Raiders Unsuccessful in Reversing Losing Streak

WILKINS WALKS IN: John Wilkins rushed for three touchdowns on the afternoon, but it was not enough as the Raiders fell 30-27. 

WILKINS WALKS IN: John Wilkins rushed for three touchdowns on the afternoon, but it was not enough as the Raiders fell 30-27. 

This past weekend the football team attempted to reverse their recent losing trend. After losses to Yale, Albany, Fordham and Lafayette, the Raiders traveled to Bethlehem for their latest contest against the Lehigh Mountain Hawks. The Raiders were down 20-7 at half and climbed back into the contest with 14 unanswered points in the 4th quarter but fell short in the end losing 30-27.

Against a balanced Mountain Hawks team, the Raiders strong defense was able to hold Lehigh off the scoreboard for a majority of the first quarter. It wasn’t until there was just under two minutes remaining in quarter that Lehigh broke through for a score after orchestrating a drive that lasted nearly eight minutes and spanned 88 yards.

After getting the ball back, the Mountain Hawks converted a 42-yard field goal on their next drive to extend their lead to 10-0. The majority of the second quarter remained uneventful until the final two minutes. After senior CJ Stempeck blocked a punt on special teams, junior tailback Demetrius Russell got the Raiders on the board with a score from three yards out to cut the lead. The Mountain Hawks struck back quickly, returning the ensuing kickoff for a score to push their lead back to 17-7.

The Raiders got the ball back and in an attempt to get in one last drive, first-year quarterback Bret Mooney threw a crushing interception, which gave the Mountain Hawks the ball in Raiders’ territory. Just three plays later, the Mountain Hawks split the uprights on the final play of the half to head into the locker room with a 20-7 lead.

Lehigh did their best to control the tempo of the game in the second half, taking over seven and a half minutes on their first drive of the half which resulted in a field goal. 

With a 23-7 deficit, the Raiders went to work and saw another junior tailback, John Wilkins, score a touchdown. The run from eight yards out was followed up by a failed two-point conversion and kept the Raiders

down ten.

The Mountain Hawks followed suit, driving 78 yards and taking just seven plays to make it to the end zone. With a 30-13 lead, going into the fourth quarter, Colgate would need to step up their game on both sides of the ball. 

The Raiders were able to do exactly that, going 80 yards in just six plays on their next drive. Mooney completed some long passes to senior tight end Kevin O’Connell and sophomore wide receiver John Maddaluna before Wilkins scored from one yard out for his second rushing touchdown of the game.

The Raiders quickly got the ball back and marched right down the field again, attacking the defense both through the air and on the ground. Mooney would finish the day completing nine of his 16 passing attempts for 176 yards. 

Junior John Quazza was the main recipient on the afternoon, catching five of Mooney’s passes for 90 yards. The Raiders drive would end up resulting in another touchdown run from Wilkins his third of the day and would put the Raiders within three of the Mountain Hawks.

That was as close as the Raiders would get to winning, however, as their final two drives resulted in a missed field goal attempt and Mooney’s second interception of the day. After a tough first half, the defense recovered led once again by senior

captain Mike Armiento. His ten tackles led the Raiders and his fumble recovery in the fourth quarter gave the Raiders a great opportunity to take the lead from the Mountain Hawks.

Colgate will take the field as they travel to

Lewisburg to take on the second place Bucknell Bison this Saturday. With a 1 p.m. kickoff, the Raiders hope to finish their season with a victory.