Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Fox Chapel a Surprise Qualifier

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Fox Chapel a Surprise Qualifier

Article excerpt

Stuck in a conference featuring two preseason top five teams in Class AAAA and two more that would make it there as the season progressed, the promise of a WPIAL playoff berth for the Fox Chapel football team admittedly had to appear bleak.

At a school that excels in several sports, the Foxes had struggled on the gridiron for years, a spell filled with losing records and seasons that ended near (or at) the bottom of the Northern Eight Conference standings.

With just one game remaining in the 2014 regular season, though, that script has been flipped and those expectations have changed. What would have raised more than a few eyebrows in the preseason is now a reality -- Fox Chapel is headed to the playoffs.

At 4-4 and coming off a 21-0 shutout of Butler Area last Friday, the Foxes have qualified for the WPIAL's postseason for the first time since 2008.

What's perhaps been the most surprising aspect of their season has been the timing of it. From 2009-13, they went a combined 10-36 and did not win more than three games in any of those seasons. Most recently, in 2013, they had a 2-7 record they achieved while giving up just shy of 34.6 points per game.

Not even a year later, that number is down about 10 points per game and an offense piloted by quarterback Billy Urso (1,401 yards passing) has maintained a similar level of production.

In the process, coach Eric Ravotti and his team have been able to defeat the likes of Seneca Valley and even play close with North Allegheny. And after doing so, the next step now awaits them.

Fulmore reaching 4,000

Almost immediately after McGuffey's James Duchi became the 61st player in WPIAL history to rush for 4,000 career yards on Oct. 11, a discussion started surrounding how much such an honor means anymore, considering the sheer number of people who have accomplished it. …

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