While teammates such as J.T. Cooper, Steven Shine, and Payton Lunsford may get most of the accolades when experts discuss Hurricane's defense, #21 Senior Matthew Hartleben just goes about his business. During the pre-season business was good. He collected 4 sacks during 2 scrimmages from his defensive end position. This is significant as last season Hartleben did not register a sack while playing mostly linebacker.
Matt should certainly eclipse the 28 tackles he registered in 2016. Although stats mean little to him when looking at the totality of the game. "My personal performance means nothing, everything I do is for the team." Hartleben likes the attitude of the Redskins as they draw closer to the season's opener. "The team is closer this year, we have more of a bond and more chemistry than last year."
We caught up to Matt after a brutally hot summer practice when he offered this perspective. "Football is hard but it's fun, we suffer through the heat at practice because we know how important the game is to us."
Hartleben also shared that it is bittersweet for him to be entering his last season at Hurricane. "It's the beginning of the end for me, I want to be the best that I can and give it my all, and have fun, that's why I'm here."
He told us that one of his best attributes is the fact he never gives up. During one play at the scrimmage versus Parkersburg South this tenacity paid off. "I was cut (blocked) and on the ground, I got up and kept pursuing the QB and ended up with a sack on a play I could have easily given up on."
Although he is looking forward to the Cabell Midland and GW games, Hartleben is focused on Winfield. "I'm emotional and excited about playing Winfield, it is the beginning of my senior season, my last year."
Hartleben admitted to one personal goal for the season, "double digit sacks would be amazing."
Now that sounds like fun!