PITTSBURG — Pittsburg State University head football coach Tim Beck announced today (Apr. 24) team captains for the 2012 season.
Following a team vote, seven Gorillas were elected to the role of captain: sophomore quarterback Anthony Abenoja, junior wide receiver John Brown, junior linebacker Nate Dreiling, senior offensive lineman Aaron Kolich, senior safety Chas Smith, senior defensive end Gus Toca and junior running back Solomon Watkins.
Dreiling, Kolich and Toca are returning captains from the 2011 campaign, while the other four individuals are first-time honorees.
"Every year, this is one of the most significant accomplishments of the spring – the selection of team captains," PSU head coach Tim Beck said. "The players still vote on it. Our formula allows for four to seven captains and it just some happened the results called for seven captains again this year.
"Obviously this is a tribute to these individuals. We have a solid mix of offensive and defensive players, a good mix of seniors and underclassmen. We think this is a good group of team leaders to represent our football team."
Abenoja (6-3, 218), an Overland Park, Kan., native, saw action in seven games in a reserve role in 2011, passing for 264 yards and three touchdowns last season.
Brown (5-11, 171) caught 61 passes for 1,216 yards and 12 touchdowns last year. The Homestead, Fla., native garnered All-America honors as both a wide receiver and a return specialist. He made three special teams scores and compiled 2,293 all-purpose yards.
Dreiling, a Hutchinson, Kan., native, started all 13 games at linebacker as a sophoore for the Gorillas last year. Dreiling (6-4, 229) was a consensus first-team All-American and was named the Division II National Defensive Player of the Year by the Don Hansen Football Committee after registering 139 tackles, 17.0 tackles-for-loss and seven interceptions.
Kolich, an Olathe, Kan., native, started eight of 10 games played at center for the Gorillas as a junior in 2011. Kolich (6-2, 275) helped the Pitt State offense average 40.2 points and 448.5 total yards per game.
Smith (5-9, 186) started seven games at safety in 2011 before suffering a season-ending knee injury. The Pittsburg native made 30 tackles and four interceptions on the season, earning honorable mention All-MIAA honors.
Toca (6-3, 250) earned All-America honors at defensive end for the Gorillas as a junior in 2011. The Blue Springs, Mo., native made 59 tackles with 11.0 quarterback sacks and 19.0 tackles-for-loss.
Watkins, a Sedalia, Mo., native played in six games at running back before suffering a season-ending knee injury. Watkins (5-10, 182) rushed the ball for 223 yards and four touchdowns on the season.
Spring Game Slated Saturday Morning
Pitt State will conduct its annual Spring Game Saturday (Apr. 28) at Carnie Smith Stadium. The contest will get under way at 10 a.m.
The game will be broadcast across the Four States on KKOW Radio (860 AM).