Northampton Press

Friday, December 13, 2019
Press photo by Linda RothrockNorthampton captains for Thanksgiving Day are: Joshua Gaycheck, Darlo Walnock, Nick Calazzo and Tyrese Brandon. Missing from the picture is Jared Russell. Copyright -                                                       Press photo by Linda RothrockNorthampton captains for Thanksgiving Day are: Joshua Gaycheck, Darlo Walnock, Nick Calazzo and Tyrese Brandon. Missing from the picture is Jared Russell. Copyright -
Tyrese Brandon and Andrew Martinez took home MVP honors last year. Copyright -                                                       Tyrese Brandon and Andrew Martinez took home MVP honors last year. Copyright -
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Kids look to keep on rolling

Wednesday, November 27, 2019 by Jeff Moeller Special to the Press in Sports

Northampton will enter its 97th annual Thanksgiving Day tilt with Catasauqua apparently with a sizable advantage on a few fronts with a 10 a.m. kickoff at Al Erdosy Stadium.

The Konkrete Kids (9-2) have a strong chance to gain their first 10-win season since 2008 (10-3), and they will have a size and player number advantage over the Rough Riders.

Northampton hasn’t played since it suffered a hard-fought, 42-37 loss to Easton in an opening–round district Class 6A playoff game Nov. 1.

On paper, the Kids have the advantage in every offensive and defensive category over the winless Roughies (0-10), but head coach Kyle Haas expects an intense battle, while many envision an early blowout.

The Kids have won five-straight, and in the series they lead 59-33-4 overall. They blistered Catty, 49-14, last year.

“This is a rivalry game, and Catty hasn’t been as consistent as maybe they wanted this season,” said Haas. “We expect Catty to play their best game, and we have prepared for them like we have prepared for everyone else this season.

“We respect the game and everything that goes with it.”

Senior wide receiver and defensive back Jared Russell, who a first-team All-East Penn Conference (EPC) North selection and holder for most touchdown receptions in a season, will cherish his final time on the Kids’ turf.

“I am excited to play one more time on my home field with my family,” said Russell. “I also am very grateful for the opportunities Northampton football gave me.

“I am very grateful to put on my Northampton jersey one last time.”

Fellow senior running back and linebacker Nick Caiazzo also sees himself being caught in the moment.

“I feel lucky to be able to play in such a long-standing Thanksgiving tradition here at Northampton,” said Caiazzo, a second-team EPC North choice at linebacker. “It is the game that I look forward to every season.

“The crowd and atmosphere at the Turkey Day games are like no other. I can see no better way to end my high school career than playing Catty at our home field. We have been preparing all month for this rivalry and will be ready to play.”

Haas echoed his seniors’ perspective and knows his team is focused.

“There is no doubt that we will play our best football,” said Haas. “It always comes down to tackling, blocking and execution.

“No matter what the outcome, both teams will be winners for having the opportunity to play on Turkey Day.”

PREDICTION: Haas has the politically correct outlook, but this looms as the Kids’ morning. There are plenty of indication that the Kids won’t lose a step from a 27-day layoff while their counterparts haven’t played since Oct. 25.

It should be a mild morning weather-wise that will lessen the chance of any early exits. Northampton should dominate from the start and set some new personal and team records in the process. A 1:30- 2 p.m. dinner time shouldn’t be a problem...NORTHAMPTON 52-7.