Archive For The “Al Pierce” Category
There aren’t any books detailing the 4-7 2009 Lehigh football season, nor is it likely that the exploits of that season will be etched in stone at the base of a statue for head football coach Andy Coen.
Yet it’s a time and place which I return to often when I think back on Lehigh seasons past, and it’s where I find myself today as well.
The 2009 season felt like an inflection point for Coen’s coaching tenure. His first three seasons, 6-5, 5-6 and 5-6, boasted one Patriot League co-championship, but had fallen short of the lofty expectations that had been set during the Kevin Higgins and Pete Lembo eras of undefeated seasons, playoff wins, and basically scaring the pants off of Lehigh football opponents up and down the East Coast.
And when the Mountain Hawks limped to a 1-5 start, the fifth being an awful 7-0 loss to Yale whose only points resulted from a fake punt, it felt like Andy’s time at Lehigh was nearing an end. Nobody actually said officially that Andy’s job was in jeopardy, but you felt like the season was on the brink of falling completely off the rails, especially if the team truly had lost their will to play football.
But then, after bottoming out against Yale, something clicked against Bucknell.
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Chuck laid down on the couch, his therapist staring at his pencil. He focused at a spor on the celing, listing to the pelt of rain on the thin roof overhead.
“Do you remember it now?” the balding doctor with the shaggy salt-and-pepper beard asked.
“I… I don’t remember,” Chuck said. “I have a vague recollection, some faint memories, about being… excited. About being excited for a football game, but not The Rivalry I expected. It was being played… in a stadium I didn’t recognize. It was a dream. A nightmare. It had to be a nightmare.”
“Go on,” the doctor said. “This is good. Very good. By confronting what…. happened last year, you can finally face up to it and defeat it. Defeat your nightmare. Defeat a year’s worth of angst. Defeat it.”
“I don’t know,” Chuck said. “It’s all so hazy.”
“Let’s see if we can work this out,” the doctor said. “We’ll work it out, and fix this.”
|Express-Times File Photo, Lehigh 20, Lafayette 13, 2010|
It was destined to be a day of defense, and any number of hard-hitting inside linebackers could have been the MVP of the 146th meeting between Lehigh and Lafayette.
Lehigh’s defense was on the field thirty-six minutes, and never let a tough Lafayette run game wear them down.
Almost right out of the gates, Lehigh’s defense seemed to want to put their mark on this game.
The first three defensive plays featured three straight tackles by senior LB Al Pierce, pounding Lafayette’s RB Alan Elder and hurrying QB Ryan O’Neil into throwing the ball out of play.
And it only got better from there.
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(Photo Credit: Joe Gill/The Express-Times)(Note: I wrote this two years ago after Lehigh beat Lafayette in an impressive defensive struggle in the Mountain Hawks’ last trip to Fisher Field. The “more” link takes you to the rest of the original ar…