Although the Lehigh football team didn’t end its season with a Patriot League title as it did in 2016 and 2017, returning members hope to build on a strong foundation to secure the win next year.
In a transitional season, the Mountain Hawks finished with a record of 3-8, placing fourth in the Patriot League.
Although the team was not able to even approach its goal of a third straight league championship, assistant coach Ty Ward has high hopes for the seasons ahead.
“Every year you strive to do what we’ve done the past two years,” Ward said. “We did a really good job this year of building for the future.”
Senior kicker and punter Ed Mish emphasized the team’s high levels of intensity and energy throughout the season, despite carrying a losing record for most of it.
“We were beating ourselves more than our opponent beating us,” Mish said.
One of Mish’s favorite memories and best games of the season came when the team plated Navy. Despite a 51-21 loss, he loved the experience of playing at an FBS school on national television.
Mish believes the team — which will have to move on as his record-setting kicking career as a Mountain Hawk comes to a close — will make major improvements next year and restore itself to the top of the Patriot League standings. He encourages the team to have the willingness to go the extra mile.
Senior offensive lineman Tim Wagner also found high-points from the season, despite Lehigh’s losing record. Wagner said the team practiced hard no matter what, and the big win against rival Lafayette was all about playing for each other and the team’s pride.
Wagner, whose class went undefeated versus Lafayette, had his eyes on The Rivalry game all year.
After finishing his Lehigh football career, Wagner believes the team has helped him grow and develop as a person, not just as an athlete.
“Something I learned that I will definitely transfer into the real world once I start working, (is that) you’re not really guaranteed anything and you don’t really deserve anything,” he said. “The result and outcomes in life are determined by the work you put in.”
Both Mish and Wagner will graduate from Lehigh’s College of Business and Economics in May. Mish will work for Lechner & Stauffer, a commercial insurance brokerage firm, and Wagner will join PwC as an auditor and public accountant.
With a graduating senior class and new recruiting class coming in, the team will turn to its young talent to bring new leadership to the field.
Sophomore defensive back Jaylen Floyd, freshman wide receiver Ray Falcone, freshman running back Rashawn Allen and freshman outside lineman Justin Gurth are at the top of the list of impressive returning players the team will look to as leaders.
“The way this program is, we’re always successful,” Ward said. “The biggest thing with this off-season, besides the physical and mental development, is finding out who the leaders of this team are going to be.”