Archive For The “Championship of Pennsylvania” Category
(Photo Credit: Pat Goodridge/Daily Pennsylvanian)
“[We’re] trying not to over-plan for Lehigh,” Penn head coach Ray Priore said in his first Penn coaches’ teleconference of the year. “And the kids are very focused. We got off to last years’ start 1-3, our first loss was to Lehigh, and they tattooed us pretty good up there, so our kids remember that…“
If there was any doubt that the Penn players had somehow forgotten the way they kicked off the Ray Priore era – that they had forgotten that humbling beginning to their Ivy League championship season from last year – any doubt of that was easily erased by the easy way that “so our kids remember that” uttered from Priore’s lips at the press conference.
College football head coaches generally don’t like their opponents lying in wait for them for months upon months upon months. They prefer to sneak into town competing as lightly-regarded underdogs, preferably playing a “scrappy, fundamental game” (whatever that means), and escaping town with a character-building win and then heading home on the bus.
Head coach Andy Coen and the rest of the Mountain Hawks will definitely not have that luxury heading down to Franklin field this weekend. They’re going to have a riled-up, laying-in-wait Quaker team that are favored to repeat as Ivy League champions.
“Our kids remember that.”
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Some college football opponents, no matter how many games between actual meetings, feel like backyard brawls.
Such is the case with the Penn game this weekend.
On paper, it’s been twelve years since Lehigh has faced off against Penn. The head coach in that game in 2003, Al Bagnoli, retired just last season, only to “unretire” at Columbia in an effort to turn around the moribund Lion program desperate to distance themselves from the Pete Mangurian
On the surface, it would seem like much has changed – that little would remain from the remnants of that 2003 game in terms of links between the two schools.
But you’d be wrong.
When you look at this upcoming Lehigh and Penn game, you’ll see a lot of faces – old and new – that show that this rivalry – with a little r – is rekindling itself at exactly the right time.
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“A silver cup has been offered by Mr. R. P. Linderman, Lehigh ‘84, as a trophy of the foot-ball championship of Pennsylvania,” the Lehigh Burr reported in 1889. “Designs for the cup have not yet been prepared but it will be very handsome, of massive silver, while special care will be taken to secure a design thoroughly artistic and appropriate, and the cup will be fully equal to any college trophy of the kind ever offered. The [articles and conditions drawn up for the Championship] is not intended to form a foot-ball league, such a thing being deemed unnecessary, but to provide such general regulations as will fairly determine the state championship.”
The idea of Lehigh, Lafayette and Penn competing for the “state championship” has as its origins the student newspapers, who had started tallying the records of the games between each other in the hopes of crowning a mythical “champion of Pennsylvania”.
In 1888, Lehigh and Lafayette played each other twice, and played Penn once apiece in Philadelphia.
But the final records of Lehigh (2-1), Penn (2-1) and Lafayette (1-2) made it inconclusive as to who the state champion really was.
In 1889, with interest high in some sort of champions to be crowned, all three schools made an attempt to start a true “Championship of Pennsylvania”, complete with its own trophy. It was was founded in part to broaden the interest in football at both Lehigh and Lafayette, to be sure, but it also may have been a way to lock in Penn to playing return games in the Lehigh Valley, as Penn had already cancelled return games against both Lehigh and Lafayette in the past.
It made for a thrilling season, and one that further intensified the already-fierce Rivalry.
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