Archive For The “Luke Christiano” Category

Spotlight: Brad Mayes Using Spring Ball To Build For Chance To Threepeat

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Spotlight: Brad Mayes Using Spring Ball To Build For Chance To Threepeat

Lehigh’s spring session is in full swing, and there’s no question who the opening-day starter will be at quarterback, barring injury – that would be rising senior QB Brad Mayes.

Mayes had a great season last year, helping the Mountain Hawk offense to tremendous production again, picking up exactly where Montreal Alouette QB Nick Shafnisky left off after the 2016 season.

That doesn’t mean Mayes is sitting back sipping an iced tea while his teammates are busting their humps this spring, however.  He’s been busy.

“This off season was a lot of fun for me,”  he told me. “I got to take on more of a leadership role which allowed me to make great strides in the weight room. We had an outstanding leadership council as well make some great strides in equipment and gear, nutrition, and alumni partnership. Although those may seem like little things when it comes to the game of football, stuff like looking like a team and matching on Saturdays really go a long way.”

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Spotlight: Brad Mayes Using Spring Ball To Build For Chance To Threepeat

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Spotlight: Brad Mayes Using Spring Ball To Build For Chance To Threepeat

Lehigh’s spring session is in full swing, and there’s no question who the opening-day starter will be at quarterback, barring injury – that would be rising senior QB Brad Mayes.

Mayes had a great season last year, helping the Mountain Hawk offense to tremendous production again, picking up exactly where Montreal Alouette QB Nick Shafnisky left off after the 2016 season.

That doesn’t mean Mayes is sitting back sipping an iced tea while his teammates are busting their humps this spring, however.  He’s been busy.

“This off season was a lot of fun for me,”  he told me. “I got to take on more of a leadership role which allowed me to make great strides in the weight room. We had an outstanding leadership council as well make some great strides in equipment and gear, nutrition, and alumni partnership. Although those may seem like little things when it comes to the game of football, stuff like looking like a team and matching on Saturdays really go a long way.”

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Lehigh At Monmouth Game Narratives: Cleaning Things Up For Business Trip To West Long Branch

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Lehigh At Monmouth Game Narratives: Cleaning Things Up For Business Trip To West Long Branch

It was days later, and head coach Andy Coen was still frustrated with last week’s loss.

That was the takeaway from the two pieces that came out in the local media this week, one from Lehigh Sports Central, and the other from Keith Groller of The Morning Call.

“Still a lot of frustration there,” he told Steve Degler.  “You know there are going to be some mistakes in that first game, but veteran guys, new guys, we made too many mistakes, and gave Villanova too many opportunities.  It was very tough to take.”

In last week’s post game press conference, and this week’s media meeting, the theme was “cleaning up the mistakes”.

“We’re really excited and want to put that first ‘W’ in the win column,” junior LB Matt Butler said. “We left a few plays on the field against Villanova; plays we’d like to have back. We had a few mental errors that cost us. We need to clean that up this week.”

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Lehigh Will Need A Bad Memory, And A Great Memory, As They Head to Monmouth Next Weekend

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Lehigh Will Need A Bad Memory, And A Great Memory, As They Head to Monmouth Next Weekend

(Photo Credit: Chris Shipley/The Morning Call)

In the post game press conference, junior QB Brad Mayes was asked about how he felt about his performance in the 38-35 loss – a game where he had a stellar statistical game, with over 400 yards passing, 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions, but the Mountain Hawks as a team came up short.

The Tampa, Florida native definitely had a fresher memory of what he considered mistakes.

“There were some throws out there that I wish I had back,” he said.  “I should have thrown for more than whatever I threw.  Whether it’s putting the ball on the outside shoulder, not throwing it low, or whatever – there were some throws I left out there today.  I’m going to have to sleep on it, come back next week, and try to make those throws.”

Season openers like this, where your team loses, are rarely deal-breakers when it comes to a football season.  Assuming Villanova continues to surge forward and have a good year, it’s likely that Mountain Hawks fans will look back at this game as a close, hard-fought loss against a tremendous team.

But critical in that assumption is how the team reacts after a loss like this – how a team rebounds the following week, and how they work.  In that sense, it should be an interesting week in the run-up to the road game at Monmouth next weekend.
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The Missed Opportunity: Lehigh Falls to Villanova, 38-35, In A Winnable Game

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The Missed Opportunity: Lehigh Falls to Villanova, 38-35, In A Winnable Game

(Photo Credit: Kyle Craig/Lehigh Valley Live)

Head coach Andy Coen would hear nothing of moral victories in the post game press conference.

“I thought we had every opportunity to win this football game,” Lehigh’s frustrated head coach said.

“When you go through this stuff,” he said, flipping through the pages of the post-game statistics packet, “you’re going to see a lot of mistakes.  You see it with some young guys, guys in their first game, but we had some guys that where it was just out of character.”

It was a game where neither side looked like they were in mid-season form, though you could see the quality shine through offensively on both sides at different times.  So the outcome hinged on mistakes, and who made fewer of them – and that team was Villanova.

That shouldn’t take away from the offensive fireworks on both sides.

There was the tremendous blocking up front that set up a great rushing day for Villanova RB Matt Gudzak, who ran for 145 yards and 2 touchdowns, and an effecient all-purpose yardage of a day for Wildcat QB Zach Bednarczyk, who went 17 for 23 passing and scored three touchdowns, two through the air and on the ground.

And there was the electricity of junior QB Brad Mayes repeatedly connecting with senior WR Troy Pelletier, senior WR Gatlin Casey, and the newest starter in the receiving corps, junior WR Luke Christiano.  Mayes went 33 for 49 passing for 406 yards and 4 touchdowns, and some of them were a sight to behold.

Yet it would boil down to mistakes – a pass here with too much mustard, a dropped reception there, a missed assignment there – and Lehigh simply made too many of them to beat a quality Top 10 ranked team at home.

“After the game, and we all got in our circle,” coach Coen said, “and I just told them all, you guys need to look into your mirror, and see how you feel about what you did or didn’t do right.  They were a very good football team, and I give them a lot of credit – they were very fast, and very physical.  This was an opportunity for us to beat a very good Villanova team, and also an opportunity to beat someone from the CAA, which I thought would be very important for us.  We didn’t get it done.”

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