Northampton Press

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Konkrete Kids prep for huge game vs. Mounties

Wednesday, October 3, 2018 by Jeff moeller Special to the Press in Sports

On paper, it arguably is Northampton’s biggest game since it last ventured into the district playoffs in 2008.

The Konkrete Kids (5-1) will host Stroudsburg (5-1) Friday night on a collision course for the Easter Penn Conference (EPC) North title.

Since they lost their opening games, both teams have reeled off impressive, five-game winning streaks.

The Kids took a major step toward cementing their respectability in the EPC and beyond they edged East Stroudsburg South, 21-14, last week.

Now they will look to further solidify their newly-formed culture and gain a title in the process.

Still, first-year head coach Kyle Haas is viewing the big picture, especially after the East Stroudsburg South victory.

“I was glad that we played a tight game in the fourth quarter,” said Haas. “It was good to keep the faith and stay positive. We didn’t go through an emotional roller coaster. We had some opportunities wasted with some costly penalties, two interceptions inside the 25, and a drive stalled at the 30. We had so many opportunities to put them (East Stroudsburg South) away.

“We gained some confidence that we could win a big football game. We had to overcome some adversity. But we haven’t met any of our goals yet, and we have to get back to work.”

Haas knows the impact of the game, but he wants to keep everything in perspective. However, he does want to work from his strength, which has been the Kids’ multiplayer rushing attack. Tyrese Brandon had a pair of touchdowns and rushed for 146 yards on 16 carries.

“I know this is a big deal,” he said. “But we want to stay positive and not get out of character.

“We want to keep doing the things we are good at.

“Stroudsburg has been playing for this title ever since the EPC divisions began. They have played in enough big games, and we really don’t expect to see anything different from them. I’m sure they will show us some new wrinkles, but we know what is coming.

“They will likely put eight people in the box against us and it will just depend upon the alignment they use.”

He credited the play of his defensive line and notably Sam Nelson, Dominque Solomon, and Jared Everett, and also expects Hunter “Bubba” Werkheiser to be back along the front. Overall, the defense has allowed an average of 10 points per contest.

“They (defensive line) has played outstanding,” added Haas. “They have been creating enough havoc to allow out safeties to make plays toward the ball. We have to keep running toward the ball.”

Despite the big game hanging over them, Haas still sees his club rounding into shape.

“For us, I’d like to think that everything is a learning experience,” he said. “When we win, we critique them harder because we can fix the things in a loss.

“Our kids haven’t played a complete football game yet in all three phases, offense, defense, and special teams. We looking for that complete effort and a lot of goals are in front of us.”

The first-year head coach also would welcome the heightened support of the community, which has been somewhat slow to respond.

“It is nice to have the opportunity to play for a championship and we have to take advantage of it,” he said. “We still believe we have a lot of football left to play.

“We have had a good following form the community, but there are still some doubters. This program hasn’t been at this point in a long time, and we want to make the most of it for everybody.”

PREDICTION: This has all the makings of a great football game and one of the biggest in the Kids’ history. Northampton passed a character test by holding off East Stroudsburg South last week, and the win should have sent their confidence level on a mercuric rise. The key will be their running attack as teams have shut down their passing game in the past few weeks. This also will be another test for the defense, which has risen to another level.

The Kids are the sentimental favorite and a win would electrify and solidify the community around them. Playing the heart angle in a tight one … Kids 24-21.