Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Fox Chapel Looks to Senior Duo to Lead Way

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Fox Chapel Looks to Senior Duo to Lead Way

Article excerpt

It felt like two different seasons wrapped into one.

Five consecutive losses to start the season, five wins to close it out. Fox Chapel coach Tom Loughran is quick to point out the many factors behind the reversal, including limiting turnovers, "stupid" penalties, mental errors and missed assignments, but two factors jump out - running back Micah Morris and quarterback Nick Gizzo.

"It was a huge turnaround," quarterback Nick Gizzo said. "Everyone seemed more upbeat, we had more people showing up to our games, everyone wanted to come watch us play. It was something totally different than has been in Fox Chapel in a long time."

The pair, juniors at the time, didn't start for the Foxes until well into the season. Fox Chapel tallied three losses in a row before Morris started the North Hills game, and Gizzo took over at quarterback in that game's second half. Gizzo led a rally, but Fox Chapel couldn't gain enough ground and fell, 35-20, before dropping the next game against Upper St. Clair, 35-0.

After that throttling, though, things quickly changed.

Fox Chapel won five in a row and its offense rolled, blowing out Allegheny Nine opponents Hampton, Chartiers Valley and Plum. Morris rushed for 1,294 yards on 147 carries, averaging 8.8 yards per carry. Gizzo rushed for 887 yards on 135 carries, averaging 6.6 yards per carry.

At .500, the Foxes missed the postseason, but Morris and Gizzo return for their senior seasons to lead the team for another season.

Gizzo's performance in the North Hills game earned him the starting position, Loughran said, and he'll be back at that spot this fall. Morris became the starter and garnered more carries once Loughran decided he didn't want to continue the back by committee approach, he said.

The pair took it from there.

"You never know how kids are going to perform until they actually get in there and get live action, and both of those kids, when they were put under the bright lights, performed admirably," Loughran said. …

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