He may not be the biggest guy on the field, but the Archbishop Ryan senior never let that stop him.
Chris Reed never lets his team down.
Reed is a senior on the Archbishop Ryan High School football team and last year when the Raiders found themselves without a starting quarterback, Reed jumped right in.
And he did more than just manage the game. He actually quarterbacked the Raiders to the Catholic League Class 5A championship game.
This year, he came into the season as the starter, but after a few games, Ryan moved super athlete Jahill Sanders, a junior, to quarterback.
Reed didn’t pout. He went all out.
“I feel it was my job to help him and do whatever I could to make sure he’s ready to play,” said Reed, who starts at safety and chips in at receiver. “When he got the job, I knew I could still help out. I don’t care where they play me, as long as I’m part of the team. I loved playing quarterback, but I love playing the other positions, too. I’m just here to play with the guys I’ve played with my whole life.”
Reed, a Bustleton native, still sees some snaps at quarterback.
Other times, he lines up wide and gives Sanders a weapon.
He also has become a ball-hawking safety who disrupts other teams when they’re passing and delivers big hits.
He might not be the biggest guy on the field, but he definitely is fearless.
“I love playing defense because I finally get to hit people,” said Reed, who stands 5 feet 10 and weighs 150 pounds. “I think sometimes people are a little surprised when I hit them because I’m not the biggest guy out there.
“Last year, I was taking a lot of hits and I wasn’t able to give any because they kept me off defense because they needed a quarterback. This year, I’m able to play defense and hit people.”
He’s also a coach on the field.
Reed is a captain, and the other players look to him for leadership. He got a taste of it last year, but this year he’s much more demonstrative.
“I’m a senior and a captain, so I’m now able to yell when we need to get fired up, I’m a lot different as a leader this year than I was last year,” he said. “Last year, I was a leader because I was the quarterback. That comes with the position. This year, I do it because it’s one of my jobs.”
Another task is to make sure Sanders is ready. Reed played in big games last year, including contests against Archbishop Wood, St. Joe’s Prep and La Salle, as well as a playoff game against Archbishop Carroll.
He learned a lot by playing against the best teams in the area, and this year he’s passing that on to Sanders.
“The more I can help him, the better we’ll be,” Reed said. “He’s a great quarterback. Once he got the job, I was going to support him 100 percent. I’m helping him any way I can, and he’s doing really well.”
Ryan coach Frank McArdle isn’t surprised Reed has been so helpful to Sanders, but it’s definitely appreciated.
“Forget what he brings to the defense, Chris Reed brings so much to our team,” McArdle said. “He’s what high school football is all about. He means so much to our football team. He’s a great leader and he’s Jahill’s biggest fan and supporter. He’s helped him every way you can.”
He has, and prior to the start of the season, there was a chance he wasn’t even going to play.
While Reed is a huge part of what the Raiders do in football, it’s not his main sport. His true passion is baseball, where he is a second baseman. Football is a rough sport, and because Reed plans on playing baseball in college, he considered forgoing his senior year and focusing on baseball.
“I thought about it, I talked with my parents, and I just decided I couldn’t not be here with these guys,” said Reed, who helped Ryan reach the Catholic League semifinals in baseball last year. “I wasn’t close to not playing. I just had to think about it. I wanted to finish my senior year with these guys. It wasn’t a tough choice.”
Reed said he would also consider playing football in college if the opportunity presents itself, and he’ll be very busy while studying electrical engineering.
And if his high school career is any indication, Reed could have a career in coaching.
“I’ve always studied sports, I just have fun with it,” Reed said. “I’ve always been that way. I just like to figure things out.”
“If he’s an idiot, he’ll get into coaching, but he’d be great at it,” McArdle said with a laugh. “He’s got such a great attitude, no ego, no job is too big, no job is too small. He’s what high school football is all about, and he does so many different things for us.” ••