A-K Valley football Q&A with Fox Chapel's Nick Gizzo
The Fox Chapel offense has found its stride, and senior quarterback Nick Gizzo is leading the way.
Gizzo piled up a school-record 312 rushing yards on just 14 carries in Fox Chapel's 42-6 win over Allegheny Nine Conference rival Moon last Friday.
“Nick did a great job running the zone reads,” Fox Chapel coach Tom Loughran said. “We went into the game wanting to throw the ball more than we did. Once we were clicking in the running game, we just stuck with what was working.”
The 6-foot-2, 189-pound Gizzo scored on touchdown runs of 21, 59 and 80 yards to help lead his team to an important conference win. He also connected with Andrew Witt for a 23-yard touchdown pass in the win.
He's a threat to air it out. Gizzo has a modest, but effective, 572 passing yards to go with his three passing touchdowns to add balance to the Foxes' attack.
“We want to be able to run the ball first,” Loughran said. “Our first priority is to establish running the football. We want to make teams pay if they overcommit to the running game.”
Gizzo leads Fox Chapel (2-4, 2-3) in rushing yards (762) and touchdowns (11). He has three 100-plus-yard rushing performances and averages 6.2 yards per carry.
As far as leadership goes, Gizzo acts as the field general in the Foxes' no-huddle, up-tempo offense where he calls out the formations and alignments from his shotgun formation.
“He is the one that controls our offense,” Loughran said. “He's done a great job of being in tune with our game plan. His decision making process is the most important thing that he takes to the field.”
When did you begin playing football?
I began playing in the third grade.
How did it feel to lead your team to a win over Moon?
It felt great. We knew we were a team that could play like that. We just had to get over the hump and learn how to finish games.
What was the bus ride back from Moon like?
It was awesome. We were all really excited.
How did you feel Saturday morning?
I felt sore but accomplished and couldn't wait to watch the game (film).
Are you more of a quarterback or a running back?
I like to think of myself as a running quarterback. I like to run, but I can throw when it's necessary.
How important was Friday's win over Moon?
It was very important for the morale of our team, and I think it's gonna be the turning point of our season.
Where do the Foxes need to improvemost to make a run at the playoffs?
I think we need to stop hurting ourselves. That is what lost us three games so far.
What is the strength of this year's team?
Running the ball behind our really good offensive line and our tough, hard-nosed defense.
Why do you wear No. 11?
There's no real reason why, I just used to wear it when I was younger and just grew to like it.
Who is your favorite football player?
Peyton Manning. I've loved him ever since I was little. His jersey was the first (one) I ever had.
What are your favorite college and NFL football teams?
The Steelers and Pitt, if I had to pick favorites.
What's your nickname?
I don't really have a nickname. I just get called by my last name a lot or I get called “Giz.”
Are you receiving any attention from colleges?
Yeah, a few colleges. Nothing very impressive or big-time, though. I'm hoping for more soon and after the season.
William Whalen is a freelance writer.