Curtis Drake is thinking of studying architecture in college. With the way he played quarterback for West Catholic, improvising on the fly and regularly using his creative powers to produce long gains, it certainly seems as if it would be a good fit.
"I've always been able to do sketches and other artistic things," he said. "If I could one day make a career out of it, that would be great."
Drake was quite the artist on the gridiron, always with a flair for brilliance. His speed, athleticism and quick-thinking ability made him a dual-threat quarterback of major proportions.
This season, the 6-foot, 165-pound senior topped the 1,000-yard mark in both rushing and passing while leading the Burrs to a 14-2 record and the PIAA Class AA state championship game. He provided an eye-popping 36 touchdowns.
For his head-turning efforts and leadership, Drake is The Inquirer's Southeastern Pennsylvania football player of the year.
"When he had the ball in his hands, you always knew he was capable of making the big play," said Brian Fluck, West Catholic's head coach.
Yes, Drake was an incredible playmaker and home-run passer. The 17-year-old from Mount Airy rushed 115 times for 1,639 yards (a whopping average of 14.3 yards) and 21 touchdowns. He could also burn foes with his arm, as he connected on 63 of 104 passes (60.6 percent) for 1,354 yards and 15 scores.
While the lightning-quick field general had many memorable outings, his performance in a state semifinal playoff against Lancaster Catholic was one for the books. On only 10 carries, he rushed for 187 yards and three TDs, including a 92-yard jaunt in the fourth quarter, and threw for another TD as the Burrs blitzed the Crusaders, 37-14.
Many of West Catholic's offensive sets were designed to make the most of No. 2's skills: the bootleg series, the lead keeper, the option series, the shotgun draw, etc.
"Once he gets through the line of scrimmage, it's all him," Fluck said. "When people came after him, he made them miss."
Not surprisingly, Drake said one of his favorite college players is West Virginia's Pat White, a terrific running and throwing quarterback.
"I've always liked watching him," Drake said. "He can run, of course, but people overlook that he's a 70 percent passer."
If opponents overlooked Drake as a thrower, they were usually burned. In his career, he passed for nearly 3,300 yards and 41 touchdowns.
"He was by no means a one-dimensional quarterback," Fluck said. "His numbers tell you all you need to know. He's a very underrated passer."
At Penn State, Drake is expected to be used as a wide receiver. He says playing wideout his first couple of years with the Oak Lane Youth Association Wildcats and getting reps at that spot for West Catholic's scout team will aid in that transition.
"I have to be ready to play wherever I'm needed," he said. "In the off-season, I'm going to work out a lot, lift weights, run spring track. I'm going to do whatever it takes to succeed at the next level."