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Archive For The “Ryan Spadola” Category

Lehigh 46, Holy Cross 14 Postgame Commentary: Does This Team Have Shades Of 2011?

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Lehigh 46, Holy Cross 14 Postgame Commentary: Does This Team Have Shades Of 2011?

I’ve been doing this long enough to know that every Lehigh football team is different.  The dynamics running through every team is different; what motivates one team has no impact on the team of the following year.

But every big win this 2016 team gets, many of the fans who have been here a while keep whispering:

2011.

Like an Adele Spotify channel, you can’t help but be reminded of 2011 when you go to Murray Goodman Stadium or Fitton Field or wherever they’re playing.  The popular online game between fans on the Lehigh football message board is: Who was better, 2011, or 2016?

The answer is still, beyond a shadow of a doubt, 2011 – for now – but the only reason for that is that 2016 is still in the midst of writing their story.  Yet it can hardly be helped that fans look at the potential of this 2016 team and think, with apologies to Adele, that they are rolling in the same sort of wins that they were in 2011.
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Lehigh 46, Holy Cross 14 Postgame Commentary: Does This Team Have Shades Of 2011?

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Lehigh 46, Holy Cross 14 Postgame Commentary: Does This Team Have Shades Of 2011?

I’ve been doing this long enough to know that every Lehigh football team is different.  The dynamics running through every team is different; what motivates one team has no impact on the team of the following year.

But every big win this 2016 team gets, many of the fans who have been here a while keep whispering:

2011.

Like an Adele Spotify channel, you can’t help but be reminded of 2011 when you go to Murray Goodman Stadium or Fitton Field or wherever they’re playing.  The popular online game between fans on the Lehigh football message board is: Who was better, 2011, or 2016?

The answer is still, beyond a shadow of a doubt, 2011 – for now – but the only reason for that is that 2016 is still in the midst of writing their story.  Yet it can hardly be helped that fans look at the potential of this 2016 team and think, with apologies to Adele, that they are rolling in the same sort of wins that they were in 2011.
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LFN Look Back: A Goal Line Stand Brings Victory in Easton in 2010

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LFN Look Back: A Goal Line Stand Brings Victory in Easton in 2010
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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Lee Kurfis To Showcase Talents In South Carolina All-Star Bowl

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Lee Kurfis To Showcase Talents In South Carolina All-Star Bowl

WR Lee Kurfis literally came out of nowhere last year on the Patriot League and national scene.

Hard to believe now, but going into the 2013 season, he wasn’t a member of the preseason all-Patriot League team, despite playing very well in several games his junior year when WR Ryan Spadola, now with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, was out with mono.

Maybe it was the unorthodox style of running.  Or maybe it was because people forgot about his sneaky quickness to break for the ball.  But after Kurfis almost singlehandedly helped Lehigh overcome a three-score opening-game deficit to Central Connecticut State, Lehigh Nation certainly knew that Lee had the potential to be a great one in the annals of Lehigh history.

Now of course, the rest of FCS Nation knows who Mr. Kurfis is, as he finished atop the FCS on average yards per game (122.8), 3rd in FCS in receptions per game (9.0), and finding his name on the ECAC All-Star Team, the AP FCS All-America team, Sports Network All-Star Team, the College Sporting News All-Star Team, and, most recently, the College Sports Journal All-Star team.

Now, he’s headed to the campus of Furman University to showcase his talents in front of NFL scouts.
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Happy And Sad to See Dave Cecchini Go

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Happy And Sad to See Dave Cecchini Go

(Photo Credit: The Citadel Alumni Club of Pittsburgh)

I don’t think it’s too much of a reach to say that pretty much everyone involved with the Lehigh football program now wants to add something else to their Christmas wish list from Santa – a new offensive coordinator.

Consequently, Valparaiso, a non-scholarship Division I football program the competes in the Pioneer Football League, seems to pretty much have gotten the early Christmas present they were looking for.

This morning, Dave Cecchini was announced as the new head coach of the Valpo Crusaders, making people who know Dave happy, because he’s clearly been in line for a head coaching position for many years, and sad, because they know he’s going to be a particularly big void to fill in terms of Andy Coen‘s offense.
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Lehigh’s Day of Busted "Pride" One To Forget in the Big Apple

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Lehigh’s Day of Busted "Pride" One To Forget in the Big Apple

(Photo Credit: Howard Smith/USA Today Sports)

So on the morning of October 5th, I got out of bed.

The Lehigh football team was undefeated, of course.

WR Ryan Spadola was a receiver on the NFL’s New York Jets, and by many indications was in line for more playing time on the biggest of stages, Monday Night football.

And G C.J. McCollum, after ripping up the NBA summer league for the Portland Trailblazers, seemed poised to enter the NBA season with a flourish, maybe even competing for Rookie of the Year.

By the end of my trip to the Big Apple, all three dreams were shattered.

Athletically, most Lehigh people of all stripes had three things in which they take an immense amount of “pride” – the football team, successful on the field for so long, the battle of Ryan Spadola against the odds to make the 53 man roster of the New York Jets, and the first Lehigh player ever taken in the NBA draft, C.J. McCollum.  By the end of Saturday, Lehigh’s “pride” had been run over by a truck on the upper level of the George Washington bridge.
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Ryan Spadola Is Now A Jet

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Ryan Spadola Is Now A Jet

Late last night, Ryan Spadola’s dream came true.

He’s now officially a Jet.

He made the announcement officially on Twitter and the text of his announcement is announced below.

Oh yeah, and the Jets just gained a Nation of new fans.  Including this guy.
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Wayne Chrebet And Ryan Spadola, Two Jersey Jets

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Wayne Chrebet And Ryan Spadola, Two Jersey Jets

The analogy is not perfect.

When WR Wayne Chrebet came to Jets training camp in July of 1995 as a free-agent signee, the 5′ 9 1/2 inch tall athlete from Hofstra was turned away by the security guard, thinking he was “just another Hofstra kid” trying to sneak his way in to see some of the big stars training in Hempstead, Long Island, like QB Boomer Esiason or LB Mo Lewis.

WR Ryan Spadola, too was a Jersey resident.  He, too, came from an FCS school, a I-AA school.  But nobody turned the blond-haired, 6’3 Spadola away at the gates of SUNY Cortland, even if the Jets depth charts had his name written in pencil rather than Sharpie, down at the very bottom, just like Chrebet years ago.

When Chrebet reached out to Ryan to talk pointers on Jets training camp, it wasn’t just an email conversation between a legendary Jet and a rookie still learning the ropes.  It was also a bridge between two powerful Northeast football programs in the mid-1990s, Hofstra and Lehigh, at the I-AA level.

It wasn’t a perfect analogy.  But it was still a pretty damned good one.
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Ryan Spadola Press Conference Quotes, 8/26/2013

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Ryan Spadola Press Conference Quotes, 8/26/2013

(Photo Credit: USA Today)

Today, Jet head coach Rex Ryan led his daily press conference with heaping praise about WR Ryan Spadola, who, in case you’ve just woken from a seven month nap, has been fighting and clawing to make the roster of the NFL’s New York Jets.

This morning, on the first roster cutdown day, there was still doubt whether Ryan would make the 53 man roster.  Even when four camp wideouts were released this morning, it still wasn’t a done deal.

But that was before the announcement that WR Braylon Edwards was cut.  And it was also before Rex Ryan spent a couple of minutes on talking about him.

Suddenly, he went from “bubble” to “in”.
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Lehigh’s Summer of Pro

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Lehigh’s Summer of Pro

During the football season, I’ve gotten in the writing habit of picking a “Sunday Word”, and using it to describe what happened the previous week.

I’ve been slack in getting this going this preseason, but the only possible word that can perfectly summarize this Lehigh football offseason is “pro“.

The NCAA’s big ad campaign for years now has been that “most athletes go ‘pro’ in something other than sports”.  And for the great majority of Lehigh athletes, year-in and year-out, this is still true.

But this offseason we’ve seen an unprecedented number of Lehigh athletes trying their hand at ‘pro’ ball – and Lehigh fans everywhere couldn’t be more thrilled or excited.  There are a lot of “pro” adventures to follow for Lehigh fans right now, and it’s damned exciting stuff.
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