For St. C.’s Shunk it doesn’t matter if it’s sports or music

Saying Derek Shunk excels in everything he does might still be selling him short.

The St. Clairsville senior defensive tackle is enjoying a fine season on the field for the Red Devils, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg of this young man’s talents.

Along with football, throw in academics, drama and maybe where he shines the most – music – and it’s easy to see the full plate Shunk faces each week.

But, he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“My mom loves music and got me interested in guitar, but my dad loves football and sports, so he got me into that part of it,” Shunk said. “Both music and football are passions for me.”

As the Red Devils prepare for this week’s trip to Edison at 6-0, Shunk has become quite adept at balancing his time between football and music practice, as well as academics.

“After practice, I go home work on my school work and music,” Shunk said. “Honestly, I just go home after practice and start playing music. Sometimes, I get over-whelmed with everything, but for the most part, I am able to do both pretty well.”

Shunk, who owns five different guitars, has been playing the instrument since he was five. While he put up a little resitance early on in the process, he’s loved every second of it since.

“Scott Reed, at C.A. Music House, was my teacher and my mom kind of forced me to play it and stick with it, but eventually I just started to love it,” Shunk said. “I’ve not stopped since, but it took about a year.”

Wanting to take on a bigger role in music, Shunk started singing three years ago, and has since been a three-year member of St. C. Singers and two-year member of Sweet Harmony Music Group. He also held one of the lead roles in the St. Clairsville production of Grease last spring.

“I was one of the T-Birds, and as long as time allows, I would love to be in the musical again in the spring,” Shunk admitted.

Shunk is a member of the “Arise” Praise and Worship Band at East Richland Friends Church, where he plays lead guitar. He’s also part of the “Ignite” Praise and Worship Band, which performs during Saturday night services at the church.

“I’ve been with those bands three years,” Shunk said.

Along with those bands, Shunk also performed an accoustic set at an area restaurant/bar during the summer.

“My uncle knew the owner, and he helped me set up, and I went down and played,” Shunk said. “It was pretty fun, but I like the church setting better. That’s what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

Obviously, Shunk doesn’t just look at music as a hobby. He’s working and hopes to make it a career one day.

“I would like to attend Belmont University in Nashville,” Shunk explained. “I hope to study audio engineering and Christian Worship with hopes of working in the music business.”

When Shunk steps on the field at defensive tackle, he’s all business in trying to help the Red Devils be as successful as possible.

“We’ve been playing well as a team, and when we need to, we all come together and make big plays,” Shunk said. “We just have to continue to go out and play relentlessly, which has been our motto.”

Relentless is a good word for Shunk because that’s how he approaches everything with which he’s involved.

Staskey can be reached at