MORRIS – When asked what the goal was for the upcoming season, all four Morris football captains – Kameron Dransfeldt, Nolan Feeney, Brennan Goff and Avery Hoffman – answered in unison.
“State champs,” the quartet said immediately after being asked the question.
The four players chosen by their teammates to be the captains are all returning starters from last season’s team that went 10-3 and reached the Class 5A semifinals before being defeated by eventual state champion Peoria, 43-35. Although the Redskins lost that game, they had a 28-21 lead late in the third quarter and couldn’t help but wonder what might have been.
“It definitely left a chip on our shoulder,” Feeney said about the loss. “We were right there with the team that won the state title.”
The 2016 season is over now, and Feeney, along with Goff, returns for his third season as a varsity starter on the offensive line. Hoffman is returning as a starter on the defensive line, while Dransfeldt, who saw action as both a linebacker and running back last year, will most likely be used mostly on offense this season.
On some football teams, the coaches name the captains. At Morris, however, the players vote on who should be made captain. Although the foursome garnered the most votes, they were quick to point out that they weren’t the only ones to receive votes.
“We have a lot of leaders on this team,” Feeney said. “That will help us out because we can’t always keep an eye on everything. There are enough guys that are leaders that we shouldn’t have any problems.”
“It’s an honor to have my teammates name me a captain,” Goff said.
Morris coach Alan Thorson was pleased with the results of the vote.
“Those are four good guys as captains,” he said. “Really, we have about eight or 10 guys that would have been good choices to be a captain. That’s a good problem to have. We have a lot of quality leadership on this team, but it says a lot about these four guys that their teammates voted for them.”
While three of the captains – Feeney, Goff and Dransfeldt – primarily will be offensive players, Hoffman will anchor the defense.
“I am looking forward to it,” he said. “The offense scores all the points, but if the other team doesn’t score, they can’t win. It’s my job to make sure they don’t.”