The football team lines up for a play at practice on Goodman Campus on Tuesday, Sept. 1 2015. The Mountain Hawks help with the bone marrow drive that is held each year in Lamberton Hall. (Chris Barry/B&W Photo)

Lehigh football wins season opener over CCSU 20-14


The Lehigh football team wanted to put everything that was the 2014 season behind it, and it wanted to do it as fast as possible.

The Hawks got the season off to a strong start as they defeated Central Connecticut State University, 20-14, Friday night under the lights at Arute Field in Connecticut.

The Blue Devils had a chance to come back at the end, cutting the lead to six with 3:47 left in the fourth quarter. But Lehigh held the ball for the rest of the game on its way to its second season-opening victory against CCSU in three years.

Junior quarterback Nick Shafnisky said he wanted to make a statement in the game, and although he got off to a rough start, he did just that. He shrugged off an interception in the first quarter and a fumble on the half-yard line to finish the night 19-for-27 with 263 passing yards, and a touchdown.

Shafnisky, one of the few returning skill position players to make an impact in the game, also was active on the ground. He led the team in with 17 carries for 83 yards, including a key 22-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter to open the scoring.

Freshman running back Dom Bragalone made an impact immediately, as he said he hoped to do going into the game. He finished with over 100 all-purpose yards, accumulating 68 rushing yards on 17 carries and a big 46-yard reception.

In addition to Bragalone, Lehigh’s offense was full of guys who had never recorded a statistic as a Mountain Hawk. Bragalone’s fellow freshman running back Micco Brisker added 11 carries for 33 yards.

On the receiving end, the Hawks’ top returning receiver, sophomore Troy Pelletier, was a bit quiet in the game, catching just one pass for 15 yards. But sophomore wide receiver Gatlin Casey and junior wide receiver Trevor Socarras, both of who hadn’t recorded a catch in their Lehigh careers, had big days. Socarras led the team in receiving with six catches for 80 yards while Casey had seven catches for 67 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, junior linebacker Colton Caslow totaled 17 tackles and senior defensive end Matt Laub and junior defensive lineman T.J. Stubbs each had a sack-and-a-half in a convincing defensive performance. The Hawks held the Blue Devils to just 274 total yards after allowing an average of 475.6 yards per game in 2014.

Lehigh will look to remain undefeated as it travels to face James Madison University on Sept. 12 at 4 p.m.

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