Last basketball season, while Steve Egee was in the midst of leading Ridley to a 20-10 record and a berth in the PIAA Class AAAA state tournament, thoughts of football were already on his mind.
That is because Egee's football-playing friends, including Andrew Hodges and Rob Lamey, to name just two, were gently prodding him into returning to the gridiron as a senior.
"They weren't really pressuring me, but they did influence me somewhat," said Egee, a Division I recruit in basketball who sat out football his junior season.
In June, Egee made official his decision to play quarterback for the Green Raiders this season. As a sophomore, he played defensive back and served as a backup to prolific passer Al Humes.
"I discussed it with my family and I decided I wanted to do it," Egee said. "I knew Coach [John] Waller's door was always open. He welcomed me back with open arms."
Thanks in large part to Egee's play this season, Ridley is two games away from winning a state championship. In a battle of unbeatens, the Green Raiders (13-0) will face District 11's Parkland (14-0) in a Class AAAA semifinal today at noon at J. Birney Crum Stadium in Allentown.
"This season has been special," Egee said. "It's great for the program, the school, the community. Everyone is really excited."
With Egee at the controls, Ridley, ranked No. 1 in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer, went 9-0 and repeated as Central League champion. The squad won its first District 1 title by blanking West Chester Henderson, 19-0, last week.
Showing a strong arm and the ability to run, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Egee has completed 124 of 183 passes (67.8 percent) for 1,759 yards and 19 touchdowns. He has thrown six interceptions.
"He's really grown as a quarterback as the season has gone along," said Waller, who was a standout QB for Ridley in 1963 and 1964. "He's been outstanding in the playoffs."
In a district semifinal victory against Neshaminy, Egee connected on 15 of 20 passes for 203 yards and a score. He was 13 for 17 for 215 yards and two TDs in a quarterfinal win over Glen Mills.
For the most part, Egee is a quiet leader.
"He's cool under pressure, doesn't get too excited," said Hodges, a star running back and linebacker. "He may not say too much, but he definitely takes control of things in the huddle."
Over the summer, while still finding some time to play AAU basketball, Egee lifted weights with the team and was tutored by Waller and offensive coordinator Brian Thompson.
"Getting my timing and rhythm down, adjusting to the speed of the game, the mental aspects of being a quarterback - those were the toughest things," Egee said.
In basketball, Egee, a combination guard, has scholarship offers from Albany and Hartford. He has made an official visit to Columbia. Princeton and William & Mary are other possibilities. His brother, Kevin, is a junior guard at Penn.
"I've had a lot of fun playing football, but my future is in basketball," Steve Egee said. "It's my first love. It's the sport I want to play for the next four years."
Today's game can be seen live in parts of Delaware County on RCN8. Replays of the game will be televised today at 5 p.m. and tomorrow at 3 p.m.