The game balls were difficult to pass out this week, which is probably a good thing - it indicates that it was a very good team effort. Dear reader, I did however manage to honor those that are most deserving this week.
On offense, I'm going to honor the entire "O" Line once again: sophomore T Jimmy Kehs, senior T Tom Toth, junior G Jim Petrucelli, sophomore G Mike Dodson, and junior C John Reese. With only 1 meaningless sack allowed, and 517 yards of total offense on a great offensive team effort, it's clear that the foundation of that is great "O" line play - and without one of their regulars to boot.
Sophomore QB Sedale Threatt made some great progress from last week and is also getting a game ball for his 349 yards of total offense and 4 TDs. He hasn't earned the nickname yet, though he did earn this must-read ariticle about his background from the Easton Express-Times. I think a legendary Lehigh/Lafayette performance could do the trick for me.
Finaly, senior WR Gerran "G" Walker and senior WR Winfred Porter picked a great day to have a great performance and gets the last offensive game balls. No TDs, but both combined for 7 receptions for 142 yards, 2 kickoff returns for 22 yards, and (for good measure) a 16 yard pass to senior WR Adam Kovacs. The dynamic duo obviously had Fordham's defensive coordinator tied up in knots. Congratulations to all!
On defense, it's no contest who will be getting game balls. The first four are definitely going to four defensive linemen: senior DT Josh Cooney, senior DE Chris Zambrano, senior DT Will Mitchell, and junior DE Paul Fabre. It's not just the 7 1/2 sacks these warriors piled up - it's holding the Ram rushing game to an eye-popping 65 net rushing yads, averaging 1.7 yards per rush. When Fordham had to pass, not only did senior LB Matt Purdy stuff them on fourth down, he broke up three passes, earning him the final game ball on the defense.
On special teams, it's going to be freshman RB Matt McGowan who gets the nod with two special teams tackles. Congratulations to all the winners!
I'm going give you, dear reader, the press mash-up now in order to get to even more stuff to pump you up to Lehigh/Lafayette this weekend.
For those of you tuning in late to the Lehigh football season, for Lehigh the mission is clear - win the game, we win at worst a co-championship with Colgate, and we are definitely in the I-AA playoffs. Not to mention we get to avenge last year's 24-10 loss to the Leopards - a loss that still stings to all diehard Lehigh fans.
Lehigh is completely in control of their own destiny. Win, and Lehigh sleeps well with another Patriot League championship and finds out on Sunday who they will be playing next Saturday. Lose, and it's a sleepless night of hoping for upsets and kind I-AA playoff committees. Every Lehigh player went through that last year. They won't want to go through that again.
Allentown Morning Call:
Lehigh Wins To Set The Stage
Lembo: The Victors Often Get Spoiled
Lehigh's Focus Is on Lafayette
Brown & White:
Football Team Rolls Over Fordham, Prepares For Lafayette
Head Coach Pete Lembo said he was pleased with his team's triumph over Fordham.
“It was a very solid effort overall," he said. "We were very focused throughout the week of practice, and I think it showed in our performance today, particularly the first half. Our defense held them to under 150 yards of total offense, so that’s an outstanding effort across the board.”
“We just came out, played hard, and we had to put everything together because this was a must-win game,” [junior RB Marques] Thompson said. “I think the effort was there and we came out with a win.”
"I guess I really just wanted to get after it at the start," [sophomore QB Sedale] Threatt said. "My execution was bad last week. I wanted to execute today."
"They say a quarterback has to have a short memory," Threatt said after leading Lehigh to its fourth straight 40-point performance. "Last week I didn't play my best, but that was out the window. Coach [Lembo] stresses every day that it's a one-week season. So, I just wanted to come out focused and execute. Our offensive line played great and the wide receivers made plays.
"When you have talent like these guys have, they'll go up and they'll go get the ball," said Threatt, who spread the wealth around by connecting at least twice with six different receivers. "I'm throwing up ducks and my wide receivers are going up after it."
"At every single position, the ball can come your way at any time," [senior WR Winfred] Porter said. "We knew the ball was going to be distributed evenly, even in spring ball."
"I like him," Porter -- who caught four passes for 81 yards -- said of Threatt. "He's exciting, fun to play with."
"This was our most consistent defensive effort of the season," Lembo said. "The score indicates that, but also, with the exception of that one long run [a 48-yarder by Jonte Coven] we didn't give up any big plays.
"We played the ball well in the air when they took shots down the field and we got a good pass rush all afternoon and controlled the line of scrimmage."
“The defense played pretty well," junior running back Marques Thompson said. "The offense came out in the first half and played one of our best halves all season, but second half we let up a little.”
"We started the season with a couple of new coaches and putting some new stuff in here and there, but it's coming together and we're playing our best defense of the season," [senior DL Josh] Cooney said. "We're peaking just before the last game of the regular season and that's exactly what you want to do."
"We're just starting to gel together," said Cooney, who spearheaded an effort that held Fordham to 128 total yards and one field goal despite missing starting defensive ends Owen Breininger and Matt Mohler with injuries. "Hopefully, we'll play real well in this next game, and go on after that."
"We're really spoiled," he said. "We lose a great quarterback in Mark Borda and we're going with a backup [Sedale Threatt] who basically hadn't played at all before and we've won four straight games with him as our starter."
"We won our sixth game two weeks ago and I got one e-mail from an alum who said 'congratulations on a winning season,' and it reminded me that to a lot of people a winning season is a big deal, but here we're spoiled," Lembo said. "We're spoiled in a good way, but also a bad way.
"We have had a season with a lot of major injuries and yet I don't know if from the outside looking in, or even among our own people, if too much is taken for granted. This team has done a great job of overcoming adversity.
"We're really blessed and I certainly don't take it for granted even if some people do," he said. "An awful lot of people who are close to the program and know the details of what this team has gone through, have an appreciation of what has been accomplished so far.
"It's nice to know another championship is right within our grasp. We have to go at things this week the same way that we've gotten after it the last several weeks."
The bitter memory of what happened that dreary day in Easton last November has been embedded in Lehigh minds for a year, but needed to be cast aside for 10 games.
Now, even Mr. One-Game-At-A-Time himself, coach Pete Lembo, can bring up Lafayette without chastising himself.
"They won big today, right?" Lembo asked before getting confirmation of the Leopards' 41-21 rout of Holy Cross. "They scored a lot of points, their most since their Marist win. Obviously, they're playing very well, too."
"Very happy," Cooney said. "It's coming down to a championship in the last game of the season against Lafayette. Couldn't ask for anything better than that."
"Obviously they're playing very well right now," coach Pete Lembo said of his team's nemesis. "We put ourselves in bad position early in the year. I'm proud of the kids. They fought for this and put themselves in this situation.
“We’ve got to have a great week of preparation. This will be
our toughest game of the season, I’m sure.
"Our players know that if they come out and execute against Lafayette, they'll get to play another game. If they don't, then we'll be sitting up in the middle of the night waiting and hoping certain people lose and all of that stuff you don't want to worry about.
"If we win, even by one point next week, we'll know for sure we'll be playing somewhere on Thanksgiving weekend."