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Archive For The “Zach Hayden” Category

Season In Review: Great Accomplishments In A Rebuilding Year

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Season In Review: Great Accomplishments In A Rebuilding Year

(Photo Credit: Matt Smith/The Express-Times)

When I look back at Lehigh’s football program over the last four years, I can’t think of a single game that wasn’t meaningful.

And when you think about this fact, that’s a powerful thing to say about this group of seniors that will graduate this season.

So many programs have off years, years in between quality starting quarterbacks, years when players who find themselves in NFL training camps graduate, and the number of holes to fill are too great to compete for championships, let alone playoff spots.

But that didn’t happen for this group of Lehigh athletes in 2013.

Despite needing to replace two players who found themselves in NFL training camps, WR Ryan Spadola and LB Billy Boyko, a starting quarterback, QB Michael Colvin, and an all-Patriot League secondary consisting of CB Bryan Andrews and S Billy O’Brien, the expectations on this year’s team was great: Win the Patriot League.  Build off a 10-1 season.  Make the playoffs.

That’s what going to Lehigh to play football is all about: Winning.  High expectations, on and off the field.  And despite the rebuilding, and despite the gigantic injury to QB Brandon Bialkowski, this team made every game meaningful.
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It’s Supposed To Suck, And It’s Supposed To Hurt

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It’s Supposed To Suck, And It’s Supposed To Hurt

(Photo Credit: Kevin Mingora/Morning Call)

“You didn’t cry or anything when Lehigh lost this weekend, did you?”

That was the greeting I got when I came back into the office (from another Lehigh football fan, interestingly) this Monday, as if he knew that I would be taking the loss this weekend especially hard.

I did not cry.  But I did hurt.  And I know not a few men that I respect that I know cried on Saturday.

This is probably not a revelation to most people who know me through this writing vehicle or in person, but yes, I took the loss hard.

Believe me, if you saw my wife and son recently, they’d probably tell you that I was not a pleasant person to be in the car with on Saturday.  Or Sunday.  Or Monday.

The truth is, I take every loss hard, and losses to what is the biggest rival in football, Lafayette, hurt especially hard.  It is an occupational hazard of caring too much about a sports team.

To me, losses to Lafayette are supposed to suck.  To me, losses to Lafayette are supposed to hurt.  It’s the very nature of the thing, winning and losing.

And for me, I guess, it sucks more than most of my friends and acquaintances.  I have an inability to put it behind me in an evening, or even a weekend, even though I put in a good front, I think, to friends and family.

Most people move on pretty quickly, especially in this era of social media and distractions.  In a way, I envy them, but in another way I don’t.
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Before Looking Ahead, A Peek At Lehigh’s "Achievements"

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Before Looking Ahead, A Peek At Lehigh’s "Achievements"

(Photo Credit: Bob Cornell/Colgate Sports Information via the Morning Call)

There will be an entire week to get ready for the 149th meeting between Lehigh and a certain school from Easton.

But it’s worth taking a tiny peek back at this weekend’s game – just a tiny one – to see how far this team has come.

This Lehigh team has gone through a multitude of challenges this season, on the field and off.

And it’s a true “achievement”, no matter what happens this Saturday, that this team is in a position to win the Patriot League the final weekend of the year.
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Lehigh Puts Pedal to Metal, Beats Georgetown 45-24

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Lehigh Puts Pedal to Metal, Beats Georgetown 45-24

The term being bandied about the season in regards to the 2013 Mountain Hawks was the “Cardiac Kids”.

Every week, the Mountain Hawks would fall behind.  Every week, there would be hiccups, issues, and heart-stopping moments, but most often would end up in Lehigh victories.

Most fans wondered: Could it be possible, would it be possible, for Lehigh to put the pedal to the metal against an opponent, to surge to a huge lead, go for he jugular early, and never look back?

This Saturday, the Mountain Hawks answered.

Lehigh scored the most points they’d scored in the first half since 2002, scoring on seven of their eight drives of the first half and narrowly missing the eighth.  They’d cruise to a 38-3 halftime lead before the second stringers would make the final score look a lot closer.

In short, it was exactly what most of the 9,866 fans in attendance were looking for in the first Patriot League conference game of the season.  Never trailing.  Making the game’s outcome not be in doubt early.  Winning.
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LFN Players of the Week, Lehigh vs. Columbia, 10/12/2013

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LFN Players of the Week, Lehigh vs. Columbia, 10/12/2013

(Photo Credit: Kiera Wood/The Columbia Spectator)

Below the flip, enjoy this week’s “LFN Players of the Week” for the Columbia game.

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Game Preview: New Hampshire at Lehigh, 9/28/2013

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Game Preview: New Hampshire at Lehigh, 9/28/2013

(Photo Credit: John Huff/Foster’s Daily Democrat)

This weekend, it’s homecoming at Lehigh.

The pre-football festivities for homecoming start at in the middle of Friday, with a campus rally, followed by a dinner and a movie presentation.

The movie happens to be Monsters University, the hit Disney/Pixar movie from this summer where the heroes Mike and Sully flash back to their days at old Monster U., and we find out how they made it through their college years.

It so happens that there is an associated website with the release of the movie that is still up – complete with references to the Monsters U. athletic program and homecoming

“The MU faithful were put to the test last year, losing the conference championship with a “Hail Scary” pass from Fear Tech. But MU is back this year with an excellent new recruitment class — including three top-tier high school standouts: Bart Gates (quarterback), Uriah Pemberslime (fullback), and Harry Phiegel (wide receiver). The entire university community is buzzing with the prospect of Gates throwing to Phiegel for four years of touchdowns. “

In this entirely coincidental, fictionalized summary of the Monsters University football team is everything you need to know about this weekend’s game.
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LFN Players of the Week, Lehigh vs. Princeton, 9/21/2013

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LFN Players of the Week, Lehigh vs. Princeton, 9/21/2013

(Photo Credit: Andrew Miller/Trenton Times)

Below the flip, enjoy this week’s “LFN Players of the Week” for the Princeton game.

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Two-Minute Drill and LFN Players of the Week: Lehigh/Monmouth 9/14/2013

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Two-Minute Drill and LFN Players of the Week: Lehigh/Monmouth 9/14/2013

(Photo Credit: Justin LaFleur/Lehigh Athletics)

Below the flip, enjoy this week’s “LFN Players of the Week” and a Two Minute drill on the quotes from this Saturday’s game.

I’ve decided to break out the sneak peek at Princeton into a different blog post – for reasons that will be come clear.

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Lehigh Keeps Calm And Beats Monmouth, 28-25

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Lehigh Keeps Calm And Beats Monmouth, 28-25

(Photo Credit: Justin Lafleur/Lehigh Athletics)

“I’d never seen it,” head coach Andy Coen said, adding a “whew” for good measure.

He was referring to a very strange play this Saturday, a play that happened in Lehigh’s favor that felt like the decisive play of the game.

Down 25-21, and senior P Tim Divers readying to punt, speedy Monmouth CB Tevrin Brandon blocked his punt – the ball deflecting almost straight up, then falling back down to earth behind the line of scrimmage, where alert senior FB Zach Hayden kept calm, grabbed the ball out of the air, and started to go for the first down marker.

He did more than get enough yards for the first down.  He rumbled 37 yards, thus turning the momentum of the game completely on its head.

Two plays later, senior QB Brandon Bialkowski hit senior WR Lee Kurfis with a 40 yard dagger to make the score 28-25.

It would be a death blow from which Monmouth wouldn’t recover.

“I’ve been coaching and playing a long time,” Coen said, “and I’ve never seen a blocked punt picked up by one of our own guys and run for a first down, which ends up being the biggest play of the game.”

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36 Days Until CCSU – No. 36, Zach Hayden

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36 Days Until CCSU – No. 36, Zach Hayden

(Photo Credit: Lehigh Valley Live)

Preseason training camp is just around the corner for Lehigh, and it’s a mere 36 days until the Mountain Hawks’ season opener vs. Central Connecticut State.

At no. 42, we find senior FB Zach Hayden as our highlighted Lehigh football athlete in today’s countdown.

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