Football player running behind blocker
Danville senior Walker Weckesser throws a pass during a game earlier this season against East Knox. Weckesser was named Knox Pages Athlete of the Month for October. Credit: Grant Ritchey

Knox Pages will select one student athlete to be recognized as the Park National Bank Athlete of the Month during the 2023-24 school year. Nominations for Athlete of the Month are accepted from Athletic Directors and Coaches, but are ultimately chosen by Knox Pages and are based on the student’s exceptional athletic performance, effective teamwork and achievement in their communities. Park National Bank is proud to support this initiative and is giving the athletic department of each school $1,000 in honor of each athlete chosen.

DANVILLE – The honor could be given to any of his Danville Blue Devil teammates. In fact, Walker Weckesser is the type of person that would be just fine with honoring a teammate rather than himself.

But he’s the quarterback of a team that is now 12-0 and is one win away from its second straight regional championship game. And he’s responsible for more of Danville’s points than anyone else. He also anchors a defense that has repeatedly shut down any potent offense it faces.

So, Weckesser is the natural choice for Knox Pages’ Athlete of the Month for October.

“It is amazing, but it could have gone to anyone,” Weckesser said when he learned of the award. “It’s great to be with these guys.”

Weckesser surpassed 2,000 yards from scrimmage late in last week’s 32-6 regional quarterfinal victory over Springfield. So far this season, he is 88 for 150 in the air for 1,352 yards and 18 touchdowns. On the ground, he’s averaging 6.5 yards per carry – 658 yards on 103 attempts, and another 15 touchdowns.

Defensively, Weckesser has five tackles for loss and four interceptions. He leads a defense that gives up an average of 13.1 points per game.

“It’s been so cool to watch this kid grow the past two years,” Danville head coach Matt Blum said. “The kids will follow him wherever he goes. That’s how much respect he has as a leader.

“He is the type of kid I want as my quarterback. He’s tough as nails. He’s vocal. And he leads the kids the right way.”

In many ways, Weckesser is your typical high school senior. Away from the bright lights of Friday night, Weckesser can frequently be seen in God’s country, seeking out his latest hunt – usually deer. He has yet to bag a buck, but he doesn’t mind, considering he hunts for the meat.

The journey to this point began 11 years ago, when young Weckesser first strapped on some pads after attending first grade. His size made him a natural at lineman, which he played for the first few years.

Later in his primary school days, he had his first shot at quarterback. Sometimes, it’s as much who as you, as what you know.

“My cousin was the head coach, so he let me,” Weckesser said. “It just went on from there.”

Weckesser, always humble, doesn’t pick out one special play or single event that stands out in his career. Instead, Weckesser takes a different approach.

“Mostly, it’s all about what I wish I could take back, and what I could do better,” he said.

The Blue Devils have their longest road trip yet to look forward to – a visit to Perry High School in Massillon to take on Lowellville in Friday’s Division VII regional semifinal. Lowellville is 11-1 with its only loss coming to Western Reserve – the same team it beat last Friday in the quarterfinals.

But the Blue Devils are on a roll.

Nine of their 12 victories are by 30 points or more. And which the notable exception of the Devil-Dog Mud Bowl two weeks ago, Danville has scored at least four touchdowns in every game all season.

Weckesser is a big reason for this. But the Athlete of the Month won’t take credit for it.

“This could have gone to anyone on my team. They’re all the reason I got it,” Weckesser said. “The receivers who catch the ball. The linemen who block. The defense who shuts down the run. Anyone could have had it. The rest of the team is deserving of it.”

Bill Davis was born and raised in California. He is a graduate of Ball State with a degree in Journalism. The former sports editor of the Mount Vernon News, his three children attend Mount Vernon City...