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Press Mash-up; Link from Alumni Website

One more picture from the Morning Call's collection, this one from my first Lehigh/Lafayette game in 1988. Even though we lost, this game will always have a special place in my heart since it was my first. (By the way, I very much prefer today's players' uniforms to these from yesteryear.)

I want to give a big shout out to eveyone who is linking to me here from the official Lehigh Alumni website. I wanted to tell you all who are floating over here that this blog is not an official part of the University website system and is not endorsed by Lehigh Athletics (as you'll no doubt figure out from all the grammatical and spelling errors), but it is the labor of love from a passionate (some might say rabid, others might say crazy) Lehigh football fan. I've been blogging about our beloved Mountain Hawk football squad since the 2003 season, and it's an honor to be recognized by the official Alumni website as the source for everything about "The Game". Glad you could stop by - grab a Yuengling or an Irish coffee, and stay a while!

Today I'm going to post the remaining links from all the online press regarding this year's Lehigh/Lafayette game, the 141st meeting. Then I'm going to take the highlights of all of them (including those pieces I posted yesterday) and mash them up into one easy-to-read primer, suitable for printing and framing.

(And after that, I'll get my stuff ready for tailgating tomorrow.)

Allentown Morning Call:
Lehigh Could Win If They Use the Revenge Factor - In Moderation
Lafayette Could Win If They Bring It Early, Then Bring the House

Easton Express-Times:
Lehigh: Almost Perfect
Lafayette: Almost Perfect

Brown & White:
141st Meeting To Determine League Title
A Tale of Two Coaches
Leopard QB Hungry For A Championship
Threatt Prepared For First Lafayette Match

Lafayette’s Head Coach Frank Tavani, now in his sixth season at the helm, knows how special this game is.

“It’s the most-played rivalry in the country and has been garnering more and more national attention,” Tavani said. “Obviously, it is a big game and has lasting, positive effects for both institutions. It’s a match-up of two quality academic schools and two historic football programs, and when you combine this with the proximity of the two schools, it creates a tremendous rivalry.”

“The upperclassmen understand the importance of the rivalry, but I don’t think the freshmen do their first time around,” Tavani said. “Once they get their first experience of Lafayette-Lehigh, they’ll learn how important it is for both sides.”

“For one, we have to win the game to make the playoffs,” [senior CB Brannan] Thomas said. “Of course it’s the Lafayette rivalry, so there is nothing like this game. I’m from Florida, so when I first got here, at first when I got here I didn’t know what to expect with it, but it is amazing.”

"You just can't put into one word or one sentence what this game means," said Rath, a former Express-Times Player of the Year while at Pius X. "This is probably my best opportunity to get to a place where I want to be and this team wants to be."

“If the players don’t realize the magnitude of this rivalry before the game, they do when they walk into the stadium and feel the electricity charging through the entire place,” Maurer said. “I’m very excited to play in front of the crowd at Goodman. Playing on the road in front of a raucous crowd is difficult at times, but it is always fun. It brings something out of you.”

"This is a fun week," said Lafayette junior quarterback Brad Maurer, the MVP of last year's 24-10 win over Lehigh at Fisher Field. "I didn't even play in the game as a freshman and I was going crazy on the sideline."

...

The mere mention of last year's game at Fisher Field draws a "How dare you bring that up?" look from Lehigh players and coaches.

It hurt. A lot. Still does.

It had been a long time since the Mountain Hawks had been dominated to that degree by any I-AA foe, and the fact that the domination occurred on College Hill made it all the more frustrating.

"Obviously, the end result was disappointing," coach Pete Lembo said at Lehigh's media luncheon at Starters Pub earlier this week. "But even more disappointing than losing by the 24-10 score was that we didn't play Lehigh football.

"So, there's a sense of pride about it. We want to show that we can play to our potential, to our ability. We want to do things right. It's not something we talked about every day this year. But in a subtle way, in the back of our minds, we feel as though we have something to prove in this game for this group and everybody in the Lehigh community."

"That's the first time I can honestly say I walked off the field as a football player and I personally felt like I cost us the game," said [senior RB Eric] Rath, a former All-State running back at Pius X High School who's become the driving force in Lehigh's backfield.

"After that game, I was emotional. It was the worst loss of my life."

“As you saw in last year’s game, they can exploit any mistakes we make,” Thomas said. “Everyone needs to bring their A game. I know we are going to have our work cut out for us.”

"Try to rectify my mistakes," Rath proclaimed. "Twenty-four to 10 has been in my mind a full year. When I needed to motivate myself, all I needed to do was think back to 24-10."

...

"Our team showed a lot of maturity in handling the Delaware loss, coming here and losing a tough game to Holy Cross," Cardwell said. "No one panicked. But now we're in a situation to accomplish the goals we came into the season with."

"I don't think you can cry over spilled milk," coach Pete Lembo said. "You can't kick the extra point at Delaware again, you can't play Holy Cross on a dry day. What I'm proud of is how we've overcome adversity. I'm pretty pleased with how they have responded with their backs up against the wall the past five weeks."

...


"I think early in the season," safety and second-year captain Kaloma Cardwell said, "if you would've told us we're going to lose the preseason offensive player of the league, we would have worries."

“We’ve both battled adversity this season with injuries,” Tavani said. “Although we haven’t had any major season ending injuries like the one that happened to Mark Borda, we’ve had many injuries throughout the season. In fact, our top two receivers have barely played together because of it.”

QB Sedale Threatt: "The most important thing that I’ve learned from Mark is to keep going, or how to maintain my perseverance. Mark’s first start last year wasn’t his best, but I remember him telling me that all of that doesn’t matter. There’s the next play, the next series, next quarter, next game to worry about. And at this position, one needs a short memory and the will to keep fighting. And that’s exactly what Mark did even on his final play against Yale."

"I want this championship for the seniors," he said. "This is their last shot. I want this for Mark Borda, who worked his tail off for four years and sacrificed his body and broke his leg for me. My teammates have rallied around me, gave me confidence, Now, I want to go out and win for them."

...


"I will not put the ball on the ground again," Rath said with conviction.

"He's really helped us as a strong leader on this team," coach Pete Lembo said. "He really stepped up and shared his feelings about the job that needs to be done and how it needs to be done."

Call it senior experience.

"It does come from a sense of urgency," Rath said. "When you realize things are closing down, and the tunnel's getting narrow, you try to step up and make sure people are doing the right things."

There are a bunch of reasons why Rath will be fired up Saturday, starting with the Patriot League championship that's at stake in what could be his final performance at Goodman Stadium.

"Patriot League championship, a shot at the playoffs, my career, another game, another week with my (football) buddies," Rath said, running down his list of what Saturday means to him.

...


“The situation is eerily similar to that of last season,” Maurer said. “At least a piece of the league championship could be on the line. I don’t think that adds any pressure though. Players usually understand that once the game starts, all the talk about playoffs, [and] rankings doesn’t win you the football game. Whichever team can handle the environment and execute better will come out on top. I’m looking forward to a great game against an excellent team.”

“We’ll prepare the same way we do every week, emphasizing the priorities based on the strengths and weaknesses of the opponent,” Lembo said.

“In a rivalry game, the emotions run high, and I expect a hard fought game by both teams,” Tavani said. “Turnovers and momentum will undoubtedly be keys to the game.”

"If we win at Lehigh, we'll be the champion; it's as simple as that," senior linebacker Blake Costanzo said.

"I don't see Lehigh stopping," Threatt said. "We're going to keep this thing rolling."

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