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Annual Thanksgiving Day game returns

Thanksgiving Day football is back.

After COVID-19 postponed last year’s game for the first time in its history dating back to 1925, Catasauqua and Northampton will meet for the 98th time Thursday at Alumni Field. Northampton leads the series 60-33-4.

Catasauqua will enter the game with an overall 7-4 record, the latest game was a 47-7 loss to Palmerton in a District 11 Class 2A playoff game. The Roughies have lost three of their last five games after a 5-1 start.

Quarterback Christian Fye has completed 54 of 111 passes for 853 yards with nine touchdowns and five interceptions. Fye has 247 yards rushing with three touchdowns.

Elijah Soler has run for 758 yards with four touchdowns. Anthonie Hunsicker had run for 322 yards with seven touchdowns, and Hunter Reitz added 145 yards with three touchdowns - both before they suffered season-ending injuries.

Ian Juica is the Roughies’ leading receiver with 25 catches for 230 yards with three touchdowns and Wyatt Younes had 23 receptions for 557 yards with seven touchdowns.

Offensively, the Roughies averaged 22.6 points per game, while they allowed 21 points per contest. They gave up an average of 130 yards passing and 137 yards rushing per game.

Northampton head coach John Toman, whose club has had a historic season in many ways with their 11-1 record, knows his team will face a real scuffle.

“Catty is an athletic and scrappy team,” said Toman. “Offensively and defensively, they throw a lot of different sets at you.

“You need to be prepared for anything. It’s a rivalry game, and they have had 2.5 weeks to prepare for us, so we are expecting anything and any trick play.”

Roughies’ head coach Travis Brett believes his club will face a major hurdle in trying to stop Northampton (11-1), which suffered its first loss of the season to eventual champion Freedom, 21-9, in the District 11 6A semifinal.

Northampton has rushed for 1,921 yards and passed for 1,211 yards.

Caden Henritzy has had a banner year with 787 yards with 11 touchdowns and Everett Luisi has run for 389 yards with eight touchdowns.

Quarterback Cooper King has completed 76 of 125 attempts for 1,131 yards with 14 touchdowns. Caden Richardson has 24 receptions for 315 yards with three touchdowns.

Catty has had trouble stopping the run all season.

“They are big up front, and they have speed,” said Brett. “They got the whole package. They like to run the ball, and I think they will run it on us.

“We will have trouble engaging with them up front. We have to be in some gaps and run some different stunts. It’ll be a challenge.”

Brett expects Northampton will make some changes reacting to the Roughies’ offense.

“We have some different things we want to throw at them,” said Brett. “We have to see how they adjust.

“We need to execute offensively. We want to be able to run the ball as well as be able to pass effectively. We also want to be able to run some clock on them.”

PREDICTION: This will be the first Thanksgiving game on Catty’s refurbished field ... The Konkrete Kids have won the last six games, the last three have blowouts. The Kids won the 2019 game in a 63-0 rout ... Northampton’s largest margin of victory was 83-0 in 1937, and Catasauqua’s was 35-0 in 1995 ... Both teams are relatively healthy, and the Roughies expect Miles Melendez back in the lineup ... Temperatures are expected in the 50s, and a good crowd is expected ... This will be the highest ranked district team Catasauqua will face this season ... Roughies will be more competitive than in recent years, but Northampton’s size will be their major hurdle ... Kids will be looking to finish with a club record 12 wins ... This game has the making of restoring the tight games between the two teams ... Roughies play hard, but Eric Snyder and Dave Troxell will owe me some Jimmy’s and Toby’s hot dogs ... K-KIDS, 35-20.

Press photo by Linda Rothrock Reprsenting Catty are captains (from left to right) Gabriel Toth, Elijah Soler, Stewart (Alex) Oakley and Jacob Scheirer.