Mountain Hawks Fall to Lafayette in 155th Rivalry Game

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The Mountain Hawks ended its season with a 17-16 loss to rival Lafayette at Goodman Stadium on Saturday.

Lehigh had won the last four games against the Leopards coming into Saturday, but the team fell short in a game that came down to the final seconds. 

Senior kicker Austin Henning kicked three field goals on the day and put the team in a promising position to win, after kicking a 22-yard field goal with 3:03 left in the fourth quarter, putting Lehigh up 16-14. 

However, Lafayette’s offense drove down the field on the next possession, and Leopards kicker Jeffery Kordenbrock hit a 28-yard game-winning field goal, giving them a 17-16 lead with less than a minute to go in the game.

Lehigh sophomore quarterback Alec Beesmer, who made only his second start of the season, was sacked on the last play to secure the victory for the Leopards.

The team committed four turnovers on the day, two of them coming on interceptions from Beesmer and two fumbles from freshman running back Zaythan Hill to start off the second half. The Mountain Hawks had four drives wind up in the end zone, but the team had to settle for field goals attempts on three of those possessions. 

“We need to punch those drives in for touchdowns, and even one of the three that we settled for a field goal would have won the game for us today,” said coach Tom Gilmore after the game.

Although the game and the season didn’t end the way that the team wanted it to, Gilmore was pleased with the way Lehigh competed until the end in every single game. 

“If you’ve watched us play this year, you knew we were going to play until the end,” Gilmore said. “And the effort and the grit that our team showed every week was amazing.”

Senior linebacker Keith Woetzel, who has been Lehigh’s defensive leader all season, had another impressive performance in his final collegiate game. He finished with 11 tackles, 2.5 sacks and an interception on Leopards’ quarterback Keegan Shoemaker in the second quarter. 

“I think the whole team gave a great effort,” Woetzel said. “We knew what he had to do going in.”

Senior wide receiver Devon Bibbens finished with four catches for 90 yards. Bibbens had a 41-yard catch from Beesmer in the third quarter that set up one of Henning’s field goal attempts. 

Bibbens also played his final game as Mountain Hawks in Saturday’s game, and emotions were high after the game. 

“I’m disappointed,” Bibbens said. “I’m sorry to all the alumni, people before us and my teammates. We didn’t get the job done.”

Henning wrapped up his final game with the team and will always be grateful for his time as a part of the Lehigh Football Program. 

“I love you guys,” Henning said. “This team has been awesome for the last four years.”

Lehigh finishes this season with a 4-7 overall record (3-3 in Patriot League), tied for third place in the league standings. Saturday’s result gave the Mountain Hawks their fourth straight loss to end the year. 

The Mountain Hawks now trail overall 79-71-5 against the Leopards.

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