BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh football team completed its spring practice segment with the annual Brown and White game, held on a warm Saturday morning inside Goodman Stadium. With a modified scoring system in place, the Offense and Defense played to a 43-43 tie. Both units had strong moments as the defense intercepted four passes, while the offense put the ball in the end zone on three occasions.
Four Lehigh quarterbacks saw action in full 11-on-11 situations, with senior Mike Colvin earning the most reps. Colvin overcame a slow start to finish10-of-17 passing unofficially for 81 yards and a touchdown, but threw interceptions on three of his first four series.
Senior cornerback Gabe Johnson was the star for Lehigh’s defense with two interceptions the first of which he returned 91 yards for a touchdown and the second which was brought back 70 yards for a score.
Junior Courtney Jarvis intercepted Colvin’s first pass of the scrimmage, while junior John Mahoney also added an interception.
Colvin bounced back from his third pick to lead the offense on its first scoring drive, putting the ball inside the five yard line with a 23-yard pass to junior Lee Kurfis, before hitting tight end Max Anderson in the flat for a four-yard touchdown.
“I was disappointed early on with how the offense came out,” said Lehigh head coach Andy Coen. “We got sacked a couple of times. Those things are going to happen. I was glad to see us get ourselves back together and show some productivity offensively.
Coen continued, “The defense did a nice job. They were flying around the football as they always are. They created turnovers, which is always good to see and two were returned for touchdowns. That was good but we have to keep getting better.
On a day where Lehigh was limited to healthy offensive linemen, the Mountain Hawks broke up the Brown and White game with 7-on-7 skeleton drills to give the linemen a breather.
Junior Brandon Bialkowski was the second quarterback behind Colvin and finished 5-of-11 for 29 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Sophomores Gerard Poutier and Matt McHale combined to go 5-of-7 in limited full squad work, for 43 yards. Poutier led Lehigh on a six-play, 50-yard drive and capped things off with a 21-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Dylan Colgate for the offense’s second score.
Lehigh quarterbacks completed passes to 13 different receivers, with Kurfis leading the way with three receptions for 43 yards. Coen was also pleased with what he saw from his tailbacks, as Lehigh’s four healthy rushers combined to gain 104 yards on 20 carries. Junior Keith Sherman gained 41 yards on four rushes while Cody Haupt rushed four times for 30.
“We did score a few touchdowns and the guys threw a couple of nice passes,” Coen said. “We have to get more consistent in everything we’re doing. That comes with time and repetitions. It will be nice to get some of the veteran guys back on offense, guys like (Zach) Barket, (Mike) Vuono and (Matt) Lippincott. Guys that have been there before. I thought our offensive line played well. Those young kids did a nice job and they’re going to push some of those returning guys this summer. I thought our backs ran really well too.”
Defensively, junior safety Tyler Ward and junior linebacker Cody Raup led the way with six tackles. Another junior safety, Rickie Hill, added five stops. Lehigh’s defense was credited with two “sacks” on the day, credited to senior Anthony Verderame and sophomore Reed Remington.
The spring game concluded with some red zone work as Bialkowski led the offense to its third touchdown, with a six-yard pass to sophomore Derek Gaul.
Prior to the start of Saturday’s game, four rising senior Mountain Hawks: Colvin, wide receiver Ryan Spadola, nose guard Sajjad Chagani and safety Billy O’Brien; were named captains for the 2012 season.
In addition, rising senior running back Zach Barket was honored with the Jim Gum Scholarship Award, which is presented in memory of former Lehigh football player James S. Gum ’84.
Coen concluded Lehigh’s spring segment with these thoughts, “We’re a long way from being where we want to be. I think we have the people here that can get us where we want to be. But we’ve got a lot of work to do. I’d like to see us get some guys on campus over the summer, working together and getting some continuity going. I think we’ll be okay but we have a lot of work to do between now and then.”
Lehigh will open preseason camp in early August with the 2012 season opener slated for Saturday, September 1 versus Monmouth at Goodman Stadium.