Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Talbots Make for Fierce Underdogs

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Talbots Make for Fierce Underdogs

Article excerpt

With a two-game midseason losing streak behind it, the Hampton football team has to believe it has played as well as anyone the past four weeks.

At 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at Pine-Richland Stadium, it gets to find out if it is playing as well as the best WPIAL Class AAA has to offer.

The Talbots (8-2) will take on West Allegheny (10-0), ranked No. 1 in the WPIAL and No 2. in the PIAA by the Post-Gazette.

"We have confidence coming into the game," said Hampton coach Greg Mihalik, who all season long has embraced high expectations for his team. "I keep telling the kids we could easily be 10-0. We are capable of playing some good football. We've been our own worst enemy in the games we've lost."

The game could end up being an offensive showcase, with the Talbots (33.3 points per game) and Indians (32.7) ranking first and third, respectively, in scoring among WPIAL Class AAA teams. The Indians have scored at least 35 points in seven of their 10 games, including a 41-6 victory against Knoch last Friday at home.

Hampton has scored 159 points in its past three games and appears to be peaking at the right time. The Talbots went on the road and dismantled a 7-2 Yough team, 54-7, last Friday.

"We just went into that game with a good mind-set, and everything started working," sophomore quarterback Bob Bartley said. "Everything started clicking on offense, and we started rolling on defense."

Any talk about the Hampton offense must start with Steve Paskorz, a sophomore who led the WPIAL in rushing with 1,855 yards for the regular season. After losing a preseason duel for the starting quarterback job to Bartley, Paskorz (6-2, 205) quickly established himself as one of the most dynamic running backs in the WPIAL.

"We haven't faced a kid who runs the ball like this and is this dangerous," West Allegheny coach Bob Palko said.

Although Paskorz passed the 2,000-yard mark for the season with his 180-yard, four-touchdown performance playing only one half last week, Hampton can throw the ball, too. Bartley has thrown for more than 1,000 yards this season. His primary target is junior Sean Hennessey (23 catches, 525 yards during the regular season). …

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