Konkrete Kids record signature victory
Kerbacher throws for 4 TDs, runs for 2 more to lead Northampton’s rout
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.”
Northampton’s Joe Kerbacher looks to make a pass during a 51-21 win over East Stroudsburg South.