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Rough Riders improve to 5-1

Catasauqua recently won its fifth game in a season for the first time since 2013.

The Rough Riders have had a consistent through their first six games that has helped produce an overall 5-1 record. More importantly, though, the Roughies have done it with their defense.

Through their first six games, the Roughies have allowed 81 points, an average of 13.5, the lone blemish being a 42-8 loss to Palmerton, Over the remaining five games, the Roughies have allowed just 39 points.

Their latest win was a 14-6 victory over Mahanoy City.

“Our defense is playing really well,” said head coach Travis Brett. “Mahanoy is better than a one-win team and their size was a challenge for us. We’re changing things as we go, and we have been moving people around. Our guys have been excited and active.

“In the past couple of years, we would have lost the close games we have been in. Our defense has really battled and kept us there.”

Brett cited the play of senior Jacob Scheirer and sophomore Dylan Pacheco along with the consistent efforts of seniors Gabe Toth and Alex Oakley, junior Javier Sobrato and sophomore Miles Melendez.

“Scheirer has looked strong the past couple of games, and Pacheco got cleared to play Thursday and he helped us,” added Brett. “Sobrato, Toth, and Melendez are very quick up front, and Oakley has stepped it up for us.”

Leading tacklers senior Eli Soler (40 stops) and junior Anthonie Hunsicker (33) also have been constant performers. Hunsicker had a key sack and two tackles for losses against Mahanoy.

Hunsicker also had a good feeling about the game.

“I think that I personally played my best defensive game of the year,” said Hunsicker. “I have to give the coaching staff credit though because they were calling the plays. I was just doing what they taught me.”

Brett credits the defensive brain trust of coordinator Tim Fisher, line coach Brian Reilly, and secondary coach Tom Gilmartin for their schemes throughout the season.

“They’re doing a great job,” he said. “We meet for about three to four hours to break down everything. We feel we have been well prepared for each team.”

Offensively, junior quarterback Christian Fye had a solid game against Mahanoy with 50 yards passing and 74 yards rushing, a 25-yard touchdown run against Mahanoy. Fye has 140 yards rushing for the season.

“He had a good first half throwing the ball,” said Brett. “We had two fumbles that hurt us from scoring a couple of touchdowns.

“He also runs the ball well. Christian runs hard and smart, and we’re confident he won’t get injured.”

The Roughies will look to continue their winning ways when they travel to Minersville (4-2) Friday night. The last trip there was a successful 31-12 victory in an opening-round District 11 playoff game in which they had six interceptions.

“‘Their quarterback from last year transferred, and their current starter is back from an ACL injury,” said Brett. “They’ll spread us out, and they tend to throw the ball most of the time.

“But I believe we can match up well with them.”

PREDICTION: The Battlin’ Miners are coming off a 28-14 win over Pine Grove in which they scored two, late, second-half touchdowns. Quarterback John Adams threw for 84 yards and he was their leading rusher with 70 yards. In their four victories, they have allowed a total of 45 points.

The Roughies began the week as their third seed in the District Class 2A bracket behind Palmerton and Northern Lehigh. Catty is averaging 4.9 yards a carry rushing while Soler leading the way with 338 yards for a 5.0 average...

The Roughies have allowed an average of 111 yards and on the ground and 102 via the air. An eye-raising stat is that they have issued over 100 yards in their last three games.

Minersville is a long ride and a tough place to play due to the environment. This will be a true character test and a battle for the Roughies, and they can’t afford to look ahead to their “new field” opener against Pine Grove the following week. Coach Snyder, you’ll owe me some cabbage and noodles. ROUGHIES 21-16.

Press photos by Al Zuzic Anthonie Hunsicker (21) brings down the quarterback while Gabe Toth (64) gets set to finish the tackle.
Quarterback Christian Fye runs a QB sweep during last week's victory.