Sept. 17, 2005
By Jim Wrobel
Special to GoHolyCross.com
Gill Fenerty. Gordie Lockbaum. Joe Segreti. Johnny Turco. Jerome Fuller. Steve Silva. If you look at fifth year senior Steve Silva's career numbers and what he has contributed to Holy Cross football, you would see that he deserves to be mentioned with those Crusader legends. Following his performances against Sacred Heart and Georgetown, Silva continues to move up the Holy Cross career charts. He is now in fourth place on the chart for career touchdowns scored with 28, while standing in third place all-time with 26 career rushing touchdowns. Silva enters today's game against Harvard with 1,928 career rushing yards, and with 72 yards this afternoon he can become only the seventh player in school history to top the 2,000-yard mark. In addition, following last week's victory over Georgetown he received the Johnny Turco Memorial Trophy as the Most Valuable Player of the Homecoming Game.
"It's exciting to be thought of alongside those guys, because I know that they are some of Holy Cross' all-time greatest players," said Silva. "I've always had an interest in the history of Holy Cross football, and I have read much about all of those players. I'm honored just to be mentioned amongst them."
Last season, Silva became the first Crusader since Lockbaum in 1986 to lead the team in both receptions (60 for 507 yards and a touchdown) and rushing yards (708 yards and 10 scores on 161 carries). "When I decided to come to Holy Cross everyone told me that is where Gordie Lockbaum went, so just to be mentioned along side a Heisman trophy finalist is exciting."
Even without another year, Silva would have been known as a great Holy Cross player, but his decision to put on the purple and white for one more season can only be considered a positive for his and the team's immediate future.
"The main reason why I came back for a fifth year was the opportunity to play college football for one more season," said Silva. "After last year I kind of just stepped away from football, and during Christmas break I was at home with my family and talked it over and thought about what would be in my best interest. And I decided coming back to Holy Cross for one more season was what I wanted to do."
That decision has already paid off, as Silva has helped Holy Cross to a 2-0 record to start off the season. "It is extremely satisfying," said Silva. "I'm happy that my play helped the team get off to a good start this season because winning football games is my main goal."
Head coach Tom Gilmore is very excited to have Silva return for one more year. "We are very happy that Steve came back for his fifth year," said Gilmore. "It is a great opportunity for him to play another year of college football, and I think that ultimately was a big factor in his decision. He also has some goals he would like to pursue after he is done at Holy Cross."
One of those goals he could pursue is playing professionally. "I think we have had scouts from just about every NFL team come out to see Steve," said Gilmore. "If he goes out and has a type of season that we think he is capable of having, I think he will have an opportunity to continue playing football after this year."
Silva's versatility was shown in the Sacred Heart game, when he accounted for six touchdowns (three rushing, one receiving and two passing) and returned two punts. His ability to wear several different hats could help him earn a spot in professional football. Silva was so good last year that the coaching staff came up with as many ways to get him the ball as they could. "He is a major threat every time he touches the ball, and as the 2004 season progressed we wanted to give him as many opportunities as we could," said Gilmore. "He is a tremendous running back, but there is only so much you can do as a running back until teams start keying on you. So we started using him as a receiver and also on returning punts and kickoffs. We wanted to pace him, so we didn't do it early in the season. Therefore, his statistics are not what they could have been if we used him the entire season in those capacities."
Silva was added to another prestigious list when he was named captain for a second consecutive season in 2005, becoming only the ninth player in school history to serve as a team captain for more than one year. "It is a great honor to be recognized by my teammates, and to be thought of as someone they look to for leadership," said Silva.
Gilmore understands that Silva brings much more to the team then just touchdowns and rushing yards. "The level of confidence Steve maintains has helped us from an attitude stand point," said Gilmore. "The guys really look to him as a two-year captain. Steve is a big time player, and when he makes big plays, it gets the rest of the team fired up."
Silva completed all of the requirements toward his sociology degree last spring, and has picked up a minor in art history for his last semester on campus this fall. Following his time at Holy Cross, and hopefully some time in professional football, he would like to try a career in the music industry. Silva could see himself working as a manager, producer or an A&R (artist & repertoire) man, who are usually the younger executives on the front lines, whose primary role is identifying special musical talent and bringing the talent to the record label.
But before he looks toward the future, Silva is focused on making the best of his final season as a Crusader. When asked about his goals for this season, Silva is only thinking about the team. "My goal is to help the team win any way I can, including playing running back, wide receiver and special teams," said Silva. "What ever it takes to contribute to victories."
With that type of unselfish attitude and five years of hard work on the field and in the classroom, Steve Silva has left a positive mark on the great legacy of Holy Cross football. When another Crusader down the road starts moving up the all-time charts and sees his name along side the Holy Cross greats of the past, there is a very good chance he will say that it is a honor to be in a group with Gill Fenerty, Gordie Lockbaum, Joe Segreti, Johnny Turco, Jerome Fuller and Steve Silva.