Glory Days Staff Writer Giuseppe Ungaro caught up with St. Augustine Prep’s Matt Compton, one of the top linemen in the area. The 18-year-old Egg Harbor Township resident discussed playing in the trenches for first-year Hermits coach Pete Lancetta, what it’s like playing in front of the Hermits’ fans, his favorite class and what it was like losing a bowling match to the Glory Days staff.
Ungaro: Your team went through some adversity at the end of the school year and summer, losing coaches and players, how long did it take to move on?
Compton: Losing players and losing coaches like that is personal, but in the end you have to get over things like that and look forward to the season.
Ungaro: What do you think of Pete Lancetta?
Compton: He is great. I knew coming in he was an offensive line coach (at Rowan). The first thing he told the line, he gathered us up, and said, ‘guys, the offensive line is my baby, and I’m going to take care of you.’ So right off the bat, I knew he was a good offensive line coach, and he’s a great guy. Having him focus on the line is a really great experience. He has a lot of experience in coaching. Him as a lineman coach, he is a great coach. It’s a great experience for my senior year.
Ungaro: Did you know his history? And did that make the transition easier?
Compton: They gathered us up and told us this guy has the record he has, which is astounding. It’s a great accomplishment for him. He had 20-some seasons at Hammonton, this many state championships and this record, you really put that together, it makes it real easy to follow someone like that. He has so much experience at this level, he just makes a great leader.
Ungaro: What’s the best thing about playing offensive line?
Compton: Hitting people. I love the nitty-gritty stuff. It’s great for the guys that like passing the ball or scoring the touchdown, but I love being in the trenches and hitting people, and taking over.
Ungaro: Do you prefer pass blocking or run blocking?
Compton: Run blocking for sure. It’s just a great feeling hitting that guy and driving him back so many yards, and watching the running back go down field. It’s one of the best feelings you can possible have as a football player.
Ungaro: Best block you ever made?
Compton: Probably last year in the beginning of the year, it was my first scrimmage, we were facing Roman Catholic. They called outside zone to my side for the first time. I was nervous. It was my first time running this play against real competition. I hit my guy, drove him back 10 yards, pancaked him, and Kyle (Dobbins) ran down the field for about 70 yards for the touchdown.”
Ungaro: What do you think of the Richland Rowdies?
Compton: They are awesome. They are absolutely awesome. The Holy Spirit game was probably best experience I had with them because it was such a personal game. Everyone going at Josh (Zamot), they were loud, really loud. It gets you in the game mode, having those guys behind your back. You are ready to fight for everyone. You are ready to play for everyone. When winter rolls, around, the Rowdies are there for basketball games, and since they help us for football, I love going out there and helping them out. I get a taste of both sides of it. It is such an amazing experience.”
Ungaro: Do you have any superstitions or pregame rituals?
Compton: I sit in my truck, listen to some music. I get ready for the game. Before the game, I always chant with the Richland Rowdies. I don’t have any big-time rituals. I usually call my grandfather before every game to talk to him.
Ungaro: What kind of music do you listen to?
Compton: Metallica, AC/DC. Classic rock really pumps me up. My favorite Metallica song is “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”
Ungaro: What is your favorite class?
Compton: My favorite class is Honors Macroeconomics because I’m interested in studying business. Going into class every day and learning something new about the business world is really interesting to me. Kids usually say English or Math, but I really have a passion for business classes.”
Ungaro: Who is your favorite teacher?
Compton: Dominic Puggi. He teaches Macroeconomics. No. 1, he is a great teacher, which you will find a lot of at the Prep. He is big into football, so every class he will talk about who we are playing this week or he will talk about the Eagles game.
Ungaro: Last year, when you lost the King Pin Bowling Challenge to Glory Days, did Sully show grace in wining or was he annoying?
Compton: That was a devastating loss. I remember there was one more pin we needed and of course it fell on my shoulders. I rolled it, and it just missed by a half an inch. I looked back and Glory Days Magazine is going off, saying, ‘We just won.’ So I would say he was more of an annoying winner, and I would be an annoying winner too, just because it came down to that last one. He got his laughs but he gave us shirts and it was a lot of fun.
Contact Giuseppe Ungaro: firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter @GDgisepu