Northampton Press

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Football anxious to get season going

Friday, July 19, 2019 by Jeff moeller Special to the Press in Sports

After a recent final 7-on-7 passing scrimmages, Northampton head football coach Kyle Haas left notes on a whiteboard for his coaches.

The plan was to have all passing completed in June and then have July to evaluate.

Moreover, though, the real message continues to be clear – Northampton is anxious and ready to take the next step from its 8-4 campaign last season.

“We wanted to leave July open and get together as a coaching staff,” said Haas, who will begin his second year at the helm. “We have to know what we did well and what we can work on. There are some obvious things that are our strengths and we know what we need to work on.”

Haas is excited about his receiving corps and backfield, both spots where the Konkrete Kids will have experience and depth.

Incoming seniors Spencer Cole and Jared Russell are back as prime targets and transfer James Robinson (6-3, 195) is expected to be a major contributor.

In the backfield, the Kids will be stacked with returnees incoming junior Michael Cruz, and seniors Tyrese Brandon, Nick Caiazzo and Josh Gaycheck at tailback.

Senior Mason Gunkle, juniors John Mannino and Zion Raub, and sophomore Makei Haubert, all have been battling at fullback.

“We believe we can improve on last year,” said Brandon. “We all have been working hard, and we’re looking forward to the season. We have a lot to prove to everybody.”

Incoming quarterback Joe Kerbacher took over midseason last year and secured his spot.

“He can only get better,” said Haas about Kerbacher. “He’s just a fabulous athlete plays all of his three sports well. We’re expect to get a good year out of him.”

The obvious weakness in the early summer may be the Kids’ line, where they have to replace five starters.

Juniors Sam Nelson at tackle and Dario Walnock at guard both loom as projected starters. The linemen did win a powerlifting competition at Palmerton in the spring.

“We have guys who can catch and run,” added Haas. “We need to find people up front. We have a lot of guys who are working. The first place in the powerlifting was a pleasant surprise.”

Expectations and goals will be lofty from a season that saw the Kids post their first winning record in 10 years and their first postseason appearance since 2003.

Along with Stroudsburg, they likely will be favorites to capture the East Penn Conference North Division, where they took up residence last year and accumulated some impressive victories. The Kids had a season-opening five-game winning streak stopped by Stroudsburg last year in what was conceived as the EPC North title game.

“We were beating Stroudsburg at halftime, and we couldn’t put them away,” said Haas. “That should be a springboard for us this season.”