Kids rally for key victory over ESS
“I told the kids at halftime we were winning the game 21-20.”
Whether he’s a wizard as some of his players called him after the game, or just a head coach trying to stay optimistic, John Toman said the right things and made the right adjustments to turn a 20-0 halftime deficit into a 21-20 win over East Stroudsburg South that put the Konkrete Kids on a clear path to claiming their second EPC North title in three years.
As bad as the 20-0 at the half sounds, it was in fact worse. The Cavaliers scored on their first three possessions and had all of their points 30 seconds into the second quarter. Northampton gained 4 net yards in the first half.
There were reasons for the offensive issues and Toman and his staff addressed them.
“We were down to our third center,” he said. “We went to our fourth center in the second half which solved he problem (half a dozen bad snaps). They were stealing our signs, so we went to the huddle in the second half which made the difference. They didn’t know what was coming and they couldn’t stop it.”
The K-Kids demonstrated that immediately as they marched 59 yards on the opening drive of the second half for a touchdown. Everett Luisi did most of the damage, running for 35 yards out of the Wildcat formation, including the 4-yard finisher.
On their next drive, Northampton used the Wildcat to set up a big gain. Luisi pitched to fellow running back Caden Henritzy, who threw a strike to quarterback Cooper King for a 24-yard gain. Three plays later King took the ball over from 2 yards out to cut the deficit to 20-14.
After the defense forced a three-and-out, the K-Kids took over on their own 27. Henritzy kept the drive alive with a 4-yard run off right tackle on 4th and 1 from the 48. Another 4th and 1, this time from the South 38, required a measurement to confirm a Northampton first down. On the next play, King lofted a pass to a wide-open Jaelen Richardson for 37 yards and sent the whiteout-clad crowd into a frenzy. Vincent Santostefano’s third PAT of the night provided the winning margin.
Richardson showed his skills on the defensive side of the ball by intercepting a pass to snuff out the Cavaliers’ last-ditch effort.
King finished the night 5 of 10 passing for 55 yards. Luisi led a balanced rushing attack with 44 yards. Henritzy ran for 33 yards and Tristen Pinnock added 29 yards on the ground.
Richardson had two receptions for a total of 41 yards. Carson Czarnecki and Mike Coleman each had 1 reception for 9 and 8 yards respectively.
AJ Slivka was the leading tackler with 5.5.
On Friday Northampton travels north to take on Pleasant Valley. While the Bears boast an impressive 4-1 record, the district power rating formula shows them having played the weakest schedule in the EPC. Their loss was to South 3 weeks ago by a score of 36-14. If the Cavaliers were a pothole on the K-Kids’ path to a title, Pleasant Valley represents a speed bump. Unless Northampton is reckless, the game should not be close.