NHS looks to get going against Dieruff Week 2
The measuring stick that was Parkland is behind them, but it isn’t forgotten.
Northampton’s 49-14 loss gave them a different perspective from last year’s 41-0 defeat to the Trojans, and it also fueled them for the next step beginning with Dieruff at J. Birney Crum Stadium Friday night.
“It was 28-14 at the end at the end of third quarter, and we had the ball and the momentum,” recalled Northampton head coach Kyle Haas. “But we couldn’t convert a third-and-one, and they went on to score 21 points in the quarter.
“Our kids fought the whole night. We trailed 13-0 at halftime last year, and we didn’t show up in the second half. They just wore us down, but we saw what we can do offensively. We have a quarterback in Joe Kerbacher who will only get better.”
Kerbacher was the leading rusher for the Kids, as he ran for 103 yards on 18 carries and scored both touchdowns on the ground.
“Joe is young and he will tend to tuck the ball and run when he feels pressure,” said Haas. “He can do a lot of things with his legs.
“He can get into a rhythm on offense and has a lot of talent around him. Joe is the great equalizer, and he helps us out immensely.”
Kerbacher, a junior who took over last year, has made the adjustment
“Offensively, we played well,” said Kerbacher. “I was very comfortable out there. Being thrown in last year for the last six games was very helpful.
“We have room for improvement, but I was very happy with our performance and can see us competing for the (East Penn Conference) North title this year.”
Coming up short last year, winning the EPC North is a top priority for the Kids this year. After their loss to Parkland last season, Northampton reeled off an impressive five-game winning streak that ended with a loss to eventual North champion, Stroudsburg.
The development of the Kids’ new offensive line will be a key.
“It’s about them being consistent,” said Haas. “They can be as good as the line last year. They have increased their strength in the weight room. One breakdown can hurt them now. They have to keep their heads up.”
Against Dieruff, the Kids’ line likely will get their first chance to make their stance. Bethlehem Catholic beat Dieruff, 48-7, in the opener for both teams.
“They have some athletes who can run and catch the football,” said Haas about Dieruff. “Up front, they have struggled. I know they will have some growing pains. Still, we don’t know what team will show up.
“We’re trying to get our line some confidence. This could be a good game for them. But we have to worry about ourselves. We can’t relax, and we have to develop some of our younger kids.
“We’ll be prepared, and our goal is to win the EPC North.”
PREDICTION: This is where the Kids began their impressive five-game streak in which they outscored their opponents, 231-20 starting with a 49-0 shutout of Dieruff. Kerbacher will have plenty of running lanes and he also will have time to throw (5-for-14, 79 yards against Parkland) against a Dieruff team trying to find its footing. Tyrese Brandon should also have a breakout game on the ground and as a receiver. With a running clock in the second half, the Kids could be back home before 10:30…NORTHAMPTON 45-6.