Tackling a tough season

Rachel Robertson

Team loses close game against Bucknell

The Leopards football team decided to go old-school this Halloween, and for the first time in five games they actually had a chance to win.

Committing to a rush-focused offense that they had seemingly abandoned this season, the Leopards put together a solid effort that nearly got them their second win of the year. But missed opportunities and two late Bison touchdowns kept the elusive second win slightly out of reach.

The 162 yards of rushing offense was a season high in a campaign that has relied heavily on the arm of junior QB Drew Reed and a corps of young wide receivers. With leading receiver Matt Mrazek, a sophomore, out with a season-ending clavicle injury, coach Frank Tavani turned to his running backs, freshman C.J. Amill and sophomore DeSean Brown, early in the game.

Within the first three possessions Amill and Brown had run for 51 and 42 yard gains, respectively, that helped the Leopards take a 14-0 lead into the second quarter. Amill’s play was the longest of the season for the Leopards and led to the Leopard’s first points following 154 minutes of scoreless play.

“I made a decision that we were going to commit to run the ball and change our mentality a little bit,” coach Frank Tavani said. “We’re getting back to the kind of football I believe in and we’ve won with here. We did it better but we need to do it even better and make plays when they’re there.”

A series of Leopard turnovers brought the Bison right back into the game, tying it up with 1:26 to go in the half. Freshman kicker Jacob Bissell’s 43-yard field goal pushed Lafayette ahead going into the locker room at half.

The Bison opened up the 3rd quarter with a touchdown drive and following a Bison botched snap the Leopards answered with a touchdown of their own when junior QB Drew Reed connected with junior Tim Vangelas on a 12-yard pass. The Leopards and Bisons then traded unsuccessful possessions before the Bison pushed ahead in the waning minutes of the 4th quarter with two unanswered touchdowns.

With the Bucknell game, Lafayette showed more zip and life than they have exhibited throughout the much of the season when they were hampered by injuries and overmatched in nearly every game.

The Leopard’s next match up, a tough Saturday afternoon tilt against a Patriot League Championship-contending Colgate, presents the last home game for a group of Lafayette seniors that have provided vital leadership to a very young squad throughout this season.

“We’ve come out with energy all week at practice,” said senior defensive back Matt Smalley. “We’re seniors and these are our last two college football games…Obviously we’re not happy with the season right now, but we want to go out with a sense of pride. We want to go out feeling good about ourselves, about our college careers.”