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Les Willsey

Staff Writer,

Seton's Haggerty terrorizes opponents in a myriad of ways

Nov 20, 2012

When Seton football coach Rex Bowser was asked about senior standout Matt Haggerty he didn't go right to what Haggerty has done for the Sentinels. His answer began with what he hasn't, but could do.

"He could play center for us, play anywhere," Bowser said. "There's nothing he's not capable of doing. What he does for us is more than you could ask."

Haggerty, one of 20 seniors who were on the field last year when Seton lost in the Division IV semifinals to Blue Ridge, has excelled at wide receiver and in the secondary. He's scored touchdowns four different ways -- 19 times as a receiver, once on a run, once on a punt return and twice on interception returns (he has seven picks in all). He also returns kickoffs and holds on extra points. One won't find anyone else on Seton's roster that versatile, or for that matter, many rosters at all. His three-year career receiving numbers have him with 123 catches for 1,911 yards and 30 TDs.

All of those duties are in day's work for Haggerty, who badly wants to see his teammates close their careers on the highest note. The final stumbling block on Friday is defending champion and unbeaten Blue Ridge at NAU's Walkup Skydome with kickoff at 7:07 p.m.

Haggerty, who is 6-foot, 190 pounds, is first and foremost a receiving threat. Fast and powerful. He enters the championship game with a season total of 64 receptions for 1,001 yards, He's had the luxury of having quarterbacks who can get him the ball -- two this year--  thanks to an injury suffered by last year's starter Ryan Bresnahan the third game of the season. Bresnahan fractured his throwing hand and missed six of Seton's 13 games. Fellow senior David Gesicki took over with little to no dropoff.

"There isn't a difference," Haggerty said. "Maybe I have to block a little more when David's in the game. They both throw it extremely well. They throw it at the right time and in the right spot. I haven't had to make any adjustments."

Last week in the semifinal victory over Show Low, Haggerty had his most prolific day in terms of number of receptions. He caught 11 passes for 160 yards and three touchdowns. Two of those TD receptions came from Gesicki and the other from Bresnahan.

That White Mountain triumph pushed the Sentinels over the semifinal barrier Blue Ridge threw up at them in 2011. Many thought Seton beating Show Low by any margin last week would have been an upset. Few expected the 28-point difference (42-14). That's gone a long way in building confidence for Haggerty and the rest of the team and staff on Friday.

And as part of the maturation process from juniors to seniors, Haggerty added a tougher road,later in the season and in postseason in the quarters has benefitted Seton. A close call two weeks ago in in the quarters against Mingus supplied solid proof.

"Our schedule as very easy last year," Haggerty said. "This year has been a different story. We had easy games up to the semifinals and then Blue Ridge was like a semi-truck coming at you. We got behind pretty fast and hadn't been in that position. Mingus had us by two touchdowns and with five minutes left and we rallied to win. We know what we're capable of doing against good teams like we've faced the last couple of weeks."