Christian St. George wasn’t born in Frankford.
But he was born to be a Pioneer.
St. George is a senior at Frankford High School. He enrolled in the school as a sophomore after his family moved from Chicago so his mom could be closer to grandchildren she has living in Philadelphia. Moving is tough, and St. George loved Chicago, but he’s grown to love his new home even more.
“It took a few months to get to know everyone,” St. George said. “But now, we’re all brothers. They’re like family. We are all best friends. I feel like I’ve been here forever.”
St. George has been around for three years and ever since he got there, he’s been helping the Frankford football team. He is 5 feet 7 and weighs 150 pounds, and has worked himself into a good defensive back and wide receiver, both positions he played last year.
But this year, he might play another position.
“During the summer, the coaches asked us if anyone could play quarterback, so I volunteered,” said St. George, who lives near the high school by the Boulevard. “I tried it and I learned a lot. I think the more I did it, the better I got. I won’t play it a lot because we have better quarterbacks, but I think it helped me learn to be a better receiver.
“I wanted to do it because we needed a quarterback. But we’re good there now. I would play anywhere they need me. But I think I help the team more by playing receiver. I think that’s where I’ll be better on offense.”
St. George knows he’ll have to play well this year if the Pioneers want to do better than they did a season ago. Frankford struggled, winning just two games during the 2018 campaign. That’s not good enough for St. George, and it’s also not what Frankford football fans are used to.
But last year, the team was mostly younger players and they were looking to find their way under first-year head coach Bill Sytsma. The team has worked really hard during the offseason to make sure year No. 2 is a much better one.
“We were good last year, but we weren’t winning a lot,” St. George said. “We played a lot of good teams and we got better. We played hard, we just didn’t win some games. I think we’ll be much better this year.”
Not only did the team work hard this offseason, they did it together.
Every Friday night, the team gathered at the school’s football field where they hung out. It was Sytsma’s idea as a way of giving his players a safe spot to hang out and be with their friends. He did this because there were players, both former players and former opponents, who were shot and killed. This gave his players a chance to still have fun, but it also ensured their safety.
It was the perfect way to spend the summer.
“I loved it,” St. George said. “I didn’t make all of them, but when I was there, I loved it. So many people came, it was a lot of fun. We grew closer as a team, and we played a lot of games and had fun. It was great.
“We would mostly play games, but we would talk and have a catch on the field. We always knew we were safe, and we got to become much closer as a team.”
St. George is willing to do anything for his teammates.
But he’s also working hard to help himself.
When he’s not playing football, St. George is working hard at Walmart on the Boulevard just north of Grant Avenue. Believe it or not, the work he puts in at the store helps make him a better football player.
“I mostly stock shelves and help people if they need it,” St. George said. “I do a lot of running around, but I think stocking the shelves helps me with my hands. I think I can catch better because I do that.”
His hours will be cut back a little bit during football season and he hopes his play pays off in the end. Ideally, he’d like to play college football and he’ll be working hard to get some film to send to schools. If he gets money to play, that will make going to college much easier.
“I really want to play in college,” St. George said. “I think I want to major in business, something in that field. I definitely want to play. I want to play as long as I can.”
He knows that means he needs a big year this year.
And he’s fully confident he’ll have a big year and so will the Pioneers.
People might underestimate Frankford because of last year’s record, but St. George is used to surprising people.
“A lot of times when I hit people, they are surprised because I’m not too big, so I like to surprise people,” St. George said. “I think we’ll surprise a lot of people this year. I think we could win a lot of games. My goal is to not just win the Public League championship, but win more than the Public League championship. I think we can beat anyone.
“We are much better than anyone knows. I’m not sure if anyone expects us to win, but I do.”
St. George, who goes by the nickname “Chicago” around the team, is looking forward to showing everyone what he can do. And he also hopes to have a few more fans by the start of the season.
“My family didn’t get to too many games last year, but they’re coming this year,” he said. “I like to think I am (the cool uncle). I want them to come out and see me play. They’ll love it.”