NOTEBOOK: Lafayette Finds Motivation in Teammate

Dillon S. Plunkett

Junior tailback Gino Gordon, the Crimson’s top rusher this season, was quiet in Saturday’s loss. A week after his 137-yard performance at Cornell, Gordon gained just 26 yards on 11 carries as the Leopard defense shut down the Harvard run and the Crimson offense struggled with consistency.

With eight consecutive losses to Harvard, the Lafayette football team didn’t need much extra motivation for Saturday’s game.

But the Leopards got it in the form of freshman Peter Bross.

Bross, a fullback from Allentown, Penn., was diagnosed with cancer just before his high school graduation. The rookie had been doing well in his first weeks on campus until a setback on Friday required hospitalization.

“We just were inspired by Peter,” senior tailback DeAndre’ Morrow said. “He’s been going through a lot and battling a lot, and just seeing his tenacity is something that inspired us. So we wanted to come out and make a statement for him.”

On Saturday, Lafayette reversed its losing trend against the Crimson—a team it hadn’t beaten since 1996.


The win also completed the Leopards’ four-game sweep of their Ivy opponents, as the team had already taken down Penn, Yale, and Columbia this fall.

“Our seniors wanted this year to be different than a year ago,” Lafayette coach Frank Tavani said. “The last three years, we’ve gotten to 4-1, we’d gotten to this point, but we couldn’t get to that 5-1...We came out and played a heck of a game.”

But the Leopards did it with Bross in the forefront of their minds.

“Our players dedicated their effort to him today,” Tavani said. “We dedicated today’s game ball to Peter Bross.”


Just a week after junior Gino Gordon and freshman Treavor Scales lit up the Cornell defense with a combined 229 yards and three touchdowns, the Harvard rushing game was nearly silent against Lafayette.

Scales led the team with 40 yards on 10 carries, while Gordon mustered just 26 yards on 11 touches.

The Leopards boast the Patriot League’s best defense, allowing just 14.6 points per game heading into Saturday’s contest. And that dominance did not falter against the Crimson offense.

“When you don’t establish the run, it makes everything more challenging,” Harvard coach Tim Murphy said. “It’s a struggle to get any continuity. And you still want to keep running the football to get a little bit of balance in your offense, but at the same time, it’s easier to defend the pass if you’re not running the ball very well.”

While the Crimson had to rely on junior quarterback Collier Winters’ 233 passing yards for most of its offense, Lafayette mastered the balanced attack.