Altoona High coach Tom Palfey sat on a bench outside the Mountain Lions' locker room, disappointment written all over his face.
A member of the WPIAL's rugged Big East Conference, Altoona was winless in 2010 but figured to do better this season.
A 55-13 win over neighboring rival Hollidaysburg in the 2011 opener gave Altoona fans reason to celebrate, albeit short lived as McKeesport thumped the Lions, 47-7, in Week 2.
The Lions returned to Mansion Park on Friday night to host Fox Chapel in the Big East Conference lidlifter, and many Altoona followers felt this was one they could put in the win column.
It didn't happen, though. The Foxes scored three times in the second quarter and went on to a 28-14 victory.
"Greatly disappointing," Palfey said.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Altoona’s Dion Brown is brought down by Fox Chapel’s Anthony Bonaroti on Friday night at Mansion Park.
"The defense did enough to keep us in the game, but we didn't capitalize on offense," Palfey said. "That's not acceptable."
The Lions appeared confused much of the night and Palfey attributed some of it to the number of injuries that have hit the team in three games.
"With all of our injuries, [many players] aren't getting enough reps [in practice]," he said. "[There were] too many missed assignments so maybe we have too much [offense and defense] in [the playbook]."
Two turnovers hurt the Lions also.
"That's something we hadn't done in our first two games but it hurt us big time tonight," he said. "We had some good things going early, but dropped passes, snapping early, leaving late, that kind of stuff, is either a sign of too much in or not enough reps and that must mean we're overloaded.
"We may have to cut back and get better at what we're doing."
Altoona's Danny Moyer raced 69 yards for a first-quarter touchdown, but things turned in the second quarter when the Foxes scored on three long plays - a 53-yard run by Renorvio Holloman and a pair of TD passes from Alex Romagno to Nigel Garnett (39 yards) and Ryan Frankert (22).
Garnett was on the receiving end of a 48-yard scoring pass from backup freshman QB Billy Urso in the fourth before Tyler Palfey and Rafeeq Barnes hooked up on a 25-yard scoring play late in the game.
It was the first win in three games for Fox Chapel, which is coached by former Penn State and Pittsburgh Steeler linebacker Eric Ravotti.
"It feels good, but I wish we could quit making so many mistakes," Ravotti, the first-year coach, said. "Luckily, we were able to overcome some of them tonight."
The Foxes were guilty of several mistakes while losing two non-conference games to open the season.
"In the first two games, we weren't able to overcome [mistakes]," Ravotti said. "Hopefully, we took a step forward tonight."
The Foxes survived 10 penalties (100 yards) and two lost two fumbles Friday.
"We've got some skilled athletes, but we've still got to take care of a lot of discipline things," Ravotti said. "Plus, the turnovers are still a bit of a pain for us.
"We're getting there, but we've still got a long road ahead of us."
Game notes: Altoona senior quarterback Lou Bettwy was knocked unconscious when sacked with 7:50 to play. He was quickly attended to by medical personnel and gave a thumbs up sign to the crowd while being carted to an ambulance for transportation to a local hospital. ... Lions travel to Kiski Area next Friday.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Fox Chapel0 21 0 7 - 28
Altoona7 0 0 7 - 14
A-Moyer 69 run (Caracciolo kick), 3:50.
FC-Holloman 53 run (kick failed), 10:32.
FC-Garnett 39 pass from Romagno (Bonaroti pass from Romagno), 6:52.
FC-Frankert 22 pass from Romagno (Mroz kick), 4:07.
FC-Garnett 48 pass from Urso (Mroz kick), 8:17.
A-R. Barnes 25 pass from Palfey (Caracciolo kick), 4:29.
RUSHING: Fox Chapel-Garnett 12-107, Holloman 7-70, Faulkner 6-27, Dunlap 1-1, Morgan 1-(-5), Romagno (2-(-20). Altoona-Moyer 21-143, R. Barnes 4-15, Brown 10-11, Johnson 2-9, Palfey 1-(-3), Bettwy 7-(-6).
PASSING: Fox Chapel-Romago 4-10-0-83, Urso 1-1-0-48. Altoona-Bettwy 6-12-0-55, Palfey 3-3-0-54.
RECEIVING: Fox Chapel-Garnett 3-111, Frankert 1-22, Holloman 1-(-4). Altoona-Brown 3-42, R. Barnes 2-30, Yon 2-29, Diviney 1-13, Moyer 1-(-5).
INTERCEPTIONS: Fox Chapel-Wirginis.