In the 156th meeting of the long-awaited Lehigh-Lafayette Rivalry football game, the Mountain Hawks struggled to find a win for the second time in a row. The Leopards captured a 20-13 victory at Fisher Stadium in Easton, Pennsylvania, Saturday afternoon.
It came down to the last second with backup quarterback Nigel Summerville throwing a hail mary, but Lafayette tipped it away. Summerville came in for Wilkinson, who was shaken up after a hit.
“This is a really disappointing end to a really disappointing spring in a lot of ways from a result standpoint, but I’ve never been more proud of a group of guys that I’ve been around ever in my life,” said head coach Tom Gilmore. “These guys had a lot of adversity shoveled at them and a lot more than people knew of our players.”
While the Mountain Hawks failed to capture a win this season, finishing with an 0-3 overall record, Gilmore said he’s looking forward to the future.
“You see that fight on the field, and we see it in practice, and we see it in their daily lives,” Gilmore said. “This is an incredible group of young men. These guys are going to kill it in life. They’re going to be highly successful people because they’re building character traits, and to the level that they’re building them is just amazing. It will show on the football game… The future is really bright. The upperclassmen that did stay did fight through this, and everything, and I have to give them an incredible amount of credit because their leadership gave a chance to do what we did.”
Lafayette opened up the scoring on a 34-yard pass by quarterback Cole Northrup, who connected with tight end Steven Stilianos. It was the first touchdown this Lehigh defense allowed since falling to Holy Cross in the season opener on March 13.
On the next drive, the Mountain Hawks took over and fumbled the ball, which led to a 26-yard field goal by Jeffrey Kordenbrock. Kordenbrock made the game-winning field goal in the last time these two played each other on Nov. 23.
A Rashawn Allen 49 yard run cut the Leopards lead to 10-6. Van Dusen missed the extra point and has struggled to find the back of the net. He missed a field goal earlier in the first half. Allen’s touchdown was the first touchdown this young team has scored all year, which gave them some momentum but not enough to capture a win.
Lafayette got the ball back with one last chance in the first half to stretch their lead, and they did exactly that. Kordenbrock connected on a last-second field goal to put them up 13-6 at the half.
Both defenses stepped up in the third quarter, but the Mountain Hawks got the best of the Leopards defense late in the third quarter. Wilkinson connected with De’Shun Mickens for a 22 yard gain to put them at the two-yard line. Wilkinson threw it to Jorge Portorreal for his first passing touchdown of the game. Freshman kicker Ben Banks-Altekruse came in for Van Dusen to connect on the extra point, which tied things up at 13.
It looked like it was going to be anyone’s game at this point, but the Leopards ultimately got the best of the Mountain Hawks.
Stilianos made a tough catch with the defender right in front of him to put them up with the go-ahead touchdown. Stilianos, who was named the MVP in today’s game, had two touchdowns.
‘It’s not the outcome we wanted, but we’re going to take this internally and work with this chip on our shoulder,” said junior running back Rashawn Allen. “I know we can make it up. We don’t have as much distance between this game and the next Lafayette game, but we’re just going to take this into the offseason and improve on what we need to improve on and be ready to run this League.”