WESTTOWN >> One quick glance on the practice field at West Chester Rustin, and it would be hard to see anything other than the blur of a human being carrying the football down the far sidelines.
The flat-out speed is breathtaking to watch, even from a distance. So imagine what it looks like if you’re a defender trying to stop it.
That is the challenge for anyone facing West Chester Rustin senior running back Drew Gallen, who has transferred his blinding track & field speed to the fields of the Ches-Mont League.
During the junior indoor track season, Gallen won medals in the 100 and 200 meter sprints and runs a 4.4 40-yard dash. Last season, as a Golden Knights running back, Gallen galloped for 857 yards, scored eight touchdowns and was the main man for a team that advanced to the semifinals of the District 1 Class 5A playoffs, where its season ended in a heartbreaking loss to Academy Park.
“I like both track and football but I am a track runner at heart,” Gallen said. “And running track my whole life has really helped me on the football field. Things like acceleration on the football field and straight line sprints have been a little easier because of my track training. I have speed-trained my entire life and you can apply some of those principles to running with the football.”
West Chester Rustin has been a winning football program since its inception in 2006, and Gallen is looking forward to a successful senior year for himself and his teammates, now that the season is a go after being postponed since August 28 due to the COVID-19 virus.
“We have a lot of good senior leadership on this team and guys who want to play in college,” Gallen said. “Two years ago when I was a sophomore we came up a yard short in our playoff game and last year we went to the third round of the playoffs before losing a close game to Academy Park. We want to get over that hurdle this season and win the District 1 5A championship.”
Gallen is getting major college looks from a lot of Patriot League schools, and right now he says the top two colleges after him are Bucknell and the United States Military Academy. He says he will make up his mind later in the season, and is focusing solely on his senior year as the Golden Knights’ prime running back.
“There are some similar feelings from running track and playing football,” Gallen says. “Sometimes, when a play breaks open and I can see the end zone, it’s like I am running in a track meet. The end zone is my finish line.”