K-Kids fall to Parkland
For the second consecutive year, the Northampton football team’s dream of claiming the school’s first district championship came to an end on Al Erdosy field in the District XI 6A semifinals. Parkland scored the first 21 points of the second half to open up an insurmountable advantage on the way to a 31-13 victory and a matchup with returning champion Freedom in the final.
The anguish was obvious on the faces of the Konkrete Kids as they gathered around head coach John Toman for his postgame speech.
Toman shared the message, “I told them, ‘We lost the game. We’re 11-1. Don’t let one game define you. It is what it is.’ We are fortunate because we have one more game to play, so they get an opportunity to play one more time with each other. Last year we were 12-1 – the winningest team in school history and we have a chance to tie that and win our 12th game.”
Parkland opened the scoring on the first possession of the game. Trey Tremba went the distance from the Northampton 32 and 4th and 1 to put the Trojans up 7-0. Parkland was able to take advantage of a short field to add a Gryffin Mitstifer 37-yard field goal to take a 10-0 lead at the 5:19 mark of the first quarter.
From that point on in the first half, the Northampton defense stood tall, allowing only one more Trojan first down before the break.
Meanwhile, the Kids’ offense moved the ball, but could not capitalize. They punted from the Parkland 42, fumbled at the Trojan 37, and punted from their own 48 on their three drives following the Mitstifer field goal.
They finally broke through when Tristen Pinnock recovered a fumble at the Parkland 6 and AJ Slivka bulled over from the 1 three plays later to cut the lead to 10-7, which became the halftime score after the Trojans knelt to end the half.
Northampton’s first drive of the second half reached the Parkland side of the field but was undone by a bad snap that cost the Kids 21 yards. The Trojans took advantage of a partially blocked punt to add a touchdown on a 19-yard completion from Luke Spang to Tremba.
A big 48-yard pass play from Antonino Russo to Pinnock and a 4th and 6 conversion went for naught as another snapping miscue cost the Kids big yardage and halted a drive in enemy territory.
Toman lamented, “We just didn’t play good football tonight. We didn’t have any bad snaps all year, and how many bad snaps did we have tonight? (four). So it was really weird. I can’t explain that.”
Still, the Kids only trailed 17-7 after Slivka snuffed out the next Parkland drive with a fumble recovery. A holding penalty derailed Northampton’s next offensive foray and after the Kids punted, Spang hit Nakhi Bullock on a 70-yard pass play with 11:40 to play to put the Trojans up by 17.
Tremba added a 42-yard touchdown run on Parkland’s next possession to put the game out of reach.
Slivka posted a touchdown run with 3 and a half minutes left to wrap up the scoring for the night.
While it was faint consolation, Caden Henritzy rushed for 115 yards to break the Northampton single-season rushing mark. He has 1,272 yards with the Catty game on Thanksgiving as an opportunity to add to that total.