Gustavus Adolphus Gusties’ Boyce Brothers Prove to Be Two of a Kind
While Gabe and Matt Boyce are twin brothers, they are not identical twins. They look different and have differences in what interests them academically. On the field they have different roles in the Gustavus Adolphus Gusties offense, but there is one thing that is clear. Both are extremely tough receivers to defend against and combined they are the most dangerous receiving combination, not only in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC), but also in all of Division-III football.
While that is a rather bold statement, a look at the stat sheet supports it completely. Matt Boyce is first in the MIAC with 895 yards receiving and brother Gabe is second with 788. Matt has 13 touchdown receptions, while Gabe has eight. The 61-yard touchdown reception Matt pulled in a few weeks ago is a school record and Gabe leads the conference in receptions.
Among the national Division-III statistical leaders, the two brothers find their names scattered among the top receivers in the country. Matt is fifth in total receiving yards while Gabe is 15th. Matt is tied for first in touchdown receptions while Gabe is fifth in average number of catches per game. The two have established that they are among the best in the country, and are getting to enjoy their favorite part of being a wide receiver – scoring touchdowns.
It has been an outstanding season so far for the two, but there is a lot more that comes with the brothers than touchdowns and yards after catch. These are two young men who are fiercely loyal to each other, their family and their teammates, and that loyalty drives the both of them to be outstanding men of character, not only on the field, but in the dorm, in the classroom and in life in general.
While both now are juniors at Gustavus Adolphus, it did not begin that way. Older brother Anthony was already at the school when the two graduated, and Matt decided that he would join him at GAC. However, Gabe began his career at Concordia College in St. Paul, a Division-II school, but after one and a half seasons there he concluded that the school was not for him. It simply wasn’t the atmosphere he wanted for himself and so he transferred, joining his two brothers.
For the first time in their lives the three were on the same field together and that is something that the twins are enjoying most of all. “This is a complete blessing to be playing with Anthony (a senior on the team) and Matt,” Gabe explains. “I didn’t think I would ever get the chance to play with Matt ever again, but now I get to enjoy each Saturday with both as my teammates. It is very special.”
Matt could not agree more. “This has been really great. I had played in other sports with Anthony in high school, but never football, so this has been really special. It has just been great to have this opportunity.”
While the two brothers are putting up huge numbers, there is no sibling rivalry here. They may kid each other about the success they are having, but they are thrilled to see the other doing so well. “Gabe was messing with me at half-time a few weeks ago. I had two touchdowns and he was telling me, ‘Oh you’re trying to be somebody now.’ We both laughed. The truth is that we are the biggest supporters of each other. We are excited when the other one makes a big catch or scores a touchdown.”
Matt and Gabe are having outstanding seasons, that is for sure, but there is no hubris here. They are not patting themselves on the back or thinking they are the kings of the school. Instead their focus is to give all they have to help their team and their school win. “I don’t want to leave the field with stuff left in the tank,” Matt explains. “I want to give my all each and every time I practice and each time I play.”
Gabe echoes the sentiment. “We have a great group of guys here that are all working hard. I want them to have confidence that I am giving my best as well, and that they can count on me.”
When one takes a look at them, it is easy to see why they are such hard workers. While they feel “blessed” to have a great dad, their mom has raised them and their three siblings mostly on her own. She has been a role model to the twins that they both acknowledge is the standard that they wish to follow. “Mom is just absolutely amazing. She is the absolute greatest mom. Sacrificed a lot for us, and has always been there to pick us up when we are down and supports us completely. She raised the five of us on her own, including four boys who are all within two years of each other. The job she has done with us is just amazing. I can’t express how incredible she is.”
“Our dad has always been there for us, he comes to all our sporting events,” tells Matt. ”There is no one in the world I would trade moms with, however. She is just amazing, but you can’t talk about my mom without talking about my grandma. She is perfect and awesome. Our parents are just great.”
The two have had incredible role models in their lives, but maybe none more special than each other. There is a great deal of admiration for one another and they strive to get better and work harder for the benefit of each other. “Gabe is such a shy guy when you get to know him, but he is incredibly funny. He is the most loyal guy and is always there for you when you need,” Matt explains about his brother. “It is just so incredible to watch him play and I love seeing how he has grown since coming here.”
“Matt is my best friend for life. He is the hardest working guy. A real inspiring guy who gives his all every day. He never slacks off, but gives his all in everything he does. I really admire how dedicated he is.”
Matt and Gabriel Boyce took different paths to get to Gustavus Adolphus, but now that they are both there they are incredibly proud and honored to be Gusties. These are two young men who seem humbled by the recognition they are receiving and the numbers they are putting up, but it is not surprising they are doing so. They have worked incredibly hard and fed off the drive of each other to become the best receiving duo in the country. They are incredible young men who are having amazing seasons, but more important to them, they are loving brothers who are enjoying watching their twin having the season of his life.
By Robert Pannier