Category Archives: Andy Coen

Pelletier, Casey, Mayes, And Lehigh Offense Put On A Show In 59-29 Loss To Stony Brook

(Photo Credit: Alec Turner c/o Lehigh Athletics)

For those that care about these things, Lehigh entered the first round FCS playoff matchup 21 1/2 point underdogs.

And if we're being fair, that was probably the right number.

The Seawolves were 9-2, nationally ranked with seven conference wins in the tough CAA and one of their losses coming to a very strong FBS team in South Florida.  In contrast, unranked Lehigh came into the game 5-6 and only were here because they upset Colgate 41-38 on the road and won enough Patriot League conference games to win the autobid.

Yet a young Lehigh team was game to put their best foot forward and to have a heroic sendoff for potential NFL prospect senior WR Troy Pelletier, and in that, the game was a rousing success.

With junior QB Brad Mayes expertly picking apart one of the top defenses in FCS, time after time he'd find Troy for reception after reception, each one highlighting his impressive skill set as an audition for the next level.

It wouldn't be enough to win the game, but it was enough to keep the Mountain Hawks within striking distance until the Seawolves would pull away in the 4th quarter.

It was also enough to establish Troy as the all-time greatest receiver in Patriot League history.
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Down by Double Digits, Halftime Speech Sparks Lehigh’s #Rivalry153 Rally As Lehigh Wins 38-31

For the first time all season, it was a dark, wet day for a Lehigh football game.

It was not at all ideal for the more than 15,000 fans, and countless tailgaters that made it to the tailgates but not in the stadium, partying and tailgating outside the gates of Murray Goodman.

It was also not at all ideal for Lehigh's high-powered passing game, and during a disastrous second quarter with three turnovers, it felt like the wheels were coming off the Mountain Hawks' chances at successfully defending their Patriot League title.

It seemed like everything that could go wrong, was actually going wrong.  Three fumbles resulted in three Lafayette recoveries.  A third down conversion incompletion by Lafayette QB Sean O'Malley became an unexpected first down, thanks to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that kept their drive alive.  A 14-7 first quarter lead became 17 unanswered points, leading to a 24-14 deficit against the best defensive team in the Patriot League.

In this most important of football games for many of the Lehigh faithful, it seemed like they were losing it by shooting themselves in the foot.

Then halftime happened, and everything changed.  More rain, and worse weather, did not deter Lehigh from their goal.   And a couple of Rivalry legends were made in the process.
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#Rivalry153 Game Preview: The Great – Yet Terrifying – Bowl Game To End the 2017 Regular Season

Senior OL Zach Duffy could have chosen to talk about any number of career highs when he reflected this week in The Brown and White about his time as a football player at Lehigh.

He could have talked about building the program up from a 4-7 team into a Patriot League champion, crushing the sweet dreams of Lafayette last year in Easton in the 152nd version of The Rivalry, 45-21,
or perhaps he could have waxed philosophic about the last time Lehigh squared off against Lafayette at Murray Goodman Stadium, the time when QB Nick Shafnisky threw aside a Lafayette defender and the Mountain Hawks blew the doors out with a 49-35 win.

But that's not what he talked about at all.

He went right at the "agony of defeat" moments instead, talking about the loss to Lafayette in 2013, the infamous "it's supposed to suck, and it's supposed to hurt" game where an 8-2 Lehigh team faced off against a 4-6 Lafayette squad that ended up going to the FCS Playoffs with a 5-6 record.

"We had come into that game 8-2 with some momentum," Zach wrote.  "We knew Lafayette was a tough team, but we didn’t respect them because we thought they couldn’t be tougher than us.

"[And after the loss,] I had no option but to stagger through the families consoling our seniors because they would never play football again. I watched grown men cry because they’d never again make a game-changing play, score a touchdown or deliver those big hits we love on defense. We saw their faces, and we felt their pain. Not only were their careers over, but we also lost the Patriot League Championship to our archrivals.  Now, four years later, we’re in a similar position."

Lehigh has played three Rivalry games since that 2013 meeting, but none of them technically had the Patriot League Championship - and an FCS Playoff berth - on the line, because Lehigh had wrapped up the autobid and no worse than a co-championship going in.  In 2013, the Mountain Hawks had everything to play for, and lost, and this season, in 2017, Lehigh is in the exact same position.

And that's both exciting - and terrifying.

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#TheRivalry Through The Decades: From 1887 To 2017

I thought a fun way this season to show off the historic nature of Lehigh and Lafayette's football Rivalry might be to do a jump through the decades.

(If you want to learn more about the Lehigh and Lafayette Rivalry, read my book: The Rivalry: How Two Schools Started the Most Played College Football Series, available in both paperback in Kindle versions.)

Lehigh and Lafayette's Rivalry in football started in 1884, when Lafayette student manager (and founder of the football team) Theodore Welles approached the founder and student manager of Lehigh football, J.S. Robeson, and challenged them to a game of "foot-ball", a ground-based game that resembled more of a cross between rugby and soccer than the modern game of today.

Let's turn back the clock 130 years, and proceed decade by decade, and you'll see how many times Lehigh and Lafayette have played over the years, and hopefully get an appreciation on how the game changed and evolved over time.
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#TheRivalry Through The Decades: From 1887 To 2017

I thought a fun way this season to show off the historic nature of Lehigh and Lafayette's football Rivalry might be to do a jump through the decades.

(If you want to learn more about the Lehigh and Lafayette Rivalry, read my book: The Rivalry: How Two Schools Started the Most Played College Football Series, available in both paperback in Kindle versions.)

Lehigh and Lafayette's Rivalry in football started in 1884, when Lafayette student manager (and founder of the football team) Theodore Welles approached the founder and student manager of Lehigh football, J.S. Robeson, and challenged them to a game of "foot-ball", a ground-based game that resembled more of a cross between rugby and soccer than the modern game of today.

Let's turn back the clock 130 years, and proceed decade by decade, and you'll see how many times Lehigh and Lafayette have played over the years, and hopefully get an appreciation on how the game changed and evolved over time.
Read more »

Dominick Bragalone Goes Into Monster Mode As Lehigh Is One Win Away From Title

It has been a most unusual season for Lehigh.

Starting the year off at 0-5 and getting swept in their out-of-conference schedule, the Mountain Hawks were in danger of having their season go off the rails.

But two things have come together over the last five football games that have put Lehigh on the brink of back-to-back championships.

The first is the late blooming of the Lehigh defense, which kept battling every week since the low point of the September 30th loss to Wagner to do the job in four of their five Patriot League conference games. 

The second is the development of junior RB Dominick Bragalone into a bellcow running back, a back who has to be in the conversation for Patriot League offensive player of the year.

In five Patriot League games, Bragalone has run for 863 yards in 5 games, rushing for 11 touchdowns and adding two more receiving touchdowns as well. 

The South Williamsport, PA native certainly wasn't unknown before this week - after all, as a freshman and a sophomore, he had already rushed for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons.  But this year, where he's amassed 1,200 yard rushing and an FCS-leading 16 rushing touchdowns, he's gone into full Monster Mode, and Lehigh fans are loving every minute of it.
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QUICK RECAP: Mountain Hawks Keep Championship And Playoff Hopes Alive With 34-21 Victory Over Holy Cross

The term "control of your playoff destiny" is thrown around a lot.

The 3-6 Mountain Hawks were in control of their destiny this weekend.  Win against Holy Cross, and Lehigh will stay alive for no worse than a co-Patriot League Championship and possibly a ticket to the FCS Playoffs.

By the time the clock hit triple zero's, the Mountain Hawks did what they had to do, beating the Crusaders 34-21, and keeping destiny in their own hands with one more regular season game to go - the 153rd meeting of The Rivalry next weekend vs. Lafayette.

Junior RB Dominick Bragalone carried the offense on his back with 30 carries for 205 yards and 4 touchdowns, but he and the offense fed off the energy of  some big Lehigh defensive and special teams plays.  Once Lehigh went up 14-0,  Holy Cross would never get any closer than a touchdown.
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How Will I Watch Holy Cross at Lehigh This Weekend? And Your Full Game Preview Pack

Not headed to the the frozen tundra at Murray Goodman Stadium to catch the critical Holy Cross/Lehigh game?

Why?  THIS IS IT, FOLKS.  This is one to catch in person.

Yeah, I know it's going to be cold.  Yeah, I know that life is busy.  But it's a home game, it's win, and stay alive for a Patriot League Championship.  It's a big game; there's no doubt about it.  You need to be there for big games.  Future generations of your family are counting on you to say that "I was there on that freezing cold day at Murray Goodman".

So after that sales pitch, you still can't make it, and still want to know how to you catch the game?

Never fear.  LFN's here.

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Holy Cross at Lehigh Game Preview: Two Rollercoaster Seasons Meet Head-On At Murray Goodman

Holy Cross' and Lehigh's paths to having fun playing football have been different, but two teams that appear to have reclaimed the fun to some degree will be facing off this weekend at Murray Goodman Stadium in an intriguing, important football game.

The 4-6 Crusaders have only one path to a Patriot League co-championship: beat 3-6 Lehigh this weekend, and hope 3-6 Lafayette and 5-4 Colgate lose at least one game the rest of the way.

But in Holy Cross' regular-season finale, it doesn't really feel like it's about the postseason - which would only happen in the unlikely event of Lehigh and Holy Cross finishing at 4-2, and Lafayette and Colgate finishing at 3-3 in league play.

For Lehigh, though, the Patriot League Championship and the opportunity to play in the FCS Playoffs is still very much in play.  Beat Holy Cross, and beat Lafayette in the 153rd meeting of The Rivalry, and this Mountain Hawk team will have a ring fitting in their future and a football practice on Thanksgiving.

And in a way, that's what makes this game extra-dangerous for these Mountain Hawks.  The Crusaders are nearing the likely finale of their roller-coaster ride.  Lehigh's 2017 coaster ride still has some very big twists and turns still in it.
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Holy Cross at Lehigh Game Preview: Two Rollercoaster Seasons Meet Head-On At Murray Goodman

Holy Cross' and Lehigh's paths to having fun playing football have been different, but two teams that appear to have reclaimed the fun to some degree will be facing off this weekend at Murray Goodman Stadium in an intriguing, important football game.

The 4-6 Crusaders have only one path to a Patriot League co-championship: beat 3-6 Lehigh this weekend, and hope 3-6 Lafayette and 5-4 Colgate lose at least one game the rest of the way.

But in Holy Cross' regular-season finale, it doesn't really feel like it's about the postseason - which would only happen in the unlikely event of Lehigh and Holy Cross finishing at 4-2, and Lafayette and Colgate finishing at 3-3 in league play.

For Lehigh, though, the Patriot League Championship and the opportunity to play in the FCS Playoffs is still very much in play.  Beat Holy Cross, and beat Lafayette in the 153rd meeting of The Rivalry, and this Mountain Hawk team will have a ring fitting in their future and a football practice on Thanksgiving.

And in a way, that's what makes this game extra-dangerous for these Mountain Hawks.  The Crusaders are nearing the likely finale of their roller-coaster ride.  Lehigh's 2017 coaster ride still has some very big twists and turns still in it.
Read more »