Sophomore Mark Cheffers Makes the “Naples Daily News!”

Here’s a nice article about our own Mark Cheffers from the Naples Daily News.  Congrats Mark, and GO ROCKS!!!  (At the time of this writing, the team is headed to Cape Coral for another playoff game!)

Donahue Academy Wide Receiver a True Play Maker 
by Andrew Sodergren
Updated Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:59 AM EST

The Donahue Academy football team in Ave Maria is poised for a deep playoff run, and sophomore wide receiver Mark Cheffers is a big reason why.

Cheffers isn’t the biggest kid, standing 5-foot-10 and weighing 155 pounds, but he certainly plays big.

That was certainly evident in the Shamrocks’ regular-season finale Nov. 6 against Clearwater Academy International, the top team in the 8-man division of the Florida Christian Association of Private and Parochial Schools (FCAPPS). Both Donahue Academy and the Clearwater squad entered the game unbeaten at 9-0, but the Shamrocks’ opponent was the clear favorite after outscoring the opposition 580-58 in nine games. Donahue Academy fought hard early, before losing 68-38, giving the Knights their biggest test by far this season.

Cheffers was a big reason why, catching three touchdown passes and posting 214 receiving yards.

“That was a big game for me,” Cheffers said. “I was just running the routes and (quarterback) Elias Allan was getting the ball to me in perfect spots. I really didn’t play much better that game than in the others, I just happened to get the ball more.”

The Shamrocks entered Friday night’s second-round playoff game with Cape Coral-Oasis with a 10-1 record. Donahue defeated Oasis 50-14 earlier in the season, and the Shamrocks are hoping to eventually get another shot at Clearwater Academy International.

“We both came into the first game undefeated but we had seen they had beaten the teams we beat by more,” Cheffers said. “We studied a lot of film on them, but you’re never quite sure about an opponent until you see them on the field. It was really good to see them in person, and it definitely gave us a little more confidence that we could play with them.”

Shamrocks coach Rich Scanlon said the Knights came away impressed with Cheffers.

“Their coaches told me, ‘We’ve got great defensive backs and we still couldn’t stop him’,” he said. “Mark has great athletic ability. He isn’t the fastest guy, but his body position is outstanding. He knows how to box people out and how to win those one-on-one routes. He’s also got great body control. When he’s up in the air, he’s got that ability to outleap the opponent.”

Cheffers, who gained valuable experience starting as a freshman last year, said he came into the year with modest expectations. He worked hard with Allan in the offseason, building what was already a strong rapport.

“Me and Elias would go over to the field, I’d run routes and he’d throw to me,” Cheffers said. “Little things like that built up the chemistry we have now.”

Cheffers said he developed good hands from an early age.

“My brother Tom was a pitcher in baseball, so he could throw pretty hard,” Cheffers said. “He’d take me out to the back yard and throw the football to me. So I was already pretty used to catching the football ever since I was a little kid. I just got the general knack for catching the football and knowing where the ball is going to be.”

One of the hallmarks separating the great players from the good or average ones is a strong desire to work. Cheffers has that in spades, checking off a list of qualities he’d like to see improve in the coming years.

“I can always work on my hands, you can never put too much work in there,” he said. “Obviously, I’d like to get faster and get a little bigger too. I’d like to break more tackles and make even more big plays.”


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