The time has come for senior nights around the region, potentially the final home games for those kids who may or may not get a chance to host in the playoffs.
The seniors at Gladstone watched as freshmen while the Gladiators won the state title in 2014, and last night was the swan song for guys like Walker Melton.
“It's definitely going to be emotional because I sat up in these stands when I was little and watched this game, and now to be out there in front of all of these people and my family, honestly, it's kind of going to suck,” he said. “My mom, I know she is going to be crying, she's going to be a mess."
Melton is one of the captains on the Gladiators squad, playing on both sides of the ball as a tight end and a linebacker.
“I am a super-competitive guy. I love to win, and at Gladstone, we do that quite a bit most of the time,” he said, adding that he preferred defense. “I like to hit people.”
While he may be a big man on campus now, Melton was really tiny at birth, weighing just three pounds and one ounce as he arrived nine weeks early.
“People told me it was kind of a freaky deal,” he explained. “When I was actually born, I was totally blue and not moving at all.”
A born fighter and competitor, Melton learned well from his late grandfather, Ray Melton, who passed away last month at the age of 87.
“I loved football my entire life because of my father and grandfather. It's always been part of theirs,” he told FOX 12. “He definitely kind of gassed me up a little bit in whatever I was doing.”
Melton said his grandfather’s lessons not only taught him about football but also about family and life.
“He was always telling me I was the best on the field and stuff like that. He definitely instilled qualities in me and I definitely took from him,” he said. “Not only being very confident in yourself but also having that chip on your shoulder and not taking crap from anyone so he was a huge part of my life.”
Music is also a big deal in the Melton household. Walker is a drummer, and he said his beats came from gramps.
“Way back a long time ago, he had a few records on the radio. He was a country singer,” he recalled. “I think one is called ‘Chickamauga Mountain.’”
Now college awaits for Melton, with a potential chance to play ball at the Division III level. A big step for someone who started so small.
“I've been dreaming of that since I was tiny.”
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