Catasauqua begins the second half of the season with both optimism and skepticism.
The Roughies closed out their first five games of the season with an overall 2-3 record. They dropped their opening game to Salisbury, then won consecutive games against Northern Lehigh and Pen Argyl before suffering lopsided defeats to Saucon Valley and Palisades.
Up next Saturday afternoon is an unpredictable Wilson squad, which will host the Roughies with an overall 3-2 mark.
Throughout the early part of the season, Catasauqua’s boys’ soccer team played with plenty of promise and optimism, getting out to a 2-2-1 start under first-year head coach Josh Inman.
Then, like most teams during a season, the Roughies hit the proverbial wall.
Catty dropped three consecutive games, suffering shutouts against Southern Lehigh (6-0), Moravian Academy (4-0), and Salisbury (3-1). However, they bounced back with a 6-0 thumping of Lehigh Valley Christian Tuesday afternoon.
After the win, the Roughies improved to 3-5-1.
On paper, it easily can look like a mismatch.
Catasauqua will enter their game against Palisades Friday night with an overall 2-2 record. After the Roughies dropped their opener to Salisbury, they rallied to post consecutive wins against Northern Lehigh and Pen Argyl before they fell to Saucon Valley last weekend.
Conversely, Palisades hasn’t missed a beat.
In their first three games of the season, Catasauqua’s girls’ soccer team was among the top team in the Colonial League and also recognized as one of the rising teams in the Lehigh Valley.
The Roughies had disposed of Northern Lehigh and Wilson and then battled league contender Saucon Valley to a draining, 0-0, double overtime tie. Catty apparently was riding high with a 2-0-1 record.
“Saucon Valley threw everything at us,” said head coach Randy Gillespie about the game.
“We played 100 minutes of soccer and left everything out on the field. That was huge for us.”
After playing football since he was seven and wrestling in the eighth grade, Derrick Rodriguez decided not to play any sports in his freshman year at Catasauqua.
To this day, he doesn’t have the answer to that decision.
“I went out for wrestling in eighth grade and I really liked it,” said Rodriguez. “When I got to high school, I didn’t go out for any sports. I really don’t know why. It just happened.
“But I soon realized I wanted to go back.”
Literally speaking, Catasauqua’s cross country team continues to make strides.
With increasing depth and lowering times, the Roughies should be a force throughout the season and beyond.
“Our runners are running really well,” said head coach Kyle Rusnock. “We had a good summer and the kids worked very hard. We are starting to see the results and it will look better as the year goes on.
“We have been improving in several ways.”
These days, it is the new mantra around the Catasauqua football program.
The Roughies’ recent stout defensive effort has produced two impressive wins over Northern Lehigh and Pen Argyl. In the latter, Catty also had their character and mettle tested in a last-minute, 17-14 victory over the Green Knights.
With 57 second left in the game, Devon Troxell booted a 28-yard field goal to lift the Roughies to victory. The win gave the Roughies an overall 2-1 record, as they recorded consecutive road victories for the first time since the 2013 season.
Kyle Zimpfer recalled how he was introduced to the center position in his freshman year.
“I never really played center before high school,” he said. “It was early in the season, and I was told to go in and play center. I had some time in practice, but I really didn’t know what to expect.
“It was kind of different going through the process, and the coaches were a great help. I had mostly played guard or tackle. But I knew once I got it down, there was no turning back.”
Devon Troxell couldn’t recall a similar event to the one that recently happened to him.
It proved to be a momentous one that could totally turn the Roughies season on an upward swing.
Troxell booted a game-winning, 28-yard field goal with 28 second remaining that lifted Catty to a 17-14 victory over Pen Argyl last weekend. The victory – their second consecutive – gave the Roughies a 2-1 overall record heading into a key showdown with Saucon Valley Friday night.
Back in 2004, Danny Richie set the course record at Willow Brook Golf Course when he shot a 62.
Since he was 14, Richie had called the Catasauqua-based course his home. He worked there in his teens and took over the course professional four years ago. The Allentown Central Catholic graduate left the area to pursue a collegiate career at Coastal Carolina University, but he knew he would remain tied to his roots at the course.
A few weeks ago, Richie further solidified his presence at the course when he broke his own record by shooting a 59.