Pine-Richland’s Falcone breaks through with Lehigh
From 2016-17, Raymond Falcone was nothing short of a nightmare for the Pine-Richland football team’s opponents. In that span, perhaps no WPIAL pass-catcher inflicted more damage than the Rams wide receiver as he caught a combined 115 passes for 2,268 yards and 24 touchdowns.
This fall, however, Falcone found himself back on the low end of the totem pole as a freshman on the Lehigh roster. It was a whirlwind experience, according to the Mountain Hawks’ receiver, and one that was over as quickly as it began.
“Getting there, first day for camp and everything kind of gets thrown at you,” Falcone said. “You’re meeting all these new people and new coaches, you have no idea where you are and you have to learn the new playbook in about a week. It’s very hectic.
“But throughout that, I just tried to learn and work hard, and I took all the coaching I could. I have a lot of great wide receivers around me that are juniors and sophomores, and they taught me a lot, too.”
It didn’t take long for Falcone to absorb the experience and get back to what he has been used to doing: running with the first team on gameday.
After spending Lehigh’s (3-8) first two contests on the bench, Falcone saw action against Fordham and caught three balls for 50 yards. From there, Falcone continued to see starting time and continued to deliver, catching multiple passes in three of his team’s final five games.
“I was in contention for a starting spot. I didn’t get it to begin the season, but we kept playing and kept practicing and I did enough to show the coaches that I was ready for the start. I had some pretty good catches in my first game against Fordham, and after that I started the last five games,” Falcone said.
“It’s exciting. It took a lot of hard work, listening to coaching and learning from every possible situation that I had been put in.”
The culmination of Falcone’s hard work came Nov. 10 against Colgate, the top-rated defense in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision. In that game, Falcone had just one catch: a 30-yard touchdown grab, the first of his collegiate career. He was only the second player all season to catch a touchdown against the Raiders’ defense.
Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.