Hampton remains hungry after 11-win season
Sunday, August 14, 2022 | 12:01 PM
No one needs to tell Hampton first-year coach Steve Sciullo about the importance of an offensive line.
The former NFL lineman knows the front five is the anchor of any offense.
“It’s super important,” Sciullo said, “for those guys to jell.”
Hampton enters the 2022 season with the challenge of replacing its entire offensive line from last year’s team, which went 11-1 to set a school record for wins and reached the WPIAL Class 4A quarterfinals.
Last season’s all-senior offensive line, led by two first-team all-conference picks, paved the way for a ground attack that averaged 308.7 yards per game, with 46 rushing touchdowns.
With senior Joey Mayer taking over full-time for three-year starter Matt DeMatteo at quarterback after splitting snaps last season, and 1,000-yard rusher Brock Borgo and all-conference wide receiver Benny Haselrig also returning, much of the Talbots’ success will depend on the new-look offensive line.
“We can be OK,” said Sciullo, a former Talbots assistant who was promoted after Jacque DeMatteo stepped down following 14 seasons at Hampton. “It will be different, but similar. The guys we have to replace and the guys who left are similar body types. They are all leaner dudes that can run, too. They know how fast to play and how to get to their spots in the run game. We are pretty excited about seeing these guys come out and play relentlessly like the guys did last year.”
Early in training camp, the five spots remained up for grabs with seniors Aidan Lewis, Mike Santorello, Kaden Hoolahan and Liam Martin and juniors Gabe Gannelli, Nate Glock, Braeden Ballintine and Brady Long working to earn starting jobs.
“The coaches always tell us that we are the heart of the offense,” Lewis said. “If we’re not there, what’s going to happen?”
Whoever is playing up front will block for Mayer, who last season passed for 226 yards and rushed for 451 as a dual-threat QB, and Borgo, who last season rushed for 1,085 yards and 17 touchdowns — on only 96 carries — as a sophomore.
Mayer suffered a torn hamstring during track season, but said “I’m back now and I’m 100%. It feels good.”
The offense also returns Haselrig, a two-time all-conference pick who had a team-high 16 receptions for 212 yards on last year’s run-heavy Greater Allegheny Conference champion.
“The seniors last year left a really good thing for us this year to continue,” Mayer said, “and I think we will.”
Other Talbots looking to fill the voids left by graduation include senior RB/DB Michael Morgano, senior defensive lineman Gabe Harris, senior wide receiver Eric Weeks, junior Adrian Midgley and sophomore WR Ray Kirsopp.
“We look good,” said Sciullo, who coached at Deer Lakes from 2014-17 before coming to Hampton as an assistant. “I’m excited for what we have. We have some new faces, but we have some old faces and we’ve got some impactful faces coming back.
“We’re trying to play fast. We’re trying to do what we did last year as far as speed and getting guys on the field that can run. I think we have the same sort of elements to present the same sort of problems that we did last year. We have some stuff going on here that we are pretty excited about.”
Lewis, the prospective starter at left guard, is encouraged by the offseason work from the offensive linemen. He said he gained 10-15 pounds on his 5-foot-9 frame and “got a lot stronger.”
“A lot of us didn’t get as many varsity reps last year and we are really yearning for that,” Lewis said. “A lot of us are really ready to play. We’ve been gaining weight and getting stronger. We all trust each other. We are all great friends. We have a lot of chemistry. We built that in the weight room.”
Coach: Steve Sciullo
2021 record: 11-1, 7-0 in Class 4A Greater Allegheny Conference
All-time record: 327-383-21
Date, Opponent, Time
8.26 Knoch, 7
9.2 at Shaler, 7
9.9 Central Valley, 7
9.16 at Kiski Area*, 7
9.23 Armstrong*, 7
9.30 at Connellsville, 7
10.7 at North Catholic*, 7
10.14 Indiana*, 7
10.21 at Mars*, 7
10.28 Highlands*, 7
Passing: Matt DeMatteo*
19-46, 265 yards, 4 TDs
Rushing: Christian Liberto*
199-1,174, 16 TDs
Receiving: Benny Haselrig
16-212, 1 TD
• Brock Borgo last season averaged 11.3 yards per carry, third-best among all WPIAL 1,000-yard rushers. His father, Steve, is a member of the 2022 Hampton Hall of Fame class, which will be honored at this season’s homecoming game against Armstrong on Sept. 23.
• Hampton has won nine consecutive conference games dating to 2020. It is the program’s longest conference winning streak in at least 34 years.
• The Talbots’ nonconference schedule includes a date with two-time undefeated PIAA Class 3A champion Central Valley, which visits Fridley Field on Sept. 9.
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