Catasauqua head football coach Mike McClarin knew his squad would have a stiff challenge Thanksgiving morning against Northampton.
The situation became even more precarious when McClarin underwent an appendectomy a few days earlier and watched the game from the press box at Northampton.
Unfortunately, life didn’t get any easier for the Rough Riders as they suffered a 63-0 defeat to the Konkrete Kids in the 97th meeting between the two teams.
Northampton (10-2) scored on it first seven possessions and held a 49-0 advantage at halftime.
Mason Hess figured this year would be different for him and his teammates.
The Catasauqua junior knew his team would have a different outlook with plenty of freshmen and sophomores sprinkled into the lineup.
It would also have a different twist for him as he made the move to linebacker form his defensive and offensive line post.
With the season now over, his year has followed the script. An elder statesman on the team, Hess has watched his younger teammates mature as he strive to keep a positive approach despite the team’s overall record.
Northampton will enter its 97th annual Thanksgiving Day tilt with Catasauqua apparently with a sizable advantage on a few fronts with a 10 a.m. kickoff at Al Erdosy Stadium.
The Konkrete Kids (9-2) have a strong chance to gain their first 10-win season since 2008 (10-3), and they will have a size and player number advantage over the Rough Riders.
Northampton hasn’t played since it suffered a hard-fought, 42-37 loss to Easton in an opening–round district Class 6A playoff game Nov. 1.
On Thanksgiving morning at Northampton’s Al Erdosy Stadium, it will be 34 days since Catasauqua last played a football game, losing its season finale, 47-0, to Northwestern.
Rough Riders’ head coach Mike McClarin has taken a different approach with the layoff.
“We look at a second season this year,” said the second-year head coach, whose team has a 0-10- record this season. “We told the kids to put everything behind them from the first 10 weeks, and look at this as five weeks to prepare for a game.
The local District 11 postseason is over.
The Catasauqua-Northampton Thanksgiving Day clash will formally pull down the curtain on the overall season.
Except for Tamaqua, both Nazareth and Southern Lehigh had its seasons end at the hands of District 1 suburban Philadelphia powerhouses last weekend.
First-year head girls’ volleyball coach Jordan DeMasi is being patient.
Yet, DeMasi knows she has to stay the course. Wins and losses won’t truly measure the progress of the team this past season.
“It definitely will take time,” said DeMasi. “But everything has been positive. Most of our girls haven’t played before. They are still figuring things out.
“You can see that they are improving with experience and that’s all we can ask for.”
DeMasi has seen cohesion developing along the way.
Catasauqua head middle school football coach Travis Brett can’t specifically recall when his teams last lost a football game.
It’s for a good reason, too.
The young Rough Riders have posted consecutive undefeated, 10-0 seasons, and had an 8-2 mark in the previous year, compiling an extraordinary 38-2 mark during the span.
“I believe we have won 26 or 27 (games) in a row,” said Brett, who is in his sixth year with the middle school program and 18th overall in the Catasauqua system. “We have had a really good run the last two years.
Over the past few weeks, Catasauqua head girls’ soccer coach Chris Hain spent more time trying to comprise a healthy lineup rather than evaluating his district playoff chances.
Fortunately for him and his players, both problems were solved in their favor.
The fifth-seeded Rough Riders (7-11-1) won an opening-round district playoff game for the second-consecutive year when they blanked fourth-seeded and host Schuylkill Haven (9-9-1), 2-0, Tuesday afternoon.
Catasauqua’s Lexi Rushatz has been pleased with her accomplishments, but she still has miles to log on her cross country circuit.
She is optimistic to make a return to states this season.
“Things have been good and I am happy with the everything,” said the junior. “I have been able to run a lot of my best times this season.
“Also, I have been able to break the 20-minute mark, which was a big goal of mine.”
Lexi Sheldon recalled being in seventh grade and watching her older sister, Bree, compete in a cross country meet.
The younger Sheldon knew then that she was hooked.
“It looked like fun and I wanted to do it,” said Sheldon. “My sister always has been a big motivator for me, and she has helped me through it.
“I always enjoyed running and it really has helped me get through everything.”