Trib HS Insider Q&A: Hempfield's Joey DeFloria
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Hempfield running back Joey DeFloria arrived at Spartan Stadium last Friday night expecting his team to get another victory.
What he didn't foresee was the electrifying performance he was about to put on.
“That really didn't hit me until the next morning, when I said to my parents, ‘Do you realize what we've just done? We've won our first two games and we beat one of our closest rivals last night,' ” said DeFloria, a 5-foot-10, 185-pound junior.
He scored three touchdowns, including two on punt returns of 65 and 85 yards, as Hempfield spanked Latrobe, 43-7, giving the Spartans a rare 2-0 start. His other TD came on a 14-yard run to open the scoring.
DeFloria, a three-year starter for Hempfield, sat out half of his sophomore season with a high ankle sprain. He also plays center field for the Spartans baseball team and was considered one of the top sophomores in the WPIAL in 2011.
Q: Have you ever returned two punts all the way back in the same game before?
A: Nope, never have. I'd scored on offense before, but that was it. I returned a few punts for touchdowns when I was younger, before high school. But that was crazy (on Friday). I never had that feeling before.
Q: Well, describe that feeling after scoring three touchdowns and hearing the fans cheer you on?
A: It didn't seem like much when I scored the first time, but when I came back to the sideline, I said “Whoa.” Then, I took the second one back and that got me really going. I just wanted us to win the game so bad. Saturday morning, I really started to realize that we beat a rivalry team.
Q: As far as this season goes, with a new coaching staff coming in, knowing there'd been very little success here in recent years, how much did the guys on this team talk about the idea of trying to turn this thing around?
A: It was slow rolling at first. All that the coaches talked about was trust — trust the coaching staff. In the summer, we started to trust, and more players came out for the team. I'd say about midway through the summer — 2-3 weeks before camp started — we clicked as a team.
Q: How special does it feel to start off on the right foot?
A: It feels great to start off 2-0, especially with people talking down to you. Everybody's more excited about practice. We really started to get excited after that first win (33-18 at McKeesport on Aug. 31), and people were backing us up.
Q: Do you have an idea what you'd like to do after high school?
A: As far as sports, I'm not sure, yet, if it's going to be football or baseball. From the academic standpoint, I'd maybe like to get into the medical field. I've been studying nursing. I don't know how I got hooked on it. That stuff has interested me ever since eighth grade, when we started taking anatomy.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Plum tackle Tecak ready to make impact
- HSFB preview: New coaches set to lead teams to victory
- Class AAA breakdown: Armstrong merger shakes up Greater Allegheny Conference
- Class AAAA breakdown: Wealth of talent places target on Central Catholic
- Gorman: Don’t judge WPIAL by the cover
- McKeesport’s offensive motor and defensive stopper, Hudson is special
- Class AA breakdown: Dynamic offense to again lead 2-time PIAA champion South Fayette
- Birdie says heat is on for another season of football picks
- State champion South Fayette puts focus into running game
- ‘Brownsville Way’ making a comeback
- Knoch tailbacks look to ‘take it and run with it’ in battle for No. 5 jersey