Hampton’s Football Program Rebuilding with New Coach


Steve Sciullo gives instruction to players during practice at Fridley Field (via Lilly Kubit)

Garrett Gess, Writer

Hampton football’s final game of the season ended in major disappointment, but the season as a whole had plenty of triumphs. It’s true that every playoff team except for the state champions will end their season in a disappointing loss, but the Talbot’s loss may have been the most disappointing of all.

Hampton finished with a 5-5 regular season record, being the No. 9 seed, and squeezed into the playoffs with an away game against No. 8 Montour. The game started with the Talbots and the Spartans trading blows on the offense. At halftime, the contest was tied 21-21. Hampton got out in front in the third quarter, going up 27-21. With roughly 10 minutes to go, Montour scored on a rushing touchdown. The Talbots quickly countered with a passing touchdown to take back the lead. The Talbots went for the two point conversion but failed, still with a 33-28 lead. Hampton forced Montour to surrender the ball on the ensuing possession.

With the lead and in the waning moments, Hampton was driving down the field with ease and was looking to finish the job. But then, Montour recovered a fumble at the 1-yard-line, preventing Hampton’s near victory. The fumble seemed to have similarities to Jerome Bettis’s historic fumble in the 2005 AFC Divisional playoff game against the Colts, a play all Pittsburgh sports fans will remember. Unfortunately for Hampton, the game didn’t quite have the happy ending that it did for the Steelers. Montour drove 99 yards down the field and won on a Hail Mary. The game was arguably Hampton’s most disappointing playoff loss in the history of the program.

As far as game stats: quarterback Adrian Midgley (Jr) went 11/18 for 292 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. Receiver Benny Haselrig (Sr) had 146 yards on three receptions and three touchdowns. Joey Mayer (Sr) had 104 rushing yards on five attempts and one touchdown.

Joey Mayer has been a vocal leader for the Talbots this season. When reflecting on the overall finish of the season, Mayer remarked, “I feel like we had bigger goals starting the season off, but with all the adversity we went through throughout the season, I’m happy with what we accomplished. For all of us seniors we were upset because it was our last game and we didn’t want it to be over.” Mayer’s favorite Hampton football memory was “spending 5 years with my quarterback coach [Scott] Breen. He taught me a ton about the position, most importantly staying composed while in the game.” Mayer was included with five other seniors who stayed with the Hampton football team for all four years along with Aidan Lewis, Michael Santerello, Benny Haselrig, and Michael Morgano. Even as the final gun blew in Hampton’s defeat, there was plenty to be proud of.

First-year head coach Steve Sciullo set the team’s goal to be back-to-back section champions and win a playoff game. Although that didn’t happen, injuries hit Hampton’s program hard and Sciullo emphasized that “handling adversity is a part of life. It’s how you battle back.” Sciullo remarked on the senior class, saying, “I will miss them all.” Although Sciullo is in his first year as head coach, he has been with the Hampton football program to witness the current seniors develop since their freshman year.

Just four years ago when the current seniors were freshman, the Talbots finished 2-8 at the cellar of their section. Two years later, Hampton won the section on an undefeated season and made it to the WPIAL Quarterfinals. Hampton’s journey from struggle to success was in major part to the hard-work of the current senior class.