The roundup around the mainstream press seems to show a lot of excitement about the local kids who appear to have the inside track for some of the starting roles, especially Bethlehem Catholic's WR Frank Trovato (rising senior) and also WR Pete Donchez (rising junior). They also share quite a few quotes from the eminently quotable junior QB Sedale Threatt. (The kid is a quote machine - it's always fun to hear what he's going to say next. His enthusiasm is catchy.)
Curiously, the defense which impressed me so much didn't get a lot of coverage. I'm really surprised nobody picked senior DT Royce Morgan or rising senior team captain DB Julian Austin for post-game interviews - especially because both were their usual dominant selves in their limited time on Saturday. No matter, I definitely took notice.
Allentown Morning Call:
Inclement Weather Fits Nicely in Lehigh's Plans
New Approach Scrutinized In Wet Conditions
In a light but steady rain Saturday, the Mountain Hawks chucked away their pass-heavy, wristband-checking offense of last season for an attack that balanced evenly between the passing and running game.
In other words, Lembo just wanted to fool defenses. Coen wants to flatten them.
"I kind of liked that the kids had to go through an inclement situation today," Coen said. "We've been talking about developing physical and mental toughness and you can't control what the weather conditions are going to be like on Saturdays. It's part of the game. These guys learned that last year. So, it was kind of neat to experience that."
"The last scrimmage we had before this one, the offense got after the defense, so it was good today to see the defense respond," Coen said. "The key is that we made strides from a toughness standpoint. We had some good, tough runs in there. Marques, Matt [McGowan] and Richard [Forman] all made some nice runs. We want to be balanced and we've got to be able to run the ball in the red zone."
"It's a very enthusiastic bunch of guys who have done what we've wanted them to do," Coen said. "They're fired up for Sept. 2 [the season opener against Albany] right now. You want guys who love to play football and that's what we have."
"The conditions were a little rough, but that's football," [Threatt] said. "This spring we've had a scrimmage in snow and another in 70 degrees. Today it was 44 degrees and misty rain and it was a little tough, but we had some people make plays."
"I like a fast-moving game," he said. "I like things to go bop, bop, bop. We just needed to pick things up and get things going and score some points because the defense was really playing well."
Most notable in that group were Becahi grads Frank Trovato and Donchez, who made the back-to-back grabs that led to the day's lone touchdown.
Trovato's 35-yard catch-and-run was the day's biggest play, although it wasn't designed the way it turned out.
"It was actually a waggle to the right and Sedale got pressure and had to reverse field," Trovato, a senior, said. "We're taught that with Sedale's scrambling capability, we've got to keep going because he'll find us down the field. That's what he did. We reversed field and Sedale hit me in stride.
"It felt great going out there with the first group," said Trovato. "We're really embracing Coach Coen and buying into what he's bringing."
"Sedale threw a great ball and I just tried to do my part and go up and get it," said Donchez, who will be a junior in the fall. "I think it went pretty well... There's a lot I still have to work and our team still has to work on. But it felt good to get out and compete with the defense."
"He made a great catch," Threatt said. "I put it up there for him, but he jumped up there and got it."
"I was asking to move to linebacker for a couple of years," said Mohler, a 6-foot-3, 250-pound junior-to-be with 4.6-second speed in the 40-yard dash. Mohler had an interception and a sack. "I get to run around a little more. Making plays has more to do with athletic ability."
Not to mention the desire to go through mud or high water to get the job done.
"It's just a change in style of play," Coen said. "Our goal is to be the toughest team out there every Saturday."
Either this week or next I'll start talking about the upcoming Patriot League season. Ed Laubach of the Express-Times has been talking about it, so it's only right that I start getting to it as well, right?
(Pictured below: rising soph PR/WR Mike Fitzgerald; and the second-team offense, led by rising seinor QB Mike Probst.)