For the upcoming 2018 season, Catasauqua will return seven senior starters to its lineup. It should be a solid core that will allow the Roughies to steadily fill some holes.
Last season, the Roughies finished with an overall 9-12 mark and their season ended in the opening round of the PIAA District 11 Class 3A playoffs with a 2-0 loss to Tamaqua. They lost four seniors to graduation, two of them fixtures on the mound in Rod Berger and Colin Hawk.
The year was 2006, the last time the Roughies qualified for the PIAA state tournament.
It also is one of the more memorable years in the annals of Catasauqua boys’ basketball, one that resulted in a stellar and eventful 27-4 season.
The ride was a short one, but it was filled with memories that easily have withstood the test of time and don’t show any sense of withering away in the near future.
Austin Brett and Tyler Melendez both cherished their opportunity to compete at the PIAA Class 2A Southeastern Regional at Wilson West Lawn High School last weekend.
However, they didn’t get to advance to the next step.
Brett’s and Melendez’s season ended in the consolation rounds of the tournament. For Brett, a freshman, it was the first step toward a promising career ahead. On the other hand, Melendez, a senior, saw the chapter close on his wrestling career.
Before the season, Catasauqua head coach Eric Snyder had his team sights to returning to a district semifinal game, the site where they dropped a 91-46 decision to Valley Forge Military Academy.
This time around, the Roughies faced Notre Dame. Unfortunately, the outcome wasn’t any different.
Catty couldn’t find its rhythm all night as they dropped a 65-44 decision to the Crusaders, ending their season with an overall 15-10 record.
Eric Snyder knew after Friday’s practice and Saturday’s walk-through that his team couldn’t wait to play.
“I knew they were ready to go,” said Snyder. “It was a very good effort and the boys were chomping at the bit. You always get a little nervous when you haven’t played in a while.
“But I had the same feeling before we played in Pottsville last year. I cut practice short on the day before the game because I knew they were ready.”
The Roughies surely were.
A few months ago, Austin Brett wasn’t thinking about competing at the PIAA Class 2A Southeastern Regional tournament this weekend at Wilson West Lawn High School.
Instead, he was wondering when he would be wrestling again.
In the opening weeks of practice, Brett fractured his growth plate in his foot and there wasn’t an exact timetable for his return. It was an untimely break for the freshman, who cracked the Roughies’ lineup at 113 pounds.
But Brett battled through rehab and returned to the lineup in a dual match against Notre Dame Jan. 22.
Catasauqua head coach Eric Snyder knows how difficult it can be to beat a team three times during a season.
He and his team will face that task Saturday afternoon.
The third-seeded Roughies will meet sixth-seeded Northern Lehigh in a District 11/1 Class 3A quarterfinal game at Northampton High School this Saturday at 6 p.m.
Catty won at Northern Lehigh, 62-59, on Dec. 20, and then beat them on their own court, 54-42, Jan. 20.
Mike McClarin won’t forget his experience at the Naval Academy anytime soon.
In fact, he plans on building some of its foundations in his approach as the new head football coach of the Catasauqua Rough Riders.
McClarin, a former Liberty High standout and assistant at the school, and at Dieruff High School, was approved at a school board meeting Tuesday night to head the program. McClarin takes over for Phil Dorn, who resigned after posting a 9-36 record over the previous four seasons.
A day later, Eric Snyder still couldn’t believe what happened.
Snyder and his team were still reeling from a stunning 74-53 loss at home to Wilson in the opening round of the Colonial League playoffs.
With the defeat, the Roughies (14-9) will await their opponent in the opening round of the District 11 Class 3A playoffs February 24 at a time and a site yet to be determined.
As a sophomore, Jaylen Green could be in an uncomfortable position as a team leader.
But Green continues to develop on and off the court for the Roughies this season, perhaps peaking at the right time for his team down the stretch.
He and leading scorer Isaiah Graves have provided a perfect combination for the team.
“Isaiah (Graves) can lead his way and I can be more vocal,” said Green. “We approach it in different ways, but we both can lead the team. It has been working for both of us.”