Fred Mozzocio brought a motto to Neshannock in the form of an acronym that was foreign to its football program.
WIN: What’s Important Now.
That’s why Mozzocio sees no need to mention that Clairton has won more WPIAL championships (10) than Neshannock has playoff appearances (seven) before their Class A semifinal.
“Our kids know who Clairton is: Clairton is the next opponent we have. That’s what we’re looking at them as,” Mozzocio said. “We don’t care how many WPIAL titles they have, just like they don’t care that we’ve never won.
“That’s all that needs to be said. We don’t care about anything else Friday night. Anything else is irrelevant.”
Clairton (11-0) has been the most dominant team in the WPIAL, which makes Neshannock (11-0) the biggest underdog in these semifinals. The Lancers, once the laughingstock of Lawrence County, also might have the best chance to pull an upset.
Two years ago, eight players from Neshannock’s senior class played Clairton tough in a 37-7 semifinal loss. Those seniors are 30-5 in three seasons, the best run in history at a school that lost 28 consecutive from 2000-02.
“That’s something we remind them about: Today, when people in Lawrence County say ‘Neshannock football,’ there’s still a little chuckle behind it,” Mozzocio said. “Even going undefeated this year, you hear people second-guessing this team and saying, ‘They’re not that good.’ We always have a little chip on our shoulders.”
After being eliminated by the eventual PIAA champion in the past two semifinals, the Lancers are hoping that chip carries them to their first WPIAL final.
They just have to remember WIN. And then, you know, win.