Many Patriot League football fans remember the 153rd meeting between Lehigh and Lafayette, one that ended happily for the Mountain Hawks.
They might remember the MVP performance of QB Brad Mayes, or perhaps the halftime speech by OL Zach Duffy that seemed to spur the Mountain Hawks to victory.
Or perhaps they might remember the spectacular single play of Mayes rolling right and finding WR Gatlin Casey in the end zone to give the Mountain Hawks a lead they didn’t relinquish. It was an incredible play by Mayes, who returns this upcoming year for his senior season, and Casey, who, having exhausted his eligibility at Lehigh, will be playing one more year at Middle Tennessee State.
As great as those individual moments are, though, they are not my biggest takeaway of that game.
Too many Lehigh people forget that Lehigh was down 31-21 at half, and that victory was no sure thing. And they sometimes forget that so much of that victory came from the grinding of WR Troy Pelletier, delivering huge 3rd down reception after huge 3rd down reception, and grabbing the critical touchdown that cut Lafayette’s lead to 31-28. They forget the absolute receiving clinic he put on against Lafayette DB Phillip Parham – himself no slouch – not only by running perfect routes, which he always did exceptionally in a Lehigh uniform, but by using his body to get open and become a bigger target for Mayes.
It’s no easy task to make a 9 catch, 107 yard, 2 touchdown day against your bitterest Rival seem like another day at the office, but that’s exactly what Troy did, in his quiet, intense, hard working way. And that’s my biggest takeaway from that Rivalry game.
Many may forget, but I do not. And this week, in the run-up to the NFL Draft, we are going to find out which NFL teams have been paying attention as well.
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