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Georgetown At Lehigh Game Preview: Enough Was Enough

(Photo Credit: Morning Call)

"When’s enough, enough?"

Sometimes the game narratives can fall into something that seems like a cliche - the old halftime pep talk about "winning one for the Gipper", or something like that.  But this one feels different.

Head coach Andy Coen talked about it, and junior QB Brad Mayes talked about it - about Brad taking control of the locker room at halftime with a team full of long faces.

Going into that locker room, Brad had just before rallied on a broken play to fire a perfect pass to junior RB Dominick Bragalone to cut the two-touchdown deficit to one, and after a special teams touchdown for Colgate was called back on a penalty, the defense stopped Colgate cold to end the half.

But despite the momentum, gloom was still in the locker room.

“As a quarterback, you have to be a vocal leader," Brad told Keith Groller of The Morning Call this week.  "I’ve done it in the past when I was younger and in high school, and even when I played the past couple of years here, but I hadn’t done it until this year. We were just down seven. I didn’t understand the long faces and I basically said ‘When’s enough, enough?’ I said you guys have to hate losing as much as I do. We just had to go out and put forth the effort. We’re still a good football team. We just had to execute and it would work out, and it did.”

The Mountain Hawks then did enough to win the football game, and are hoping that they've said enough to losing any more games this season.  The first test to see if that comes to pass will come at home as Lehigh hosts Georgetown.

Georgetown always circles Lehigh on the calendar, and the reason for that is the Mountain Hawks are the only Patriot League team that the Hoyas have not beaten since becoming a member of the Patriot League.

There have been years when Georgetown has challenged for a Patriot League title, and years where Lehigh has really struggled to win football games.  Yet every time in recent memory, for whatever reason, Lehigh has always been the better team on the day.

It was not always this way.

In a ten year period of early Lehigh football from 1901 to 1910, there was a sequence of games, oddly enough, that were scheduled with Georgetown on Thanksgiving after the Lafayette game.

There were festivities involving both schools around the game - in fact, in 1901 in Washington, DC, there was a joint concert with the glee clubs of both Georgetown and Lehigh right after the game.  The games and the concerts were popular events, and engaged the significant number of Lehigh alumni that were cropping up in the DC area.

They, of course, were be done in the wake of the excess of The Rivalry with Lafayette, and even though the games did attract crowds upwards of 5,000 people, eventually alumni at Lehigh and Lafayette decided, rightfully, to end their regular seasons with one meeting between Lehigh and Lafayette instead, alternating home fields, the third week in November.

Those days, though, Georgetown was an up-and-coming football power, and Lehigh's commitment to fielding a Eastern power football program was mixed.

Lou Little as a player at Penn
By the time 1910 rolled around, the Hoyas were entering the conversation for best football team in the East, and by 1925, under head coach Lou Little, the Hoyas were a tremendous team that would make a case for being one of the best teams in the nation.  (Lou Little, a former star at Penn, would coach both Georgetown and Columbia to prominence.)

"The game, although a hard one to lose," The Brown and White reported in 1917 in a 17-6 loss to Georgetown, "was lost to a team which is one of the best seen here [at Taylor Stadium] in several years and, with its stellar backfield and heavy line, is no doubt one of the strongest collegiate teams in the East this season."  The Hoyas, who would finish 8-1 and would be SAIAA champions, made a very strong case that year, losing only once to Navy.

In 1925, Georgetown pulverized overmatched Lehigh 40-0, during a time when Lehigh was de-emphasizing football and Lafayette was in competition with Georgetown for Eastern football supremacy.  After the 1925 game, Lehigh dropped good teams like Georgetown off of their schedule as a part of a gradual process to regain some competitiveness.  Big powers like Georgetown, out; St. John's, Ursinus, Swarthmore, and Muhlenberg were in.

Georgetown would not return to the schedule for more than sixty years, when the non-scholarship Hoyas, who discontinued big-time football, re-established it as a club sport, and competed at the highest level in the non-scholarship Division I MAAC football conference, joined the Patriot League as an associate member.

At the time, it was seen like Georgetown fit in very well with the Patriot League.  Though a non-scholarship school, it seemed like they could work with fitting into the Patriot League's football structure with ease, and scheduled improvements to their football facilities, and the irresistible urge of the value of a Georgetown degree seemed to indicate that they were a potential sleeping giant in Patriot League football - as soon as they got all the pieces in place.

But ever since that first official Patriot League game with the Hoyas in 2002 - a 69-0 whitewash - the Hoyas, despite some good years and some runs at the Patriot League championship, have struggled to compete for the Patriot League championship on a regular basis.

Part of that struggle was the transition of the Patriot League into a league that offered conventional football scholarships instead of the need-limited aid Patriot League schools used to offer, but another was the aborted infrastructure program, long promised but not delivered yet, to Georgetown's campus field.  (In 2015, the Cooper family made a gift to Georgetown athletics to upgrade the Hoyas' on-campus stadium, but as of this year, nothing has been done yet.)

In 2017, Georgetown still finds itself fighting the good fight to establish their program as a contender in the Patriot League race and to get a winning record - unfortunately, a very familiar one for Hoya fans.  One wonders when Georgetown does beat Lehigh in the modern era - and trust me, that day will happen - what such a victory might do for the program.  The losing streak to Lehigh, now in its 17th year, does feel like a very large monkey on the back of the Hoyas.  The challenge for the Mountain Hawks is to keep that streak going.

Game Notes and Injuries

This week's game notes don't offer a boatload of surprises this week.  The depth chart does cement the change that has already happened two weeks ago, that freshman C Chris Fournier has indeed taken over the starting spot, allowing senior OL Brandon Short to slide over to guard and fill in for injured junior OL Liborio Ricottilli.

Fournier had a somewhat rocky start at Wagner, in my opinion, but he was much better against Colgate and was steady on the exchange with junior QB Brad Mayes, and a huge contributor to Mayes' tremendous offensive day (22-30 passing).  I have a feeling his emergence last week might be the start of something really good on this offensive line.

On defense, some stability seemed to finally get into view at linebacker, with junior LB Mark Walker, junior LB Matt Butler, sophomore LB Keith Woetzel, and sophomore ROV Jon Seighman rotating in the middle of the defense.  It seemed like a comfort level seemed to finally settle in last week, and I'll be looking closely as to their continued improvement this week.

Weather Report

As we get to October, we still aren't experiencing what we might consider typical fall weather in Bethlehem.  This week's weather report is calling for a high in the mid-70s with a high chance of some "spotty showers", which ought to only be a slight factor in slowing down your tailgates.  Wind, scheduled to be mild, shouldn't be a big factor.

Special Stuff Happening

Lehigh head coach John Whitehead
Lehigh welcomes back its 1977 Division II National Championship team Saturday afternoon in celebration of the 40th anniversary of their national title. The then-Engineers, coached by the legendary John Whitehead, posted a 12-2 record, highlighted by a 33-0 drubbing of Jacksonville State in the Pioneer Bowl (National Championship game) and a 35-17 win over Lafayette. The team was led offensively by the quarterback-receiver duo of QB Mike Rieker and WR Steve Kreider, who helped Lehigh outgain its opponents by more than 1,800 yards, while the Lehigh defense, led by LB Jim McCormick and LB Greg Clark, held opponents to just 12.5 points per game during the regular season.

Saturday's game is presented by the Northampton and Lehigh County Drug and Alcohol Administrations with the Center for Humanistic Change.  When you read about "the opioid crisis", these two agencies are not just talking about it, they are trying to be a part of the solution for this crisis that is afflicting communities everywhere, including the Lehigh Valley.

Lehigh and Northampton Counties Drug & Alcohol Divisions plan, coordinate, fund and monitor drug and alcohol services for their respective counties through contracts with local providers. These services include prevention education, intervention programs, and both inpatient and outpatient treatment. If you or a loved one has a substance use disorder, there is help available through your county Drug & Alcohol Division. They can answer your questions, help coordinate services, and provide funding for treatment. In Lehigh County, call 610-782-3555; in Northampton County, call 610-829-4725.

The Center for Humanistic Change is a not-for-profit agency that gives community members the knowledge and tools they need to make better-informed and more positive life choices. For 37 years, CHC has developed and delivered high quality prevention education and life skills programming in the Lehigh Valley. CHC, through funding from both counties, has educated thousands throughout the valley about the opioid crisis through HOPE (Heroin & Opioid Prevention Education), focusing on the fact that, "Yes, it CAN happen to you."

LFN's Burger of the Week (#BOTW)

For this week's Burger of the Week, I looked to my old friend Google to find out if there is such a thing as a Hoya Burger.  As it turns out, there is.

From a place called Wingo's in DC, a Hoya Burger consists of fresh avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, pepper-jack cheese and bacon.  Sounds good to me.

Additionally, if you toast a fluffy burger bun and hold the lettuce, tomatoes, onion, pepper-jack cheese, bacon and meat, you then are having the millennial snack avocado on toast, which is being credited as one of the reasons by millionaires and old fogies why our society is failing.

Fight the power - have a Hoya Burger at your tailgate this weekend!

Schlemonade (artist rendering)
LFN's Drink of the Week (#DOTW)

Continuing with the "Fight The Power" theme, I wondered - exactly what sort of "Drink of the Week" would go with avocado toast?

The Internet did help a little, helpfully coming up with a list of six drinks that definitely will help you destroy civilization as we know it today.  Unfortunately for us all, the drinks were not only non-alcoholic (a Virgin Mary will never be my Drink of the Week), but also, for the most part, downright healthy.

Seeing as I have to go away from the worst hipster-ness of these drinks, I am going to go back to an LFN fave that I have all year round, building off the lemonade mentioned in the article - the Schlemonade.

It couldn't be easier to make - three parts lemonade (or two parts lemonade and one part water or seltzer), and one part Kirsch.  Put in a tumble with ice, shake, and pour over more ice.  There you go - the perfect drink to destroy civilization along with your Avocado toast, without any additional hipster overtones.  You're welcome.

As always, Drinks of the Week have a place in responsible tailgates, but only if you behave yourself, don't get behind the wheel while impaired (or worse), and are over 21. Please do that.  And leave plenty of time to sober up.


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