Although Friday’s game between Connellsville and visiting Fox Chapel was nonsection, it carried a lot of weight for the potential wild-card race heating up in Class 5A.
For Connellsville, that’s not a good thing.
The Falcons missed their chance to get a real advantage in the hunt, and the Foxes gave themselves a serious shot to make the playoffs thanks to their 45-15 win at Connellsville Stadium.
Fox Chapel’s Sam Brown rushed for 155 yards and four touchdowns on 26 carries to lead the Foxes (2-5).
“When we prepare for any game, the first objective is to run the football and be able to stop the run,” Fox Chapel coach Tom Loughran said. “We think we did a pretty good job of that.”
The Foxes did a lot of things well, including throwing the ball. Quarterback Shane Susnak threw for 211 yards and two scores, and Korey Simmons (110 receiving yards) and Graham Childs (109 receiving yards) each caught a touchdown.
“We put guys in position to make plays, and the kids made plays,” Loughran said.
While the Foxes played well on both sides of the ball, the Falcons were not nearly as effective.
Connellsville missed a long pass on the first play from scrimmage, and it seemed as though it never recovered.
“It was awful,” Connellsville coach Marko Thomas said. “We had a lot of mistakes. We took 10 steps back tonight. A lot of the things we worked on all week, we screwed up in the game. It was just a bad game, and if you can’t tackle, you’re not going to win.”
Connellsville thwarted a potential Fox Chapel scoring drive in the first quarter when Gage Gillott picked off a pass in the end zone. However, before the quarter was through, the Foxes put together another drive that ended on Brown’s 11-yard touchdown run.
The Falcons (2-5) tried to bounce back but had a scoring drive stopped when Fox Chapel’s Alex Wecht came up with an interception.
The Foxes converted the turnover into points as Timothy Johnston scored on a 12-yard run to make it 13-0.
Gillott got the Falcons on the board with a 22-yard field goal, but before the half was through, the Foxes struck two more times. Simmons caught a 47-yard scoring strike from Susnak before Brown scored on a 2-yard run with 2 seconds left before halftime. That made it 25-3.
Fox Chapel came out and set the tone in the second half with a nine-play drive that ended with a 4-yard touchdown run from Brown, his third of the game.
“(Brown) ran like a man, and we just weren’t going to tackle him,” Thomas said.
The Foxes put the game away when Childs caught a 56-yard touchdown pass from Susnak.
Before the third quarter was through, Connellsville’s Blake Lancaster returned a kickoff 89 yards for a score.
The teams traded touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Brown scored on another 2-yard run before David Marchewka raced around the right side for a 46-yard score.
Fox Chapel is home to Mars next week.
Jason Black is a freelance writer.