Catty set to face Konkrete Kids
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.
“When I was at Navy, we had ‘Beat Army” everywhere,” said McClarin. “This is a great tradition and the top rivalry around. This is a great privilege for me to be part of this game that involves the two communities.
“So many people care about this game and we want to put our best foot forward. It is exciting to play a major role in a game that is Super Bowl like to both teams.”
The Roughies will enter the contest with an overall 1-9 mark, gaining their win (37-34) against Wilson Oct. 12.
Since then, they have dropped five-straight games being outscored 267-55. They did post their second-largest offensive point total (27) in their season finale against Northwestern.
Overall, Catty has averaged 13.3 points per game, while allowing 47.3 per contest. The Roughies averaged 206 yards per game, 158 of them on the ground in their triple-option offense.
After a 5-1 start, Northampton lost some of its momentum and went 2-3 down the stretch, losing its last game to Easton, 39-19, in a District 11 Class 6A playoff.
But the Konkrete Kids’ offense has averaged 37 points per game and their rushing attack has pounded out an average of 255 yards per game.
That easily could spell trouble for the Roughies, who allowed an average of 289 rushing yards per game.
“They are a big, physical team and similar to some teams offensively that we have played,” said McClarin about Northampton. “We will need to create some turnovers and run to the ball to stop their running game. We have to do a better job at that.
“Offensively, we have to be able to create some long drives and not turn the ball over. We also have to avoid taking some stupid penalties.
“We can’t afford to take a play off.”
On offense, Catty has relied on its running game throughout the season.
Seniors running back Wilquon Clemons and quarterback Andrew Martinez have provided the bulk of the attack.
Clemons has rushed for a team-high 592 yards with five touchdowns, while Martinez has accounted for 449 yards with six touchdowns.
With their heavy run-oriented offense, Martinez only has attempted 88 passes, 25 of them completed.
Senior Devon Troxell has been the team’s kicker the past four years, and he has been attending these games since his early youth.
He understands the significance behind the tradition.
“Playing in Thanksgiving is truly a unique and special thing,” said Troxell. “Not many schools play on Thanksgiving any more compared to years back. We all still have something to play for this late in the season.
“Seeing the entire bleacher section filled with people three or four rows deep gives me goose bumps.
“I am just thankful to take the field with my teammates on last time against Northampton. We as a team are looking toward the challenge.”