The Gorillas have selected the football team captains for 2020.
Running back Tucker Horak, wide receiver Bryce Murphy, offensive lineman Zech Thomas, and linebackers Kaden Roy and Morgan Selemaea will be the team captains for the Gorillas.
“This special group of men were voted by their teammates to represent our 2020 football family as captains,” Head coach Brian Wright said. “We will rely heavily on their leadership throughout our team’s pursuit of excellence on and off the field. It’s been rewarding to watch the leadership on our team improve on a daily basis; and we are all looking forward to kicking off the season here at Carnie Smith Stadium on Oct. 31.”
Murphy, junior in business marketing, was happy to be recognized for his hard work and effort.
“To be a captain really means a lot to me because that means all that work, all the effort, all the sacrifices are being recognized by my teammates and coaches,” Murphy said. “For them to vote me into this was just amazing.”
Horak, senior in general studies, has been on the football team for five years.
“It feels amazing because… (I) really like to go into battle with (the team) every Saturday and the fact that they thought highly enough of me to vote (for) me, it’s an amazing feeling,” Horak said. “I just really hope that I can do all the right things and set a good example for all of them, especially the younger guys in the program.”
Roy, senior in communication, was also a team captain during the 2019 season.
“It’s an honor to be chosen as a captain by my teammates,” Roy said. “It means a lot to me to know that they see me as a guy that they can follow and depend on.”
Thomas, senior in health & human performance, has been on the team for four years.
“It feels great,” Thomas said. “I (have) been working since I’ve touched the field here to be awarded this honor to help lead my team to greatness.”
A lot of work has gone into this season, more so than others because of the situation with the pandemic, according to Murphy.
“…This team as a whole, top to bottom, Dr. Scott, Athletic director Jim Johnson, the coaching staff, and the team have done an outstanding job,” Murphy said. “Dr. Scott and Jim Johnson have done things for this program during COVID-19 that other schools won’t have the chance to do… (and) the coaching staff and team have had to sacrifice and endure through this pandemic.”
Navigating the changes due to COVID-19 wasn’t an easy task but Horak believes that the team handled it well despite the disappointment of possibly not having a season.
“Well, it was pretty difficult to get that news… (when) we heard that we weren’t gonna get to play a season,” Horak said. “It kind of left a lot of questions marks in the air. We weren’t really sure if we were gonna get the season moved to the spring or if we were gonna get a couple games or what. So, that really took really a lot of discipline throughout our team to be able to just keep working… I’m really happy with how we handled it…”
According to Roy, the team stayed positive and continuously worked to improve despite the changes.
“COVID has obviously created some setbacks, but we’ve tried to look at those setbacks as an opportunity to work on specific things,” Roy said. “For example, we’ve focused a lot on coming closer together as teammates. Turning some of issues that have… (come) along with COVID into positives has really helped and says a lot about the maturity of the team.”
Roy is happy to be able have football games this season.
“…We’re very thankful for the games that we’ve been given because we know not every team around the country has been given the same opportunity,” Roy said.
Horak is looking forward to the season with the new coaching staff and being able to play.
“Well, just being with this new staff… (has) been a fun ride so far,” Horak said. “…They really bring good energy to practice every day and to our meetings. We walk into a meeting and there’s music playing every day and it’s just really good energy. You can tell they really want to be there, and they really care about us and how we’re gonna perform on the field. Also, it feels really good hearing them ask about how we are off the field. They really to connect with us and learn about our families and want us to learn about each other’s families. So, I’m just really excited to get out and actually get to play some games for them and kind of show them… our talent… So, getting to showcase out talents a little bit is gonna be really fun and I’m just excited to get out and actually get to play for them.”
Like the other captains, Thomas is happy to be able to play some games this season.
“This season will definitely be one to remember,” Thomas said. “I’m just glad (that) through it all we get (to play) some games to showcase all… (the) hard work we been putting in.”
The Gorillas are set to play their season opener at home against Nebraska-Kearney on Saturday, Oct. 31.