Archive For The “BOTW” Category
When the 2017 Lehigh Mountain Hawks released their very first positional two deep back in September, it had five freshmen and nine sophomores listed.
That’s a fairly normal type of depth chart for a largely veteran team that was ranked in the FCS Top 25.
Only two freshmen, OG Jackson Evans and LS Jack Dean, were expected to contribute right away, while sophomore FS Riley O’Neil had already started nearly every single game he’d played since his freshman season – already a veteran.
Entering the ninth game of the season, the depth chart that head coach Andy Coen will present to the officials on Saturday will look very different.
The two defensive captains on opening day, senior DT Jim Mitchell and junior SS Sam McCloskey, won’t be anywhere to be found – both injured, out for the year. Junior CB Donavon Harris – still out with a head injury. Junior LB Mark Walker – out. Junior ROV Nick Thevaganayam – out. Senior TE Drew Paulsen – out. Senior WR Gatlin Casey – most likely out.
In fact, Lehigh’s depth chart will have on it eight freshmen, including four (WR Jorge Portorreal, OL Jackson Evans, C Chris Fournier, and ROV Divine Buckrham) who are starting. Additionally, five sophomores will be starting, including one, sophomore CB Marquis Wilson, who has only started one other football game.
The 2017 season will be remembered not-so-fondly for the number of terrible, season-ending injuries that have freakishly occurred. And to close out the regular season, it is the next men up, a huge number of them underclassmen, that will determine the ultimate fate of this football team.
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One has been here before; the other has not, at least not lately.
Over the course of the last few seasons, Villanova Stadium has hosted all sorts of games involving Top 25 teams. James Madison, New Hampshire, Richmond – all of these CAA teams have been to the Main Line, at one time or another, at the same time the Wildcats have also been in the Top 25. When it comes to hosting big football games, Villanova is no stranger to that situation.
Not so, Lehigh.
Sure, the Mountain Hawks have played a bunch of Top 25 teams over the course of the last several seasons. And last year, Lehigh returned to the Top 25 as well.
But the Mountain Hawks haven’t hosted a game like this, a Top 25 tilt between two opponents that are both in the Top 25, since the Mountain Hawks beat New Hampshire 34-27 back in 2012.
This year’s season opener represents the cumulation of the long, hard road of building a Top 25, national-caliber FCS football team. Last season was a year of a Patriot League championship, a return to national respect, and rings. And it all leads to this weekend, one of the biggest games on the Week 1 FCS National schedule that will provide a tremendous test to see how this 2017 Mountain Hawk team might turn out this season.
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