Nansemond River at Highland Springs Class 5A state football semi

Highland Springs' quarterback, D'Vonte Waller (8) looks for a pass to Shy'Re McKeiver (3) as the team plays against Nansemond River during the first half of Class 5 state football semifinals at Highland Springs High School on Saturday, December 2, 2017.

Star performance: Waller, a senior quarterback, completed 18 of 24 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns as No.1 Highland Springs handled then-No. 3 Henrico 40-6. The Springers are averaging 54.3 points and have allowed just 20 total.

Still growing: Waller continues to grow in stature (6-foot-2 1/2, about 2 ½ inches taller since last year, 187 pounds) and as a quarterback. A tight end/wide receiver/defensive end in middle school who moved to quarterback as a freshman, he became the varsity starter at QB last year – helping the Springers to their third consecutive state title -- and says he’s much more comfortable this season. “I pretty much know what to do,” he said. “I’ve got much more confidence. I feel much better.”

Study hall: Part of his comfort level came from his offseason preparation, and part comes from more experience and increased game preparation. Waller worked on his technique, his footwork, his speed (running laps, dragging a parachute) and on his accuracy and timing with his receivers. He studies video “at least four hours a week,” which is “much more” than last year.

“I want to be a leader of the team, so I’ve got to know my part so I can have everybody on the right track on the field,” he said.

Waller threw for 2,790 yards and 27 touchdowns last season. He also had 12 interceptions. He’s thrown for 1,118 yards and 10 TDs this season. He’s only been intercepted once.

“That’s pretty much studying the coverages,” he said. “I know what’s going to be open and what’s not going to be open. My vision is much better than last year.”

Recruiting trail: Waller said that has picked up since the summer. He has offers from Virginia State and St. Augustine’s and interest from Norfolk State, Virginia Union and N.C. Central.

Future plans: Waller is interested in becoming a wood technology engineer. “When I was younger, I always liked to build things,” he said.

Describes himself as: “A good leader. If people need help, I’m good at helping.”

If he could have dinner with anyone dead or alive: “My grandfather. He passed away [a few years] ago. That would be one of the main people I’d like to see again. I used to be with him every day. Any time I needed something, he was there. He taught me how to go hunting and fishing. He … bought me my first football.”

Results from voting at 804Varsity.com

• D’Vonte Waller, Highland Springs: 983

• Bo Kite, Deep Run: 932

• Brendon Clark, Manchester: 311

• Eric Rankin, Hanover: 287

• K’ymon Pope, Dinwiddie: 107

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Vote for next week’s player of the week between Friday night and Monday night at 804Varsity.com.

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