Skip to main content

It All Will Come Down To 14 Days Of Being Locked In

After the Bucknell victory, senior OL Zach Duffy said something that cut through the entire 2017 Lehigh football season.

"We have 14 days to stay locked in and do whatever it takes to win another championship," he said to the team.

And it's true. 

It really doesn't matter what happened Week One, Week Five, or even last week.  When this Mountain Hawk team goes to bed, and wakes up again during the next six days, they are in the Patriot League Championship race.  If they win, and stay locked in for the next fourteen days and win two football games, they will win the Patriot League.

It will require being locked in for fourteen days.


Junior RB Dominick Bragalone said in the post-game interview that "We're all in this together.  It's do-or-die at this point.  That was our motto going into this week, and it's going to be that the rest of the year."

And watching the Bucknell game, there were signs that this team had indeed started to show signs that things finally, maybe, are coming together in time to win their last two games.

If you take away senior WR Troy Pelletier's "interception" of a hail-Mary pass vs. Wagner, Lehigh hadn't forced more than a single turnover on defense in eight consecutive games this season.  But in a sign that things might be starting to work, the Mountain Hawk defense forced four turnovers in Lewisburg, with junior LB Mark Walker forcing a fumble, recovering that same fumble, and nabbing an interception.

“In football, if you make mistakes, you pay — and in most cases you pay immediately,” Bucknell head coach Joe Susan said after the game. “That’s the frustrating thing. We turn the ball over against a very potent offensive team and we gave them position with the turnover on the kickoff return and the fumble by the quarterback.”

And even more encouraging was seeing how the energy finally seemed to be flowing between all three units - turnovers becoming touchdowns becoming big special teams plays becoming more touchdowns.  For the first time all this season, the electricity seemed to be flowing from everywhere.

And when the electricity did flow, I saw flashes of that team everyone saw in the preseason, feeding off of each other - staying "locked in" - and saw that potential in this team to with their last two regular-season games.

The problem has been sustaining that electricity for four quarters and not having short-circuits.  The Fordham game showed the opposite side of that coin: several fizzled drives ending in turnovers, allowing big hunks of yards on special teams, the defense giving up the game-clinching touchdown run on 3rd down.

And Holy Cross will in no way shape or form make life easy for Lehigh this weekend at Murray Goodman Stadium.  Off a two game winning streak and fresh off a 42-20 gutting of those same Fordham Rams, with senior QB Peter Pujals putting on the purple helmet one last time, there will be no play in the playbook off limits for the Crusaders.  It has the makings of a thrilling, surprising, shootout of a game that may require a defibrillator nearby for fans with delicate constitutions.

If this game were played back in late September, I'd have guessed that the Mountain Hawks would lose.  But whatever it is - the do-or-die attitude, the fact that the team seems to be locking in for this stretch of games - something seems to have clicked with this team.  If it indeed is the case, it might be a very fun final two weeks of the season - and beyond.

Comments

Anonymous said…
And who was that starting QB for Holy Cross way back on November 9, 2013 during the last magical Lehigh run? PETER PUJALS. Pujals has been around forever, and will remember that game. He's going to be incredibly dangerous.
Douglas said…
Pujals has indeed been around forever having gotten an extra season for an early injury last year.. I was impressed with this team early on in the season with a close loss at UCONN and knocking off UNH and now Fordham later on in the season with a new coach after somehow they let Gilmore go.. It should be quite the battle for a nationally televised game ( though frankly hard to find since most cable companies don't carry the stations it'll be on).. If Lafayette beats Colgate this Saturday, that will make #153 a game to decide the league title no matter what happens.
Anonymous said…
Cannot and should not even think of Pards at all right now. This Holy Cross team is super dangerous and capable of blowing out the Mt. Hawks if we are not careful. Its by far the best Patriot League offense we will have faced this year, and as noted, they know they are good and can play with anyone in the country at this level. What's going to be interesting is to see if Chuck picks the total score to come in under 100. This is looking to be a shootout for the ages...
jb'74 said…
That HC "by far the best Patriot League offense" scored 7 vs.Lafayette, 7 vs. Colgate and 0 vs. Yale. ???
Anonymous said…
Best besides Lehigh in 2017. Correct. Those strange games are why Tom Gilmore is no longer there in Worcester. Seems to be two separate teams. Anomoly. Assume the high scoring team has returned after last week, with a 5th year, very motivated QB running the show.
Anonymous said…
Battle of PL offensive leaders this weekend. HC had strange spells earlier this year where they couldn't score from the red zone, ie, Exit Gilmore.

LU 497 yds/gm
HC 397 yds/gm.

Popular posts from this blog

Nick Shafnisky Is Pushing Hard to Get To Play at the Next Level in Football

"Don't take anything for granted, just keep pushing."
Those are the words of QB Nick Shafnisky, told to The Whitehall-Coplay Press all the way back in 2013, about his preparation as a high school athlete.
And they seem to summarize the Whitehall, PA native perfectly, then as now.
Dubbed the "Male Athlete of the Year" by that publication, the article goes on about Shaf's many exploits at Whitehall high school - leading the Zephyr football team to a co-Lehigh Valley Conference title, becoming the first player ever in that conference to rush and pass for over 1,000 yards, and earning the league's co-MVP award as well.
He also was a member of the Zephyrs playoff basketball team, and for good measure also helped set a record for the 4x100 relay team as well.
At Whitehall, and at Lehigh, coaches pushed him, but it was his own hard work that helped make him the best athlete he could be.
This weekend, Shaf, like every eligible college football player, will be …

#TheRivalry Flashback: November 21st, 1987: Lehigh 17, Lafayette 10

Since becoming an undergrad at Lehigh back in the late 1980s, I first heard about the historic nature of the football team and "The Rivalry" through the stories that fellow students would share.

I did not attend the final meeting between Lehigh and Lafayette at Taylor Stadium, which was the final time a football game would be played there.

Those that did attend said that was that it was cold.

"I remember it being one of the coldest games ever," Mark Redmann recollected, "with strong Northwesterly winds and the temperature hovering around 20.  By the end of the game, the stands were half empty because most of the fans just couldn't take the cold.

"Fortunately, several of my fraternity brothers snuck in flasks to help fend off the chill."

Dominick Bragalone Goes Into Monster Mode As Lehigh Is One Win Away From Title

It has been a most unusual season for Lehigh.

Starting the year off at 0-5 and getting swept in their out-of-conference schedule, the Mountain Hawks were in danger of having their season go off the rails.

But two things have come together over the last five football games that have put Lehigh on the brink of back-to-back championships.

The first is the late blooming of the Lehigh defense, which kept battling every week since the low point of the September 30th loss to Wagner to do the job in four of their five Patriot League conference games. 

The second is the development of junior RB Dominick Bragalone into a bellcow running back, a back who has to be in the conversation for Patriot League offensive player of the year.

In five Patriot League games, Bragalone has run for 863 yards in 5 games, rushing for 11 touchdowns and adding two more receiving touchdowns as well. 

The South Williamsport, PA native certainly wasn't unknown before this week - after all, as a freshman and a sop…