The Brown and White spoke with football seniors Tommy Lewis, Mikhari Sibblis and Dylan Van Dusen and fifth-year Alex Snyder about their final Le-Laf Rivalry game.
Question: What has been the most memorable moment of your Lehigh football career?
Tommy Lewis: There are two that come to the top of my head, the first one being my block punt against Holy Cross last year. We were competing in a league game, it was a pretty big deal and it was kind of the first play I ever made at Lehigh. The second one would be beating Lafayette last year. That was the first time we had beaten them since I have been here. We stormed the field, too. It was like everything came together that day.
Dylan Van Dusen: It would probably be last year when we beat Lafayette. We didn’t have the opportunity to beat them the last two years before then and they have always been close games, so to finally secure a victory over them was huge. It was great to see everyone, especially at home, show their pride. It was really special to me.
Mikhari Sibblis: I’d say my most memorable moment is last year when we beat Lafayette. That was the first time I got to do it, and it was on our home field, and it was a really good experience.
Alex Snyder: Last year Rivalry 157. We won in a good fashion. We struggled, but it all came together with a big time win. It was a great experience I will always remember.
Q: What has the Le-Laf Rivalry meant to you over the past 4 years?
TL: For me it has meant a lot. Seeing it for the first time freshman year was pretty crazy, especially with how involved everyone is. And then last year playing in it for the first time just meant that much more, just because it was an opportunity to actually make a name for myself on the field. Just as my career at Lehigh has gone on, it has become more meaningful. With it being my last game ever, it’s going to be a really special day.
DVD: To me, it means community. I mean, I hear it every year when they ask me if we are going to beat (Lafayette) this year. It’s the game that matters to everyone around here and it’s the game that everyone wants to win. It brings a lot of the Lehigh community together, and it is good to see people showing support for us and caring about something that is bigger than just football.
MS: It has been really big. Everyone hypes it up because it is such a big game. It’s the most played rivalry in college football so being a part of that is something so special to me. Being a part of that is not an experience many people can say they are a part of. I also think that everything comes down to this specific game and how our team goes from there.
AS: It has meant so much. So many years of the Rivalry and hearing from classes before me about how much it means to them is a lot of weight to carry through my four years here. It just means everything to me to be a part of something like this.
Q: How has Lehigh football shaped you into who you are today?
TL: Honestly it has become a huge part of who I am just from the sense that while we haven’t won a lot of games, it’s taught me a lot about myself and fighting through adversity. We have won a handful of games which hasn’t been the easiest but it has really taught me to stick through things no matter what because there is always going to be something at the end of it. Even this year, it’s been tough, but knowing that we have Le-Laf to end it makes me want to keep working because you never know when that one opportunity is going to present itself.
DVD: It has taught me a lot about discipline and being there for other people. It hasn’t always been the best experience, things could always be better, but I wouldn’t have wanted this to be any other way. Especially with the guys that I am with, and the guys I got to meet and the friendships I will have forever.
MS: I honestly don’t know where I would be without Lehigh football. I have so many connections through Lehigh football — my first internship was through Lehigh football over the summer this past year. It has been a lot. I think I didn’t expect it to go this way. I took a shot in the dark, and it ended up being such an amazing experience.
AS: It has really shaped me into a well-rounded person I would say. Someone who really works hard and takes nothing for granted. Being a part of such a great institution and a great program has just made me become someone that I am really glad to be. Someone who really respects others and I just want to be the best version of myself.
Q: What are your main goals for your last Rivalry game?
TL: First and foremost, it’s to win. Just going out on a win would be the biggest thing because I’ll remember it forever. And also, just leaving an impact in any way I can. I’ll mainly be playing on special teams, but whether it is blocking a kick or making a tackle, just making any move to potentially change the outcome of the game.
DVD: Win. That is the goal. End on a good note, and end on top. That’s what we want.
MS: My main goal is to bring that trophy back home. There’s nothing more to it. I want to go out there and dominate and win. That’s the number one thing.
AS: Most importantly, we want to win. A goal of mine is trying to get my first touchdown in the Rivalry. Trying to get five receptions, 50 yards and three pancake (blocks). Those are my goals.
Q: What have been the biggest challenges you have faced as a Lehigh student athlete?
TL: The time aspect of it. Football especially requires over 30 hours a week, and then, as I have gotten older, the course load has grown more and more, so just managing it. But now I know what I need to do, what I need to focus on and cut out all the distractions and just do what I need to do.
DVD: Probably just the amount of time, between the meetings and work load. Especially during freshman and sophomore year, the Flight 45 meetings and having homework on top of that was hard to balance. Just getting used to the work balance. Staying on top of everything has probably been the hardest. And always showing effort, because if you don’t show effort, people notice and you’re not going to be well-liked. It is just being able to put in effort where it needs to go and understanding that school comes first.
MS: The biggest challenge for me was dealing with (COVID-19), and that was a national thing. It was difficult training through that time and we were expected to have a season that fall, but the entire school got shut down.
AS: I would have to say time management. It is a tough school and being able to find that balance between academics and football.
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
TL: After graduation I will be working at Wells Fargo in New York City. I am doing equity sales and trading there so I am excited about that.
DVD: Right now, I am still looking for a job, still in the job searching process. Looking to move somewhere other than Bethlehem and back home. That’s the goal.
MS: I am not really too sure about my future plans, but I do know I will be taking a fifth year.
AS: I am going to try and see what happens with football at the next level. I have a senior bowl that I am doing in December, and then I am doing some pro days to see if I can take the next steps, but then after that, if it doesn’t work out, I will use my double major in marketing and management and find something in consulting.
Q: What will you miss the most about the team and Lehigh football?
TL: I’m going to miss everyone on the team. Especially the receiver room. There’s 12 of us in there, and it’s the closest group of guys I have ever been with. Every single guy just brings something different, and it is really special going to practice every day knowing that not only the receivers but everyone on the team is basically a family. We talk about why we play, and it is for each other.
DVD: The guys. By far the guys. That is what we’re in it for. That is why we play.
MS: Just being around the players. The relationships that I have made. I know that these are relationships that go on for life but being out there on the field with them every day.
AS: Just the brotherhood we have. This bond we have is like a family, and I am going to miss my guys like crazy. The seniors that graduated last year I miss now, too, because we’re brothers.
Q: What do you love most about LeLaf?
TL: I would say how bought in everyone is. Even speaking to alumni, that is the one game they care about every year. Every message they send, they end with ‘Beat Laf,’ and it just makes it the best. It is the longest rivalry in college football, which is so unique to be a part of. I feel like I am a part of history and seeing everyone show their dedication in the days leading up to it makes it that much more fun to be a part of.
DVD: I would say the bed sheets are awesome. I love seeing those. They are so entertaining. That is what everyone wants to do and everyone wants to get in on that. They all want their sheet to be the best.
MS: I just love the competition. Everybody in the stands on both sides just packed in rooting for their team. I love the atmosphere.
AS: The atmosphere right when you step on the field. Last year was almost sold out and the energy around the whole week is unmatched. The excitement everyone brings is something I will never forget.