The residents of Turlock have caught Kaepernick Fever as Turlock native Colin Kaepernick heads to the XLVII Super Bowl with the San Francisco 49ers. Kaepernick, who attended Pitman High School, joined the 49ers as a backup quarterback for Alex Smith, but in late November Kaepernick became the team’s full-time starting quarterback in just his second year playing for the team when Smith was benched after having received a concussion.
Kaepernick has become an inspiration to many young adults and children from the Central Valley with dreams to become a NFL star, and is setting a positive role model for those who look up to him.
“I think that’s something I’ve always taken pride in,” Kaepernick told 49ers.com. “Growing up, there weren’t too many people who were doing it, I could remember my mom telling me at I don’t know how old I was, real young, ‘Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do something. If this is what your heart is set on, go do it.’”
On Jan. 20 Kaepernick led the 49ers in a 28-24 victory against the Atlanta Falcons, winning the NFC Championship. The team will go on to play the Baltimore Ravens in the XLVII Super Bowl on Feb. 3 in New Orleans.
“I think everyone has been so supportive because everyone loves a feel good story like his,” said Turlock resident Frank Borba. “Something of this magnitude hasn’t created this much buzz around town since Tom Mendonca in 2008 at the College World Series.
“You flip on any sports station and Colin is the center of it all,” continued Borba. “Obviously not everyone knows Colin personally, I don’t, but everyone knows someone who probably does which is why I think it’s also created such a buzz. I’ve been a 49er fan my entire life and I will be the first to admit I was skeptical of the QB change and his early success. But after the weeks went by, I realized that he’s the real deal.”
Kaepernick was also featured on the cover of the Jan. 21 issue of Sports Illustrated, alongside a headshot of 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh. This is the first time Kaepernick has appeared on the cover of a magazine, but probably not the last. The young quarterback has been making NFL history, and many have called him ‘the next Steve Young.’
Kaepernick set an NFL record during his first playoff game for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a game, with 181,. The 49ers have not been to the Super Bowl since 1994. The San Francisco 49ers have played in 5 previous Super Bowls, in 1981, 1984, 1988, 1989 and 1994. The 49ers won all five championships.
Many local businesses in Turlock have been busy showing their support for the young star. Main Street Footers released the ‘Kaepernick Footer’ in honor of him, Lisa’s Cookie Jar and Old Tyme Pastries released Kaepernick cookies in the shape of a 49ers jersey with his number ‘7’, and even Dust Bowl Brewery has added a Kaepernick special to their menu. Woods Furniture also featured ‘Go 49ers’ signs outside their business in support of Kaepernick.
“He has only nine games under his belt, and has already beat some of the biggest names in football. That’s a pretty impressive résumé,” Borba said. “How can you not be a believer?”
To learn more about the San Francisco 49ers, or to view Colin Kaepernick’s full statistics, visit www.49ers.com.