Catasauqua Press

Sunday, September 23, 2018
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Catty eyes Thurs. victory

Wednesday, August 29, 2018 by Jeff moeller Special to the Press in Sports

Before the season, Catasauqua appeared to have two very competitive games on their early schedule against Bangor and Northern Lehigh, both of whom were coming off losing seasons like the Roughies.

Bangor gained some late-season momentum last year with three-straight wins to end the season, and the Slaters rode that wave to a 42-12 victory over the Roughies.

Northern Lehigh, though, loomed as likely target, as the Bulldogs began their season last week at Wilson with a 12-game losing streak that dated back to 2016.

Unfortunately for Catty, that situation quickly changed.

Northern Lehigh ended its streak with an impressive, 34-18 comeback victory over Wilson. The Bulldogs trailed 18-14 heading into the third quarter and they rallied for 20 unanswered points.

Now, the Roughies have a rare Thursday night matchup against the Bulldogs, who will be head to Alumni Field with plenty of bark and bite.

“We have one less day to prepare and that will be a challenge,” said Roughies’ head coach Mike McClarin. “They (Northern Lehigh) are a power team and they like to run the ball.”

They certainly do.

Northern Lehigh running back Justin Paul ran for 137 yards and scored three touchdowns, all in the second half. Overall, Northern Lehigh had 266 of its 301 total yards on the ground.

Quarterback Gage Hunsicker was a double-threat, as he ran for 78 yards on 13 carries, and he also completed six of 10 attempts for 60 yards with a touchdown.

This can make it a sticky situation for the Roughies, who allowed 274 yards rushing in their loss to Bangor last week. Last season, stopping the run was their main obstacle on defense.

“They (Northern Lehigh) remind me a lot of Bangor,” said McClarin. “They want to pound the football. With the short week, this will be a tough opponent for us. But they are in the same situation as us with the short week. We have to clean up some things fast and move on.”

McClarin has been impressed with his team’s work ethic. He knows a win would further solidify some early confidence. Catty beat Northern Lehigh, 38-20, in Slatington last year, and it was their highest point total of the season.

“It was tough coming off the Bangor loss,” said McClarin. “I thought we played effectively as a whole team. Our kids were eager to get back on the field this week and we had some good practices.

“It definitely would feel good to get a win. Things haven’t worked out like I would like them to, but there is a lot of potential with this team.”