TribLIVE

| Sports

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Knoch set for matchup with longtime rival Hampton

Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch - Knoch's Dakota Bruggeman (left) dodges teammate Ben Tackett during practice at Knoch High School on Monday, Sept. 24, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Erica Hilliard  |  Valley News Dispatch</em></div>Knoch's Dakota Bruggeman (left) dodges teammate Ben Tackett during practice at Knoch High School on Monday, Sept. 24, 2012.
Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch - Knoch's Dakota Bruggeman fends off teammate Ben Tackett (right) during practice at Knoch High School on Monday, Sept. 24, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Erica Hilliard  |  Valley News Dispatch</em></div>Knoch's Dakota Bruggeman fends off teammate Ben Tackett (right) during practice at Knoch High School on Monday, Sept. 24, 2012.

TribLIVE Sports Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Longtime rivals

Knoch and Hampton are the only schools that have been members of the Class AAA Greater Allegheny Conference in all 33 seasons. The Knights and Talbots have met every year since 1966. Here are the scores of the past six games:

2011 Knoch, 42-6

2010 Knoch, 17-14

2009 Knoch, 10-7

2008 Knoch, 21-16

2007 Knoch, 21-7

2006 Hampton, 7-0

Top high school sports

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Paul Kogut
Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012, 12:16 a.m.
 

Hampton installed a new scoreboard at Fridley Field this summer, but Talbots coach Jacque DeMatteo hasn't had much time to take in feedback on the upgrade.

“I just know it's a lot nicer when the home team's side is lit up and the visitor's side isn't,” DeMatteo said.

Making that happen could be a mega challenge when high-scoring Knoch rolls down Route 8 for a Class AAA Greater Allegheny Conference game at 7 p.m. Friday.

Knoch (4-0, 3-0), ranked No. 7 by Trib Total Media, will be shooting for its sixth consecutive victory over No. 10 Hampton (3-1, 2-1).

In recent history, this matchup of longtime rivals usually has been decided by a touchdown or less. But a big exception occurred last year when an experienced Knoch squad crushed Hampton, 42-6.

“That game was a little bit of an anomaly,” Knoch coach Mike King said. “Hampton has always played us tough. They've always played good defense.”

Still, Knoch continues to light up scoreboards around Western Pennsylvania.

Even though the Knights graduated their leading rusher and passer from last year's WPIAL runner-up team, they have outscored opponents, 143-28, this season. Knoch is averaging 35.8 points, which is just below last season's average of 36.6.

“They keep reloading,” said DeMatteo, who's looking for his first win over Knoch since taking over at Hampton in 2008. “Their running backs are just as good as what they had last year. You can't tell the difference.”

Knoch senior Ben Tackett, who moved from wide receiver to running back during the offseason, has led the way with 550 yards and 11 touchdowns on 64 carries.

Senior Dakota Bruggeman also relocated — from receiver to quarterback — and has completed 22 of 47 passes for 387 yards and five touchdowns.

Senior running back/linebacker Mike Cunningham has provided a spark on both sides of the ball for the Knights.

Meanwhile, Knoch's defense, which revolves around senior nose guard Jonathan Whalen, is allowing only 7.0 points per game.

Hampton fielded a relatively young team last year and benefit from the return of its leading rusher (senior Anthony Bianco), passer (senior Jon Nigro) and receiver (junior Jon Floss). The Talbots are scoring 31.0 and allowing 14.8 points per game.

“They did have a young team last year, but sometimes you have to put younger kids in the game and let them develop as a group,” King said.

Hampton also leans on one of the top linemen in the WPIAL — Noah Shulman. A 6-foot-2, 250-pound senior guard/nose tackle, Shulman is being recruited by Division I Football Championship Subdivision Patriot League schools, including Lehigh, according to DeMatteo.

“(Shulman) jumps off the film,” King said. “He did last year in many ways. We gotta take care of him. All three of their defensive linemen in their 3-3 stack scheme are very good. The key to this game is controlling the line.”

Paul Kogut is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at pkogut@tribweb.com or 724-224-2696.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Pirates notebook: Melancon bails out Watson with extended outing
  2. McCutchen, Pirates cruise past Twins
  3. Fed holds steady on rates
  4. Mt. Pleasant Cemetery Association seeks aid to finance future upkeep
  5. Chiefs star Berry beats cancer, returns to field
  6. Folding chair collapses, child loses tips of at least 2 fingers in Arlington
  7. NHL notebook: Olympic hockey champion Craig to sell prized memorabilia items
  8. Gameday: Pirates at Reds, July 30, 2015
  9. Brooks brings standards to Scottdale concert series
  10. Feds accuse Philadelphia congressman Fattah of corruption
  11. Beaver County widow won’t lose home over $6.30 late fee