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Graduation leaves Hampton with key positions to fill

| Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
Hampton’s Gino Iondi works on a drill during practice Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, at Hampton.
Hampton’s Jon Floss works on a drill during practice Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, at Hampton.

Although there was a heavy graduation loss from a talented squad, Hampton has a dynamic tandem of receivers in Eddie Edwards and Jon Floss ready to roll in 2013.

“It will be tough to replace the leadership we lost,” coach Jacque DeMatteo said. “Leaders come in many forms, and we need some guys to step up.

“We have some good skill kids coming back with a good work ethic, good attitude and commitment.”

Although Edwards returns as one of the team's top weapons at receiver, he also has been working out some at the quarterback position to help keep options open and put as many playmakers on the field as possible.

“I love our offense; it is very dynamic,” Edwards said.

“We have players like C.J. Arch, who is a running back with some wheels, and Gino Iondi, who is coming back, who is a big tough runner.”

With Jon Nigro graduating and Ryan Luther opting to focus on basketball this year, the Talbots don't have a quarterback on the roster who has taken a varsity snap.

Edwards said that with he and Floss at receiver, the options are endless as to how they team can line them up.

The question has yet to be answered as to how the coaching staff plans to get them the ball.

The offensive line took a graduation hit as Mike Fashion, Ryan Stephany, Noah Shulman, Ryan Clagett, Corey Michalek, Jake Bayha and Joe Vita have to be replaced.

The new line will begin with senior Steve Dayton, and the team will have to build around him with a lyoung and inexperienced group.

Edwards said the line looks big, and its ability to come together will be a key to success this season.

Hampton scored 28 or more points in five of its seven wins last season, but if Edwards changes positions, that means all of the statistical leaders on offense will be different this season.

“We are all very well-coached,” Edwards said. “We also have a lot of speed, which will help us against the bigger, physical teams we have to play.

“I think we match up well with our speed and physical play.”

Edwards said DeMatteo's style and old-school coaching mentality meshes well with his new ideas and inspires the players.

“If a player is coachable, his system works,” Edwards said. “He is a tough guy and wants us to grow into men.”

DeMatteo is pleased with the skill level of the players.

“We will need some new kids to step up, but the good thing is we do have the numbers up,” DeMatteo said.

“These players have a good work ethic, confidence, good attitudes and commitment.”

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