Dreams Of Sports Illustrated Still Dance In My Head

I remember, growing up, having the covers of Sports Illustrated on the wall.

Growing up outside of the county, Sports Illustrated for me was a vital link back home, to America, where I remained an American boy.  It allowed me to stay connected to the sports I otherwise would have lost contact with.

I pored over the weeks-old issues, reading accounts of games that were long in the past.  I'd read pieces by Frank Deford and Rick Reilly, and they were my only link to an active sports culture back home.  (That and Armed Forces Radio on the short-wave.)

They kept me engaged, connected, in a world where American football was just that - American - and sports in general had a different emphasis.

Those days feel very far away, coming up into this Christmas season - an era away.

And my boyhood dreams of appearing one day in Sports Illustrated, too, still seem very far away - and different.
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Posted in Football, Grantland, Lehigh, SB Nation, Sports Illustrated, Sportswriting | Leave a comment

LFN’s 2014 Mountain Hawk Recruiting Christmas List

The 2014 season is over, and recruiting has been very much underway for the Lehigh football program.

If you mosey on over to the Lehigh Sports Forum, you can get a list of all the unofficial recruits that head coach Andy Coen and the rest of the coaching staff appear to have secured commitments for the class of 2019.

I always look at the Lehigh football program's recruiting season as a list to Santa.  If I was running the program, what would I want to see under Lehigh's tree?

In order to do that, we need to see what Lehigh has coming back in 2015, and what we need for the future, and what better place to get that than some of the biggest fans of the program?

(And you don't even need to work on your ground game to do it.)
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Posted in Andy Coen, Christmas Wishes, Defense, Football, Lehigh, Offense, Recruiting | Leave a comment

2014 Season Report Card

It's been hard to put the season into words.

Believe me, I've tried many times.  Many postings trying to summarize what happened, what is happening, and where to go from here.

In the end it was easier to think of the season as a report card.

It's a cliche, I know.  I was trying to avoid going there.  But in the end, it was the only way to really put the final word on the 2014 season together.  Going into the season, there were expectations on this team.  The report card is the place where the analysis is done on the performance of the team.

Below the flip, check out the analysis.  (Warning: it might not be pretty.)
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Posted in 2014 Season In Review, Chris Leigh, Colton Caslow, Football, Lehigh, Nick Shafnisky, Pierce Ripanti, Troy Pelletier | Leave a comment

Season In Review: Too Many Almosts And Not Enough Finishing

The word that sums up the 2014 football season for Lehigh is almost, and nowhere was that almost more symbolic and frustrating was in their opening weekend against a team that would make it to the FCS Playoffs, James Madison.

Early in the 4th quarter, thanks to a gutty touchdown run by senior RB Rich Sodeke, Lehigh held a 28-24 lead on the Dukes and had taken advantage of a litany of James Madison miscues to get the ball at their 20 and a golden opportunity to stomp on the throat of the Dukes.

But that 4th quarter instead was an all-too-accurate look into the small things that cost the Mountain Hawks wins this season.

In the end, it wasn't the talent that had Lehigh limp to a 3-8 finish in the 2014 schedule.  It was a whole lot of little things.
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Posted in Andy Coen, Brandon Leaks, Colton Caslow, Football, Lehigh, Nick Shafnisky, Rich Sodeke, Tim Newton, Troy Pelletier | Leave a comment

Perspective, And Lack Thereof, In My #Rivalry150

In the run-up to the big game at Yankee Stadium I had an opportunity to talk with Lehigh football alum OL Dan Mulholland.

One of the great diehard fans, Mulholland runs the "Kings of Tailgates" at Lehigh home games, partially in tribute to his teammate Roger McFillan, who died unexpectedly at the age of 50.  The tailgates in Roger's honor, run by Dan, his twin brother Bob Mulholland and fellow teammate Gus Gustafson, are a Mountain Hawk gameday fixture right next to the Rust Pavillion, and every home game they "grill the opponent's mascot."

It so happened I talked with Mulholland about his best work, his blocking for RB Jack Rizzo's record-breaking rushing performance against Lafayette in 1971.  Rizzo ran for 313 yards, a Lehigh single-game record that still stands today.

"Yeah, we'll never see any sort of rushing performance like that ever again in a Rivalry game," I told him mere days before Lafayette RB Ross Scheuerman would drive his SUV all over the Lehigh defense for 304 rushing yards and 357 all-purpose yards and 3 touchdowns.
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Posted in 2014, Chris Leigh, Football, Lafayette, Lehigh, Rivalry, Rivalry150, Ross Scheuerman | Leave a comment

Lehigh Digs Two Touchdown Hole in Yankee Stadium, Can’t Dig Out, Loses 27-7 In 150th Meeting With Lafayette

Someday I will look back on the 150th meeting between Lehigh and Lafayette as a joyous occasion, one of those times when I remember chucking a football around the parking lot of the Yankees with my son and his friends.

At some point I'll think of my time in the open air Yankee press box, two seats down from the New York Times, and smile.

Now is not one of those times.

Lehigh couldn't get the offense going in the first half, or the entire game, for that matter, but managed to allow Lafayette RB Ross Scheuerman to set a single-game record in rushing for the Leopards, a 60-carry, 313 yard performance.

The result was a dominating, humbling, frustrating, overwhelming 27-7 win by Lehigh's bitter Rival on Yankee soil.
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Posted in 150, Andy Coen, Football, Frank Tavani, Lafayette, Lehigh, Matt Mrazek, Rivalry, Ross Scheuerman, Zach Zweizig | Leave a comment

Game Breakdown, #Rivalry150, 11/22/2014

There is but one football game in this college football season tomorrow, and it's in New York City at Yankee Stadium.  That means there's but one football game to break down, and it's #Rivalrly150, which will be done below the flip.

It's hard to believe that the season is already coming to an end, and that the game that was years in the making is about to happen tomorrow.

It made for a weird vibe on campus today, where I went to get my tickets and buy my Rivalry scarves for tomorrow.  I'm used to the Rivalry being in the air on campus, but campus mostly had serious students there, the football-crazed of whom are probably in Manhattan right now, fresh from watching Lehigh's president John D. Simon ring the final bell of the New York Stock Exchange, or attending the sold-out Lehigh/Lafayette swim and dive meet, or listening to Lehigh Choral Arts at Carnegie Hall, or attending the gala with Earth, Wind and Fire.

With all the hoopla, it can be forgotten there's an actual football game tomorrow - essentially a bowl game.  Let's see how Lehigh can come out of the Bronx with a win.

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Posted in Andy Coen, Drew Reed, Football, Frank Tavani, Game Breakdown, James Coscia, Lafayette, Lehigh, Rivalry, Rivalry150, Ross Scheuerman | Leave a comment

Game Preview, #Rivalry150, Yankee Stadium, 11/22/2014

I know it's been several years in the making.  I know we are almost at the eve of the biggest edition of the Lehigh/Lafayette Rivalry yet, the one in Yankee Stadium, the 150th meeting, the one I've been waiting for years to arrive.

Yet it's one play, one play, that I keep thinking about in the run-up to this game.

Bubble screen.

I keep seeing that bubble screen in the 149th meeting of Lehigh and Lafayette, the one that put the game out of reach, the one that turned Lehigh's bid for a championship last season become one that fell just short of a championship.

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Posted in Andy Coen, Arturo Gyles, Game Preview, Isaiah Campbell, Josh Parris, Lafayette, Ned Daryoush, Rivalry, Rivalry150, Tim Newton, Tyler Coyle | Leave a comment

Picking the FCS Playoff Bracket, 11/19/2014

We're a week away from picking the field, so below the flip, check out what I think the bracket will look like.

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Posted in 2014, Bucknell, FcS Playoffs | Leave a comment

Quick Game Preview, Colgate at Lehigh, 11/15/2014

About a year ago today, Lehigh and Colgate were two teams facing off with playoff implications.

What a difference a year makes.

The Mountain Hawks and Raiders both find themselves in a place where they are not accustomed: young squads with losing records, battling for pride, and giving the seniors something to remember.

Colgate and Lehigh has developed into a rivalry with a little r, because of the frequent championship connotations of their meetings over the last decade and a half, and a whole lot of other reasons.  In 2014, this rivalry takes on a different shape and form: the form of which team is headed in the right direction into 2015, and for Lehigh headed in the right direction towards Yankee Stadium.
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Posted in Andy Coen, Brett Mooney, Colgate, Ed Pavalko, Football, John Quazza, Kris Kent, Lehigh, Mike Armiento | Leave a comment