Football team finding optimism early on
It will be one of the key words to describe the Catasauqua football program this season.
New head coach Mike McClarin is one of the many new factors on the Roughies’ landscape for the fall.
McClarin, a former Liberty High standout and former assistant coach at the school as well as Dieruff, has been impressed with the early energy and optimism from his players. The Roughies are coming off a 3-9 season and had posted an overall 9-36 mark the previous four seasons under former head coach Phil Dorn.
“Everything has been going well,” said McClarin about the team’s workouts. “We have a really good team atmosphere. We have been in the weight room for about two months.
“We have been working on our new offense, and the kids have been catching on.”
McClarin stated the Roughies will operate from a triple-option this fall. He became familiar with it while he was a player at the Naval Academy and also as a coach at Liberty.
“That’s where I got it from,” he added. “As a small school, we want to run something different. The kids had to adjust to it, and they have been doing a nice job. It is another different situation for them to be in.”
McClarin is looking to have roughly 40 players in camp in a few weeks. He also realizes the hurdles ahead.
“We only have about 190 boys in the school,” he said. “It is a numbers game and we have to be realistic. Our seniors have been doing a great job so far with their leadership.”
McClarin cited the work ethic of seniors Andrew Martinez, Wilquon Clemons, Jalen Whitaker, and Jaekwon Moody, who will all be candidates in the backfield and possibly at quarterback.
One of the major battles will be on the offensive line, where the Roughies lost a number of players to graduation. Brad Panto is the lone returning senior
“Brad (Panto) is a great character kid,” said McClarin, a former lineman. “We do have kids that have enough experience, but I also like the fact that we are young. It will be fun to work with them.”
Catty also lost three-year starter Andrew Brett at quarterback. Yet, McClarin is happy with what he has seen from the competition for the spot.
“We have three kids learning the position,” he said. “I don’t know who will be the starter. It’s a brand-new system, but they all have picked it up well.”
The Roughies have not had a winning season since 2013. McClarin knows winning is the main drive, but it will also be about the big picture.
“I’m looking to win,” he said. “Still, this is a process. We can get some wins, but this is a new system. We believe we can have some special things happen this year.”
The Roughies had a passing camp last week at Nazareth. They will begin the heat acclimation practices the week of August 5 and officially begin camp the following week.
In the meantime, McClarin will work with the youth programs to build a strong pipeline to the varsity.
“We took our kids down to the Midget leagues to make a connection,” he said. “We want to build a program and we’re taking the first steps.”