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New Hopewell Coach Matt Mottes w/ Early Assessment of Team, Including Performance in 7-on-7 Tournament

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Hopewell Sports Nation had the opportunity on Wednesday to sit-down and talk with new Hopewell High School football coach Matt Mottes.

One of the things that stood out to me from our conversation was how excited about the talent that is within the Vikings football program.

“A lot of excitement in me for this opportunity and excited about the group of kids that we have coming back along with the group of kids we have coming up,” said Mottes. “I think this is a great position to be in for a first-time head coach. I believe we have kids that want to win, we’ll have kids that will learn how to win, and we’ll be competitive all year.”

This assessment by Mottes comes after having worked with this group of players since January along with seeing them compete over the last couple of days.

The Hopewell Vikings football program took part in an annual 7-on-7 Tournament that took place at W&J College.

The way it works is there’s two different divisions comprised of big-school and small-school. Some of the big-school schools were Penn Hills, Hempfield, Aliquippa, North Carolina, Beaver, Central Catholic, schools from Ohio. In the small school side, Hopewell competed against 32-schools including Washington, Ellwood City, Linsley, Westinghouse, Burrell, Leechburg, Uniontown, Charleroi, Riverview and programs from Ohio.

The Hopewell players consisted members of last year’s squad along with some of the incoming freshmen, including quarterback James Armstrong.

Hopewell started off 3-0, beating Fronter (28-6), Beaver Local (19-6) and Uniontown 8-6 before losing 26-24 Frontier.

This was the first opportunity for the 2024 Hopewell Vikings to compete against another team and Mottes first chance to get a look at some of the players he’ll be coaching this season. First impressions are very important, and Mottes walked away liking what he saw.

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“As a whole and I won’t get into any individual performances, as a team, we did some things really well,” said Mottes. “There was one time we were down, and we came right back and scored. There was another game when it was 8-6 and the other team had the ball, it was 4th and 1 and we stopped them. The intensity was there, a couple times they dug deep, which won us a game.”

“Even though we’ve been practicing for the last 5 or 6 months and working out, this was really there first competition. We went to West Allegheny last week, along with New Castle, and kind of had a joint practice, 7-on-7. That was more like a passing scrimmage, this was a real competition and I’m pleased we went 3-1. We easily could’ve won the game we lost and could still be playing but overall, we did a lot of things well and I was pleased with the way that they competed.”

Fine-tuning their 2024 offensive scheme is something Mottes and his coaches have worked a lot on, so what were his thoughts on what he saw offensively.

“I don’t see us coming out in a lot of spread this year, we’ll do it at times. For passing reasons, we tried to get as many kids on the field as possible. We want to make sure they’re getting a lot of reps, and our quarterbacks gets a lot of work. The one thing about 7-on-7’s is that your running backs really aren’t involved in it so from that standpoint, we’re just trying to get the kids as many reps as possible and just teach them how to compete.”

This wasn’t the last 7-on-7 Tournament that Hopewell will compete in as they’ll be hosting one of their one in a couple weeks at Tony Dorsett Stadium.

“We’re going to try and do weekly 7-on-7’s at different schools. We will have our own 7-on-7 Tournament on June 28th. Come July, we’ll do mostly just run installs and 2-hours of conditioning every day so that we’re ready for camp.”

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