Hampton pulls away from Greensburg Salem in second half

Friday, October 2, 2020 | 10:39 PM

Greensburg Salem was tasting victory late in the third quarter when it took a lead against Hampton.

But in a matter of seconds, Hampton (3-1, 3-1) made sure its trip to historic Offutt Field wasn’t disappointing, and it has senior Gage Galuska to thank.

Galuska returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown after Greensburg Salem (1-3, 1-3) had taken a two-point lead and later returned an interception 40 yards for a score, and Hampton rallied for a 42-9 victory in a WPIAL Class 4A Greater Allegheny Conference win.

Running back Joe Liberto added two scores in the fourth quarter as the Talbots scored 28 more points to expand the lead.

“We came out flat,” Hampton coach Jacque DeMatteo said. “But at least Gage came to play. The final score is very deceiving.

“We had a bunch of little things that killed drives. We played behind the sticks a lot. I’m just glad we came away with the victory.”

Hampton took a 7-0 lead in the second quarter when quarterback Matt DeMatteo hit Jayden Resch in the flat. He spun out of a tackle and raced 50 yards for a score.

Greensburg Salem, which turned the ball over four times, answered with Wyatt Ramer finish off a scoring drive with a 29-yard field goal.

Despite turning the ball over twice in the first half, including one in the red zone when Galuska picked off his second pass at the Hampton 5, the Golden Lions were eyeing an upset.

Then, late in the third quarter, the Golden Lions drove 59 yards in 10 plays to grab a 9-7 lead when quarterback Hayden Teska scored from the 1.

“I’m disappointed because when we took the lead, I didn’t think we’d look back,” Greensburg Salem coach Dave Keefer said. “I felt we won the line of scrimmage, and I felt we did all the things we needed to do to win the game. We kind of got kicked in the stomach on the kickoff return, then we were playing on ice and we were slipping and could never get our feet under us.

“They’re not a barn-burning team. I felt going into the game we had a good chance at winning. We missed on some things offensively. We have to learn when you taken momentum and seize it. You have to build on those.”

After Galuska’s kickoff return, Hampton’s ground attack took over behind Liberto and Jacob Premick. Liberto finished with 89 yards and Premick 70

After Liberto’s two scores, Galuska’s interception return iced it.

Joey Mayer tacked on a late score for the Talbots on a 14-yard run.

“Here’s the good thing: We came out and won, and I’m proud of the kids for hanging in there,” Coach DeMatteo said. “Hopefully, we got their attention, and we have a good week of practice.

“I thought our defense kept us in the game long enough early on, and then in the second half we got things rolling.”

Alex Briggs rushed for 97 yards for the Golden Lions.

DeMatteo completed 4 of 12 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown. He also had a couple passes dropped, and he missed some opened receivers.

“Gage’s plays were huge,” DeMatteo said. “He showed up and had a very good game for us.”

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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