Konkrete Kids record sig­na­ture vic­tory

Ker­bacher throws for 4 TDs, runs for 2 more to lead Northamp­ton’s rout

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - By Keith Groller

On a night when Northamp­ton’s glo­ri­ous foot­ball past was re­mem­bered, the Konkrete Kids showed the present isn’t too bad ei­ther.

Ju­nior Joe Ker­bacher threw for four touch­downs and ran for two more as Northamp­ton de­liv­ered a state­ment in a 51-21 win over pre­vi­ously un­beaten East Strouds­burg South at Al Er­dosy Sta­dium.

At half­time, the school hon­ored its un­beaten 1955 and 1956 Le­high Val­ley League cham­pi­onship teams by in­duct­ing them into the Konkrete Kids’ ath­letic Hall of Fame. Charles Hoff­man, a cap­tain on both squads, was also in­ducted.

Mem­bers of the past teams gave the 2019 Northamp­ton squad an up­beat send­off as they walked through the field­house and came on to the field be­fore the game.

In­spired by the teams that outscored foes 323-78 and 420-46 in con­sec­u­tive years, Northamp­ton de­liv­ered a dom­i­nant per­for­mance.

The Konkrete Kids grabbed a 14-0 lead four min­utes and four sec­onds into the con­test and never looked back in putting them­selves in po­si­tion to win the Eastern Penn­syl­va­nia Con­fer­ence’s North Divi­son ti­tle with their fifth straight win.

Af­ter go­ing 64 yards on 11 plays for a Ker­bacher to Tyrese Brandon touch­down on the game’s first pos­ses­sion, Northamp­ton re­cov­ered the en­su­ing kick­off and scored on the next play when Ker­bacher hit Jared Rus­sell for 30 yards on a flea-flicker.

East Strouds­burg South got a touch­down on a blocked punt and was within 21-14 af­ter an Austin Miller TD run with 6:41 left in the half, but Northamp­ton scored the next 28 points.

K-Kids coach Kyle Haas re­minded his team of last year’s game against Strouds­burg, which also had EPC North ti­tle im­pli­ca­tions.

Northamp­ton led 7-0 at half­time and 14-7 in the third quar­ter, but saw the Moun­taineers take charge up front and run away to a 34-26 win.

The Kids wouldn’t al­low it to hap­pen again.

“Strouds­burg was a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for our kids,” Haas said. “When you don’t win for 10 years and you’re play­ing in a big game, some­times you don’t know how to han­dle that. The kids un­der­stood what hap­pened last year and took ad­van­tage of the op­por­tu­nity. Our coaches coached their butts off, the kids played hard and we put a com­plete ef­fort in and that’s what it takes to beat a team like South.”

Up and away: Ahead 35-14 at half­time, Northamp­ton kicked off to start the sec­ond half and again beat the Cava­liers to the ball. Five plays later, the Konkrete Kids ex­tended their lead to 28 points.

“Our in­ex­pe­ri­ence showed tonight,” South coach Matt Wal­ters said. “The amount of ju­niors we play with and with me coach­ing in my first big game, it’s tough. To get beat up when you ex­pect other things are go­ing to hap­pen, it’s not easy.”

Northamp­ton had 438 yards of of­fense, 121 yards in the air, 317 on the ground.

Ker­bacher com­pleted 11 of 15 passes with one in­ter­cep­tion. He con­nected with Brandon and Rus­sell twice apiece for scores and also scored from 13 yards and one yard.

“We knew some peo­ple doubted us and we used it as a chip on our shoul­der,” Ker­bacher said.

The de­fense col­lected four turnovers, two on the kick­offs and in­ter­cep­tions by Rus­sell and Brandon. It also got into the scor­ing col­umn when Ma­son Gun­kle and Zion Raub com­bined on a tackle in the end zone for a safety.

Not the champs yet: Northamp­ton may be the only un­beaten left in the EPC North with three di­vi­sion games still to play, but Haas re­minded his team it is not a cham­pion yet.

“The bull’s-eye is on our chest now,” Haas said. “Their des­tiny will be dic­tated by how they play the next four weeks. If they want to be a cham­pion, they have to take care of busi­ness ev­ery week. We need to keep prac­tic­ing the way we prac­ticed this week. If we can do that, we’ll be a pretty good foot­ball team. But this is not the cham­pi­onship, and we re­al­ize that.”

Northamp­ton’s tough­est test on the road to a ti­tle is Fri­day night at Strouds­burg. The Kids re­turn home to play Allen the fol­low­ing Fri­day and fin­ish its EPC North sched­ule against Po­cono Moun­tain East.

South, which must re­group against Beth­le­hem Catholic next week, isn’t done yet.

“But we take pride in our cul­ture and we don’t mea­sure our­selves in wins and losses,” Wal­ters said. “We didn’t do it when we’re 5-0 and we’re not go­ing to do it af­ter los­ing tonight. We mea­sure our cul­ture by how we do things on the field and off the field. We won’t let a loss af­fect our cul­ture. I’m proud of the kids ef­fort. It wasn’t an ef­fort is­sue. It was just men­tal mis­takes and when the snow­ball started to roll, we couldn’t stop it.”

AMY SHORTELL/THE MORN­ING CALL

Northamp­ton’s Joe Ker­bacher looks to make a pass dur­ing a 51-21 win over East Strouds­burg South.

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