Category Archives: Tyler Cavenas

Despite 48-34 Win By Offense In Brown and White Game, Lots to Like From Defense

Many will look at the spring game final results and stats and see that the offense "won" this Saturday's Brown/White game, 48-34.

They'll see a stat sheet they might expect from a Mountain Hawk team: 121 yards passing from junior QB Brad Mayes, touchdown receptions from senior WR Troy Pelletier and senior WR Gatlin Casey, as well as a touchdown run by junior RB Dominick Bragalone.

But that doesn't tell the full story of the game, played on a wet Saturday morning under mostly overcast skies.

In the early portion of the scrimmage, the Brown defense racked up sacks, tipped passes and shut out the White offense for nearly an hour before Mayes would finally find Casey in the end zone.

If there was any question how the new four-man defensive front might work out for the Mountain Hawks, they were answered today with a solid performance early.
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Lehigh 58 Fordham 37 Postgame Commentary: Coming Out Next Week "On Fire"

(Photo Credit: Keith Groller/The Morning Call)

Lehigh football post-game press conferences don't get much more relaxed than the one that happened last weekend.

You can hardly blame head coach Andy Coen, senior QB Nick Shafnisky, junior DE Tyler Cavenas and sophomore RB Dominick Bragalone for feeling that way, after jumping to a 13-0 lead right out of the gates and piling up an incredible 57-9 lead against their opponents last weekend before calling off the dogs.

It led to a familiar feeling in the post-game: talk of how the offense is clicking so well, how the defense keeps coming up big.  There were plenty of accolades to go around.

But when one media member tried to lightly broach the subject to Lafayette, the always-loquacious Shafnisky quickly steered the conversation back to next week's game.

That's because Shafnisky, perhaps more than anybody, feels the importance of next week's game vs. Bucknell.

"For us to be in this position, it's all a credit to us and our coaches. We put ourselves in this position, we earned it. But we didn't earn anything yet. Next week, when you ask that question again, hopefully I'll be the happiest man."

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Chase Who? Shafnisky, Bragalone Combine for 6 Rushing TDs, Beat Fordham, 58-37

(Photo Credit: Amy Herzog/The Morning Call)

When people think Lehigh football, they rightfully think of a powerful air attack.

After all, the Mountain Hawks boast the top two receivers in all of FCS in regards to receiving yards, junior WR Troy Pelletier and junior WR Gatlin Casey.

What they don't necessarily think of is a grinding rushing attack, something more out of a triple-option team or perhaps a run-heavy Wing-T team.

Yet in Lehigh's 58-37 statement win over Fordham, the same Ram team with potential future NFL player RB Chase Edmonds, the main headline wasn't the aerial show, though there were a few highlight-reel plays there, too.

Instead, the headline became Lehigh's six rushing touchdowns, three from senior QB Nick Shafnisky and three more from sophomore RB Dominick Bragalone, and 349 yards on the ground.

I looked through the record books last night, and combed through recaps of a lot of football games, and the last time I found that Lehigh scored six rushing touchdowns in a game was in 1971, when FB John "Jack" Rizzo and RB Don Diorio combined for six rushing TDs in a 48-19 win over Lafayette.

That's some pretty good company.
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QUICK RECAP: Lehigh Explodes Out of the Gate And Runs Over Fordham, 58-37

It was supposed to be RB Chase Edmonds' day.

The questions around Lehigh, as ever, surrounded the defense.  Would they be able to slow down Edmonds?  Would he score two touchdowns, or three?  Would they hold the almost-certain-NFL-player to only 200 yards?

In all the talk about Edmonds, people forgot about two pretty good runners on the Lehigh side: senior QB Nick Shafnisky and sophomore RB Dominick Bragalone.

Bragalone, for the second straight week, had another amazing game, getting 192 yards rushing, zero negative rushes, and 3 touchdowns.  Shafnisky ran for 112 yards and added 3 touchdowns of his own.

It would be a game where Lehigh would not need to punt - the first game since Bucknell in 1999 where that was the case.  That's because they ran over Fordham, 58-37, going up at one point 51-9 before giving up a bunch of late scores.

Next week Lehigh will host Bucknell for the right to clinch an FCS playoff shot, and the chance to do no worse than tie for the Patriot League championship.

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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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Lehigh 42, Princeton 28 Postgame Thoughts: The Defensive Secret To The Turnaround

(Photo Credit: Craig Shipley/The Morning Call)

What a difference two weeks makes.

At times it's hard to comprehend how desperate it felt for Lehigh fans after the Mountain Hawks' slender loss at Villanova to fall 26-21 to the nationally-ranked Wildcats.

At 0-2, after a pair of excruciating losses, a rematch with the defending Ivy League champions Penn awaited, a game that the Quakers had circled on their calendar since about December.  Following that tough test would be a Princeton team that laid 52 points on Lehigh last year and returned almost all of the skill players on the team that beat them then.

A losing record going into the Colgate seemed like a best-case scenario.

And yet, here we are after these two tough tests, and the Mountain Hawks are 2-2, with a boatload of momentum going into their game vs. 0-2 Yale next weekend.  Suddenly, 3-2 and a three-game winning streak going into an enormous game vs. Colgate seems like a real possibility.

The reason for this dramatic, and important turnaround?

The Lehigh defense, who shut out Penn in the second half and shut down Princeton in key areas of the second half as well to allow Lehigh to maintain a three-score, largely drama-free lead.
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LFN Season Preview: Searching For Lehigh Defensive Identity

There is one real adage when it comes to defensive football: if you sit around and wait for something bad to happen, it probably will.

This season, the Lehigh Mountain Hawk defense knows it can't afford to hang back and let bad things happen.

The 2015 Lehigh defense was a unit that saw flashes of strong play - just not enough of them.

And in 2016, this unit knows that the statistics from last year indicate a unit that needs to get better.

Most of all the identity of this defense needs to be formed.

In most places, we know the athletes.  We know they have flashes of great play.  The question that needs to be answered: what will its identity be?
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First Week Of Lehigh Preseason Camp In The Books

It's hot, it's muggy and it's sticky, but all that's doing for Patriot League football fans is getting them in the mood for football season.

The Mountain Hawks, who are finishing up their second week of practice and their first scrimmage with full contact.

"Our kids really competed well," head coach Andy Coen said. "It was good to see sophomore RB Nick Thevanayagam play really well for us. Really, the thought process was to get Dom a series and get him out and get Nick and sophomore RB Micco Brisker involved. (Micco) did a nice job. Caught the ball out of the backfield. I think he's going to be somebody that's going to be a different guy this year than he was last year."

The news wasn't all good, however, as it was revealed via Twitter that senior LB Colton Caslow was battling an injury.


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LFN’s Five Burning Questions Of Preseason Camp

It's almost here - the 2016 football season.

On August 8th, the Lehigh football team finished their offseason testing and officially started in with the incoming freshman class.

Head coach Andy Coen was very impressed with the 20 new faces of the incoming class.

"It's always a huge for the freshmen coming from high school to college but I think that group of kids did a really good job," he told LehighSports.com.  "I was really impressed that we didn't have as many mental mistakes, especially the young guys," he continued. "That's always good to see. The guys are keeping their faces in the playbook, learning and trying to get better."

So what will Lehigh Nation be looking at during the 2015 preseason?
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Closing The Book On Lehigh Spring Ball

(Photo Credit: Gaby Morera/B&W Staff Photographer)
Before we close the book on spring ball, I wanted to pass on my thoughts and observations about the spring session and the prospects for the 2016 season.

But before I do, I also need to share one of the great traditions of the Lehigh spring game - the announcement of the recipient of the Jim Gum scholarship.

Presented by the non-profit Jim Gum Foiundation, the scholarship award is presented in the name of Jim Gum, a three-year starter for Lehigh in the 1980s and Penn Argyl standout.  He died due to complications from ALS in 2006.

Senior RB Kenny Crawford was the recipient of this year's award in what is always a heartwarming yet humbling ceremony on the field.
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