Valley News Dispatch Defensive Player of the Year: Apollo-Ridge’s Logan Harmon

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Saturday, December 14, 2019 | 7:40 PM


Logan Harmon is in the early stages of his second varsity wrestling season.

The Apollo-Ridge junior is hoping to make the most of the opportunity under the co-op with Armstrong, and that includes as many takedowns as possible.

Harmon was in the habit of taking down many a ball carrier this fall as a 210-pound inside linebacker on the Vikings football team.

He finished with a team-best 92 tackles through 10 games, an average of 9.2 a contest, to help lead Apollo-Ridge to the WPIAL Class 2A playoffs and a 7-4 overall record.

He finished with at least 10 tackles four times, and had a season-best 12 in a key 27-14 victory over East Allegheny that helped the Vikings clinch a home playoff game for the first time since 2014.

Harmon would’ve had a good shot at eclipsing the 100-tackle mark for the season had the Vikings played a regular-season conference game against Shady Side Academy.

The game went down as a forfeit victory as the Indians, at the time, had too many injured players.

Harmon led the team with 10 tackles for a loss, including two sacks.

His productive season tied in with being able to stay healthy and on the field for all 10 games.

Harmon missed four of his team’s 10 games as a sophomore in 2018. Despite that, he was able to record 52 tackles, an average of 8.7 a game.

He was rewarded for his overall efforts this season — he added 1,415 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns on offense — with selection to the Allegheny Conference first team at both linebacker and running back.

Harmon’s defensive prowess this season brings him more honors as he was named the Valley News Dispatch Defensive Player of the Year.

What game stands out most to you this season?

I would have to say Valley. It was a crazy game. The line blocked well, and we were able to run the ball. We were able to get stops on defense when we needed them. It was a great team effort. We were so hyped for that game.

Despite the first-round playoff loss, how special was it to be able to host a playoff game?

It was a special feeling. It hadn’t happened in a couple of years. It was a big goal for the junior class and the whole team. We got it for the seniors.

The defense this year allowed 14 or fewer points six times. What was the key to the unit’s success?

It was definitely a team effort. We had a freshman linebacker playing, and there were a mix of new and returning guys on the line. We had to work together, and we were there for each other.

How do you feel you performed defensively?

I had a lot of tackles, but the important thing was doing whatever I could to help the team win. It was a fun year. I think I met my expectations.

The coaches were confident in your defensive abilities. How did that help you approach each game?

Towards the end of the season, I got moved around a little bit and up on the defensive line. Coach (John Skiba) thought that was best for the team, and he wanted me to keep making plays. I just wanted to play well, no matter where I was lined up.

What do you feel is your best skill as a defensive player?

Definitely scraping and getting off blocks to find the ball and hustling to make a play. I always come into a collision confident that I am going to take (the ball carrier) down and win the battle.

Who was the toughest player you faced this year?

I would say (running back) Jax Miller from Avonworth. He was a pretty tough kid and a hard-nosed ball player.

What was the best offense you faced this year?

Avonworth was a pretty well put together team with a lot of weapons. They were tough to stop.

You were pretty healthy this year after missing four games last year. How important was it to be able to stay on the field playing two high-collision positions such as linebacker and running back?

I was happy to avoid any injuries and be able to stay on the field for my team. We all rely on each other out there.

Do you look up to or pattern your game after any particular defensive player in college or the NFL?

I like to watch (Carolina Panthers linebacker) Luke Kuechly play. He’s always in the right spot to make plays and do his thing. He’s always flying around to the football.

Do you have a favorite college or pro team?

Pitt football.

Are you looking forward to the Quick Lane Bowl against Eastern Michigan?

Yes. I am excited whenever they are playing.

Another wrestling season is in full swing. What are the goals and expectations for you on the mat after qualifying for the WPIAL Class AAA tournament and making the consolation semifinals (195) last year?

It’s a whole new year, and everything I learned last year carried over quickly. There is a lot to build on. I want to get back to WPIALs and qualify for states.

With all the Christmas cookies and candy and just a lot to eat at this festive time of the year, are you able to stay disciplined?

With wrestling, it’s hard. I have to be careful. I love to eat. I can still eat a little bit here and there, but I have to make sure to work out and work it off. It’s about finding that right balance.

If you could only get one gift for Christmas, what would it be?

Tickets to watch the Steelers play.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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