He had speed and power, vision and balance.

He was a born running back, with a name as good as his game.

But one thing above all else was special about former St. Joseph’s Prep star D’Andre Swift: He was at his best when it mattered most.

D'Andre Swift (with trophy) and the St. Joseph's Prep celebrating after their victory over Pittsburgh Central Catholic in the PIAA Class 6A State Championship at HersheyPark Stadium on Dec. 10, 2016.
CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
D'Andre Swift (with trophy) and the St. Joseph's Prep celebrating after their victory over Pittsburgh Central Catholic in the PIAA Class 6A State Championship at HersheyPark Stadium on Dec. 10, 2016.

It wasn’t just that Swift ran for 1,564 yards and 25 touchdowns and caught another nine scoring passes — despite going three games without a carry because of an ankle injury — in leading St. Joseph’s Prep to the first 14-0 season in program history and the first PIAA Class 6A title in 2016.

It wasn’t just that Swift generated 4,112 career rushing yards and helped the Hawks win three state titles in his four seasons.

Swift is the Southeastern Pennsylvania Football Player of the Decade because of his impeccable timing. He came to define the Hawks’ big-game success because of his uncanny knack for making big plays in big moments.

Before enrolling at the University of Georgia, where he has run for 1,000 yards as both a sophomore and junior, Swift put together a final scholastic season for the ages.

D'Andre Swift leaping over Parkland's Juan Salas-Negron during the third quarter of a PIAA Class 6A state quarterfinal on Nov. 26, 2016.
LOU RABITO / Staff
D'Andre Swift leaping over Parkland's Juan Salas-Negron during the third quarter of a PIAA Class 6A state quarterfinal on Nov. 26, 2016.

In his first game back to close to full health after the ankle injury, Swift ran for 272 yards on 19 carries (14.3 yards per carry) and scored seven touchdowns in a 63-35 win over Catholic League archrival La Salle.

In the state tournament, Swift took his game to another level, running for 747 yards on 76 carries with nine touchdowns in three games.

He ran for 318 yards in the state quarterfinals vs. Parkland. He went for 268 yards, with three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, in the state semifinals vs. North Penn. And he finished his career with 161 yards and three touchdowns in the championship game victory over Pittsburgh’s Central Catholic.

“The best football player I’ve ever coached," former St. Joseph’s Prep head coach Gabe Infante, now an assistant coach at Temple, said of Swift when the running back’s career came to an end with another victory on another cold December night in Hersheypark Stadium.

Coach Gabe Infante taking an early shower, thanks to star running back D'Andre Swift, after St. Joseph's Prep won the 2016 state title.
CHARLES FOX/Staff Photographer
Coach Gabe Infante taking an early shower, thanks to star running back D'Andre Swift, after St. Joseph's Prep won the 2016 state title.