 AM


After a brief interlude as a playoff contender last season following a two-game winning streak, Fox Chapel fell back and missed a WPIAL playoff spot.

But with a number of returning players and the expansion of the playoff field back to the pre-pandemic four teams from each conference, the Foxes feel they could be playing some November football.

Fox Chapel finished the season 2-4 in the rugged Northeast Conference and went 2-5 overall.

One good sign was the specter of running out of uniforms just before camp began with 68 rostered players.

“A school our size should have 20 to 25 kids per class,” Fox Chapel coach Tom Loughran said. “That has not been the case since I’ve been here. We’ve been averaging 12 to 18 per class. This year, we have 25 freshmen, so that’s excellent.”

An emphasis on how the middle school operates its program appears to be paying off, with measures such as inviting those players to varsity workouts.

The Foxes, however, have some quality players on the varsity level. Six offensive starters return, and seven are back on defense.

Two are those competing for the starting job at quarterback. Seniors Collin Dietz and Khi’Lee Patterson are battling for the starting position with sophomore Ben DeMotte waiting in the wings.

“All three of those guys have their own strengths and their own weaknesses,” Loughran said. “So we’ll try to work them in the best we can.”

Last year, then-senior quarterback Justin Rice was injured midseason after passing for 650 yards. Dietz came on to throw for 649 yards after that with Patterson also seeing some action.

No matter who gets under center in the season’s opener against Peters Township, neither will have the benefit of throwing to Lorenzo Jenkins, who has transferred to Blackhawk.

If Dietz gets the nod, Patterson will move to wide receiver.

“I’ll play anywhere and do pretty much what I can to help the team win,” Patterson said. “I feel it’s important to be a leader, and the quarterback has pretty much control of the game.”

Also returning at receiver is Colin Kwiatkowski, who caught passes totaling 285 yards last season. Fox Chapel is working on a two-tight end set during the preseason workouts with senior Anthony Miles a leader there.

Zidane Thomas is set at running back after rushing for 245 yards in the abbreviated 2020 campaign.

The line will be anchored by returnees Caleb Kulikowski and Nick Korbe.

Thomas also will play middle linebacker on defense with Miles and Kwiatkowski on the outside. Loughran feels the defensive line is a strength with Kulikowski at nose tackle, flanked by Korbe and Jason Williams in the 3-4 alignment.

Maurice Sampson will play at either a safety or a linebacker with the responsibility of covering some great playmakers in the conference.

“It’s a lot of pressure, but I’ll get it,” Sampson said. “We can get into playoff contention if can play as a family, but last year, we should have played better than we did.”

Loughran has welcomed new assistants Greg Caprara, Dave Horvat, Gary Davis and former all-stater Adam Bisnowaty, joining holdovers John Alerich, John Moritz, Mark Shemanski and Vince Altieri.

Fox Chapel

Coach: Tom Loughran

2020 record: 2-5, 2-3 in Class 5A Northeast Conference

All-time record: 221-356-8

SCHEDULE

Date, Opponent, Time

8.27 at Peters Township, 7

9.3 Hampton, 7

9.10 at Plum, 7

9.17 at Franklin Regional, 7

9.24 Moon, 7

10.1 Shaler*, 7

10.8 at Kiski Area*, 7

10.15 Penn Hills*, 7

10.22 at North Hills*, 7

10.29 Pine-Richland*, 7

*Conference game

STATISTICAL LEADERS

Passing: Justin Rice*

48-94, 650 yards 8 TDs

Receiving: Lorenzo Jenkins**

31-501, 7 TDs

Rushing: Zidane Thomas

60-245, 1 TD

*Graduated

**Transferred

FAST FACTS

• This will be the 60th anniversary season for Fox Chapel. The Foxes began play in 1961 by taking over Aspinwall High School’s schedule.

• The school gets its name from German settler John Fox, who settled the area in 1831. His daughter, Eliza Fox Teats, built a Methodist “chapel” in 1892.

• Fox Chapel has won conference titles in 1977, 1983, 1984 and 1997. The school has made the WPIAL playoffs 12 times. Its last playoff win was over North Allegheny, 35-6, in the 1997 quarterfinals.

• Coach Tom Loughran begins his 39th coaching season with 205 career victories.

ROSTER

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

1, Christian Gaston, WR/DB, 5-9/175, Jr.

2, Landyn Moore, WR/DB, 5-8/195, Jr.

3, Zidane Thomas, RB/LB, 6-0/205, Sr.

4, Khi’lee Patterson, WR/DB, 5-8/150, Sr.

5. Roman Mason, RB/LB, 5-11/235, Jr.

6, Rayquan Smith, WR/DB, 6-3/170, Jr.

7, Collin Dietz, QB/LB, 5-10/180, Sr.

8, Peter Tran, WR/DB, 5-9/180, Jr.

9, Kenny Kidd, WR/DB, 5-8/200, Jr.

10, Ben DeMotte, QB/DB, 5-7/150, So.

11, Max Germanos, WR/DB, 6-2/160, Sr.

12, Tyrese Samuels, WR/DB, 5-11/150, So.

13, Colin Kwiatkowski, WR/LB, 6-5/185, Sr.

14, Will Fera, WR/DB, 5-9/155, Jr.

15, Jake DeMotte, WR/DB, 5-6/160, Sr.

16, William Schlegel, QB/LB, 6-0/155, Fr.

17, Ian Chamberlain, WR/DB, 5-11/160, Sr.

18, Braden Slater, WR/DB, 6-0/155, So.

19, Lincoln Burgess, WR/DB, 5-8/125, Fr.

20, Matt Fugh, RB/LB, 5-6/180, Jr.

21, Maurice Sampson-Schulter, RB/LB, 5-7/185, Sr.

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

23, Henry Stallings, WR/DB, 5-6/125, Fr.

24, Zeidon Davis-Bismil, TE/LB, 6-0/200, Sr.

25, Aiden Aluise, WR/DB, 5-6/175, Jr.

29, Kyle Ong, RB/DB, 5-5/125, Fr.

30, Christian Risinger, WR/DB, 5-5/140, Fr.

31, Matthew Begg, QB/LB, 6-3/175, Fr.

32, Nolan Childs, TE/LB, 6-0/180, So.

33, Anthony Miles, TE/LB, 6-0/190, Sr.

34, Oliver Terrick, WR/DB, 6-0/160, Fr.

35, Isaac Jacobs, TE/LB, 6-2/165, So.

36, Cooper Hendren, WR/DB, 5-10/120, Fr.

38, Shane Browell, WR/DB, 5-5/100, Fr.

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

41, Owen Zaremby, WR/DB, 5-11/140, Fr.

42, Troy Susnak, TE/LB, 5-8/190, So.

43, Ethan Gale, Fr.

44, Dylan McCaffrey, WR/LB, 6-2/160, Fr.

45, Mason Miles, RB/LB, 6-1/210, So.

55, Eron Fowler, OL/DL, 5-7/140, Sr.

56, Ramadani Mada, OL/LB, 6-1/215, Jr.

57, Vic River, OL/DL, 5-8/190, Jr.

58, Owen Mettrick, OL/DL, 6-1/220, Fr.

59, Caleb Kulikowski, OL/DL, 6-2/200, Sr.

60, Martin Martinez, OL/DL, 5-7/225, So.

61, Brody Oxford, OL/DL, 5-8/210, So.

62, Kyle Moreira, OL/DL, 5-5/225, Fr.

63, Blake Kuhn, OL/DL, 6-2/290, Fr.

64, Ryan Browell, OL/DL, 5-8/235, Sr.

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

66, Chase Hendren, OL/LB, 5-11/140, Fr.

68, Sean Fedzco, OL/DL, 6-4/225, Jr.

69, Jason Williams-Anderson, TE/DL, 6-5/200, Sr.

70, Andrew Michalak, OL/DL, 6-2/245, Jr.

71, Kris Bandurski, OL/DL, 6-0/220, Fr.

73, Nick Korbe, OL/DL, 6-4/225, Sr.

76, Liam Foley, OL/LB, 5-9/180, Fr.

77, Alaric Waters, OL/DL, 5-11, 240, So.

80, Elliot McCann, QB/LB, 6-1/165, So.

81, Caleb Shirk, TE/DB, 5-11/140, Fr.

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

86, Luca Poli, TE/LB, 5-7/190, Fr.

Ben Bonidy, 5-7/125, Fr.

Luca Cantone, Fr.

Daniel Kwiatkowski, Fr.

Jacob Stahl, 5-10/180, Sr.

Jack Viti, 5-8/140, Fr.

Nathan Yeske, 5-8/150, Fr.

Jacob Zacharias, Jr.

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