Flint Beecher's football season ended last week in the district championship with a 41-45 loss to St. Charles; and while the Bucs won't have the privilege of playing in this week's regional finals the season was one for the Beecher community to be proud of. "The loss was tough knowing we were up at halftime but overall I had a fun senior season", states Janero Walker, "We had some growing pains early on but as they season went along we really started to click."
Growing pains is what you can call it when you start a pair of sophomores at running back and a freshman at quarterback. "It was a lot different from last year because we had a veteran team and a senior QB" says Walker. Walker, who has started on offense and defense for the varsity since he was a freshman, was the only returning starter on offense and one of three on the Buc's defense this year. "Honestly, I didn't know what to expect because I knew we were just so young but Coach Hawkins did a good job of teaching the young guys and I'm just proud of how we did overall." says Walker.
Walker also helped out the young fellas by being a big time playmaker on the field for the Bucs. Walker finished the season with 56 catches for 906 yards and 9 TDs to go with a kickoff return for a TD and adding 7 interceptions on defense.
PROGRAM HAS TURNED AROUND
Walkers' freshman season ended with a 1-8 record and his sophomore campaign wasn't much better as the Bucs finished 2-7. But now Beecher has a football program to be proud of. "I was really thinking of transferring after my freshman year but then Coach Hawkins took the job. He has taught me everything I know about football. He taught me technique and how to carry ourselves off the field as well. I have been really privileged because he played the same positions" says Walker.
"My goal was always to play in the playoffs and I have accomplished that" states Walker. Walker has done more than just play in the playoffs, the Bucs have made the postseason that past two years and have won a playoff game in both of those seasons. So while most kids take the easy road of jumping on another school's coat tail, Walker has stuck it out as a Buc and has now reaped the benefits.
Coach Courtney Hawkins did a phenomenal job this season at Beecher finishing the season with a 7-4 record but Walker also had his share in the development of the young guys. "I was raised to be a leader, not a follower. My coaches enforced it on me and I knew it would be my major role this year. I worked with the receivers and that allowed coach to put more focus on other positions. Being a leader has never been a problem for me because it just comes naturally to me," says Walker.
Walker also gives his teammates something else to look up to, besides being a leader in sports, Walker is also a leader in the classroom. The senior is currently carrying a 3.7 GPA and has a cumulative GPA of 3.5.
Now that the Buc's football season is over, Walker has little time to rest to get ready for basketball season. Walker is returning as the starting point guard of a team that fell in the State Championship last year to K-Zoo Christian. "Last year we fell a couple points short at the Breslin, our goal this year is not just to get back to the Breslin but finish what we couldn't last year- win a State Championship!" states Walker.
Walker's job won't be much different in basketball as it was in football. "We are going to be young this year but quicker than we were last year. I will have to be more of a vocal leader then I was last year," says Walker.
Walker, who runs a 4.5 forty flat, has received major interest in multiple sports. "I am currently being recruited by different schools for football, basketball, and track." says Walker. Walker is getting interest from plenty of D-2 schools in basketball like SVSU, Northwood, and Hillsdale.
But his major interest comes in track and football. "I really want to play college football because that's where my heart is. I don't care if I play offense or defense, anything to get on the field," says Walker. Walker is currently getting recruited by Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Toledo, Ball State, Western Michigan, as well as Northwood and Ferris State.
NGS SCOUTING REPORT: Walker is one of those prep athletes that you can't help but wish the best for. As good of an athlete he is, he's an even better person. Janero is a true leader and does whatever is needed in the best interest of the team in any sport he plays.
While I have no doubt that Walker can excel in track or basketball at the next level, I feel his calling is in football as a lock down corner. His techniques are flawless and he has the foot speed to stay with receivers 40 yards downfield.