When Quameer Francis is not on the football field, he spends some of his free time drawing sketches and checking out the work of his favorite artists.
The senior two-way lineman takes a fine arts class at Conwell-Egan and last school year placed first in a competition for his sketch in the printmaking category. "It was of a heart with a king's crown above it and angel wings surrounding it," Francis said.
Putting his sketch pads and drawing tools aside for now, Francis is focused on doing his part to keep the Eagles' Cinderella run in the playoffs alive.
Conwell-Egan (7-6) will take on District 3's Middletown (13-0) in a PIAA Class 3A semifinal at 1 p.m. Saturday at West Chester Rustin. "I think we've surprised people by getting this far, especially with as many young players as we have," Francis said.
Francis and Co. overcame a 1-3 start to the season. "We didn't click very well as a team at the beginning of the year," the 6-foot-2, 260-pounder said. "But we kept getting better and better."
The soft-spoken Francis, who is a four-year varsity member, shines as an offensive tackle and defensive end. "He's super strong, a hard worker, a leader, and a great student," Conwell-Egan coach Jack Techtmann said.
The Eagles advanced to the semis with Saturday's 34-17 triumph over District 11's Palisades. They won despite being penalized 22 times for 246 yards. The previously undefeated Pirates were flagged only five times for 45 yards.
"It's not the first time something like that has happened," Francis said. "But whatever happens, we just try to move on to the next play."
Freshman two-way back Andrew Garwo was ejected late in the fourth quarter when an official deemed that he threw a punch after carrying the ball and getting up from the pile.
By rule, due to the ejection, Garwo would have to sit out vs. Middletown. But Techtmann said that video of the play shows the rookie did not throw a punch, and the school has appealed the ruling to the PIAA.
"I think that it's a long shot that he'll play on Saturday, but I felt like I owed it to the kid to try to right a wrong," Techtmann said.
Garwo's brother, Patrick, is a standout for the Eagles at running back. The 5-foot-10, 200-pound junior has carried 225 times for 1,838 yards and 24 touchdowns. "His speed and strength make him really special," Francis said.
In addition to Francis, the offensive line features fellow tackle J.T. Lavish, center Gino Turchi, guard Chauncey Kratee, and tight ends Sam Schurr and Chuck Layton
Conwell-Egan has rushed for nearly 3,300 yards this season. "Up front, we work and communicate well with each other well," Francis said.
The defensive charge is led by a line rotation that includes Francis, Kratee, Dwayne Majors, Ross Logan, and David Blay. Linebackers Patrick Garwo, Schurr, Silvio Shaw, and Dajuan Harris are solid playmakers.