September 6, 2012 at 5:11 pm #6608
For those that don’t get football reports:
Lehigh Football alumni and friends,
On one of the hottest days I can remember playing or coaching football, the Lehigh Mountain Hawks opened the season by beating Monmouth 27-17. The game clearly looked like the first game of the season for both teams. There were periods of great execution by both squads followed by very poor execution. In the end, we made two big defensive stops late in the game and came out with the win. The game began with a great opening drive by our offense. We drove the length of the field and scored on a TD run by Mike Colvin. Mike executed the play very well and ran over the Monmouth defender for the 7-0 lead. Unfortunately, our second drive ended with a fumble, but Monmouth was unable to move the ball and the offense took over and again found the end zone. This TD was an 18 yard pass from Colvin to freshman WR Derek Knott from Orlando, FL. It was a quick outside screen and Derek did the rest by running past the Monmouth defense for the score, making it 14-0.
Monmouth’s offense then got in gear and capitalized on an interception to score, making it a14-7 game. I believe our defense played very well in the first half especially in pass defense. Time after time, Monmouth attempted to go deep on our corners but we answered each time. With the score 14-7 and time winding down in the half, Colvin hit junior WR Lee Kurfiss on a 3rd down play for a 25 yard TD strike. The offensive line gave great protection and Kurfiss caught it in stride to give us a 21-7 lead at half.
The second half was a different story. Our defense gave up a score on a drive that was helped by two pass interference penalties, which made it 21-14. Our offense was short circuiting quite a bit, and our offensive line lost two starters and our TE to injury. We were not performing the way we had in the first half. The defense continued to battle and truly played a “bend but do not break” style for almost the entire second half. The offense managed two drives into Monmouth territory in the second half, but unfortunately we missed two 40+ yard field goals. Monmouth, on the other hand, did make a FG attempt in the 3rd quarter and we battled into the fourth quarter holding a 21-17 lead.
The fourth quarter had some excitement as our defense continued to scrap the entire time. Despite being on the field for a far too extended period of time, they came up with plays when they were needed most. With Monmouth on the move deep into our territory and attempting to convert a 4th and short, Billy Boyko forced a fumble and Gabe Johnson recovered it to stop the drive. The offense, which was now backed up, was able to move the ball, primarily by a great play by Ryan Spadola making a jumping catch to get us out of the hole. We finished the drive without a score, but we certainly changed the field position and left Monmouth with a long field to drive. The defense came up big once again as junior John Mahoney intercepted a deflected pass, giving the offense the ball back with under a minute to go. The offense was stopped just short on a 3rd down run and we punted to Monmouth deep in its own territory. With no timeouts remaining, they attempted a desperation “Rugby “play, which we defended well and actually wound up scoring a defensive TD on it after Gerard Gordon scooped up a loose ball and ran it in from seven yards out to seal the 27-17 win.
There are surely many things to improve upon, but I am thrilled to start the season with a win and proud of how our guys hung together and hung tough to get this win. This past Saturday, we started 10 guys who had never started a Lehigh game before and I believe they, as well as the rest of the team, will grow from this game. I expect that we will continue to improve from week to week as we pursue another Patriot League title.
Our Offensive Player of the Week was Ryan Spadola, who had 9 catches for 111 yards and blocked better than he ever has. On defense, Gabe Johnson had a very strong day as he had 7 tackles and a big fumble recovery as well as defending several passes. Our Special Teams Player of the Week was sophomore Jason Suggs from the Cleveland area. Jason had a big day returning two punts for over twenty yards. Overall, our special teams showed improvement from a year ago. Our coverage units were very good as we had Monmouth start seven drives from their 25 yard line or more.
This Saturday, we will be traveling to Connecticut to play our next opponent, Central Connecticut State, a team that will definitely give us their best shot. Central is another NEC school that is comparable to Monmouth so our improvement needs to be swift.
I thank you all for your support of our staff and, most importantly, our student-athletes. Also, a big thank you to all of you who sat through the scorcher this past Saturday — I certainly hope you were hydrated!
Head Football Coach
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