After losing the first eight games of the season, the Lehigh football team won its third straight, defeating Lafayette on Saturday.
Lehigh defeated the visiting Leopards 17-10 in the 157th meeting of the most played college football rivalry in the nation.
With two seconds left on the clock at the end of the first quarter, sophomore quarterback Dante Perri dodged a sack to make a huge pass to sophomore running back Jack DiPietro, this year’s Rivalry MVP, securing Lehigh’s first touchdown.
Followed by junior kicker Dylan Van Dusen’s successful extra point kick, the Mountain Hawks took a 7-0 lead going into the second quarter.
Lafayette took no time to respond. After capitalizing on Lehigh defensive penalties, Lafayette quarterback Aaron Angelos completed passes to junior wide receiver Joe Gillette and senior tight end Steven Stilianos, which took Lafayette one step closer to a first touchdown.
Junior running back Jaden Sutton made the one yard run securing Lafayette’s first touchdown of the game, and freshman kicker Micah Pettit tied the Rivalry up with the extra point kick.
Lehigh junior running back Zaythan Hill looked to make something of Lehigh’s next possession with a huge run after catching a pass from Perri, but the Mountain Hawks were unable to get another first down.
Lehigh then stifled Lafayette’s offense and forced a punt.
Then, DiPietro made the most pivotal play of the game, blocking the punt and knocking the ball into junior wide receiver Johnny Foley’s hands, who recovered it for a Lehigh touchdown.
“There’s been a few times this season where I’ve gotten a piece of it,” DiPietro said. “But this one I made sure of.”
Van Dusen secured the extra point, and Lehigh was up with a lead of 14-7.
With a minute left to play in the first half, Lafayette closed the gap with a 37-yard field goal from Pettit, which would be the Leopards’ last score of the game.
A Lehigh fumble caused by Lafayette senior defensive lineman Ian Grayson gave Lafayette possession, but its momentum was quickly stopped by a quarterback hurry from Lehigh sophomore linebacker Mike DeNucci.
An incomplete pass by the Leopards gave Lehigh possession with around four minutes left to play.
Having used all their timeouts, Lafayette was battling against the clock to keep up with the Lehigh offensive attack.
Three more huge passes were made by Perri, two of them caught by Burbage, and the other by senior wide receiver Austin Dambach.
After gaining enough yardage to try for a field goal, Van Dusen kicked to put Lehigh up 17-10.
The field goal was the last score of the game, and time ran out with Lehigh up a touchdown.
“I’m so proud of our team,” coach Tom Gilmore said. “Our kids never wavered. All of our experiences this season built confidence for our win today.”
Lehigh football finishes their 2021 season with this Le-Laf win and a final record of 3-8.
“It feels great,” fifth-year linebacker Pete Haffner said. “Lots of emotions, my last football game and it was great coming out on top with these guys.”