Accolades pile up after Hampton football’s record-breaking season

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Saturday, December 18, 2021 | 11:01 AM


When the Hampton football players turned in their equipment after the winningest season in program history, their coaches gave them something in return.

The Talbots learned nine players were named first-team All-Greater Allegheny in voting by league coaches, the most of any team in the conference. Another six players also earned some form of all-Greater Allegheny recognition.

“It’s very cool to have a group of guys that can accomplish something like that throughout the season,” said senior Mike Witherup, named first-team all-conference tight end. “We all worked hard for that, and we got what we deserved.”

The first-team accolades were spread out, with five selections on offense and four on defense from a school-record 11-1 team that claimed the Greater Allegheny title and secured the program’s first playoff victory since 2015.

Running back Christian Liberto, wide receiver Benny Haselrig, tackles John Morris and Logan Rutledge and Witherup represented the Talbots on offense.

On defense, end Logan Schwartz, inside linebacker Jayden Resch and defensive backs Matt DeMatteo and Joey Mayer were tabbed as first-team picks.

“It was well-deserving for those kids,” coach Jacque DeMatteo said. “I’m glad that the other coaches recognized their talents and their hard work.”

The honors didn’t end there. Sophomore running back Brock Borgo, senior guard Charlie Schuit and senior defensive lineman Keegan Berzonski made second team, while a trio of seniors — center Kole Reiser, running back Jacob Premick and linebacker Bobby Oliver — were named honorable mention.

Morris and Rutledge book-ended an offensive line that helped open holes for Liberto (1,174 rushing yards, 16 TDs) and Borgo (1,085, 17 TDs). The Talbots joined Steel Valley and Penn-Trafford as the only WPIAL schools with multiple 1,000-yard rushers.

Witherup, in his third year of organized football, caught seven passes for 111 yards and a team-high three touchdown receptions.

“He was one of our most improved football players that we’ve had,” coach DeMatteo said.

Haserlig, who along with Matt DeMatteo garnered first-team all-conference honors for the second consecutive year, led the team with 16 receptions for 212 yards, along with one touchdown. He also was a solid downfield blocker, aiding a ground attack that averaged 308.7 yards per game, with 46 TDs.

“Benny was our most unselFish player that we’ve had,” coach DeMatteo said. “Benny is a very talented receiver. Make no mistake about it. I think he has a bright future ahead of him at the next level. It just goes to show that he was willing to sacrifice stats for the common good of the team.”

Schwartz and Resch were among the leading tacklers on a defense that allowed only 8.6 points per game in conference play. The Talbots posted two shutouts and limited another four teams to seven points or fewer.

DeMatteo and Mayer shared time at quarterback, combining for 843 rushing yards with six TDs and 493 passing yards with eight TDs, but it was on the other side of the ball that they gained all-conference spots. DeMatteo last season was named first-team all-conference kicker.

None of the seniors has committed yet to play football in college, coach DeMatteo said. Witherup, a competitive bass fisherman who is headed to nationals in March in Alabama, is uncertain about his college plans. He has heard from schools about football and fishing.

“I’m still not sure what I want to do yet,” Witherup said. “I’m leaning more toward fishing because that’s what I’ve always wanted to do. But after the season that we had and the attention that I’ve drawn, football is still a possibility.”

Cream of the crop

Hampton’s first-team all-Greater Allegheny Conference selections for the 2021 season

Offense

RB: Christian Liberto, 5-10, 180, Sr.

WR: Benny Haselrig, 5-11, 175, Jr.

TE: Mike Witherup, 6-2, 215, Sr.

OT: John Morris, 6-2, 225, Sr., Logan Rutledge, 6-3, 210, Sr.

Defense

ILB: Jayden Resch, 5-11, 200, Sr.

DE: Logan Schwartz, 6-1, 200, Sr.

DB: Matt DeMatteo, 5-11, 155, Sr.; Joey Mayer, 5-9, 160, Jr.

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