Kids fall to Catasauqua
It wasn't a typical high school football game under the lights on a Friday night, but don't tell the girls from Catasauqua and Northampton that.
The two schoolswhich are separated by a mere two milesbrew a rivalry that is as intense as any in the Lehigh Valley. Sunday's stage of their annual powder puff football game brought to life that clash once again.
A year removed from the Rough Riders' tough defeat in that same game, Catasauqua got a bit of revenge in 2014. Culminated with a pivotal defensive stop on fourth down, the Rough Riders topped the Konkrete Kids, 21-20, at Catasauqua High School's Alumni Field.
"It's really fun to come out and play against your rival," Catasauqua fullback/linebacker Shiloh Sziy said. "Even though it's an aggressive game, it's still fun to see who is better, even though that they're a [Class] AAAA school and we're a [Class] AA school."
"With all of my friends, to beat Northampton is great," Catasauqua quarterback/cornerback Amarys Moten said. "The Turkey Day game is always so intense and so is the powder puff."
It was more than just a game. It was the first time that these girls had a chance to take the football field rather than watch and cheer from the sidelines. It was an opportunity to play a sport designed specifically for the male population.
And while there was a friendly competitive atmosphere among the two neighboring towns, neither squad wanted to end up on the losing side.
"The rivalry has been going on since 1927," Sziy said. "We play against them in field hockey also. Even though they're not in our league, it's our first game … I feel like our rivalry is one of the biggest in the state.
"You want to win. It's supposed to be friendly, but once you get on the field it's no holds barred. Everyone goes at it."
"There is a big rivalry just because the way we were playing that night, you could tell we all wanted to win on Northampton," Konkrete Kid running back Megan Wiest said. "I know Catty wanted to win as well. I definitely think the game really showed it."
For the Rough Riders despite being doubled by Northampton in terms of rostered players they were able to tally the final touchdown in a back-and-forth contest. It was Sziy's rushing touchdown and an extra point from Krysta Glen-Roberts (who made all three kicks in the game) that pushed the Rough Riders in front for good.
Northampton took over with under four minutes to play looking for the go-ahead score. But once the Konkrete Kids began to threaten in Catasauqua's red zone in the final seconds, the Rough Riders' defense used a 4th-and-1 stop to ice the game. Moten came away a big play on that final drive.
"It was so intense," Moten said. "I couldn't even hear what our coach was saying to me when I was in there. I had never played that position before. He told me to find the girl and pull her flag. And that's what I did."
Wiest opened the game with a score for Northampton; Wiest and Catasauqua running back Mikala Anbino-Dockter alternated scores early on. The Konkrete Kids then went ahead 20-14 after running back Sydney Kane crossed the goal.
That, however, wasn't enough down the stretch, as Sziy capped the Rough Riders' game-winning drive late.
"When it was time to play the game, everything just clicked and I knew what to do," Mikala Anbino-Dockter said.
"We had possession and we were really close to scoring in the last minute of the game," Wiest said. "So it kind of hurt to lose, especially by one point because it's all of those what-ifs."
The rivalry adds another chapter to its history book with the annual Turkey Day football game between the two teams on Thanksgiving Day.
"There is a big rivalry," Anbino-Dockter said. "Even though on the field everyone gets really competitive, everyone was still nice."