Favorite athlete: Luke Keuchly
Favorite team: Eagles
Favorite memory competing in sports: Breaking the 27-game losing streak.
Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports: One coach I had wasn’t afraid to hit with kids who had pads on. It was always funny when he would crack a kid who was fully padded when he was wearing his work clothes.
Music on mobile device: Classic Rock, Alternative rock, country, everything in between
Future plans: Attend college, study economics, finance, or business.
Words to live by: “You get what you work for”
One goal before turning 30: Leave a positive impact on those I interact with
One thing people don’t know about me: Most people think I'm a serious, no nonsense type of guy all the time. In reality, those who really know me realize I’m kind of a goofy, laidback person
By Ed Morrone
Like the William Tennent football program over the past two years, Andrew Forr has undergone a transformation of sorts.
The Panthers infamously lost 27 consecutive games from 2015-17, and while Forr was not a part of any of those varsity squads, he was more than familiar with the perennial cloud of losing that had permeated the program. Forr played jayvee as a freshman and sophomore, and those teams never won either.
Last season as a junior, Forr, a linebacker who also plays some fullback as well as on special teams, won his first varsity game when Tennent snapped the streak in a victory over Upper Moreland. It was a good start, but like the team, Forr had many miles to go and refused to let himself become satisfied and complacent. He and his teammates loved the feeling of triumph, and to keep that mindset going, Forr refused to rest on his laurels.
The Panthers would win just one more game in 2018, but now steadily heading in the right direction, Forr and his teammates took it upon themselves to do everything possible to make themselves better along the way. Forr led the team in tackles and was named third team all-league, but at the same time still had a lot to learn about the game itself.
“The biggest strides Drew has made have been in the mental aspect of the game,” said second-year head coach Rich Clemens, who was hired before the 2018 season to help reverse the tradition of losing festering within the program. “Prior to me getting there, he had played in a very different system and was basically starting from ground zero in terms of football IQ. By the end of his junior year he had learned the entire defense. Now, he understands the game to the point where it’s like having another coach out there on the field.”
Clemens told a story about when he got hired as the football coach at Tennent, one of the first people he met in the weight room was Forr. Clemens didn’t even know Forr was a football player at the time, but once the coach discovered who the Panthers’ linebacker was, he found it remarkable that Forr would already be back in the weight room training after multiple seasons of nothing but losses.
“I couldn’t be prouder of him, his work ethic and his dedication,” Clemens said. “This program hadn’t won a game in two full seasons, and he’s in the weight room the day after the season ends focusing on getting himself better. Him and a couple of other guys are leaving a legitimate legacy that when they leave, they’re leaving something behind for the underclassmen to continue building.”
Forr is your prototypical “work hard, say little” football player, preferring to lead by example and let his actions — and not his mouth — do the talking. He is all business in every aspect of his life, and his no-nonsense approach has paid major dividends. It was the hard work and the bring-your-lunch-pail-and-hard hat mentality, that would allow this former mess of a program to turn a true corner.
“I’ve never been the tallest or biggest guy,” Forr said. “But I’ve loved football since I started playing pound-ball at 6 years old. I love the physicality of it and how it takes 11 guys on each side of the ball doing the exact same thing in working together. I came in as a junior to varsity and everybody was like, ‘27 straight losses, that sucks.’ I’ve never been one to sit back and let things happen. I wanted to change it. A lot of my classmates wanted to change it too, so we’ve put in the work ever since. I’d say it’s panned out a little bit the last couple of years.”
This isn’t to say the Panthers have become a juggernaut overnight. After going 2-8 overall a season ago, Tennent sits in last place in the SOL Continental Conference this year with a 2-5 overall record and 0-3 league mark. But Rome wasn’t built in a day, as they say, and neither are football programs that had been mired in multiple-season losing streaks.
What matters, however, is that definite progress has been made since the streak, and Forr has been a major catalyst and agent of change in that process.
After immersing himself in the defensive system for all of last year, Forr is now the quarterback of the Panthers defense. He calls the plays in the huddle, makes sure everybody is lined up where they need to be and handles all audible calling based off what he sees from the opposing offense. Forr also put on 25 lbs. of muscle from last season to this one, going from 175 to 198 so that he could be out there for every play, giving his team its best chance to succeed.
“The weight increase allowed him to do more for us,” Clemens said. “Without Drew, we’d have no success at all this year. We really suffer when he’s not on the field. I couldn’t ask for a better kid, both as a leader and a worker. He’s our most consistent guy.
“He’s a very quiet guy and doesn’t talk or joke around much, and while he might not have this gregarious personality, he gets along with everyone on the team and he comes to work and gives maximum effort no matter what the occasion is. He’s practiced with a 101-degree fever with no complaints. He’s just a hard worker, no excuses. He takes responsibility, never argues and always looks to build his teammates up.”
Forr credits Clemens and his staff for changing the culture and challenging the players like they hadn’t been before, demanding accountability if they truly wanted to stop being perceived as guys who couldn’t win a football game together.
“When Coach Clemens came in, it was just a completely different feeling and atmosphere,” Forr said. “That first win was the best feeling, something I’d never had before. It felt like everything I had been putting in meant something. It’s a testament to the coaches who challenged me with leading our defense, and a lot of it is just putting in the work and film study and listening to what coach told me to do to put it all together. Honestly, it’s really not that difficult. I want to improve every year, and I especially felt the need after we won some games last year. I knew I needed to get stronger.”
In the amount of season Forr has left, he said his remaining goal for his senior year is to just win as many games as possible before it’s all over. Clemens said Forr could be an impact player for a Division III program, but as of now football isn’t a driving force as a means to get to college. He and his teammates do take pride in the turnaround that is underway, and winning one more game would mean one more victory than Tennent had the season before.
Leaving a legacy that includes winning is important to Forr and his teammates to pass along to the younger generation, the same as it was for the Tennent seniors who graduated in June.
“The main thing for me is to get the most out of it that I can,” Forr said. “I don’t have many games left in my high school career, so us seniors are putting in everything we can right now. There is a good amount of pride in what me and the boys have done, because it took a lot of hard work, a lot of ups and downs.
“It took a long time, it really did, for everyone to persevere through those 27 straight losses to finally win that first game, then another, then two more this season. I hope that next year when I’m not here, the kids come in, want to work hard and take the next step to get to the playoffs.”
Above everything, Forr has been a model of consistency and has never stopped working full throttle, whether in high school football or in life.
“It’s what I did because it’s what I had to do,” Forr said. “It is gratifying to know that my coaches and other people see it, but the real reason I stuck with it is because it’s what needed to be done.”
Forr also is a member of the Tennent track and field team, where he mainly throws the javelin, so he still has that to look forward to even after football season ends. And he’s so much more than just an athlete at the school, as Forr works himself as hard in the classroom as he does on the football field.
He boasts a 3.5 GPA and is currently enrolled in four AP classes: Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Biology and Government. Forr said he finds it enriching to learn and take in as much information as he can across a variety of subject matters, and receiving the college credits doesn’t hurt matters either. He hasn’t picked a college yet or settled on a definitive major or career path, though he said he’s pretty sure he will go the business route, be it something involving finance or economics.
“I’ve always liked numbers, and I enjoy math in an applied way, which is where the enjoyment of economics comes in,” he said. “Finance in general is something I find joy in; it’s just interesting and fun for me, so that’s where my focus is right now.”
From an extracurricular standpoint, Forr is a member of the National Honor Society for both science and social studies, and he also just got involved in Tennent’s student government for the first time this year. He hasn’t gotten much of a chance to explore the latter yet, but he is looking forward to becoming an agent of change in his school the same way he did in the football program as soon as his season ends.
“I just like getting involved,” he said. “I spend so much time at the school as it is, so why not try to have a say in the things that are going on?”
To say that Clemens will miss Forr’s presence next season is a major understatement. Forr has been a steady presence for every workout, practice, film session and game for going on two years, and the head coach knows he will have a major void to fill once Forr graduates.
“He’s a field general,” Clemens said. “And just having a guy who never misses anything, he’s always 100 percent ready to play and ready to hold himself and his teammates accountable. I couldn’t be prouder and happier for him that he’s gotten to experience some success. It’s going to be tough to replace a guy like Drew, physically and mentally. I’m most proud of him in the sense that when he leaves, he’s leaving something behind. We’ll be talking about Drew for years to come.”