Category Archives: Holy Cross

Seven Positive Thoughts About All the Patriot League Recruiting Classes

It's recruiting season.  Every incoming recruit is a Patriot League all-star, everyone is a first team all-American, everyone is undefeated.  It's all good times, a chance for kids to be admitted to some of the best Universities in the world.  In that, it's a win for everyone.

While we wait for each of the remaining recruits to be announced as a part of their recruiting classes, I thought I'd comb through all of the incoming classes of the Patriot League and tell you what sticks out to me.

This summart isn't a ratings-based system, than folks like 247Sports have in terms of measuring the number of "starred recruits" (they list Holy Cross as the "winner"), or even a hybrid-based system, like LFN's yearly Patsy Ratings (last seasons "winner": Lehigh) or HERO Sports' list of the top overall FCS recruits (which lists Lafayette as the "winner").  It's just one guy, looking at the recruit lists, and giving his opinion.

Let's start.
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Lehigh 46, Holy Cross 14 Postgame Commentary: Does This Team Have Shades Of 2011?

I've been doing this long enough to know that every Lehigh football team is different.  The dynamics running through every team is different; what motivates one team has no impact on the team of the following year.

But every big win this 2016 team gets, many of the fans who have been here a while keep whispering:

2011.

Like an Adele Spotify channel, you can't help but be reminded of 2011 when you go to Murray Goodman Stadium or Fitton Field or wherever they're playing.  The popular online game between fans on the Lehigh football message board is: Who was better, 2011, or 2016?

The answer is still, beyond a shadow of a doubt, 2011 - for now - but the only reason for that is that 2016 is still in the midst of writing their story.  Yet it can hardly be helped that fans look at the potential of this 2016 team and think, with apologies to Adele, that they are rolling in the same sort of wins that they were in 2011.
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Lehigh 46, Holy Cross 14 Postgame Commentary: Does This Team Have Shades Of 2011?

I've been doing this long enough to know that every Lehigh football team is different.  The dynamics running through every team is different; what motivates one team has no impact on the team of the following year.

But every big win this 2016 team gets, many of the fans who have been here a while keep whispering:

2011.

Like an Adele Spotify channel, you can't help but be reminded of 2011 when you go to Murray Goodman Stadium or Fitton Field or wherever they're playing.  The popular online game between fans on the Lehigh football message board is: Who was better, 2011, or 2016?

The answer is still, beyond a shadow of a doubt, 2011 - for now - but the only reason for that is that 2016 is still in the midst of writing their story.  Yet it can hardly be helped that fans look at the potential of this 2016 team and think, with apologies to Adele, that they are rolling in the same sort of wins that they were in 2011.
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Raindrops Can’t Slow Down Lehigh, Defeat Holy Cross 46-14

(Photo Credit: Jay Anderson/Worcester Telegram)

It was a day where even when things went wrong they went right for the Mountain Hawks.

It was early in the second quarter, deadlocked at 7.  Sophomore QB Brad Mayes, picked the starter as senior QB Nick Shanfisky would be the backup to let his injured leg continue to heal, would get a drive going with an 18 yard pass to junior WR Troy Pelletier.  Two plays later, sophomore RB Dominick Bragalone would run a counter play left, escape a few tackles, and surge for a 28 yard run into Holy Cross territory.

You could feel some momentum building as Mayes would connect on a 4th and 7 to Pelletier to get into the Holy Cross red zone, and again when he would rifle a ball to junior WR Gatlin Casey over the middle.  There was even more when sophomore RB Micco Brisker would keep his legs moving - and his offensive line, pushing - until he reached the end zone.

Up 13-7, on the extra point Shafnisky, who holds during extra points, got a low snap, and scrolled right.  Looking up, he saw junior DE Tyler Cavenas, wide open in the end zone, waving his hands.  To salvage the free shot at points, he lofted the ball to Tyler - and he came down with the ball.

It ended up a very good day for the Mountain Hawks, where positive thing after positive thing kept happening for the Mountain Hawks, some planned, some unplanned.  Despite a game where weather seemed like it might make for a tough go, Lehigh wasn't slowed down at all in their 46-14 win.
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QUICK RECAP: Lehigh Train Keeps Chugging Through Worcester, Dominate Holy Cross In 46-14 Win

On the first drive of the game, surprise Holy Cross starting QB Blaise Bell connected on a long pass to WR Jake Wieczorek, setting up a big touchdown run by WR Brendan Flaherty.

On the last drive of the game, freshman RB Domenic Cozier ran up the middle to score his first collegiate touchdown for the Crusaders.

In between those two touchdowns, it was for the most part all Lehigh.

Lehigh's defense held Holy Cross to 281 yards of total offense and forced five turnovers - most of it coming on a couple of pass plays - and allowed the offense to to pummel Holy Cross' defense with a balanced attack.  With three passing touchdowns from sophomore QB Brad Mayes and three rushing touchdowns, two of them by sophomore RB Dominick Bragalone, Lehigh would score 46 unanswered points to win resoundingly, 46-14, at Fitton Field.
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Lehigh At Holy Cross Game Breakdown And Fearless Prediction: Wading Into Uncharted Territory

We break down the Holy Cross game - and we give our fearless prediction below the flip.

It's often said that preseason publications aren't worth the paper they're printed on, and almost unusable when the actual regular-season matchup comes around.

And in the case of Holy Cross, that's especially apt.

Much of the hype around the Crusaders centered around their star QB, unofficially anointed the best quarterback in the Patriot League, senior QB Peter Pujals.  Much of my writings about Holy Cross centered around what he can do, what he brings to the table, and what his weapons are.

But a left ankle injury in the first half of the Dartmouth game didn't just sideline him for that contest - it sidelined him for the season, forcing his ankle in a boot and will almost certainly have him apply for a medical redshirt for next season - unless head coach Tom Gilmore decides, against the odds, to have Pujals play this weekend if he's healed up enough.

That and a slew of other injuries pretty much wrecked anything I wrote before this past August about breaking down this Holy Cross offense.  However it also, in a way, makes Holy Cross more dangerous.  They won't be facing off against the regular cast of characters.
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Lehigh At Holy Cross Game Narratives: Mountain Hawks/Crusaders Coverage Nationwide

Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, Florida.  South Carolina, Louisiana, Tennessee, Georgia.

No, this isn't a list of Power 5 opponents that are suddenly going to be hosting Lehigh and Holy Cross in football the next few years.

It's a list of just a few of the many states across the country that will be carrying the TV broadcast of the Lehigh/Holy Cross clash.

It's going to be airing on something called the American Sports Network, which isn't a network in the broadcast sense but more of a network in the Internet sense: a network of interconnected stations, some over-the-air broadcasts, some local cable stations, that will be carrying Lehigh football over their airwaves.

If you live in PA, all you need to know is the game is going to air on CSN-Philly, CSN-MidAtlantic+, WHP-2 Harrisburg, WPNT-2 Pittsburgh, or WSWB-2 Wilkes-Barre.  If you live somewhere else in the lower 48 states, a full list of broadcast outlets can be found here.

It adds to the tension of what is already a big game this weekend.
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Lehigh At Holy Cross Game Preview: Cornered Crusaders Are The Worst Crusaders

No college football coach wants to face a team boxed in a corner.

In that way, Harvard was stepping into a purple hornet's nest last weekend when the nationally-ranked Crimson came to play the wounded Crusaders.

After their injury-riddled team failed to hold onto a win against Bucknell, ultimately falling 21-20, Tom Gilmore's team needed to make a stand against a really good football team in order to keep their season from a limp to the finish.

Even if they didn't win, they had to keep things close - few pundits gave Holy Cross much of a chance against the better bankrolled, historically dominant Harvard team that hadn't lost a road game a non-conference game in their last sixteen tries.

Cornered like rats, Holy Cross responded in a big way.  Six sacks and a second-half shutout later, the Crusaders would notch their first win over a nationally-ranked opponent since 2009, thus turning things around at the exact right time for them and the exact wrong time for Lehigh.
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Lehigh At Holy Cross Game Preview: Cornered Crusaders Are The Worst Crusaders

No college football coach wants to face a team boxed in a corner.

In that way, Harvard was stepping into a purple hornet's nest last weekend when the nationally-ranked Crimson came to play the wounded Crusaders.

After their injury-riddled team failed to hold onto a win against Bucknell, ultimately falling 21-20, Tom Gilmore's team needed to make a stand against a really good football team in order to keep their season from a limp to the finish.

Even if they didn't win, they had to keep things close - few pundits gave Holy Cross much of a chance against the better bankrolled, historically dominant Harvard team that hadn't lost a road game a non-conference game in their last sixteen tries.

Cornered like rats, Holy Cross responded in a big way.  Six sacks and a second-half shutout later, the Crusaders would notch their first win over a nationally-ranked opponent since 2009, thus turning things around at the exact right time for them and the exact wrong time for Lehigh.
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