Lehigh football quarterbacks, sophomore Brayten Silbor and senior Dante Perri, are at separate stages in their Lehigh careers with different experiences to share.
The Brown and White spoke to Silbor and Perri about each of their time playing for Lehigh when graduating in different years, but also while playing the same position on the field.
Q: How did it feel starting your first game as a quarterback?
Dante Perri: I was really nervous. It was in the middle of my sophomore year. We weren’t doing very well. I remember thinking that it was going to be like high school and I could kind of just run around. I had a stat line predicted in my head, I was texting my dad that we were going to turn the program around today…and it went so south. (The) worst game of my career was my first start. It was definitely a different world but a nice, little wake-up call.
Brayten Silbor: It felt really great to get back on the field. It’s been two years since I started a game, and last year ended with an injury. We put a lot of hard work in. Obviously, the first game didn’t go how we wanted, but we bounced back and now we just got to keep going.
Q: How is your chemistry with the team and does that chemistry change how you play?
DP: My chemistry with the team is great. I love the guys on the team, and they are super supportive no matter what role I am in. No matter what is going on, I feel a lot of love and support from all the dudes, and that is a great feeling — you can kind of just let loose and be yourself. When you feel like everyone from top to bottom is putting their faith in you, it makes you feel like you are out there for a reason.
BS: The chemistry, especially this year, has been great for all of us in terms of how we play and how we trust each other. During camp, Coach Cahill made a huge rule in terms of bonding. During breakfast, in the locker room and in dining halls, we can’t have earbuds in because he wants us to talk to each other. And during meetings, he would call someone out and make them say another player’s first name, last name, where they are from and maybe even a fun fact about them. But we are all very close, we all know each other, we are all comfortable with each other. We got faith in the guy next to us that he’ll do his job, and they got faith that we’ll do our job.
Q: What team are you always excited to play against?
DP: I love playing Holy Cross. They’ve been running the league for four or five years now. Coach Cahill talks about it all the time, that the program we want to be is a program like Villanova or a program like Holy Cross: just a powerhouse that competes and wins games. I think it is a really cool opportunity to go against them because that is kind of our bar honestly. They are also a lot of fun and have a lot to say. They are a tough bunch to play which is fun.
BS: It’s gotta be Lafayette. The rivalry goes back 158 games and it’s just great. A lot of these guys grew up playing with a lot of the kids from Lafayette in high school, so for them they get to play against their friends and long-time rivals. For me, I just love the atmosphere that it creates during that week and especially getting to that stadium whether it’s at Lafayette or Lehigh.
Q: What has been your favorite memory since being on the team, whether it’s on or off the field?
DP: That’s tough. My favorite moments are probably in the locker room, in common settings with all the guys just hanging out. I feel like we are a really tight group. Anybody can sit next to anybody on the bus, anybody can go out to lunch with anybody. Now, with this new coaching staff deepening our bonds and the way they treat us, there isn’t a coach anyone wouldn’t go out to lunch with or hang out with. They are great people and push us to be a different version of ourselves.
BS: It’s gotta be the first win we just got against Merrimack. It’s been a long transition for us with the new coaching staff, and it’s been a long couple of years for some of the seniors and the older guys, but this win felt really great because it really showed all the work we put in this offseason.
Q: What has been the hardest challenge you have needed to overcome?
DP: Getting out of the mind of the result — that outcome-oriented drive. Coach Cahill talks about it all the time. We need to fix our program, and we can’t worry about the wins and losses right now. I mean, if we fix our program and get where we want to be internally, then the results will start taking care of it itself. But if we just worry about what happens every Saturday, we will never get better. It’s got to be (about) how you prepare every day and elevate yourself when there is no real scoreboard.
BS: Definitely either learning the new playbook with the new coaching staff change or my injury that I suffered last year with my broken arm — getting back on the field and getting that confidence back during workouts and on the field.
Q: Why did you choose your number?
DP: I was given 12 in high school. I was (number) three my whole life but couldn’t get that number here. A close friend of ours who played for the Giants for a while, Ryan Nassib, was number 12. He would always text me and check in on me, and that was a really cool experience for me to look up to him. So I kept it from there and ran with it.
BS: Going back to youth football, I was always number 10 until I was 5 years old when one of my teammates had that number already. So then (I got) the number eight, which is in my name Br-“eight”-ten, and that was taken (here), so I decided to combine the two numbers together and go with 18. That’s what I’ve been ever since. Peyton Manning is one of my role models — he wore 18 — but it also has to do with my name.