Optimistic McClarin continues to plow ahead
Mike McClarin may be feeling like trying to paddle a rowboat with a hole in the middle across a pond to the other side.
Yet, no matter how much water engulfs the boat, McClarin keeps paddling.
The 30-year-old, enthusiastic first-year Catasauqua head coach has brought that type of determination and positivity to a rather listless program that won nine games over the past four years.
His Roughies will play their final regular season game at Alumni Field Friday night with an overall 1-8 mark and face heavy odds against a surging Northwestern (7-2) squad that has won five of last six games, the last three in convincing fashion.
They likely again will be without leading rusher Wilquon Clemons and mustered only 169 yards of total offense.
Since they defeated Wilson Sept. 21, the Roughies have been rattled to a tune of 206-28 in point differential.
Regardless, McClarin plows forward and always sees some positives.
He recognized the contributions of Austin Brett and Riley Reinhard against Southern Lehigh.
He does realize and recognize his team’s flaws, but keeps an optimistic outlook that times will change.
He also realizes how much he has grown as a coach and individual through the process, and holds himself fully responsible for the team’s struggles.
McClarin has coined, “It’s a process.”
It truly is, especially trying to install a triple-option offense with basically a new offensive line and backs in place. His roster has hovered around 25-30 players with nine seniors.
Patience is his virtue and he exemplifies it.
When he won his first game over Wilson, McClarin gushed about his player’s attributes and contributions and knew how much it meant to them.
From there, though, McClarin understood how it would be an uphill battle facing a slate full of playoff contender for his young club down the stretch.
He has preached academics and overall accountability in all of the tasks his players do in the same breath as an offensive or defensive scheme.
During the break before the Thanksgiving Day game, McClarin plans to take his team to the campuses of Lehigh and Moravian to watch practices and to help them discover what the life of a college football player can be.
He hustles to watch as many youth games as possible and constantly expresses his love and gratitude toward the community.
No matter what the outcome, McClain plans to build a program as long as he can. He can take a hit like Teflon and keep going.
Don’t throw him a life preserver. Just be waiting for him on the other side.