By Nick Curcuru
---- — If there is one player on the Gloucester football team that epitomizes the team’s attitude and personality on the field, that player is Mark Horgan.
The senior captain may not be the biggest (generously listed at 5’8” 170 pounds on the team’s roster) or strongest player on the field, but it’s the the areas that aren’t measurable where he stands tall.
To put it simply Horgan is a grinder and a go getter. Whatever role he’s called upon to play, whatever position on the field he’s put at and whatever the task at hand the senior captain is going to get after it.
“Mark is a kid that shows up everyday, does everything you want and gives you everything you ask of him,” Gloucester head coach Tony Zerilli said. “He’s tough as nails, he’s a hard worker and he will grind out that tough yard every chance he gets. He’s everything we look for in a Gloucester football player.”
Horgan has been asked to do a lot of the Fishermen this fall, and he has responded by producing at a wide variety of positions.
The senior captain has spent most of his time on the offensive end as the team’s wing back, but he has also seen time at fullback and running back. On the defensive end Horgan has played outside linebacker, cornerback and safety.
“The next spot we have to put him is on the offensive line,” Zerilli joked.
But that idea sits fine with Horgan, he simply wants to play where the team needs him most.
“I’ll play wherever they need me, if they need me to play guard I’ll do that too,” Horgan said. “It doesn’t matter to me what position I play, I’ll play wherever gives us the best chance to win.”
The spot where Horgan has given the Fishermen the best chance to win this season has been at wing back.
Horgan is a prototypical wing back in Gloucester’s version of the wing-t offense due to his versatility. The senior captain can run the ball (421 yards, six touchdowns), catch the ball (167 yards, two touchdowns), and block, which is imperative for a wing back as he is called upon to make key blocks on a lot of Gloucester’s strong side plays.
On defense he can both tackle and cover and that well rounded skill set has seen Horgan on the field for virtually every snap this fall.
Horgan has been productive with the ball in his hand this fall leading the team with eight total touchdowns and 587 yards of offense, he also returns punts and kicks. But what makes Horgan so special is the fact that he is just as excited to provide a lead block than he is a touchdown run.
“It takes a special kind of attitude to play that position and he has it,” Zerilli said. “You have to be tenacious, hungry and want to hit a guy who’s probably a lot bigger than you.”
Horgan says he’s adopted that style of play on the practice field.
“Our coaches always tell us to go all out all the time, in a game and in practice,” Horgan said. “You have to be perfect at practice. If you put in the work during the week it pays off in a game.”
That tenacious attitude on the practice and game fields has established Horgan as one of the team’s unquestioned leaders. And while he’s not a vocal leader, his play does the talking for him.
Horgan’s lead by example style was recognized by Zerilli in his Sophomore season. The second he stepped foot on the practice field his heart and desire was noticed by the coaching staff and that heart and desire continues to get him noticed by the competition.
“He works his butt off everyday at practice and in the offseason and that didn’t start this season,” Zerilli said. “He got noticed right away as a Sophomore for his hard work and he has led by example ever since. He isn’t going to rile anybody up with his words, but he will rile you up with his play and performance.”