NFL tight end and 2011 Marble Falls High School graduate David Morgan turned his love of another sport — video games — into a win for the Highland Lakes.
Morgan competed in the 20-team Twitch Rivals: SuperGames featuring Fortnite charity tournament April 22. His team placed fifth and won $55,000.
Morgan’s share, $13,750, is going to the Highland Lakes Crisis Network, which was created to help people during crises such as financial hardships and natural disasters.
Currently, the Crisis Network is assisting residents affected by the coronavirus pandemic, which has shuttered businesses and caused a historic spike in joblessness.
“I wanted to put my money where it’ll be a positive impact,” Morgan said. “It made sense. People are realizing (the pandemic is) hitting hard for a lot of people. People are out of jobs.”
Video live-streaming service Twitch hosted the tournament, during which competitors played the popular game Fortnite. Twitch will send a check for Morgan’s winnings to the Crisis Network at a later date.
Each tournament team consisted of two professional athletes from major leagues in football, baseball, basketball, and hockey. Some teams included professional wrestlers and rugby players.
The other two slots went to professional video gamers, as they’re called in the competitive field.
Morgan even got Atlanta Falcons quarterback Kurt Benkert, a personal friend and e-sports competitor, to join in the fun.
The two competed in qualifying rounds to make it to a field of 20. At that point, they were assigned professional e-sports competitors Liquid Fiber (Twitter handle @FiberAlex), based in Austin, and Demisux.
Morgan was familiar with the two gamers because he follows them on social media.
In Fortnite, a survival and combat game, players must eliminate each other. The winner is the last player remaining in the game.
Morgan has participated in charity work, most of it in Minnesota as a Vikings player. Now that he’s back in Texas, he wanted to help a local nonprofit assisting those with immediate needs.
His parents, Christine and Dave Morgan, recommended the Highland Lakes Crisis Network.
Along with offering financial assistance, the Crisis Network is making and delivering hot meals daily to more than 500 people across the Highland Lakes. Volunteers are helping to feed the homebound, the unemployed, and anyone who is hungry.
In addition to Morgan’s parents, the Crisis Network had two other champions that helped the athlete make his decision.
One of Morgan’s childhood best friends, Marble Falls graduate Connor Docherty, who is now a Mustangs assistant basketball coach, volunteers to deliver meals for the Crisis Network. Morgan also heard about the work HLCN does while visiting with Alex Payson, owner of Numinous Coffee Roasters in Marble Falls. The coffee shop crew have been baking loaves of bread each day and donating them to the Crisis Network and local food pantries.