Category Archives: Andy Coen

Lehigh Goes 2-0 In Patriot League Play With Critical 54-35 Win Over Georgetown

The 2017 Lehigh Mountain Hawks are known for having a great offense, a high-octane group that features stars like junior QB Brad Mayes and junior RB Dominick Bragalone.

But senior WR Troy Pelletier would trade it all for conference wins.

On an afternoon where he broke a bunch of school and Patriot League records - some of them unanticipated - his focus, as ever, was about getting the league victories that count towards the main goal of this team - to defend their Patriot League Championship.

"I didn't know what the records are," Troy said afterwards about his record-busting, 16 catch, 197 receiving yard, 4 touchdown performance.  "I just knew I was close.  I knew it was going to come if I bought in every day, do what I need to do every day to get better, and I knew it would come."

Fortunately for Lehigh fans, his banner day came to allow Lehigh to resoundingly beat Georgetown 54-35 and go to 2-0 in Patriot League play.
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Georgetown at Lehigh Media Pack (w/Video): 1977 Champions Coming Back To Goodman

As a guy who is pretty passionate about his Lehigh football history, it was great to see a national champion on the set of Lehigh Sports Central this week.

QB Mike Rieker, quarterback of the 1977 Division II National Champions, showed up to talk to Steve Degler about his role on that team and share some stories (and some video highlights) about that magical season.

One thing he didn't do is talk about funny locker room stories about head coach John Whitehead.

"It was strictly business with coach Whitehead," he said.  "There was no footing around in the locker room until you left.  He was all business, and it reflected on us, a lot of guys took to heart they didn't want to make mistakes, because you'd have to face him.  He was a tough taskmaster and a great teacher, and he ended up being a really good friend.

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Georgetown At Lehigh Game Preview: Enough Was Enough

(Photo Credit: Morning Call)

"When’s enough, enough?"

Sometimes the game narratives can fall into something that seems like a cliche - the old halftime pep talk about "winning one for the Gipper", or something like that.  But this one feels different.

Head coach Andy Coen talked about it, and junior QB Brad Mayes talked about it - about Brad taking control of the locker room at halftime with a team full of long faces.

Going into that locker room, Brad had just before rallied on a broken play to fire a perfect pass to junior RB Dominick Bragalone to cut the two-touchdown deficit to one, and after a special teams touchdown for Colgate was called back on a penalty, the defense stopped Colgate cold to end the half.

But despite the momentum, gloom was still in the locker room.

“As a quarterback, you have to be a vocal leader," Brad told Keith Groller of The Morning Call this week.  "I’ve done it in the past when I was younger and in high school, and even when I played the past couple of years here, but I hadn’t done it until this year. We were just down seven. I didn’t understand the long faces and I basically said ‘When’s enough, enough?’ I said you guys have to hate losing as much as I do. We just had to go out and put forth the effort. We’re still a good football team. We just had to execute and it would work out, and it did.”

The Mountain Hawks then did enough to win the football game, and are hoping that they've said enough to losing any more games this season.  The first test to see if that comes to pass will come at home as Lehigh hosts Georgetown.

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In 41-38 Win Over Colgate, Lehigh Buries Memory Of Winless 1966 Season, And Gives Themselves Potential For More This Season

It was a very different time for Lehigh football, but in 1966, the Engineers started out the season 0-5, and had to travel up to Hamilton, New York to take on the Colgate Red Raiders.

"Lehigh faces its toughest opponent of the season tomorrow afternoon in the Red Raiders of Colgate, at Kerr Memorial Stadium in Hamilton, N.Y," the 1966 Brown and White preview read.

After their 21-15 loss to Colgate in 1966, the Engineers would fall to 0-6 and eventually finish 0-9 on the season, the last time Lehigh started a season 0-6 and the last time Lehigh would go winless in a season as well.

It was that sort of historic elephant that the 2017 Mountain Hawks had on their backs this Saturday, whether they realized it or not.

Had they lost to their Chenango Valley rival, they would have been the first Lehigh football team to go 0-6 in more than fifty years.  0-5 entering this game, ironically their sixth shot at a football victory would involve going to the same venue to play the same opponent they played fifty-one years ago trying to avoid a 0-6 start.

Turning around an 0-5 start could be one of the hardest jobs in football, especially against a hated conference rival, and especially in a place that has always been a difficult place for Lehigh to play.

And it wasn't easy.  The 2017 Mountain Hawks had help, both from some tough calls against Colgate and from some boneheaded penalties against the Raiders that were justified.

But this group of athletes achieved that goal that eluded the same goal of the Lehigh Engineers of 1966.  The football team playing this Saturday won a hard-fought 41-38 contest that maybe, just maybe, might have turned things around just in time.
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QUICK RECAP: Up By 3, Lehigh Throws Out The Numbers And Finds A Way To Win, Beats Coglate 41-38

It was Colgate 28, Lehigh 14 as the first half was coming to a close.  The Mountain Hawks had the ball, but the pall over Lehigh fans everywhere was very evident - "here we go again," most seemed to be thinking.

You couldn't blame fans necessarily for thinking that way, of course.  The Mountain Hawks hadn't found out yet this year how to pull out a game like this, and normally, a two-touchdown deficit to Colgate feels like a four-touchdown deficit, the way they run the ball and gradually crush the spirit of opposing teams.

Driving and scrambling - somewhat of a broken play - junior QB Brad Mayes found junior RB Dominick Bragalone downfield with a big 35 yard touchdown pass, cutting the deficit to 28-21.

And then, gradually, over the course of a half of football, Lehigh put mistakes behind them just as the uncharacteristic mistakes by Colgate seemed to mount.  One Colgate touchdown would be called back.  Then another.  And Lehigh would battle back to tie the game twice, fall behind by a field goal with 5 minutes to play, and then score the winning touchdown and get a game's only turnover at the exact right time to preserve the win.

Somewhere, Al "Just Win, Baby" Davis was smiling.
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Lehigh At Colgate Media Pack (w/ Video): Looking For Positives

"We're looking for positives," Steve Degler of Lehigh Sports Central said several times.

And coach Andy Coen did mention a few positive things, like the play of junior RB Dominick Bragalone, and the improved play of Lehigh's defense.

But he also mentioned how important it was to "educate his players" about the rivalry Lehigh has with Colgate as well - how playing up in Hamilton is never easy and this game is a rivalry game.

"Next to the Lafayette rivalry, I look to Colgate next," Andy said.  "We have to educate our young players that this rivalry is a very, very tough one, and I know Colgate view themselves as the toughest guys going, and we need to prove they are tougher than they are."

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Penn At Lehigh Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: How Much Do We Really Know About The Quakers?

(Photo Credit: The Daily Pennsylvanian)

We break down the Penn game - and we give our fearless prediction, below the flip.

Last week, head coach Andy Coen made a big deal about the many changes Yale made to their approach on both offense and defense.  Penn will not have the same element of surprise this week - to some degree.

Certainly Penn head coach Ray Priore, who has his main staff intact from last year with offensive coordinator John Reagan and defensive coordinator Bob Benson, will likely have a similar approach to what they want to do on both sides of the ball from last season - after all, they were Ivy League co-champions.

But last week wasn't a normal type of opener for the Quakers.

Playing a Division II school for the first time in program history, Division II Ohio Dominican allowed Penn to play a sort-of experimental setup.  Though Penn got a win that counts in the standings just like any other win, 42-24, using it as a hard and fast rule on how they will come out against Lehigh might be a big mistake.

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Penn At Lehigh Game Preview: A Potential Big-Time Receiving Show Might Feature Watson vs. Pelletier

(Photo Credit: Alex Fisher/The Daily Pennsylvanian)

Both Penn head coach Ray Priore and Lehigh head coach Andy Coen aren't necessarily focused on the numbers and the exploits of individual members of their offense.

Priore, focused on finally beating Lehigh for the first time in his head coaching tenure, and Coen, trying to right the ship after a very shaky 0-3 start, have different things to worry about.

But this weekend's affair at Murray Goodman, if the past is any guide, could have the potential of a highlight reel of tremendous catches by some receivers that are getting looks by NFL teams.

Twice before Penn WR Justin Watson and Lehigh WR Troy Pelletier have played against each other, and both times Watson and Pelletier have lit up the opposing secondaries for some tremendous catches and some amazing numbers.

For Penn, it's allegedly about building off the win over Division II Ohio Dominican last week.  For Lehigh, it's supposed to be about getting their first win, and getting some positive momentum back in their season.  But for fans, there's definitely the potential of an offensive circus this weekend that could be immensely entertaining.


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Weeding Helps Me Vent My Frustrations After 0-3 Start To Season

I know it's not the most mature of responses, but I weeded yesterday.

Our garden, so clean and so perfect back in May, was in mid-September form when I went out there Sunday after Lehigh's loss to Yale.  In this case, mid-September form means the grass and weeds were as high as my thighs, and it was time for me to rip them out.

I'm well aware that I love Lehigh football too much; that it overly affects my mood, sometimes lingering for days or even weeks after particularly bad losses.  That love allows me to summon a passion for the game that sets me apart from others, I think, but the flipside of that love is a frustration that can sometimes only be vented by pulling up grasses and wild growth from a garden that has been growing there unchecked for months.

Yeah; I was frustrated with the loss.  But in the garden, I don't sit there and assign blame to anybody.  I don't grumble about kids, players, attendance numbers, coaches, the weather, the athletic department, or the scoreboard.  I just weed, clearing out the junk in the garden that prevents the last plants to generate tomatoes, peppers, leafy greens and everything else I ask it to provide me and my family.  And overall, I think it helps.
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I’ve Seen This Before: Lehigh Falls Behind And Can’t Fully Recover, Lose 56-28 to Yale

Stop me if you've read this before.

"Lehigh gives up a couple of early touchdowns.  The Mountain Hawks rally, but mistakes doom them - they turn over the ball on offense, give up some big plays on defense, and special teams miscues make it harder to come back, and they get blown away in the second half."

It describes the Villanova game, it describes the Monmouth game, and now, unfortunately, it also now describes the Yale game this weekend.

On Saturday, the Mountain Hawks gave up a couple of early touchdowns.  Undeterred, Lehigh would get a couple stops and take advantage of good special teams play, and rally to make it a one point game.  Then, a pass interference call would resurrect a Yale touchdown drive, then a Yale sack and fumble recovery would set up another Yale score at the end of the half for a 28-13 edge at halftime.

At the beginning of the second half, Lehigh would score a quick-strike touchdown, but would give up a touchdown in response, getting outscored 28-14 in the second half en route to the defeat.

It's the script that Lehigh has found themselves following the last three weeks, and until Lehigh deviates from that script, the Mountain Hawks will find themselves winless.
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