On the run

Published 8:20 pm Friday, October 22, 2021

Packers running back Joseph Walker has emerged as a play-maker

When Austin senior Joseph Walker gets outside the tackles, head coach Ed Schmitt used to cringe.

Now Schmitt often finds himself celebrating those moments.

Walker, who played running back and linebacker for the Packer football team during his junior season, has emerged as the team’s top play-maker this season, putting together a highlight reel of cut-back bursts of speed that have left opponents dizzy.

“His vision has gotten so much better. Last year I would get on him for bouncing it outside, but this year I don’t get as mad, because he’s looking at the linebackers and making things happen,” Austin head coach Ed Schmitt said. “He’s done a tremendous job.”

Walker ran for 84 yards and three scores in just one half of action in a 45-6 win over Albert Lea Wednesday, and it was a relief for him and the Packers, who were winless up until that point.

Those seven losses haven’t dampered the spirit of Walker, who has played football ever since youth football.

“It’s always been a lot of fun and I’ve had a lot of friends through football,” Walker said. “I still miss playing defense, but that’s a price to pay.”

Walker has been elusive, but he’s also been running behind an improved offensive line that has given him time to read the defense. That hasn’t been lost on him.

“Every week the offensive line comes out and competes and all of the credit goes to them,” Walker said.

As Walker finishes his Packer career on a strong note, he has others looking on and looking up to him. Austin freshman Sam Winkels has played linebacker already for Austin’s varsity squad, but he also has his eyes on the running back spot in his future.

Winkels said that Walker is as good of an example to follow as you can find.

“He’s somebody I want to be like, but being the next guy in line, he’s a guy I want to be better than. Because I always want to be better,” Winkels said “He’s a great captain, a really good athlete and I hope to be as successful as him one day.”