Kids look to cap winning year
Northampton’s football season can be divided into two seasons.
First, there is the 5-1 start in which the Konkrete Kids posted three consecutive shutouts and averaged 46 points a game after their opening-game loss to Parkland.
Then there are the final five games that saw the Kids drop their final two games of the season to Whitehall and Easton, the latter in their first District 11 playoff appearance since 2003.
Nevertheless, the Kids (7-4) will travel to Catasauqua (1-9) Thanksgiving morning for the 96th annual meeting with the Roughies in their local version of the Super Bowl.
The Kids have won the last four contests and hold an overall 58-33-4 mark in the series.
“As far as records go, you can toss them out the window,” said Kids’ first-year head coach Kyle Haas. “The team that executes and eliminates mistakes will win. I am looking forward to being part of the tradition and the meeting between the communities.”
Northampton will be looking to cap its first winning season since 2008 that included numerous firsts, some dating back to the 1960s.
Among the more prominent marks are scoring 400 or more points in a season for the first time since 1961 and posting four shutouts during a campaign for the first time since 2008.
The Kids averaged 37 points per game and allowed just 16 points per contest. They were led by their consistent, potent running attack that averaged better than 255 yards per contest.
This could work very well for the Kids, as Catty has allowed an average of 289 rushing yards and 405 total yards per contest. Overall, the Roughies have allowed an average of 47.3 points per game.
“They are a big, physical football team,” said Catasauqua head coach Mike McClarin of the Kids. “They are like a lot of teams we have seen this year. We have to be able to run to the ball to stop their running attack and we haven’t been able to do that enough.
“We can’t afford to take a play off.”
Junior Tyrese Brandon is the team’s leading rusher and receiver. He has 956 yards rushing and has caught 25 passes for 268 yards. Overall, he has 20 touchdowns, 15 of them on the ground.
Brandon is happy just to play a part.
“This game has been a big tradition around here for a while,” he said. “It’s been an honor to be able to have this game on Thanksgiving. It’s rare to see to see it on this day, but we’re honored to be part of it.
“We have been approaching it like any other game. We’re hoping to send out seniors off the right way and give them one last opportunity to win on Thanksgiving. This is coach Haas’ first Thanksgiving Day game, and we are going to show him how much this game means to the community.”
Senior Kyle Wescoe has caught 13 passes for 233 yards with a pair of scores and also is the Kids’ leading punt returner averaging nearly 12 yards on 16 returns.
Wescoe recognizes the significance of the contest.
“There’s something always special waking up on Thanksgiving morning to play in this game,” he said. “It is an honor and not many schools play Turkey Day games anymore.
“One of the greatest parts of the game is all of the support that we receive from the town. As a kid, I remember attending these games and waiting for my moment to come. Knowing this is my last game wearing the orange and black makes it emotional. I have been playing with my teammates since I was seven.”
Regardless of their numbers, Haas doesn’t take the Roughies lightly.
“They have a tough offense (triple-option) to defend,” said Haas. “Defensively, we have to be assignment proof. If we get caught looking for the ball, it could get interesting. We have to stress tackling because it’s been our Achilles heel all season. We have to be disciplined.
“Offensively, we want to control the tempo and the clock. That’s what we do best. I’m confident our kids will be prepared.”
“We just can’t wait to come out Thanksgiving morning with the whole community behind us and beat up on the Roughies,” added Wescoe.