Brody McGuinn found out in a casual phone conversation with his friend and teammate, Rae Silverman. Charlie Silberstein got the word from McGuinn a short time later.
However they learned it, the news was the same: Both Horace Mann football players are now members of the All-State team.
The news comes more than two months after the Lions won their third Ivy League championship in four seasons. But this particular honor could be a first — It’s believed to be the first time Horace Mann has had two players land the prestigious honor in the same season.
“I was shocked, but also so hyped about it,” said McGuinn, the Lions’ senior quarterback. “I had no clue I was even up for it. Coach (Matt) Russo kept it real quiet because he didn’t want to say anything and then have it not happen.”
Silberstein, too, was oblivious that he was even in the running for the high honor. He was even more confused when he was selected as a defensive back after a very strong season doubling as a wide receiver and one of McGuinn’s main targets.
“Honestly I didn’t even know there was an All-State award,” said Silberstein, who logged five interceptions and a forced fumble this season to help anchor a Lions’ defense, which yielded just 48 points in seven Ivy League games. “I was so surprised and happy for us. It just shows all our hard work got recognized, which is just an amazing feeling.”
Horace Mann has been the dominant program in the Ivy League the past four seasons, and Silberstein thinks that dominance is finally being rewarded with postseason awards.
“I think it’s just representative of the season in general,” Silberstein said. “I feel there has been, in recent years, kind of a shift in Horace Mann football. Like a culture change. People have been taking it much more seriously. Kids have been working harder and have been more hungry, and we’ve been getting results with wins and championships.”
McGuinn passed for more than 1,000 yards this season, tossing 15 touchdowns. One of his more memorable TD passes came when he teamed with Silberstein for a highlight-reel play.
“It’s kind of interesting that Charlie got named as a defensive back because he was also a really great receiver,” McGuinn said. “He made me look good in a lot of situations. In one game he caught one off a (defensive players’) back and held onto it for a touchdown. That was some catch.”
Silberstein remembers the play vividly.
“That was my first touchdown of the season,” Silberstein said. “It was at the end of the first half and I just put my hands around the guy and it just wound up in my hands. I tried to send (a video) to ESPN, but I didn’t know how that worked. But that was definitely a great feeling.”
Both McGuinn and Silberstein received a certificate and a trophy as recognition for their All-State selection.
“It’s pretty cool for the two of us to win it and to be coming out of a private school,” McGuinn said. “That doesn’t happen that much.”
The All-State honors officially put the cap on the Horace Mann careers of both McGuinn and Silberstein, one that included four trips to the Ivy League championship game and three titles.
“It’s nice to go out with a bang,” McGuinn said.
While there was little fanfare in announcing their All-State selections, there may be even less at the school. No school assembly to congratulate the winners is scheduled. There are no plans to proclaim a Brody McGuinn/Charlie Silberstein Day and no McGuinn or Silberstein bobbleheads are being ordered.
But that’s all right by McGuinn.
“I’m sure there is going to be some sort of recognition at the school, but it’s not going to be big, like the whole school is going to know,” McGuinn said. “Sports are much more quiet at my school.”
The two are still unsure where they will attend college next year and if they will even continue playing football at the next level.
But while Silberstein is still wide open on his college destination, McGuinn has whittled his choices down to five schools.
“I’ve narrowed it down to three colleges that I could play football at, and two where I wouldn’t play football,” he said, naming the three he could play football at are at Hamilton, Bowdoin and Ithaca.
“The bigger schools are Penn State and Boston College. No way with them,” McGuinn said. “I was looking at Penn State, and they have a kid who is 6-foot-7 and 350 pounds, and he’s on the (junior varsity) scout team. I’m not in that league. I’m like 5-foot-10 and 155 pounds.”