With PSU's 2011 football season in full swing, Gorilla fans have a number of great players to watch.
But it's those players who have come back from injury and obstacle to become team leaders that PSU football fans may be cheering for the loudest.
Two senior team captains - Spencer Worthington of Carlisle, Iowa, and Aaron Sawyer of Merriam, Kan. - have overcome injuries in order to have a successful final football season with Pittsburg State.
Worthington, a defensive end who is studying construction management at PSU, injured his foot during two-a-day practices his second year on the team. A redshirt his first year, the injury forced him to take a medical redshirt again his second year. Since his return, he has made All-MIAA two of the past three seasons, and has become a strong leader for the team.
"We have a good group of seniors, and I'm hoping we will take the team into playoffs this year," he said. "The team leaders are leaders for a reason - we've developed a work ethic to be in that place."
For Sawyer, a wide receiver and business management major, a torn ACL during a routine tackle led to surgery and rehab. Planning his full-time return to the field this season, he said it was the fans that encouraged him to work hard to recover.
"Our fans expect a lot out of us, and it makes us expect a lot out of ourselves," Sawyer said. "It can be competitive in my position when it comes to who gets out on the field, but competition is a healthy thing because it makes everyone play their best."
After traveling to Missouri Western for the game Sept. 1, the Gorillas will have their first home game Sept. 10 against Emporia State.
"I'm really excited about and ready for this season," Sawyer said. "I feel like we're going to surprise a lot of people."