For the first time since the 2013 season, Catasauqua is back in the playoffs.
With their 21-18 victory at Northwestern last Friday, the Roughies gained enough points in the District 11 Class 2A power ratings to secure the fourth and final spot in the bracket.
As a result, Catty (3-7) will travel to top-seeded Palmerton (7-3) Friday night. The Roughies’ last appearance was in the postseason was in the PIAA Class 2A state quarterfinals where they were shutout by Imhotep Charter 49-0.
At the recent PIAA District 11 Cross Country championships, Catasauqua’s girls’ team placed third out of nine teams in the class A bracket.
Freshman Lexi Rushatz paced the team with a fifth-place finish and she will advance to the state meet in Hershey this weekend.
Four years ago, however, it would have never happened. The Roughies didn’t have a girls’ team.
Head coach Kyle Rusnock credits seniors Bree Sheldon and Alexia Reichl with the initiation of the program.
When they travel to Northwestern Friday night, Catasauqua will look to end its losing streak and end the regular season on a high note.
The Roughies have been mired in a six-game losing streak, the latest was a 69-22 defeat to Southern Lehigh during their final home game of the season.
Southern Lehigh (8-1) still in the running for the Colonial League crown, jumped out to a 21-8 lead at the end of the first quarter and padded their lead to 42-14 at the half.
Lexi Rushatz likes keeping being on the move.
The Catasauqua cross country and girls’ soccer team certainly can appreciate her efforts.
Rushatz, a freshman, finished 16th in the recent Colonial league championships at De Sales University. She ran the 3.1-mile course in 22:44.07. Senior Cam Ritter was the top boys’ finisher for the Roughies, as he recorded a 51st finish with a time of 20.01.52.
Along with cross country, Rushatz is the leading scorer for the girls’ soccer team that began district play Thursday against Moravian Academy.
Last season, Catasauqua’s girls soccer team just missed making the district playoffs, as they finished with an overall 6-10-1 record.
Getting there this season was a major priority.
In two weeks, the Roughies will have reached their goal when they will open play in the District 11 Class A bracket, likely facing Moravian Academy. Ironically, they finished this year with a 6-10-2 record.
It is a welcome relief from a regular season that didn’t quite go as planned. The Roughies got off to a good start only to be later stymied by a five-game losing streak.
In a game they needed to remain alive in the district playoff hunt, Catasauqua went into their locker room at halftime at Palmerton trailing 12-7.
The Roughies caught some late first-half momentum when quarterback Andrew Brett hit Miguel Hernandez on a 34-yard touchdown pass.
Unfortunately, the Roughies stopped there.
Palmerton added a pair of touchdowns in the second half and shut out Catasauqua on their way to a 26-7 victory.
Over the final two weeks of the regular season, the road for Catasauqua’s football team doesn’t get any smoother.
The Roughies (2-6) will welcome a surging Southern Lehigh team into Alumni Field Friday night for its Senior Night and final home game of the season. Catty will be looking to snap a five-game slide.
Catasauqua’s cross country team was primed for their home meet at Bicentennial Park this week, a league field loaded with Bangor, Pen Argyl, Salisbury, Southern Lehigh, and Wilson. It also will be another measuring stick for the program.
“We have a good feel and it was something we were looking forward to” said head coach Kyle Rusnock. “We have been running hard and making progress. Our girls have had success and the boys are coming along. Other teams are taking notice.”
Catasauqua is hoping history doesn’t repeat itself.
The Roughies will enter the final three weeks of the regular football season still having district playoff hopes alive. They were in a similar situation last year needing at least one win over either Palmerton, Southern Lehigh, or Northwestern to grab a spot.
They lost to Palmerton and Southern Lehigh and still had a chance with a win over Northwestern at home. However, that game ended in a 48-20 defeat.
Now, the Roughies have another opportunity with the same situation facing them. In fact, it looms a must win.
In their recent matchup, Catasauqua’s offense appeared they could try and match Notre Dame’s offensive output.
The Roughies just couldn’t stop them.
Notre Dame scored eight touchdowns – four apiece via the run and the pass – and eventually routed the Roughies, 60-28 at Alumni Field.