Win big. Breathe easier. Set a strong pace.
Northampton’s girls’ team is off and running.
After they lost to host Owen J. Roberts in their championship game, Northampton opened its East Penn Conference (EPC) schedule with three lopsided, 20-point-plus wins over Whitehall, Emmaus, and Pocono Mountain East.
The Kids have been pushing the ball and producing plenty of positives, racing out to a 4-1 start.
The big three is back, and the Konkrete Kids likely will be back in the hunt.
Senior guard Victoria Keenan, who broke the 1,000-point career barrier last season, again will be joined by fellow senior post player Jenna Rogers and sophomore guard/forward Morgan Sterner to lead the Kids this winter.
Northampton finished with an overall 15-9 mark last season, their season ending with a loss to Freedom in the Class 6A quarterfinal.
Northampton head girls’ basketball coach Jeff Jacksits could appreciate some of the physical play from host Owen J. Roberts in their tournament last weekend.
The Konkrete Kids knocked off Cheltenham, 55-29, in the opener, and then suffered a 46-38 defeat to Owen J. Roberts in the championship game.
Jacksits expects to see more of the same when the Kids open East Penn Conference play this week.
“We’ll see that from Central Catholic, Nazareth and Parkland and others,” said Jacksits. “They like to push and shove.
For the first time in a while, Northampton’s boys’ basketball team found its niche last season. They also discovered how timing can be everything.
The Konkrete Kids posted an overall 18-9 mark and advanced to the District 11 Class 6A championship game. Paced by seniors Aidan Elwood, Corey Weisenberger, and Mike Torres, the Kids reached beyond an anticipated level.
Now they need to maintain their status without the trio that accounted for 75-percent of their offense. Elwood and Weisenberger accounted for nearly 38 points per game.
Hunter “Bubba” Werkheiser got his nickname during his first season playing with the Bath youth football team.
“I was too big to play in the Northampton program at the time,” recalled Werkheiser. “I went to play for Bath and one of their assistant coaches gave me the nickname. It has stuck ever since.”
“Bubba” just finished a stellar career as a staple of Northampton’s lines for the past three seasons. The 6-2, 295-pound senior was a first-team East Penn Conference North defensive choice as a lineman this past season.
For the most part, Northampton’s football team achieved their first phase in its program.
The Konkrete Kids finished with an overall 8-4 record after they downed rival host Catasauqua, 49-14, Thanksgiving morning in the 96th annual skirmish.
It was an eventful season for the Kids, as they completed their first winning season in 10 years and also got back to the postseason for the first time since 2003. Those were among a series of accomplishments that helped Northampton re-establish its program this season.
Northampton’s football season can be divided into two seasons.
First, there is the 5-1 start in which the Konkrete Kids posted three consecutive shutouts and averaged 46 points a game after their opening-game loss to Parkland.
Then there are the final five games that saw the Kids drop their final two games of the season to Whitehall and Easton, the latter in their first District 11 playoff appearance since 2003.
Former Whitehall head football coach Brian Gilbert read the movements of the Giants’ Saquon Barkley who nearly rushed for 4,000 career yards as a Zephyr.
Gilbert also had a good read on Barkley when the rookie ran for a career-high 142 yards and scored three overall touchdowns in his team’s 38-35 victory over Tampa Bay at Met Life Stadium Sunday afternoon.
Mike McClarin knows about rivalries.
While he spent part of his college football career at Navy, McClarin was involved in arguably football’s most notable rivalry against Army.
Now, the first-year head coach is experiencing the same kind of intensity closer to home.
McClarin will lead his Roughies squad into Alumni Field Thursday morning for the 96th annual meeting with rival Northampton.
Northampton (7-4) has won the last four contests and has an overall 58-33-4 advantage in the series.
After his junior year, Damon Yarbough nearly quit the football team.
He didn’t, and proved how an age-old adage can still work.
“I felt like I wasn’t going to get a whole lot of playing time,” said Yarbough. “I didn’t play varsity as a junior. But I figured that I might as well see it through.
“Once I saw how things were and the feeling around the team in the summer, I knew that I made the right choice.”
His coaches certainly would agree.