Shane Hartman is a great football player.
He’s also a great fantasy football player.
He credits playing football with his success in the fantasy world.
“I’m having a great year, 8-2, No. 2 in the league,” Hartman boasted. “I have my man Cooper Kupp. I had Derrick Henry, but he got hurt. That’s rough, you lose your top guy, but you have to play the waiver wire all year. We’re in good shape.
“It’s a lot of fun, I love it. It’s a lot of guys from the team. (Mike) VanHorn is in it. Braedon Hart is in it. Not everyone is football players, a few of the guys are wrestlers. We love it, we take it really seriously. I just love it because I love football.”
Hartman might not be the most humble of guys when it comes to talking fantasy football trash with his friends, but ask anyone at Judge, and they’ll tell you he’s among the nicest people at the school.
Football is a different story, though.
Hartman has become one of the top defensive ends in the Catholic League this year, and was one of the reasons the Crusaders enjoyed such a great season despite playing an incredibly challenging schedule. Judge is 6-5 heading into Thursday’s annual battle with Lincoln.
On Saturday, the Crusaders fell to Imhotep Charter 42-7 in the District 12 5A championship, better known as the 5A city title game, which was played in front of limited fans at Northeast because the Public League decided to only allow each player to bring four fans due to earlier violence near stadiums involving Public League football games. This had nothing to do with any football teams or players, but that’s who ultimately paid the price.
Hartman, who plays defensive end and tight end, wasn’t happy with the end result, but he was very proud that he and his teammates were still playing meaningful football in late November.
“I feel like we’re closer, we haven’t been this close with a team in a while,” said Hartman, who lives in Bridesburg. “Last year, the seniors, they played a big part in everything we did, everyone loved them and they were great leaders and teammates, but when they left, everyone stepped up. And this year, I think we had a great year playing together.”
When you play a schedule like the Crusaders, just getting through it is an accomplishment. They beat Roman Catholic in an all-time classic in the pouring rain, and they almost knocked off St. Joe’s Prep, losing after failing to score late in the game to tie it. Tack on games against Archbishop Wood, La Salle, and Saturday’s tilt with Imhotep, and Judge has played just about all the top teams in the area.
It wasn’t easy, but it’s the exact schedule Hartman loves.
“I would much rather play these games instead of playing easy ones,” Hartman said. “It’s fun, you get better by playing good teams. Of course you’re going to be nervous in games like that, like coach says if you’re not nervous, you’re either not human or you don’t care. Once you get out there, you just play.”
Hartman plays his positions well.
On defense, he’s a ballhawk who has made a lot of key plays for the stingy defense.
He admits on offense, when he’s out there, it’s to be a grunt, not a skilled guy.
“Defensive line is my favorite position, I don’t know, I just love going out there and hitting someone and you get a lot of chances to do that at defensive end,” Hartman said. “On offense, I’m only out there in heavy lineups. I’m usually there on the goal line or when we’re running it for a few yards. I’m just a big body to block. I like tight end, but I like playing defensive end a lot more.”
His main job is being one of the anchors of the lines.
But he has another job, which might shock people if they only know him away from football.
Hartman is a soft-spoken dude away from the field, but once things start heating up, he turns into the guy who makes it his mission to fire everyone up. As a senior and two-year starter, other players look up to him, and when they’re looking for a little extra motivation, he always supplies it.
“Definitely I like to get excited, screaming and headbutting people, I love doing that,” Hartman said. “I don’t know, game day only. I am quiet until it’s within the hour or so of the game, then my blood starts pumping and adrenaline kicks in. I’ve always been like that. When it’s time to go, it’s time to go.”
Hartman is now ready to go to Lincoln to play his final game.
After that, he’ll continue to work hard in the classroom, where he is ranked in the top 40 students of his senior class, and he’ll study to continue to excel in his advanced-placement courses. He’s also set to take the SATs next month.
“I definitely want to try to play football, I would love to play Division I, but realistically, Division II or III,” Hartman said. “I’m going to study either finance or accounting. My uncle and my cousin do that and it’s something I would like. I’m not sure yet, I still have a lot to decide, figure out where I’m going and football.”
And hopefully how to celebrate a fantasy football championship.
“I think playing football has made me care a lot more about football,” Hartman said. “I love fantasy football, love watching the Red Zone and of course the Eagles. I would rather go 0-16 in fantasy and Eagles win. But I just really love football.”