For the Northampton entry in the Lehigh Valley Connie Mack (LVCM) League, it is a year about chemistry not experience.
The Konkrete Kids rode an experienced group last season to a second–place finish in the league and into the state playoffs. They finished with an overall 15-9 record.
For the Northampton baseball team, it proved to be more about the parts than the whole.
The Konkrete Kis finished the season with a 2-1 loss to Pleasant Valley in the opening round of the Class 6A playoffs.
They finished the year with an overall 10-11 record, a season that was a roller coaster in more ways than one.
“It was a trying year,” said head coach Mick Sugra, who finished his eighth year at the helm. “We needed to be more unified as a team. We had five players who weren’t part of our team workouts in the offseason, and they thought it was better.
Northampton’s magical ride from a year ago still hasn’t totally lost it luster.
The Konkrete Kids came off one of their finest basketball season in school history, posting an overall 18-9 record with an appearance in the District 11 final and a state playoff showing.
It’s true the Kids have lost 1,000-point plus scorer Aidan Elwood, along with other talented seniors, all of whom helped shape the program the past few years.
But, they got off to a 5-2 start in the Allentown Summer League this spring and can perhaps take some cues about the upcoming season.
It wasn’t a typical night of high school football. Instead, it was a night of camaraderie and memories for all those who participated and watched.
The 48th annual McDonald’s Lehigh Valley All-Star Classic football game at Nazareth High School’s Andrew S. Leh Stadium wasn’t your average September game as it was dotted with errors from the players and referees alike who all struggled to get in sync.
Along with being the second overall pick in the recent NFL draft, Saquon Barkley couldn’t be happier with his new surroundings in the Jersey Meadowlands.
In fact on the first day of the team’s recent three-day OTA workouts, Barkley was the first player to arrive and the last player to leave the New York Giants’ training complex.
He already has developed into a staple in the greater New York area.
“This is where I wanted to be,” said the former Whitehall standout. “I am a hard worker, I am willing to learn, and I am coachable.
Northampton head track and field coach Tim Caffrey admittedly has a bittersweet moment at the recent District 11 meet.
The veteran coach watched some of his performers advance to the state meet at Shippensburg University this weekend, while he watched others end their high school career.
Zach Liggitt (first place, shot put and discus), Alexis Barrall (second place in the pole vault), and Jared Jackson (third place, 400-meter dash) will be competing at Shippensburg.
Northampton’s senior night was and proved to be the perfect setting.
The Konkrete Kids entered their senior night and final game of the regular season in a must-win situation to gain their eighth consecutive district playoff berth.
They began the final week needing just one win in their final three games, after an impressive four-game winning streak brought them back in the running.
But the Kids hit the skids when they dropped consecutive games to Parkland (9-1) and Whitehall (7-1). It was time to respond and they quickly did against Nazareth.
Cole Rufe isn’t satisfied. He may never be.
However, the senior could reach some satisfaction with the Northampton baseball team this spring. He is a key member of the Konkrete Kids’ rotation that certainly will shape their season.
“I am never satisfied in what I do,” said the junior. “Whatever I do, I figure that I can do better. But I feel like I am where I should be at this point of the season. I know I just have to keep working hard.
“If I can be the leader in pitching (categories), then maybe I’ll be satisfied.”
Northampton’s track program had a productive two days at the East Penn Conference meet as well as during the regular season.
The Konkrete Kids had six medal winners at the EPC meet, and each of them advanced to the PIAA District 11 meet at Whitehall High School this week. Overall, the Kids sent 22 girls and 19 boys to the two-day event, which was pushed backed to Wednesday and Thursday of this week.
“We’ve had a pretty good year,” said head coach Tim Caffrey. “All of our athletes performed well and they should continue to succeed in the district meet.
For the Northampton baseball team, it certainly was gut-check time.
Head coach Mick Sugra envisioned his team getting into the play-in game of the District 11 Class 6A tournament.
But the Konkrete Kids entered Wednesday night’s season finale at home needing a win over Nazareth on their senior night to grab a spot. That result was past Press deadlines.
They had a 9-10 record and were in the midst of a roller-coaster two weeks that saw them potentially peaking at the right time to treading water near the bottom.