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Hopewell Line Coach and former Vikings Player Guy Martini Determined to Turn Program Around

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The 2024 Hopewell Vikings football staff is on a mission to bring winning football back to Tony Dorsett Stadium.

For certain members of the staff, returning Hopewell to respectability is very personal.

Guy Martini is Hopewell’s new offensive and defensive line coach. If that name sounds familiar, it should as Martini grew up in Hopewell, is still a resident and was a former player and assistant coach at Hopewell.

So, considering his ties to this area restoring the Hopewell name has become a passion for Martini.

“It’s a lot different, it really is. I actually started out coaching here with Dave (Vestal) back in 2010 and spent 6 or 7 years here,” Martini told Hopewell Sports Nation. “Due to different circumstances, I went to two different schools, Ambridge for two years and when Zack Hayward got the job at Blackhawk, I was there for five years. But when Coach Rosa originally called with the opportunity to come home, I was really excited for the opportunity to turn this program around and get it back to where it once was. I understand that it’s not going to be an overnight process but as I tell my players, as long as we get 1% better every day, then we’re headed in the right direction.”

“Coming home is a dream. This is what I’ve wanted for the last 2 or 3 years. I wasn’t sure that it would ever be a reality but when Coach Rosa and Coach Mottes called me, it was a no-brainer and time to come home to get this thing turned around.”

No one has to tell Martini what it was like when Hopewell was a winner, he experienced it both as a player and as a coach. Although he’s been at different programs the last handful of years, Martini still lived and breathed Hopewell Vikings football.

“I’ve seen the highs and lows of the Hopewell program,” said Martini. “I was lucky enough my junior year to be a part of the team that went to Heinz Field but unfortunately, we came up a little short to Tyler Palko in that championship game. But my senior year, we were able to right the ship and get the state championship. So that was obviously a high. Then as a coach, I think we made it to one semifinal back when we had Rushel Shell.”

“It’s been rough coming home on Friday nights and driving home to Sweet Brier and seeing the score. The first thing I did on Friday nights was go on Twitter because I wanted to see what Hopewell did. I’ve been gone for a few years, but you don’t ever leave Hopewell. Hopewell is where I’m from. Hopewell is a place that I’m proud of. I used to always tease the head coach at Blackhawk when I was there, I couldn’t where their colors, I used to have my Hopewell stuff underneath my coaching gear. That green used to burn so I put on Hopewell colors.”

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Martini is now in charge of arguably the most important positions on the field, the lines. If you can control the line of scrimmage, you’re able to run the ball effectively but also have the ability to protect your quarterback. Martini and his brother, Jeremy, who will be the assistant line coach, have been working and becoming familiar with the guys they’ll be working with and so far, he loves what he’s seeing.

“To see the progress that these kids have made in just a few months has been rewarding and it’s telling me that what we’re doing is going to work. It’s going to take a little time but as long as the kids keep working the way that they are, I think we have a good group of kids coming up and we’ll be pretty good the next couple of years. “Honestly, not knowing what I was coming into, I didn’t know the kids but after being a while them for months, these kids get after it, these kids are working, and these kids want to be good. That’s the formula you need. As long as we keep doing that, these kids will continue to get 1% better every day, that’s how you turn a program around.”

“Something I always talk about and stress to my players is compete,” said Martini. “In whatever we’re doing I want you to compete. If I’m doing a drill, I want to finish first. If I’m doing a hand placement drill, I want to make sure that my hands are exactly where they’re supposed to be. When I first got there, we spent a ton of time installing plays and I started from scratch as if they were junior high kids. I spent days on stances, first steps, hand placement because that’s an expectation that I’m going to have down the road. My idea is, and I was lucky enough to play for Coach Vestal and Coach Tarquinio, the kids need a lot of reps. If these kids don’t need to think and can just play fast, the less they think, the better they’ll play. We’re going to work muscle memory and we’re going to compete every play, every practice, every drill, every sprint. I want these kids to compete.”

Despite being a relatively young coach, Martini has had the good fortune of being around some coaches that have molded him and taught him a lot in terms of the coaching profession. He tells HSN that he’s appreciative of having the opportunity to learn from so many people.

“I go to these coaching clinics all the time. One of the guys I heard talk one time was Jimbo Fisher. One time he said coaches are the biggest thieves you’ll ever meet. All they do is steal from each other (laughing). That’s what I do.”

“Being around for so long, I’ve been fortunate to be around a lot of really good coaches and a lot of what I do, I’ve taken from the guy that gave me my first start Coach Vestal,” said Martini. “Alot of my drills, a lot of my run plays are things are Dave and Coach Tarquinio. I respect those guys a ton. They taught me everything and Dave is a guy that I still stay in contact with, I’d say he’s definitely the No. 1 guy. But living in this area, you have some great coaches. The former coach at Blackhawk and current AD at Chartiers Valley, Zack Hayward, lives right across the street from me. So, we’re always talking football. Craig Bokor, a former teammate, lives 2 houses down, he’s a great resource. I just want to take information from everyone.”

After a long conversation, my final question to Coach Martini was has he allowed himself to start to think about what it’s going to be like when this coaching staff accomplishes their goal of restoring Hopewell football?

“It’s so cool to think about that. It’s not an overnight think and we can’t think long-term, we have to worry about getting better each day. I know that we’re going to turn this around and to do it with one of my best friends (Coach Mottes) is something that I would’ve never dreamed of. Along with my brother Jeremy, who’s our assistant line coach, that’s so crazy to think. To think that we’re going to do this together with a brother and a best friend, I’m not sure how many guys are lucky enough to do that.

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