Nathan Smith | Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, TRIB-LIVE
The Fox Chapel playoff drought has ended.
With a 34-18 win on the road over Chartiers Valley, the Foxes clinched the final playoff berth in the Allegheny Nine Conference and are headed to the postseason since the first time since 2014.
“We knew coming into tonight we controlled our destiny,” Fox Chapel coach Tom Loughran said. “The seniors were here when we came in three years ago. They endured a 1-8 season as sophomores and just missed last year.
“This year, we are achieving the goal we set.”
Fox Chapel (5-4, 5-3) has played in only three playoff games over the past decade.
Micah Morris led Fox Chapel with 141 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries, and Nick Gizzo added 89 yards and four touchdowns on 21 carries. The seniors each went over 1,000 yards rushing for the season.
“Without our offensive line, we wouldn’t have 1,000 yards,” Morris said. “(Gizzo) has some speed, and I’m a bigger guy. We can pound it on you all day.”
Korey Simmons intercepted a pass from the Colts’ Reed Bruggeman on the second play of the game. The turnover set up an eight-play, 42-yard drive capped by Gizzo’s 10-yard touchdown run.
After stopping Fox Chapel on a fourth-and-3 late in the second quarter, the Colts (1-8, 1-6) drove 53 yards on six plays, topped off by a Bruggeman 24-yard touchdown pass to Ray Olkosky.
“I liked our physicality,” Chartiers Valley coach Dan Knause said. “We went at it hard this week. We didn’t want to be bullied, and (Fox Chapel) is probably the most physical team in the conference.”
But on the following drive, Morris broke out on a 61-yard run into Chartiers Valley territory. Gizzo later on a 10-yard run as time expired for a 13-6 halftime lead.
“They had all the momentum,” Gizzo said. “And we took it from them and never let it up.”
Fox Chapel extended its lead in the third quarter with a Morris 10-yard TD run.
Chartiers Valley didn’t go away. After a Gizzo 5-yard touchdown run early in the fourth, the Colts scored on a Bruggeman 7-yard pass to Anthony Doyle to cut the Fox Chapel lead to 27-18. Olkosky recovered the ensuing onside kick.
But Jacob Wecht came up with his second interception of the game. Fox Chapel finished with four interceptions.
Gizzo scored his fourth TD on a 10-yard run to seal the win.
Bruggeman led the Chartiers Valley offense with 150 passing yards and three touchdowns.
It was the fourth straight win for the Foxes, but the players agreed they haven’t peaked.
“We’re just hitting out stride,” Gizzo said. “Heinz Field is when we’re going to peak.”