More than a few of the participants from the recent Licking County-Muskingum Valley All-Star Football Game donned a football uniform for the last time.

More than a few of the participants from the recent Licking County-Muskingum Valley All-Star Football Game donned a football uniform for the last time.

It appears that Licking Heights High School graduate Dan Pennington, the Division III district Offensive Player of the Year last fall, was a member of that group.

Moreover, that realization was probably even more difficult to bear given the fact that Licking County lost 21-20 when it failed to convert a two-point conversion in the final minutes of the game July 23 at Newark's White Field.

At one point in Pennington's career, a wide array of college coaches from every level showed interest in him. Injuries have taken a toll, however, and now he's far less confident that playing at the next level would be a worthwhile venture for either himself or any team recruiting him.

"I'm not sure I want to put myself through it. I'm not sure how much I could help, anyway," said Pennington, who blocked a punt and recovered it for a touchdown in the fourth quarter before having the play erased by an offsides call. "I'm just not sure I'm comfortable with that situation anymore."

Pennington rushed for 1,905 yards and 28 touchdowns as a senior last fall. But he underwent surgery on his right shoulder following his sophomore baseball season. That injury has been aggravated a couple of times since, and last football season he injured his left shoulder. He said the labrum ligaments were torn in both cases.

Still, Pennington enjoyed another banner baseball season last spring, even if the additional wear and tear probably didn't help. He batted .506 with three home runs and 29 RBI. A four-year starter in both sports, he moved from shortstop to center field during his junior season to save the strain on his throwing shoulder.

"No regrets, though," Pennington said. "I'm really not looking back wondering, 'What if?'"

Three other Hornets, including Ohio University's Alex Kielmeyer, also were invited to play in the all-star game. The others were Edwin Kamara and Shawn Duprae.

Kielmeyer, another four-year football starter who will walk-on at this month's training camp in Athens as a long snapper, said playing with his longtime friends one final time brought mixed emotions.

"The last few days, yeah, I've been thinking a little more about what we're leaving behind," he said. "It's nice knowing we have a legacy, though."

In fact, the 2010 class posted a cumulative 30-12 record. That makes it the school's second-winningest group behind the 1993 class, which put together a 33-7 mark. The 2007 team finished 10-2 and won the school's first playoff game.

"I think we definitely left our mark," said Kamara, who will attend Bluffton. "But it's kind of hard to believe we're done."

Pennington, who is still considering trying to catch on with the semi-pro central Ohio Spartans, had more reason than most to play the all-star game with a heavy heart.

His oldest brother, Eddie Pennington, graduated in 2002 and starred as a running back on the school's first playoff-qualifying team when he was a senior. Another brother, Logan Pennington, was a lineman before graduating in 2006. "I've had 12 years of Licking Heights football," Dan said. "It's hard walking away."