Friday, January 27, 2006

Lehigh Football Nation Players Of the Year

Press Release
On Friday, January 27th, the fan blog Lehigh Football Nation announced (in conjunction with the Football Awards Banquet tomorrow evening) their awards of outstanding achievement to members of the Lehigh Football team. The awards are: Top Offensive Hawk, Top Defensive Hawk, Top Special Teams Hawk, and Player of the Year. Lehigh's 8-3 record last year marked the 8th straight season Lehigh has finished with more than 7 wins.

Top Offensive Hawk: This year's Top Offensive Hawk award goes to senior RB Eric Rath. Eric was healthy all year and gathered first-team All Patriot honors while winning Patriot League Offiensive Player of the Week once. Like last year, his stats - 857 yards rushing, 164 yards receiving and 18 TDs, were only part of the story. Where really stood out was in the clutch. Against Delaware, on 4th down and needing three yards to keep the game going, Eric put in the afterburners and barrelled forward to get the first down to keep the drive alive. It's that toughness that I will remember the most.

Top Defensive Hawks: This year, we have a tie for the Top Defensive Hawk award, and it will go to senior LBs Matt Purdy and Anthony "Graz" Graziani. Both combined for 163 tackles, 6 sacks and 3 interceptions, but more importantly you could count on them to get big tackles in the big games that mattered. Against Harvard, "Graz" and Purdy seemingly were around the ball on every defensive play.

Top Special Teams Hawk: It's no contest: it's senior KR Gerran "G" Walker. By far the speediest player on the 2005 Mountain Hawks, he amassed 608 yards and 5 TDs, good enough for the best receiving totals on an extremely deep receiver corps. But it's his 702 kickoff return yards that made the difference in many games this year, good for a 63 yards a game average, among the Division I leaders. His explosiveness was on display versus Monmouth, when he amassed 157 yrds receiving, and during Lehigh/Lafayette, where he rumbled for an electric 80 yard TD pass to give Lehigh the lead. An electric player, and a great kid. Congratulations "G"!

Hawks of the Year: Once, again, we have a tie, which is only fitting since we had to overcome adversity at the QB position. Senior QB Mark Borda and sophomore QB Sedale Threatt combined to have two extrordinary seasons for Lehigh QBs.. Borda's passing and Threatt's running in particular gave the duo a combined total 2,604 yards passing, 24 TD passes, 401 rushing yards, and 5 TDs.

Borda's season came to a heartbreking end versus Yale on a freak play where he went for the extra yard. In his Lehigh career, he was always a quiet scrapper, pushing for the extra yard, leading by example. On of the great heartbreaks of the 2005 season was that he didn't get to lead the seniors the whole way. Still, he became a QB coach and never gave up on the team, leading from behind the scenes. In a situation where most folks would have given up, Borda showed that he was made of the stuff of a champion.

Threatt had to come of age quickly after Borda's injury, and he came together with a poise rarely seen in a sophomore. During the end of the Yale game, he engineered the game-winning TD drive in OT like a senior, and against Colgate, his running gave the vaunted Raider defense fits. Sedale not only thrived in relief in 2005, he made himself unquestionably the key face to watch in 2006. Lehigh fans everywhere can't wait to see what he will do with his own team.

Congratulations to all!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

High-Profile Commit for Lehigh

Here I was, looking to wrap up the 2005 season, when I get alerted to this little article from the Morris Daily Record. If anyone felt like Lehigh was going to lose out on recruiting battles from the transition of head coaches, think again.

Any Lehigh fan has got to just love quotes like this one:

The two-way lineman was torn between the University of Pennsylvania and Lehigh. After much thought, he wound up choosing Lehigh -- mostly because the Mountain Hawks recently hired Penn's offensive coordinator Andy Coen to be Lehigh's new head coach. Talk about a small world.

"I knew him and have great respect for him," said Lezgus, a 6-5, 260-pound first-team All-Area lineman who hails from Denville. "Lehigh is also one of the best I-AA programs in the country."

Lezgus visited Lehigh's Bethlehem, Pennsylvania campus the weekend of Jan. 13-15 and loved everything about it. But mostly, he is enthused about playing for Coen, who received rave reviews -- from Penn's players.

"I heard nothing but good things about him," said Lezgus, who was recruited by Adam Scheier.


Morris Catholic coach Greg Lusardi believes Lezgus is only beginning to blossom as a lineman.

So do Rutgers and Virginia, both of whom recruited Lezgus as a preferred walk-on, citing his promising future.

"I think he has a lot of potential to grow into a very effective lineman at the next level," said Lusardi, who coached collegiately at Pace, William Paterson and Defiance College (Ohio) for 18 years before returning to Morris Catholic, where he coached the Crusaders in the 1980s. "He's got a great frame. He works very hard and has very good feet. He has good strength.

He'll get better with the commitment to the strength program. He is a very good football player."


Lusardi, who recently coached in the prestigious High School All-American game in San Antonio, believes Lezgus could have held his own as an interior blocker in the game.

"Let me say that those kids were not just D-I recruits, they were USC and Florida State recruits," Lusardi said. "But Sean would have held his own.


Last fall, Lezgus' size and strength dominated many of Morris Catholic's opponents.

"At our level, he was a significant, impact player," Lusardi said.

"He definitely stood out on the field on both sides, but particularly on offense. As a blocker, as far as his on-blocking, he was outstanding. He was well-schooled in terms of his footwork with respect to keeping his hips underneath him and using his leverage to his advantage."

What's not to like?
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