Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

November 12, 2012

Seven Hearts make All-Apollo

Adam Spencer
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM —     Despite a disappointing 2-7 2012 campaign, several Effingham football players were awarded All-Apollo Conference honors.

    Senior offensive lineman Taylor Claar led the way, snagging a spot on the first-team offensive unit.

    Senior receiver Drew Levitt and senior running back Logan Howell earned places on the second-team offense.

    Defensively, the Hearts landed four players on the second-team defensive unit: senior defensive back Cody Sennett, senior lineman Scott Deunk, junior defensive back Marcus Robinson and sophomore linebacker Travis Durbin.

    Effingham coach Mike McDonald said landing four defensive players on the second-team defense was fitting for a unit that carried the team all year.

    “I think it was well-deserved,” he said. “After the Charleston game, our defense played really well against the rest of the conference.”

    He also said getting two defensive backs on the team showed how well the secondary played in 2012.

    “I thought it showed where our defensive strength was — with the secondary,” he said.

    Claar, the team’s only first-teamer, earned praise from McDonald for anchoring the offensive line in a year that saw a lot of changes due to injuries.

    “He was an offensive starter for three years,” he said. “He really put a lot of time and effort into it.”

    Though the offense got off to a slow start to the conference season, dealing with poor weather conditions and a multitude of injuries, McDonald said that Levitt really came up big late in the year.

    “It took awhile, but he was definitely someone we liked to get the football to,” he said. “He caught some big touchdowns for us.”

    Howell, on the other hand, was a steady performer for the Hearts’ backfield all season long.

    “He was our number one running back,” McDonald said. “He worked extremely hard in the offseason. Also, he had some huge kickoff returns for us.”

    Having two underclassmen, Robinson and Durbin, on the second-team defense gives the Hearts a solid foundation for the 2013 campaign.

    Overall, McDonald said he was pleased with the way the award voting turned out, saying the Effingham players named to the teams definitely deserved the recognition.

    “The voting was very fair,” he said. “It usually shakes out the way it should.”