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Kids win showdown against the Mounties

A series of thunderstorms postponed the Northampton football team’s scheduled Thursday night tilt against Stroudsburg until Saturday afternoon, but that only seemed to have delayed the inevitable as the Konkrete Kids defense held the Mountaineers to 50 total yards from scrimmage in a 31-0 shellacking.

Coming into the game, it seemed that Stroudsburg might be able to give the K-Kids a battle. They had only lost 14-0 to perennial power Freedom in their opener and had a 16-point win over usually frisky PM West in week 2.

The Mounties had a chance to take an early lead after recovering a Northampton fumble and getting to the K-Kids’ 40 on a defensive holding call. From there, they went holding penalty, sack, intentional grounding, stuffed run, pass for -2 yards setting up 4th and 33. They never sniffed the Northampton side of midfield for the rest of the game, managing only one more first down, right before halftime.

Northampton scored their first touchdown 2 minutes into the second quarter after a 15-play 64-yard drive that saw them convert a pair of fourth down using the legs of tailback Caden Henritzy. Quarterback AJ Slivka finished off the drive with a 2-yard plunge.

Their second TD capped off an 81-yard drive on their next possession. With Slivka playing both ways on a muggy afternoon, backup QB, sophomore Gavin Taff, took the reins of the Northampton offense. Taff and Michael Coleman hooked up to convert a 3rd and 7 from the K-Kids’ 22 and from there it was a series of chunk plays culminating in a 2-yard run by Henritzy.

The Kids boosted the lead to 21 by halftime when Tristan Pinnock picked off a Stroudsburg pass thrown late over the middle and waltzed 33 yards untouched to the end zone.

Northampton fans have to hope that the pick-six was not the last highlight they see from Pinnock this year. On Stroudsburg’s first play of the second half, Pinnock was in on the tackle and stayed down after the play. He was escorted to the sideline by the trainers, eventually ending up with his arm in a sling indicating a possible shoulder injury.

His status for the rest of the season is unknown at this time, but it would be a tough blow especially because the Kids lost their other starting WR/CB, Tymir Williams, on the opening kickoff against Central.

The rest of the second half was relatively uneventful. Aaron Gutkowski kicked a 32-yard field goal to put Northampton up 24-0 with 2 minutes left in the third quarter. Slivka collected his second touchdown on a 10-yard run with 8 minutes left in the game.

Head coach John Toman assessed the performance, “I was just talking to the Stroudsburg coach and obviously they played Freedom really tough. And he said we were very, very physical and that’s what we like to see. We really weren’t sure. In the Central game, we sputtered on offense a little bit, but the defense was good. Against Pocono Mountain East, it’s not really a good gauge. They (Stroudsburg) were a good, quality opponent and we controlled everything.”

That control was due to the stellar play of both the offensive and defensive lines and especially senior captains Jake Biery and Colby Reph. Reph described the mindset, “Our D-line today, we really stepped up. We came out knowing this was going to be a game. We knew we had to be aggressive, we had to be physical, and we had to get into them quick. I think that’s exactly what we did.”

Biery added, “We came in with a purpose. We knew they weren’t the biggest up front and we took advantage of it. We used our size and we shut them down.”

For Northampton, Slivka was 5 of 8 passing for 51 yards and rushed for 52 yards on 11 carries. Henritzy ran for 57 yards, putting him within 176 yards of the K-Kids’ career rushing mark. He also gained 29 yards on receptions. Billy Stuhldreher was the leading rusher with 58 yards on 7 carries. Pinnock had 20 yards rushing and 24 receiving to go with his defensive score.

Northampton hosts Dieruff on Friday. The Huskies are 0-3 on the season and coming off 20+ point losses to Pleasant Valley and PM West.

Press photo by Mark Kirlin Tristen Pinnock emerges from a pile of players during last week's victory over Stroudsburg.