The ITK Bowl 2022 players talk strategy and gameplay

ITK Bowl 2022 is just days away. This Friday, Feb. 11, at 8 p.m. EST, two esports pros will face off against two NFL superstars in Call of Duty: Vanguard. 

Two members of the LA Guerrillas, a professional Call of Duty team, will compete with two pro football players, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Fred Warner and New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram II. The winners take all: $10,000 awarded to the charity of their choice. It’s a showdown between esports athletes and IRL athletes. Now it’s time to meet our competitors. 

Team One

Apathy, LA Guerrillas

Bryan “Apathy” Zhelyazkov is a retired Call of Duty player and current content creator for LA Guerrillas. He is a 2016 and 2018 Call of Duty World Champion. 

“I’m definitely an aggressive, fast-paced player,” Apathy tells In The Know. ” I definitely like getting into action. I like being the initiator. It’s definitely really fun.” 

His winning strategy is to find other players with his approach. 

“If I can get someone who is a little bit more aggressive and kind of a run-and-gun type of person with me, I feel like that’s going to help me most likely succeed,” he says. 

Fred Warner, San Francisco 49ers

Pro football player Warner was first drafted by the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers in 2018. He’s been playing Call of Duty since middle school. 

“I like to push the action because I want to hop on and get in the mix right away,” Warner says. “When you’re playing two-on-two and you’ve got a partner, you guys have both got to be on the same page.” 

But he credits his gig as a pro linebacker for helping him with his communication skills during gameplay. 

“My whole job, I got the microphone in my helmet, I’m communicating to the defense. So I think I got the one-up on them in that area,” he boasts.

Team Two

Gavin “UnRationaL” Ackley, LA Guerrillas

UnRationaL is known for his “high-octane gameplay” and made a name for himself as a Call of Duty: Warzone streamer. 

“I kind of just head-bash into everything. That’s my play style,” UnRationaL says. “I’m super aggressive, so I’m hoping they are going to want to be aggressive as well.” 

He’s counting on his LA Guerrilla teammate-turned-foe Apathy to be shaking in his boots during the ITK Bowl. 

“I think Apathy gets nervous when he sees me,” he says. “He’s going to want to beat me so bad that he’s going to get nervous. But it should be a lot of fun — just watch your back.” 

Mark Ingram II, New Orleans Saints

Ingram was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in 2011. In week 10 of the 2021 NFL season, he was dubbed the Saints’ all-time rushing leader with the most rushing yards in its franchise history, surpassing Deuce McAllister. Ingram is a returning ITK Bowl player from last year.

“I like to push, man,” Ingram tells In The Know. “I like to catch bodies, I like to pin ’em back, catch ’em where they spun, know where they spun.” 

Ingram plans on focusing on communication, even if that means taking the lead from his pro esports teammate. 

“I’m running with the pros, so whatever the pros do, I’m gonna adapt,” Ingram says. “The comms is always essential. The comms is crucial to having success with a partner, to having success as a team. I know my comms skills are good. I’m going to be able to call it out where I see it.” 

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