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Tuesday November 24 2015
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Comcast Game of the Week: Fox Chapel vs. Latrobe

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Fox Chapel and Latrobe, young and inexperienced football teams this season, are still looking for a breakout week from any of their players. In two games this season, both teams have not scored more than seven points (25 points combined by both teams in two games).

Both teams have the potential to score points, but their early-season matchups have been less than ideal.

Fox Chapel started week one against Pine-Richland and was dropped by a score of 28-5. The Foxes didn’t reach the end-zone all game, and the only offensive score came off the foot of Ben Mroz, a field goal from 42 yards. The defense notched a safety but couldn’t do much else against a talented Pine-Richland offense.

Last week, Fox Chapel was put up against one of the top teams in the state: North Allegheny. The only score for the Foxes came from junior RB Nigel Garnett (5’8”, 170 lbs.), a 37 yard TD run in the second quarter. North Allegheny showed why they are one of the premier teams in the state, dominating both sides of the ball and forcing Fox Chapel into fundamental mistakes.

Despite these two setbacks, Fox Chapel is still looking to churn out a productive season. The Foxes haven’t been competitive in the last few years, but the players on the 2012 team have the potential to turn things around.

Identical twins Nigel (RB/DB) and Chad Garnett (5’8”, 170 lbs.) are two of the players the Foxes are looking to for leadership. Brandon Mitchell (6’6”, 200 lbs., junior QB/WR), a transfer from Penn Hills last year, is another player Fox Chapel is looking to have a breakout year from. All three players are extremely quick on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Mitchell has even been scouted by Division I coaches for his speed and agility.

Fox Chapel’s conference, featuring North Allegheny and Central Catholic, is one of the toughest in the WPIAL. Wins will be hard to come by, and Latrobe Area is one of the teams the Foxes will need to be competitive against.

Given the result of Latrobe’s first two games of the season, Fox Chapel has a shot to do just that.

Latrobe opened up week one against a heavily favored Gateway team. Gateway, known for having one of the stingiest defenses in the WPIAL, put a 61-6 beat down on the Wildcats. Gateway completely dominated on both sides of the ball and forced a young Latrobe team to commit a lot of fundamental mistakes.

In week two, Latrobe was crushed by neighbor and long-time rival, Hempfield, 43-7. The only score came off a 22 yard TD run by RB Lucas Weltz. Junior QB Logan Carns led the team with 83 rushing yards on 16 carries throughout the game. Again, fundamental mistakes killed the Wildcats.

Fourth year coach Ray Reitz, however, is looking to turn the season around against Fox Chapel. Despite missing the playoffs in 2011, Latrobe sported a 5-4 record and won three out of their last four games on the year.

This year, the Wildcats are looking to junior Logan Carns and two running backs, Craig Stevens and Chris Mucci, for the bulk of their offensive production.

One of Latrobe’s best runners, Robert Vasinko (509 total yards, 7.5 per carry in 2011), was injured in week one vs. Gateway and is doubtful for the game against Fox Chapel.

Greater Latrobe over Fox Chapel, 28-7. Both teams have young and inexperienced offenses, but QB Logan Carns and RB Lucas Weltz will have big games on the ground and put away the Foxes early on.

Neil Walker’s contract expires after the 2016 season. The Pirates second baseman is due for a big raise in arbitration this offseason—likely to $10 million—and signing him to a long-term extension will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $12-$15 million annually.
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