Evart players earn Highland honors, Imhoff is top defensive player

EVART — Five Evart football players were recently named by the Highland Conference with all-league honors.

The honors includ Defensive Player of the Year accolades to Chris Imhoff.

The Wildcats were 4-5 during the regular season and 1-4 in the Highland. Its only win was a big one 17-7 over perennial state power Beal City, which lost its only conference game to the Wildcats.

“Even though our league record did not reflect it, our defense was one of the best defenses in the area,” Evart coach Pat Craven said. “We consistently held opposing offenses to under 150 yards of total offense. Our defense was fast, aggressive, and downhill.

“Unfortunately, the injury to quarterback Trevin Ladd hurt our offensive flow. We gave opponents such as Lake City, Manton, and Pine River the ball too many times in short field situations.”

The first team included Chris Imhoff at linebacker, Zach Parshall at defensive end and Robbie Tapling at defensive back.

Imhoff had 86 tackles, two sacks and a fumble recovery. “He was our defensive captain,” Craven said.

Parshall had 76 tackles, plus five sacks and three fumble recoveries.

“Zach was our motor on defense,” Craven said. “He consistently created an athletic mismatch with other teams’ offensive tackles. He is quick and long and created a strong edge for us. Zach also played offensive tackle for us and rarely came off the field.”

Tapling was Evart’s field general, Craven said, for a defensive secondary that had 16 interceptions.

“He consistently put our guys in the correct coverage,” Craven said. “He led the team with six interceptions, along with having 52 tackles. Robbie also played an important role on offense when Trevin Ladd went down after week one. Robbie proved to be our most valuable asset this year.”

The honorable mention selections were Danny Griffin at defensive back and Anson Poullion at defensive tackle.

“Danny is an athlete with tremendous upside,” Craven said. “Against running teams, Danny would move down to a defensive end and create all of the same problems that Zach Parshall caused. Against spread teams, Danny would move to our shut down cornerback position and defend the other teams’ top receiver nearly every week.

“Danny finished with two interceptions, but teams rarely threw at him. His game-changing interception against Beal City announced to the Highland Conference that he is a force to be reckoned with in our league. Danny also was our top receiver and a tremendous runner on offense.”

Poullion had 37 tackles for the Wildcats.

“Anson had a breakout year at defensive tackle,” Craven said. “He single handedly created problems for league powerhouses such as McBain and Beal City. He caused teams to double team him which freed up our linebackers and other defensive linemen. Anson also played offensive tackle for us and rarely came off the field.”