Talbots Are Hounding Their Best Season in Football Program History


Photo via L.B. Ruediger

Garrett Gess, Writer

The Hampton Talbots have concluded the regular season with a 10-0 record and look to have their best season in program history heading into the playoffs. The Talbots already clinched the Greater Allegheny Conference before their last two regular-season games; both were decisive victories. Hampton has taken down opponents with relative ease; they won eight of their ten games by more than 20 points.

Historically, the Hampton football program has been on the outside looking in. The Talbots won the section in 1988, 2001, 2005, 2014, and now 2021, but have been irrelevant amongst other WPIAL powerhouses. Hampton never reached the WPIAL championship and compiled a 6-34 record from 2016 through 2019 when they competed in 5A. But the program came to a complete turnaround after a solid 5-3 season in 2020. The Talbots’ success in the 2021 season is similar to the success they had 20 years ago. In 2001, Hampton went a perfect 9-0 in the regular season but lost to West Allegheny in the WPIAL quarterfinals. West Allegheny went on to win the 2001 3A PIAA Championship that year, led by quarterback Tyler Palko (Palko was the Pitt Panthers starting QB for the 2004 season during their Big East Championship and Fiesta Bowl bid).

Head coach Jacque DeMatteo is in his 22nd season head coaching WPIAL football (Shaler 2000-2007, Hampton 2008-Present), and the 2021 Hampton football team may be the most talented group of players that he’s coached. The Talbots have scored 381 points on offense (38.1/pg) and only surrendered 111 points on defense (11.1/pg). Christian Liberto and Brock Borgo are succeeding in the ground game, while Matt DeMatteo’s connection to Benny Haselrig brings a solid aerial attack on offense. On defense, Jayden Resch and the team’s resilient defensive line are forcing 3-and-outs and turnovers against the opponent.

Currently, Hampton is ranked #4 in the entire state by MaxPreps “PA Class AAAA rankings.” However, five of the top six 4A teams in the state come from the WPIAL: Belle Vernon, Thomas Jefferson, Hampton, McKeesport, and Aliquippa. Hampton may have an uphill battle to win the WPIAL, but they can certainly get it done with their continued momentum. The Talbots have a packed senior class, looking to make the most out of this year’s great start. Getting to play at Heinz Field for the WPIAL Championship has been the dream for every football player growing up in Western Pennsylvania.

On Halloween weekend, Hampton ended their regular season with a 48-14 home victory over Mars. The Talbots haven’t defeated the Route 8 rival Mars since 2009 and have been 0-11 since then. Hampton took advantage of their opportunity to end the streak and finish the regular season undefeated.

#4 Hampton (10-0) will host #13 Plum (3-7) in the First Round of the WPIAL playoffs on November 5. The winner will play either Thomas Jefferson or Indiana in the quarterfinals.