Rivalry game filled with exciting plays
The Northampton Konkrete Kids finished off their 2018 football season with a satisfying, 49-14 win over Catasauqua in the 96th playing of their rivalry game. The win was Northampton’s fifth in a row in the series, bringing the historical totals to 59 wins for the Kids, 33 for the Rough Riders, and 4 ties.
Despite the lopsided score, the fans that braved the frigid temperatures on Thanksgiving morning were treated to an entertaining, hard-fought game. Both halves started with onside kicks that were recovered by the kicking team. There were an additional three onside kicks attempted (one successful), only one punt, and something that had never happened before in the history of the rivalry game.
The Kids opened the scoring on their first drive of the game on a 26-yard sweep by Tyrese Brandon.
Northampton added two points when the snap on an attempted Catasauqua punt sailed through the back of the end zone for a safety.
Aiden Jones returned the resultant free kick 70 yards for a touchdown, giving the Kids a 14-0 lead after the first quarter (both conversions after the touchdowns were unsuccessful).
QB Joe Kerbacher got his name on the score sheet with a two-yard run on Northampton’s first possession of the second quarter.
Catty got on the board with three minutes left in the half when QB Andrew Martinez ran it in from 7 yards out. The Rough Riders’ starting kicker had been injured earlier in the game, so when Catty sent in their backup kicker - Haleigh Toto, a striker on the Catasauqua girls soccer team – it marked the first participation by a female player in the history of the rivalry. Toto was unable to add her name to the scoring because the kick was blocked.
Tyrese Brandon capped the first half scoring, galloping 17 yards to paydirt. Brandon’s 124 total yards and two touchdowns earned him recognition as the Northampton MVP of the game.
Once the second half started, Northampton continued to pound the ball behind their mauling offensive line. Josh Gaycheck reaped the rewards with a 15-yard scamper for a score on the first drive of the half. The Kids’ next drive racked up 57 ground yards finishing with Kerbacher’s second TD, this one from 24 yards out.
Defensive back Spencer Cole completed the Northampton scoring with a scoop and score fumble recovery.
While the intensity of the rivalry was evident from the personal fouls and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on both sides, the game never threatened to turn ugly as it had in the past. Head coach Kyle Haas had his team take a knee twice from the Catty 8-yard line to run out the clock.
It was Haas’ first year at the helm of Northampton and he had these thoughts on the experience of the traditional game.
“It’s neat. The whole process leading up the game; the bury-the-hatchet dinner; meeting with the seniors on Monday night and having a dinner with Catasauqua,” Haas said. “The whole tradition is special. It’s really about two communities coming together and celebrating football.”