Friday, October 18, 2019, TRIB-LIVE
It didn’t start great, but with its playoff hopes on the line, Fox Chapel rebounded quickly from an early turnover and ran away with its Class 5A Northern Conference matchup against Armstrong, 41-14.
After Sam Brown fumbled on Fox Chapel’s second play of the game, the defense forced an Armstrong fumble on the next snap. Colin Kwiatkowski scooped it up and scored to push the Foxes (4-5, 3-3) ahead, and they never looked back.
“The defense did a nice job of picking us up when we were down tonight,” Fox Chapel quarterback Shane Susnak said. “We turned the ball over twice in the red zone, which is not ideal, but our defense did a great job and they helped us keep the momentum.”
Armstrong (1-7, 0-6) bounced back quickly after Fox Chapel took the lead. Junior quarterback Cole Brown stitched 12 plays together and marched his team to Fox Chapel’s 14-yard line.
With their backs against the wall, the Fox Chapel defense stepped up for the second time in the first quarter. Sam Brown sacked Cole Brown on consecutive plays to force a fourth-and-25.
Cole Brown took a shot to the right side of the end zone with a deep pass, but Susnak came away with an interception to get his offense back on the field.
“We would’ve liked to finish that,” Armstrong coach Frank Fabian said. “We felt good, we thought we had a good plan, but unfortunately (Fox Chapel’s) defense just got after us in the first half.”
Fox Chapel’s offense took over from there. Susnak led his team on a 10-play, 80-yard drive, where he completed passes of 18 and 21 yards to put them on the edge of the red zone. Sam Brown finished it off with a 16-yard scamper and a 5-yard plunge to put his team up 14-0.
The offensive pressure carried into the second half. Susnak found Zidane Thomas on the second play for a 59-yard touchdown. Then, after Cole Brown found Justin Waugaman for a 23-yard strike, Thomas answered with a 1-yard touchdown run to cap a six-play drive.
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound sophomore was one of three running backs who found the end zone for Fox Chapel. Five backs carried the ball and produced 155 yards and three touchdowns.
“We have multiple guys that can pose a threat to any defense,” senior running back Alex Wecht said. “Our offensive line is starting to do well, so we should start to be a threat on offense and defense.”
After a 42-0 loss to Upper St. Clair on Sept. 27, coach Tom Loughran told Fox Chapel it had to start stacking wins. Since then, the Foxes have won three in a row, and they have one more to get next Friday.
“Our goal was to win the last four, and now we have three of them,” Loughran said. “We have one more opportunity this coming Friday against Shaler, and we want to take care of that, fulfill our goal and then see where we fall in playoffs.”
After Kiski Area beat Mars, 10-7, on Friday, all three teams are tied for third place at 3-3. The Cavaliers hold a tiebreaker over Mars and Fox Chapel, and Fox Chapel holds a tiebreaker over Mars after the Foxes’ win last week.
Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter