Steve Sciullo settles into top spot at Hampton

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Saturday, May 14, 2022 | 11:01 AM


Hampton first-year football coach Steve Sciullo likes what he sees from his new view atop the program.

“We’re rolling right now,” he said. “We’re pretty happy with how things are looking.”

With offseason weightlifting and conditioning in high gear and his staff of assistants in place, Sciullo has settled in as the Talbots undergo a coaching change for the first time since 2008.

Sciullo was promoted in February to replace Jacque DeMatteo, who stepped down after 14 seasons, the final one highlighted by an 11-1 record and the Greater Allegheny Conference title.

Sciullo, 41, worked as the Talbots’ offensive coordinator for the past four seasons, and previously served as head coach at Deer Lakes before joining DeMatteo’s staff, so he is well aware of the demands of being in the top chair.

“It’s business as usual, really,” Sciullo said. “I’m still doing a lot of the things I used to help Jacque with. But now I’m doing the things he did. That’s a lot of work. It’s normal. But it is what it is. It’s a little bit different being an assistant than it is as a head coach. It’s a lot more dealing with people on a day-to-day basis.”

Sciullo has met the head coaching challenge before. During his four-year stay at Deer Lakes from 2014-17, he guided the Lancers to the first 4-0 start in school history and only its second-ever WPIAL playoff berth.

The 6-foot-5, 325-pound Sciullo, who works at Hampton as a safety and security specialist, is around the students all day, allowing him to search for potential football players at the Class 4A-sized school.

“We’re just trying to get more people out to play,” he said. “There are a lot of athletes in our building. We just want to get as many as we can out to play.”

He already has found his seven-man coaching staff. Everyone from last season’s staff is returning, and two new faces — both former Hampton football players — are joining the coaches’ room.

The newcomers are Joe Cangilla, a 2007 Hampton graduate who played wide receiver at Duquesne, and Sam Flowers, a 2011 Hampton graduate who played linebacker at Allegheny.

Cangilla, who was an assistant at Hampton from 2013-17 before leaving to take the head basketball coaching job at Northgate, will coach the wide receivers and will work from the booth Friday nights. Flowers will coach the linebackers.

“I will be running the offense,” Sciullo said, “but (Cangilla) will be the guy I lean on in the booth. He is a humongous addition to us. He’s just one of the most organized people you will ever meet, and I think it’s helped him in his coaching career. … I’m just excited about him helping our kids work.”

Having former Talbots on the staff was important to Sciullo. Last year’s coaching staff didn’t have anyone who played at Hampton. The majority were Shaler products, where DeMatteo coached before arriving at Hampton and where Sciullo played before going to Marshall and eventually the NFL and a spot in Super Bowl XXXIX with the Philadelphia Eagles.

“I think it’s great,” Cangilla said of his return to coaching football at his alma mater. “Obviously, Sam and I went through Hampton. We went through the program. There is an expectation that we want to compete and also knowing the work ethic that is involved in playing in a program like this.”

Said Sciullo, “We’ve got two awesome people who want to help out. I’m excited for them to be involved and be in the district and be former players. That’s one of the things I’m most excited about.”

The returning staff members are Ron Budziszewski (offensive line), Scott Breen (QBs), defensive coordinator Ryan Budziszewski (OLB/safeties), Dave Interthal (secondary) and Ron Gooden (defensive line), who is back as a volunteer coach.

They are overseeing an offseason weightlifting program that runs five days a week at the high school as the Talbots look to build on one of their best seasons in program history.

“It’s going very well,” Sciullo said. “We have a decent amount of kids. We have a lot of kids playing spring sports right now, so we are missing some of our top guys. But we have good group of kids coming in there.”

The top returning players for the Talbots are WR/DB Benny Haselrig and QB/DB Joey Mayer, who will both be seniors in the fall, and rising junior RB Brock Borgo.

They will contend as part of a new-look Greater Allegheny Conference, which added Kiski Area and North Catholic while losing Greensburg Salem, Knoch and Plum during the WPIAL offseason realignment.

“We have a tough league coming up,” Sciullo said. “Obviously, with Mars hiring (former Pine-Richland coach) Eric Kasperowicz, it’s going to be competitive. North Catholic, Mars, ourselves. There’s a potential for a good little three-way rivalry developing there. So it’s a fun thing.

“Highlands (Chandler Thimons) and Armstrong (Cadin Olsen) are back with their quarterbacks. Kiski is coming down to 4A. We have a league that’s pretty loaded this year. It will be very competitive, and it will be a fun league to watch on Friday night.”

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