Before Saturday’s highly anticipated game against Lafayette, The Brown and White talked to three of the Lehigh football team’s top performers this season.
This season has been a big step forward for Harvey and the Mountain Hawks defensively. With 48 solo tackles in 10 starts this year, which is tied for the most of any Lehigh player this season and tied for fifth in the Patriot League, Harvey has established himself as a difference maker for the team. The linebacker also has two interceptions on the season, which he recorded in back-to-back games against the Ivy League’s Princeton and Yale. In an expanded role for this year, Harvey will have his greatest chance to contribute to a game against Lafayette. He did not appear in a Lafayette
game until his junior year, in which he was not a starter.
“This game I’ll be playing more than I ever have in the Lehigh-Lafayette rivalry, so I think I’ll just take it in like a regular game,” he said. “I try to stay calm before the game. I’m a pretty emotional player once I get out there on the field, so I try to keep it all in before the game, go through my regular pregame ritual.”
Wide receiver, junior
Casey was one of four Lehigh wide receivers to catch a touchdown against Lafayette last season in the team’s 49-35 victory. His five-yard score was mixed in with a couple of deep balls as well, giving him a total of three receptions for 80 yards.
While he did not see any action as a freshman, Casey has quickly climbed Lehigh’s depth chart and has filled the stat sheet in the process.
He has made it onto the leaderboards of the FCS, currently ranked ninth in receiving yards, and he is only one touchdown away from the FCS lead in receiving scores after finding the end zone 13 times this season. And though he is getting close to the Patriot League record of 15 touchdowns, he’s hardly noticed.
“I didn’t know that I was close to any records, but I’ve just been put in many great opportunities this season by our coaches, and I’m grateful for that,” he said. “It’s just gone real well, and I’m looking to keep it rolling.”
Ripanti will be making his fourth appearance against Lafayette at linebacker for Lehigh. He recorded three tackles against the Leopards his freshman year and a team-high 13 tackles in front of the crowd at Yankee Stadium his sophomore year, but he was not able to contribute significantly in last season’s rivalry game. This season, he’s the third-leading tackler for the Mountain Hawks entering his final Lehigh Lafayette game.
“I came in as a freshman not exactly sure of the seriousness of (the rivalry) and how real it was,” Ripanti said. “And you learn really quickly how seriously both schools take it, how seriously the alumni take it, how serious the coaches and the players take it.”
He said the team was embarrassed after losing at Yankee Stadium his sophomore year, and it learned its lesson moving forward. Ripanti said he and his teammates made a point to never lose to Lafayette again, and after winning in his junior year he said he plans on winning again this year.