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Community mourns loss of Elijah Soler

The Catasauqua school and football community recently suffered another tragic loss within 10 days of another tragedy.

Elijah Soler, who was a member of the football team and a 2022 graduate, was killed when the car he was driving collided with a tractor-trailer on Allentown’s American Parkway at about 7:37 p.m. Monday night.

Soler was pronounced dead at 9:06 p.m., according to a news release from Lehigh County Coroner Daniel A. Buglio. The cause of death was multiple traumatic injuries due to the crash, and the manner was ruled accidental.

On Christmas night, former Rough Rider athlete Dante Kaintz, a 2019 graduate, was killed when his car hit a tree in Lower Macungie Township.

Soler was the team’s lead running back in the 2021 season, as he gained a season- and career-high 809 yards on 166 carries with five touchdowns. He averaged 67 yards per game and 4.9 yards per carry. He scored the team’s last touchdown of the season in the Thanksgiving Day game.

Head football coach Travis Brett watched Soler mature on and off the field.

“Well, it is hard to put into words the kind of kid Elijah was,” said Brett. “If you really knew him, he had a goofy smile, a good heart, and was the type of kid that could make anyone smile, even on their worst day.

“Over his junior and senior years, Elijah really came far along, turning into a responsible young man for his school work and football. I had the opportunity to coach him, and oddly enough, he made me a better person and coach. I feel blessed to have known him, and I think everyone that knew him does too.”

Athletic director Tom Moll saw Soler as a person with an infectious demeanor.

“Elijah was a fun kid to be around,” he said. “He had an upbeat personality. And always had a smile on his face. He always went out of his way to say hello to everyone.

“The past 10 days have been devastating for our school district and community.”

Senior running back Anthonie Hunsicker has a heavy heart from both losses. Soler became the team’s lead back when Hunsicker was sidelined with an injury that caused him to miss five games.

Hunsicker will remember Soler for his personality and wit.

“Soler really was a character,” recalled Hunsicker. “He always found a way to make people laugh. With us both being running backs, we kept each other’s spirits high. He always pushed me to try and accomplish things that I thought were out of reach.

“It’s still very surreal to think that he’s gone, and I hurt. There was a silence in school everywhere. It’s a lot to take with two deaths in Catty with Soler and Dante. (Soler) was a pretty big motivator for everybody he touched, and it’s a complete honor to have played with and known him. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and everyone whose life he has touched.”

Fellow senior Wyatt Younes will remember Soler for his modest and unpretentious nature.

“Elijah was one of the most humble, fearless, and intelligent athletes I have ever played with,” said Younes. “He inspired me in numerous ways.

“I can personally say that he helped develop me into the athlete I am today. Besides the athletic side, I think I can speak for almost all the football players that Elijah wasn’t just a teammate and a friend, but he was family to us.

“He was one of the most down-to-earth human beings I have ever met, and he could make anyone smile with his amazing and unique personality. I am thankful for having the opportunity to play with him and to be able to call him my teammate.”

“The world is definitely a lesser place with him not in it,” added Brett. “God bless him.”

Press pohto by Al Zuzic Elijah Soler was a key player for the Rough Riders during his career at Catty.
Press File pohto Elijah Soler was a key player for the Rough Riders during his career at Catty.