Lehigh Beats Holy Cross: Playoff Prayers Alive
The Lehigh Mountain Hawks Keep Hope Alive
The story in 2017 is the prolific Lehigh offense. Today it was the defense’s turn. The Mountain Hawk defense forced 3 fumbles, recovering 2, and sacked Holy Cross QB Peter Pujals 3 times. Pujals was hounded all afternoon, but kept Holy Cross in the game with a strong effort. The Mountain Hawks relied on contributions from all phases – offense, defense, special teams – and won another all-important Patriot League contest. Despite their 4-6 overall record, Lehigh is 4-1 in the Patriot League. More importantly, Lehigh controls its destiny. Win next week vs. Lafayette and Lehigh is back in the NCAA playoffs.
Doing Enough to Win
After exchanging early 1st quarter possessions, the Mountain Hawks special teams capitalized on a high snap to block the Crusaders punt. With first and goal from the six yard line, a nifty scamper by Mountain Hawks running back Dominick Bragalone put the home side up 7-0.
A key pattern emerged in the first quarter. Holy Cross falling victim to self-inflicted wounds. An untimely roughing the passer penalty advanced the ball 15 yard and put Lehigh in perfect position for another early score. Lehigh was up by 2 scores, 14-0.
Despite being down 2 scores early, the Crusaders continued to run the ball and challenge the Lehigh defense. Holy Cross QB Peter Pujals, running for his life all day, came up big on a pivotal 4th and 28 touchdown pass in the 2nd quarter to bring the score to 14-7.
The score would remain 14-7 until Lehigh mounted a 13 play 57 yard 3rd quarter drive capped off by an Ed Mish field goal. The Mountain Hawks were up 17-7. Lehigh appeared to have momentum. On defense, they were coming up with the stops when they needed them. On offense, they were chugging along behind the trio of QB Brad Mayes, RB Dominick Bragalone, and WR Troy Pelletier. Dom Bragalone closed out the scoring in the 3rd quarter with a 33 yard run to put the Mountain Hawks on top 24-7.
The Crusaders defense played admirably. Despite being put in tough positions all day, they managed to sack Lehigh QB Brad Mayes 5 times and keep the offense within striking distance. Despite a late rally by the Crusaders, Lehigh did just enough to win on this cold afternoon. Dominick Bragalone turned in another strong game and the Lehigh defense and special teams played a big role in this big conference win.
Next up is traditional rival Lafayette. The task before the Mountain Hawks couldn’t be any clearer. Win. Win and they live to play another day.
Stat Sheet Superstars
Dominick Bragalone: 30 carries, 201 yards, 4 touchdowns
Troy Pelletier: 11 receptions, 100 yards
Ed Mish: Career long 41 yard FG
QB Peter Pujals: 18-36, 276 yards, no interceptions, 13 rushes for 66 yards