For the Catasauqua girls’ soccer team, it was about getting to the next level.
That didn’t necessary involve wins and losses, but it was about effort.
The sixth-seeded Roughies stunned third-seeded Tri-Valley, 3-2, in the opening round of districts, but they then suffered a hard-fought, 1-0 defeat to second-seeded Moravian Academy in the semifinals. It was Catty’s first win in district play since 2007 when they eventually advanced to the state finals.
With his first season under his belt, Mike McClarin realizes there is still plenty of football education ahead in all phases.
“We are still learning as players and as coaches,” said McClarin. “We are learning how to play better and how to coach better. It is really a process.
“We all became better as the season went on. We all made sacrifices and it will help us in the end.”
The Roughies ended their season with a 49-14 loss to Northampton on Alumni Field Thanksgiving morning that left them with an overall 1-10 record.
For seniors Brad Panto, Wilquon Clemons, and Devon Troxell, the recent annual Thanksgiving Day clash with Northampton marked an end to their memorable careers as well as a cavalcade of memories in the Brown and White.
Panto was among the team’s leading tacklers on defense from his middle linebacker spot and also the leader on the offensive front. It likely marked the end of his football playing days, but the lessons and experiences that will linger.
The Roughies’ overall record of 4-19 the past two seasons is an insignificant factor.
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.
Northampton’s football season can be divided into two seasons.
First, there is the 5-1 start in which the Konkrete Kids posted three consecutive shutouts and averaged 46 points a game after their opening-game loss to Parkland.
Then there are the final five games that saw the Kids drop their final two games of the season to Whitehall and Easton, the latter in their first District 11 playoff appearance since 2003.
On the football field, Brad Panto sees the big picture and deals with his share of challenges.
He understands patience.
Off the field, he will endure one of his biggest challenges when he begins service in the United States Army after graduation.
As a result, the senior is well aware of his team’s plight this season as they end their season against archrival Northampton this week.
“It takes time to turn this around,” Panto said. “You don’t do it over night with new coaches and a new system.
Former Whitehall head football coach Brian Gilbert read the movements of the Giants’ Saquon Barkley who nearly rushed for 4,000 career yards as a Zephyr.
Gilbert also had a good read on Barkley when the rookie ran for a career-high 142 yards and scored three overall touchdowns in his team’s 38-35 victory over Tampa Bay at Met Life Stadium Sunday afternoon.
Wilquon Clemons won’t forget when he won his team’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award after the Thanksgiving Day game last year.
The then junior running back finished the day with 106 yards on 14 carries.
A year later with the game hours away, Clemons has a melancholy feeling mixed with a sense of reality.
“It’s sad,” said Clemons. It’s hard to realize that this will be my last game. I know I have to play even harder and do even better.
“Since we didn’t make the playoffs, this is our championship game.”
Catasauqua’s Amy Huber was ready for her recent powder puff clash with Northampton, but she and her teammates were caught a little off guard.
With the game at Northampton, the host Konkrete Kids instituted a new 7-on-7 format instead of the traditional 11-on-11 among some other changes in the format.
The Roughies battled, but they fell in the high-scoring, 62-44 clash on Nov. 4.
Sebastian Henry loves a challenge and knows about honor and dedication.
The Catasauqua senior has tackled some challenges in his athletic career, and he has another one ahead next year.
Henry, who has run cross country and participated in track and wrestling, plans to join the United States Marine Corps after high school and enlist in the infantry for hands-on combat.
“This is something that I have thought about since seventh grade,” he said. “To me, it is about what the symbol means and how we should honor and respect those have guarded our nation.