Archive For The “Championship” Category
Kids come to play football at Lehigh because they want their games to matter.
I have this vision.
It’s the weekend of the home opener at Murray Goodman Stadium, Labor Day weekend. It could be a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday.
And it’s 6:00 PM.
In 2018, the Lehigh football team will open the season with a big celebration of the football program – at Navy, Lehigh’s first game against an FBS team in over a decade.
In 2017, why not, as a one-off opportunity, try to have one Lehigh football game, the home opener, be the first-ever night game at Murray Goodman Stadium?
Will it cost money? Yes. Will it be easy? Probably not.
However, is it doable? I’ve got to believe the answer is “yes”.
When Lehigh players, coaches and fans went to bed on Friday night, they probably had visions of the Mountain Hawks’ powerful offense attacking, and overwhelming, Bucknell to coast to a share of a Patriot League Championship and the conference’s FCS Playoff bid.
About ten minutes into the game, the 7,049 fans in attendance had probably figured out that if Lehigh was going to win a championship, it wasn’t going to be won like that.
It was going to have to be earned. It was going to have to be grabbed from Bucknell, smashing them in the mouth the same way they were smashing us.
It cannot be emphasized enough how Lehigh had to earn every single inch of this Patriot League victory, how not easy this win really was.
How the Mountain Hawks fell behind, clawed and scratched back to get the lead. How they had to stop the Bison stampede at key spots, get crucial turnovers, and fire up critical, difficult field goals by sophomore PK Ed Mish. Even extra points, normally considered automatic, took on new dramatic tension.
The offense got punished on every single play up until the final couple of victory formations. But in the end, it was not only a victory, but a victory of the most beautiful, rare sort – the type of win that officially buries the past.
“Sometimes the hardest ones are the ones you enjoy the most,” Coen said. “When you’re winning a championship, it should be hard. Bucknell made it hard on us today, but we’re the ones with the trophy and I can’t be more proud of a group of guys than I am of these guys.”
On the third play of scrimmage, Lafayette freshman QB Drew Reed fumbled the ball off a bad snap.
The ball squirted loose from the line – where a Lehigh player might have fallen on it – and instead nudged in the direction of junior RB Ross Scheuerman, who found himself with the ball in his hands, and, on the broken goal line play, wide open space to get into the end zone.
It was that type of day for the Mountain Hawks – a day when five years of Rivalry frustrations, five years of balls bouncing the wrong way, and five years of Lehigh victories came crashing to an end.
It was a game where Lehigh never led. It was a game when the Mountain Hawks came close to coming back – and clearly believing that it could, and would, happen. But it wasn’t meant to be, as Lafayette took home all the marbles on Saturday – the Patriot League Trophy, the Patriot League championship and autobid, and the win over Lehigh that the players, and the many people that follow the Lafayette football program, have been hungering for the last five years.
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After the weatherman promised a mostly sunny day on November 10th, the day of the Patriot League championship game at Murray Goodman stadium, there was instead a gray haze that persisted throughout the football game.
Like the weather, the game was also a story of the unexpected.
Few thought the Colgate offense would be held to just 35 points, after creaming Lafayette for 65 points the previous week. Many also were surprised that Lehigh could only manage 90 rushing yards against the No. 7-ranked rushing defense in the Patriot League.
The grey weather didn’t affect the outcome. It didn’t affect the passing game, the running game, or the kicking game.
But on a damp, strange, overcast day in November, the magic ran out for Lehigh. The undefeated Mountain Hawks fell in a war on Saturday, 35-23, busting up a season that almost seemed predestined to be Lehigh’s from the outset.
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