Busy Matt DeMatteo ready to represent Hampton in Big 33
Saturday, May 21, 2022 | 2:35 PM
Memorial Day weekend should be a memorable one for Matt DeMatteo.
And a very eventful one.
The Hampton senior will compete in the PIAA Class 3A track and field championships May 27-28 at Shippensburg University before heading to Harrisburg to play for Team Pennsylvania in the prestigious Big 33 All-Star football game May 30.
“That will be a busy weekend,” DeMatteo said.
DeMatteo is the first Hampton player in 24 years — and only the third overall — to be selected for the Big 33 Game, which will pit the Pennsylvania All-Stars against the Maryland All-Stars at 2 p.m. at Bishop McDevitt.
He joins linemen Matt Schmitt (1998) and Scott Hart (1987) as Big 33 alumni from Hampton.
“I think it’s a huge deal, and it means a lot to me,” DeMatteo said. “I’m proud to represent Hampton. I think it’s cool.”
DeMatteo started at quarterback, defensive back, kicker and punter last fall for the 11-1 Greater Allegheny champion Talbots. He was selected for the Big 33 as a punter, but unlike the position players who did not have to try out for the game, the Hampton three-sport athlete earned his spot on the roster following a December audition in Lancaster for specialists. The tryout was for kickers and punters for the Big 33 and the PSFCA East-West All-Star games.
DeMatteo, who has never attended a kicking camp and is “more or less self-taught,” outperformed about a dozen other athletes who “were just strictly kickers and that’s all they do all-year round.”
The odds seemed to be against DeMatteo, an all-section guard in basketball who will attend Duquesne on a track scholarship.
“None of the people knew who Matt was, because he didn’t go to Kohl’s kicking camp,” Hampton football coach Steve Sciullo said of the national kicking organization. “He didn’t do all these extra things. … He went there and outkicked and outpunted them all and earned a spot. I think that’s the coolest thing I’ve ever heard.”
DeMatteo gained his Big 33 roster spot after winning the punting competition with the longest boot of the day.
“I think it was 62 yards,” he said.
He also gave one of the top kicking performances at the tryout, but the roster spot went to Navy-bound Nathan Kirkwood of Greencastle-Antrim.
During the field-goal tryout, the kickers attempted field goals in 5-yard increments. If they missed two kicks, they were eliminated. DeMatteo said he was one of four kickers who made a 50-yarder.
“We all had one miss up to this point,” DeMatteo said. “So then they moved it back to, I think it was 55 yards, and I just missed it a little bit right. The rest of the kids also missed it. So they just ended it there because we all had two misses.”
The Big 33 isn’t the only offseason all-star game for DeMatteo. He scored eight points for the West All-Stars in a 101-96 loss to the East in the AK Cager Classic on April 2 at Highlands. The 5-foot-11 guard also was selected for the Roundball Classic on May 21 at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, but he opted out because of his busy May schedule.
He will be the second member of his family to take part in the Big 33 game. His father, Jacque, who stepped down as Hampton coach this past winter after 14 seasons, was part of the Pennsylvania coaching staff in the 2019 Big 33 game.
“It means a lot to me,” Matt DeMatteo said. “I always wanted to play in it. It ended up working out.”
DeMatteo, who will wear uniform No. 2, might do more than just punt. He got some reps at wide receiver during the Big 33 practices on April 9-10 at snowy State College, going up against Cincinnati-bound defensive back Patrick Body of Gateway.
“I’m hoping to see a couple snaps,” DeMatteo said. “The coach called and said he watched film and said he liked my athleticism and my ability to catch.”
Before putting on his helmet and shoulder pads, DeMatteo will compete in the 300 hurdles at the PIAA Class 3A track and field championships. He placed second at the WPIAL championships May 18 at Slippery Rock.
“The work has paid off for Matt,” Sciullo said. “He’s having a great run, and it’s a testament to how hard he works.”
Big game Talbots
Here are the Hampton football players who have participated in the Big 33 All-Star game
Matt DeMatteo P 2022
Matt Schmitt OL/DL 1998
Scott Hart OL/DL 1987
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