By Brad Morris
With an arsenal of athletes around him, Logan Elm senior Conner Robinson felt “at home” under center this season.
“I worked a lot this offseason and summer with a trainer, and he did a lot for me and taught me a lot of things I didn’t have before,” Robinson said. “We also had a lot of new receivers come out, basketball guys, that didn’t play in years past. Having them help was big.”
Robinson lit up the scoreboard for the Braves, completing 127 of 209 passes for 1,981 yards and 27 touchdowns, while adding 331 yards rushing and eight more scores.
The Logan Elm quarterback was recently recognized for his season by earning the Bill McGaffney Award, presented to the top senior football player in Pickaway County.
“It’s a good accomplishment for me,” Robinson said. “I’m proud of my team and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them with all of my yards that came from them. I was able to surpass my passing yards record this season and had a good season passing the football and using all of our playmakers.”
Logan Elm coach Terry Holbert discussed Robinson’s work ethic.
“Conner is incredibly deserving of this honor and it’s the culmination of four years of work that has come together,” he said. “Conner epitomizes what we expect from a Brave.
“People see the final results on a Friday night under the lights, but they don’t see the hours and hours of work and preparation that goes into the summer, preseason and during game weeks.”
After losing their first two games of the season, the Braves won five of their next seven games.
“Our season started a little rocky, but as it went on we practiced harder than we did before and that showed up in the game,” Robinson said.
The Braves earned their first playoff win since 2009 with a 48-0 shellacking of Lakewood.
Logan Elm followed that up by jumping out to a 14-0 lead against defending state runner-up Licking Valley before falling 21-14 in the closing minutes of a second-round game.
The Braves averaged 29.4 points per game, led by their aerial attack featuring Robinson and a talented receiving corps that included Gabe Chalfin, Jason Sailor, Braylen Baker and David Evans.
“I had the best seat in the house,” Holbert said. “It was a blast and a ton of fun to coach. We had athletes all over the field and Conner did a great job of being creative and spreading the football around to our different playmakers. In our playoff win over Lakewood, seven different kids scored in that game.
“Conner was a great leader and our senior class as a group really stepped up and embraced our motto of rise up. They’ve set a standard and a foundation that we can continue to build this program from.”
Robinson discussed his development at quarterback over the course of his high school career.
“Freshman year when I went in I was very nervous, scared and I felt like I wasn’t playing up to what I could have been, but that’s part of the growing process,” he said. “Sophomore year, I actually ended up becoming starter, but I was still nervous at that point and wasn’t playing fully as I should have been playing.
“Junior year, I felt like I stepped it up and everything became more clear, more calm and I became more relaxed in the pocket. Then senior year, I completely felt at home on the field and with my teammates.”
Robinson plans to continue working in the weight room and would like to play football at the collegiate level.
While 2020 has been a bumpy year for everyone with COVID-19, it will also go down as a year where the Braves had their first non-losing season since 2015 and won more games than they did in their previous three seasons combined.
“Over the last few years we lacked leadership and the seniors, all of us, together stepped up and showed the underclassmen what this means,” Robinson said. “We were willing to put everything on the line to win and have success.
“We had a fun season, we got on a run, won a playoff game and hopefully this is something the underclassmen can build on.”
Coach Terry Holbert
McGaffney Award Winners
1985 — John Berry, Westfall
1986 — Sean White, Logan Elm
1987 — Shane Roese, Teays Valley
1988 — Bill Currence, Logan Elm
1989 — Lance Gibson, Westfall
1990 — Bill Davis, Westfall
1991 — Shawn Buescher, Westfall
1992 — Brian Dollison, Westfall
1993 — Greg Colburn, Westfall
1994 — Nate Hamman, Circleville
1995 — Billy Hamilton, Circleville
1996 — Lance Heath, Westfall
1997 — Brian Bigam, Circleville
1998 — Gavin Cupp, Logan Elm
1999 — Joe Lewis, Teays Valley
2000 — Matt Colopy, Logan Elm
2001 — Tyler Jenkins, Logan Elm
2002 — Aaron Palmer, Circleville
2003 — Brice Redman, Westfall
2004 — Wade Bartholomew, Westfall
2005 — Evan Blake, Logan Elm
2006 — Kevin Smith, Westfall
2007 — Drew Clanin, Circleville
2008 — D.J. Cain, Westfall
2009 — Johnnie Brown, Logan Elm
2010 — K.C. Hawkins, Circleville
2011 — Anthony Vagnier, Logan Elm
2012 — Trent Williamson, Westfall
2013 — David Burroughs, Circleville
2014 — Anthony Jones, Teays Valley
2015 — Drew Pennington, Teays Valley
2016 — Logan Holbert, Logan Elm
2017 — Brandon Coleman, Teays Valley
2018 — Taylor Robinson, Teays Valley
2019 — Tristan McDanel, Teays Valley
2020 — Conner Robinson, Logan Elm
— Bill McGaffney was a former sports editor at the Circleville Herald.