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Players of the Week and Press Roundup, Columbia at Lehigh, 10/6/2012

(Photo Credit: Kevin Mingora/Morning Call)

It may have been pacing break, but the Columbia/Lehigh game wasn't lacking photo and video evidence that it occurred.

I don't know if it was the overcast weather, the colder, more fall-like  temperatures, the pink or what, but the shots of the game from Kevin Mingora of the Morning Call look absolutely stunning, as do the shots from the Brown & White photographers that were at the game.

I'd encourage you to go over there and check out the Morning Call's eleven-page gallery, which is filled with great shots. The shot above, too, comes from that collection.  And there is a album of pictures from the Brown & White as well as a video recap of the game as well from Alec Murphy.

They make my whopping two pictures on the Facebook Page seem pretty dim in comparison.  Then again, I didn't get to field level this game!

This week's LFN Players of the Week go to:

Offense: Senior QB Mike Colvin (29/38 passing, 296 yards passing, 5 TDs, 1 INT, 38 yards rushing)

Offense: Junior WR Sergio Fernandez-Soto (8 catches 120 yards, first TD catch for Lehigh, career highs in receptions and yards)

Offense: Senior TE Jamel Haggins (5 catches, 84 yards, 2 TDS, career highs in TDs in a game)

Defense: Senior LB Sam Loughery (6 tackles, 1 sack)

Defense: Sophomore LB Isaiah Campbell (6 tackles, 1 sack)

Underclassman: Freshman LB Noah Robb (2 tackles, 1 QB Hurry)

Congratulations to the winners!

Offical Recap: Mountain Hawks Roll Past Columbia, 35-14

“We’ve been doing a great job of rushing the football in the red zone,” explained Lehigh head coach Andy Coen. “We made some plays through the air today.”

“We’re looking for a degree of consistency with our kids and it comes down to focus that way you can execute”, Coen said. “I believe there’s a lot of room for improvement there.  One of the things I always tell our guys is that you never know what play is going to be the difference in the game. You have to play every play with focus and that’s a challenge.”

Morning Call: Lehigh Far from Perfect, but Remains Unbeaten
Morning Call: Columbia vs. Lehigh Photo Gallery
Haggins and Sergio Fernandez-Soto were the targets of choice for Colvin, combining for 13 catches for 204 yards and three touchdowns.

"They lined up their safeties wide and that opened up the middle of the field," Haggins said after the first two-touchdown day of his career. "My first touchdown was on across the middle and the second one was straight down the middle. I knew as long as I got great releases off the line I should be cool."

Unfortunately, Lehigh's offense went cold after its initial pair of scoring drives. The next four possessions ended with a missed field goal, an interception (for a Columbia TD), and back-to-back punts.

"It all comes down to focus," said Haggins, who finished with five catches for 84 yards. "It is frustrating because sometimes we'll score two straight touchowns and then have three straight drives where we punt. But we just have to stay focused and execute and play how we can play."

Lehigh's offense revived itself for an 80-yard scoring drive before halftime that resulted in Colvin's 5-yard scoring run with less than a minute left before halftime and then Haggins and Fernandez-Soto each hauled TD tosses in the second half.

"It's all in the details," Fernandez-Soto said. "It's really important that even though we do stall sometimes, we get right back up and come together as a team. We step up and make the big play on the next drive, or the one after that. Sometimes, teams can shut down completely, but we do a good job of looking forward to the next play.'

Express-Times: Lehigh remains unbeaten behind career days from Jamel Haggins, Sergio Fernandez-Soto

“He was somebody that we really thought was going to be a weapon and unfortunately got injured in that first game and is still not 100 percent,” Coen said. “It was certainly good to get him rolling here and I think he can be a weapon through the rest of the season.”

“It means a lot to me," Haggins said. "Having the injury early on had me down a little bit, but coach (Andy Coen) always told me to keep my head up, keep focused and keep going and that’s the mindset I tried to keep through the first couple of games going to sports medicine every day getting treatment,” Haggins said. “Having a game like this shows with keeping your head up and staying optimistic you’ll be cool with anything that happens because you never know when your number will be called.”

Fernandez-Soto and company benefited from Columbia not only playing wide safeties but also from the Lions’ focus on senior All-American wideout Ryan Spadola, who was held to 36 yards on five catches but got his first TD of the season.

“It just depended on how they were lined up,” Fernandez-Soto said. “(Quarterback Mike) Colvin did a really good job spreading the ball around and I think that was a huge factor. Spadola was keyed on many times and that opened it up for other receivers and tight ends.

Morning Call: Lehigh Has Had the Ability to Overcome Their Mistakes
Groller's Corner: Central Catholic Product Adds to Local Flavor For Lehigh

"Mike does a very good job of having a short memory and moving on to the next play," receiver Sergio Fernandez-Soto said. "He takes control of the offense. He's a very vocal leader, well-respected by the rest of the team. We know he's going to step up on the next play and he's not going to let one mistake control the rest of the game."

Tight end Jamel Haggins agreed.

"After the interception, he came over and made sure everyone kept their heads up," Haggins said. "It was like 'the interception is gone, let's go on to the next play and keep rolling.' You need that kind of a leader on the field, because honestly the coaches are going to yell at you and get on you for your mistakes. You need other players there to let you know it's cool, and you just have to keep playing and pushing."

With Central Catholic graduate freshman LB Noah Robb seeing his first action on Saturday against Columbia -- he was involved on two tackles -- Lehigh now has five local kids making regular contributions.

Three of them are on the defensive side of the ball with freshman lb Matt Laub (Parkland) and senior LB Billy Boyko (Northampton) also seeing a fair amount of time on Saturday. Laub had one tackle and Boyko still leads the team in stops after adding six on Saturday.

Columbia Spectator: Football Falls to Lehigh in First Road Game of Season
Columbia Spectator: Concentration Lapses Hurt Lions Against Lehigh

Going into the game against Lehigh, the Lions knew minimizing those pressure mistakes would be the key to having a chance to beat one of the better teams in the FCS. Mangurian also touched on how he saw qualities form the Mountain Hawks on film that he’d like the Lions to emulate.

“There’s a lot of things about this team that are indicative of good football teams, and that’s what we’d like to be,” Mangurian said. “It’s good football. It’s not necessarily exactly the way we do it, but fundamentals are there.”

But after the Lions’ loss on Saturday, Mangurian echoed much of what he’d said in the middle of the week.

“The issue is, it’s the mentality and the lack of concentration, and the lack of competitiveness in a moment when guys don’t do what they’ve been taught to do,” he said. “It’s not ongoing. It’s not that we don’t have competitive guys. It’s being caught in a moment when a game is big, and not being focused on what’s happening at that particular moment. And not anticipating, not thinking ahead, not reading your keys, not being disciplined enough to do exactly what you’ve been taught to do.”

Even for the team that came away victorious on Saturday, there is still work to be done in terms of maintaining a consistent mental approach.

“It’s about focus. It’s about being able to just do your job to the best of your ability every opportunity you get,” Lehigh head coach Andy Coen said. “And where we have had these lulls in execution have been largely ourselves not maintaining focus. Fortunately for us, we’re always able to come out of it. So that means we’ve got the right type of kids—the right makeup. But we’re looking for a degree of consistency there.”

Coen’s message is one of not accepting complacency with success. Lehigh’s head coach still recognizes the importance of staying focused each and every play.

“It’s hard every play to do the right thing—it sounds silly, but it really is,” Coen said. “And we’ve made more plays than we’ve had made against us through these first six weeks. So we just have to learn from all those things, and we just have to dial it in every play.”


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