Roughies fall to No. Lehigh
The Catasauqua Rough Riders fell to Northern Lehigh 48-0 in the home opener at Almuni Field on a rare Thursday night game.
The matchup between Colonial League West Division foes dropped the Roughies record to 0-2 on the season and 0-1 in the division.
The Catty faithful had an early reason to cheer when first-year head coach Mike McClarin went deep into his playbook on the third play of game, calling for an option pass from senior RB Wilquon Clemens. Junior WR Adam Reinhart got behind the Bulldogs’ defense for a 50-yard completion, setting up a first and goal from the 9-yard line. However, a fumble in the backfield on the ensuing play turned the ball over to Northern Lehigh at the 12. From there, NL used a methodical rushing attack to drive 71 yards setting up their only pass completion of the night, a 17-yard TD from Gage Hunsicker to Damion Rodriguez.
Catasauqua took a different approach on its second offensive possession, relying on the legs of senior QB Andrew Martinez. Martinez picked up 34 of his team-high 59 rushing yards on the first four plays of the drive, moving the team to their opponents’ 30-yard line.
The drive stalled at that point forcing McClarin to make a tough decision on 4th-and-10 and Martinez delivered another first down run. A penalty on the play moved the ball down to the 6. Two runs and pass gained a total of 2 yards and the Roughies were turned away on their second 4th down attempt on the drive.
McClarin was obviously disappointed by his team’s missed chances.
“It’s about finishing. We’ve got to finish off those drives,” he said.
After two NL runs, the first quarter ended with the score at 7-0 in favor of the visitors. After eight more rushes, the lead was extended to 14-0. It looked like the score might quickly go to 21-0 after a Catty fumble set up the Bulldogs at the 14. The defense rose up and pushed them back five yards before recovering a fumble on 4th down to keep the game close.
However, the Rough Riders were never able to recapture their early offensive spark and the Northern Lehigh ground game, 383 yards on 45 carries including Justin Paul’s game high 188, proved to be too much to handle.
After the game McClarin gathered his team around him on the field. He told the squad they have to fight through adversity. And, when someone goes down, the next man up has to be ready to go in and perform.
“They’re learning a whole new system. We’ve got some kinks we need to work out before the next game,” he said.
That next game will be Friday night, when Catasauqua will host Pen Argyl in Colonial League action. Catty beat the Green Knights 17-14 last season and will have two extra days to prepare for the game. It could be a great opportunity to deliver the first win of the season.