DARKE COUNTY – A trio of athletes who excelled on the football field and were leaders for their teams have earned player of the year honors from The Daily Advocate.
Arcanum’s Daniel O’Donnell has been named The Daily Advocate’s overall football player of the year, Versailles’ Collin Peters has been named The Daily Advocate’s offensive football player of the year, and Greenville’s Logan Eldridge has been named The Daily Advocate’s defensive football player of the year.
O’Donnell was an all-around threat for Arcanum and starred on offense, defense and special teams.
“Just overall a really, really good football player,” Arcanum football coach TJ Powers said. “It’s like having another coach out on the field.”
As Arcanum’s quarterback, O’Donnell threw for six touchdowns. He also ran for 1,234 yards and 15 touchdowns as the leader of the Trojans’ option offense.
“He can do about anything with the ball in his hands,” Powers said. “He’s an explosive runner.”
O’Donnell also played safety for Arcanum. He made 39 tackles and was a great coverage guy, Powers said.
The Trojan senior also was Arcanum’s punter, kicked some extra points and returned some punts.
All of O’Donnell’s contributions helped Arcanum win five consecutive games to end the season and finish with a .500 record. For his efforts, he was named the Cross County Conference’s back of the year.
“He had a great year, especially the last five, six games,” Powers said. “We were playing really well as a team, and he was really the leader of that.”
O’Donnell was a three-year starter for Arcanum and now has a chance to play college football if he wants to, Powers said.
“I’ve seen him grow and progress over the last four years, and it’s really been a treat to coach him,” Powers said.
Peters was the focal point of Versailles’ offense and ran for 1,184 yards and 15 touchdowns during his senior season.
“He’s definitely been a key to our offense,” Versailles football coach Adam Miller said. “The style of offense that we run we want to have one running back that we put a lot on their back.”
It was the second consecutive 1,000 yard season for Peters. But he would be the first to say it wasn’t all him and credit his teammates, especially the offensive linemen, Miller said.
“We definitely face a lot of good defenses week in and week out,” Miller said. “It was all out hard effort to get the yards that he got.”
Playing in the tough Midwest Athletic Conference, which has three teams in the state semifinals, Peters still was able to earn first team all-league honors.
“I think it’s impressive,” Miller said. “Our league is doing really well. We still have three teams at the state level. It just kind of tells you the obstacles that had to be overcome to earn that accomplishment.”
Peters is getting interest from Ivy League schools that would like him to play college football.
“He was very well rounded player for us,” Miller said. “He’s a great student off the field. He’s a great role model off the field. He was a great leader on the field.”
Eldridge had a tremendous season for the Green Wave as he recorded 91 tackles, including a team-best 44 solo tackles. The junior also had 1.5 sacks, two interceptions and scored one defensive touchdown.
“He seems to have a knack to be around the ball at critical moments in the game,” Greenville football coach Aaron Shaffer said.
Eldridge was able to have a great year even though the coaches had him move from strong safety to outside linebacker during the middle of the season.
“Logan had a great season, especially with the things we asked him to do after we suffered some injuries,” Shaffer said. “He’s just a kid that he’s going to do whatever you ask him to do.”
Eldridge’s coverage abilities were very beneficial to have at linebacker. He also quickly picked up blitzing abilities.
“He seemed to have a knack for getting around whether it was a running back or an offensive tackle,” Shaffer said.
Eldridge was able to make a position switch so easily because he’s a hard worker and an intelligent football player, Shaffer said.
“He’s one that picks that stuff up quick. It was pretty seamless in terms of his ability to go from safety to outside linebacker,” Shaffer said. “He understands the game well. He’s a kid that if you tell him once, maybe twice, he’s got it.”
He’s also a great leader and will be heavily counted on next season after being named first team all-Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division this season, Shaffer said.
“He’s a kid that works extremely hard,” Shaffer said.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.