Lehigh football coach Andy Coen can take a big sigh of relief now that his team has surpassed its win total from last year.
Lehigh’s freshman class was a big part of the Hawks’ offensive performance as Lehigh defeated Georgetown University 33-28 Saturday at Goodman Stadium on Family Weekend.
Lehigh didn’t make the types of costly mistakes that crippled the team in the past. The Mountain Hawks didn’t commit a single turnover and only had three penalties. On the other hand, Georgetown had three separate touchdowns that were called back for penalties.
Freshman quarterback Brad Mayes got his first start of his Lehigh career and escaped the game without any interceptions, going 18-for-24 for 214 passing yards and two touchdowns.
“Brad had a great first day as the starting quarterback, throwing a lot of really nice balls and throwing them on time and going through the reads the proper way,” Coen said. “I was very impressed by that.”
Mayes said that the team was planning all week for the possibility that he’d start, but he didn’t find out officially until late in the week. He got the start over junior quarterback Nick Shafnisky, who was dealing with a hip pointer injury he suffered last week in the loss to Fordham University.
He said he wasn’t nervous for the game despite getting his first start for Lehigh (4-4, 2-1 Patriot).
“It’s just football, I’ve played it my entire life,” Mayes said plainly. “It wasn’t that nerve-wracking.”
Shafnisky was still active for the game and was a key part of the Hawks’ offense despite playing in limited fashion. He finished the game with five carries for 12 yards and a 1-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter that made it a two-touchdown game.
Freshman running back Dom Bragalone had a career day as well, rushing 20 times for a career-high 169 yards. Fellow freshman running back Micco Brisker also scored his first career touchdown midway through the second quarter.
“I have to give all the credit to the whole offensive line,” Bragalone said. “Any running back needs their offensive line, and some of those runs I was untouched for 10 yards.”
Bragalone added that playing alongside a bunch of other freshman on offense was special for him and a fun experience.
“It’s definitely a fun experience playing with people in our own class, especially with a quarterback and running back being the backfield together,” he said. “I feel like we had a good connection today, we just did a great job.”
The success of the freshman class didn’t end with the offense. Freshman kicker Ed Mish hit a pair of field goals in the game, the first of which was a career-long 41 yards.
Senior rover Randall Lawson and Colton Caslow were the anchors for the Lehigh defense, totaling 11 and 10 tackles, respectively. They had to take over more of a responsibility on defense after senior linebacker Noah Robb went down with an ankle injury late in the second quarter. Up until that point, Robb was all over the field, notching seven tackles and two sacks in less than a half of play.
Sophomore Troy Pelletier also continued his season as the team’s top receiver, hauling in 11 passes for 99 yards and two touchdowns.
The team will play at home once again next week in another key Patriot League matchup against College of the Holy Cross on Nov. 7 at 12:30 p.m.