Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hampton QB Mostly on Target

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hampton QB Mostly on Target

Article excerpt

Jon Nigro said the 2011 football season was a letdown for Hampton.

The then-junior quarterback for the Talbots had an up-and-down first season under center, throwing for almost 800 yards with nine touchdowns and nine interceptions. Meanwhile, his team went just 3- 6 and lost a few heartbreakers, including a 10-7 overtime defeat to WPIAL qualifier Mars Area.

So this offseason, Nigro went to work.

"The play was definitely faster at this level," Nigro said. "I needed to work on my footwork and game-management skills."

He lifted weights and worked on his footwork on a daily basis during the winter and spring. He also got together frequently with his receivers at 6 a.m. to go through a passing drill at the school's field.

"It really helped our timing," Nigro said. "I got to know the receivers a lot better. It made it easier when we put the pads on."

Nigro's offseason workload was also increased because of a schematic change made to the Talbots' offense. Last season, Nigro was under center most of the time. But this season, he's almost exclusively been in the shotgun, running a spread, no-huddle offense.

Hampton coach Jacque DeMatteo said he and his coaching staff decided to go to this style to bring some "buzz" back to a school that hasn't qualified for the WPIAL playoffs since 2009.

"We met as a staff after the season and decided we needed to increase the enthusiasm around our football program," DeMatteo said. "A lot of kids see the Oregon offense, with their gimmicks, and think 'Wow, that'd be fun to play in.' I think our players are excited about it and hopefully we can get more kids around the school thinking about our program."

Since the team met often during the offseason, Nigro said it wasn't hard to transition to the new offense once the season began.

Other than a hiccup in a 20-10 loss to Greensburg Salem in Week 3, Hampton's offense has been flying high.

The Talbots scored 80 points in their first two games against Indiana and Highlands, starting 2-0 for the first time since 2005. …

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