Hampton football carries momentum into offseason program
Friday, June 25, 2021 | 8:55 PM
Success is becoming contagious for the Hampton football team.
Coming off their first WPIAL playoff season in five years, the Talbots have attracted an increased number of players during spring and summer workouts.
“It was awesome,” coach Jacque DeMatteo said. “Our numbers are up, and we are getting some more kids out for football that didn’t play before in the past couple years. They are athletes that have been focusing on other sports, and now I think they are seeing the value of trying to be a multisport athlete.”
The Talbots drew about 55 players when they gathered for the first time this offseason at their annual spring camp the second week in June. The players — from all levels of the program, down to middle school — learned terminology, formations, play calling and game installs in the shorts-and-T-shirts sessions. They also had individual workouts and group periods.
“A lot of good things were happening, and it was nice to finally be back and look like a team again,” said running back/linebacker Jayden Resch, who will be a senior in the fall. “We were all having a good time, throwing the ball around, running routes. It was great.”
The offseason conditioning at Fridley Field continues with four-days-a-week voluntary workouts, which began June 21. The drills run for six weeks, leading up to the start of summer training camp Aug. 16 in preparation for the 2021 season.
The Talbots went 5-3 last season, losing to Aliquippa in the opening round of the playoffs, in their first year in Class 4A. They had gone a combined 6-34 in the previous four seasons as a Class 5A school.
The playoff run motivated the underclassmen, and when they arrived for organized conditioning in mid-January, DeMatteo said it was evident they already had been lifting weights on their own.
“You could tell they were working out prior to coming in,” DeMatteo said.
“I was impressed with some of the numbers and just the work ethic and the leadership that a lot of seniors are providing. It’s enjoyable, to say the least. They come in. They work hard. They are a fun group to be around.”
Resch is one of the players who devoted himself this offseason. He has gained at least 10 pounds of muscle to his now 5-foot-11, 195-pound frame and even sent a short video to his coach of him doing a 275-pound Olympic clean lift at a local health club.
“I kind of shocked myself with that one,” Resch said. “All of my numbers went up. I feel better when I lift.
“I think (making the playoffs) made us push a lot harder. We were always a hard-working bunch of kids, but I think that really sealed it for us, seeing what we are capable of.”
Other returning starters from last season include quarterback/defensive back Matt DeMatteo, running backs Jacob Premick and Christian Liberto, wide receiver Benny Haselrig and linemen Michael Bagley, John Morris and Logan Schwartz.
The Talbots also welcome players from an undefeated junior varsity team that outscored its opponents 243-58.
DeMatteo, entering his 14th season at Hampton, said the Talbots are in good hands with a tight-knit bunch of upperclassmen.
“There is a lot of chemistry and spirit among the older kids,” he said. “I’ve never seen a group of kids go to health clubs and lift as much as they do, together. Not individually, but as a pack. It’s kind of cool.”
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