Dragons’ lineman signs with Mount St. Joseph –
Story and photo by Mark Carpenter –
Feb. 1 was National Signing Day for college football recruits with schools like Alabama, Ohio State, and Notre Dame grabbing most of the publicity, but right here in Adams County a signing took place that was just as important in the eyes of local gridiron followers.
While all of those big-name recruits come from high school with school-sponsored OHSAA football programs, West Union’s Andrew Weeks did not have that luxury. The West Union football program has not yet been sanctioned, but even so being a mainstay of the program for four years got Weeks noticed and last Wednesday in a ceremony at the high school, the Dragon senior signed his letter of intent to continue his football career at the collegiate level.
When the 2017 season rolls around, Weeks will be suiting up in the colors of Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, part of that team’s future as an offensive lineman. The anchor of the West Union line battled a shoulder injury which required surgery his senior year, but is now healed and cleared to dig his way back into the trenches.
“The Mount invited me to their camp last summer and after I went there and competed, I got an offer at the end of the camp,” said Weeks. “Their coaches kept in touch with me and the Mount just seemed like the right place, it seemed like home. With the different offense that they play, I will probably get moved out to tackle instead of playing guard.”
“It’s really awesome to make it this far because I was against the odds at all times but I was able to work hard and make it.”
One of the men who Weeks credits with his success is his grandfather Steve Darby, who has quite a distinguished football career of his own and was instrumental in helping to get the program re-started in West Union.
Speaking of his grandfather, Weeks says, “If it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t have ever started playing football. His love for the game inspired me to play the game.”
Another man who deserves credit for his success, according to the West Union senior, is West Union football head coach Scott McFarland.
“If Scott had never started the program, I would have never gotten the opportunity and I deeply appreciate everything he has done for me.”
“Andrew has been our leader for the last four years,” says Coach McFarland. “He took charge, set the example, and earned the respect of his teammates early on. We will certainly miss that leadership. His work ethic, his character, his play on the field, he was just the total package and I can certainly understand why colleges would be very interested in his talent.”
“He’s one of those ‘gym rats’ as we say in sports, first kid there, last one to leave, always doing extra reps and hitting the weight room on his own. He was always willing to put in the work to reach his potential.”
“I think this is huge, not only for our program, but for the county in general,” McFarland continued. “What gets me excited is that our younger kids can see that if they work really hard, these kinds of opportunities can be there. This is just another opportunity for kids who may not be interested in the sports that are currently offered. It’s big for our program, we’re now on the map with colleges. They know our program and they know our kids.”
The Division III Mount St. Joseph Lions are members of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference and finished 6-4 in the 2016 season.
While at the Mount, Weeks will be studying Physical Therapy.