CHRIS FERGUSON grew up No. 10 of 11 children in his family's Fort Washington household, so perhaps surviving in a brood that size taught him how to effectively wait his turn.
The La Salle High senior quarterback has done just that during his tenure with the Explorers.
The 6-4, 225-pounder played understudy for two seasons after Kyle Shurmur transferred in from Ohio three years ago. Before that, Ferguson was a freshman at Upper Dublin in competition with a talented quarterback whose father was also the head coach.
Now, however, Ferguson, our latest Player of the Week, is the No. 1 quarterback of the La Salle team that upset two-time defending Catholic League champion St. Joseph's Prep and won the Explorers' first AAAA city title since 2012.
"I think you can say now that it all paid off and I wouldn't change it," Ferguson said. "This year's been great and I can definitely say I've worked hard in the offseason and the past three years to get to this point. It's awesome to see all that waiting pay off and all that time I spent when I wasn't sure where the path was going to lead me. But I think it all worked out."
Thanks in part to his 8-for-11 passing, 129 yards and two touchdowns last week, Ferguson and La Salle (8-3) will face District 11 Parkland (12-1) at 1 p.m. in the PIAA AAAA quarterfinals on Saturday at Northeast High.
Upper Dublin and the coach-quarterback combination of Bret and Ryan Stover will face North Penn in a quarterfinal matchup the winner of which will face La Salle or Parkland.
Ferguson, however, is focused on the present.
"Junior year I talked to one of my (school) counselors and he would tell me about immediate gratification and that all the work I put in would eventually pay off," Ferguson said. "It may not seem like it right now, but it will eventually. And I kind of learned within myself to be more patient and just trust the process."
His resolve was tested again this season when sophomore quarterback Isaiah Jones transferred in from Germantown Academy after rushing for more than 1,000 yards as a freshman with the Patriots.
Jones has been used throughout the season in a package of plays at quarterback, but Ferguson takes the majority of snaps.
The biggest adjustment after winning the starting job, Ferguson said, wasn't about Xs and Os.
"I played junior-varsity games last year and coming in this year it was about learning how to carry yourself during a game and stay calm and collected when something goes awry because it all happens so fast," he said.
Through last week, Ferguson, whose father Pat was a star defensive end at Bishop McDevitt, has completed 57.5 percent of his passes (95 of 165) for 1,336 yards and 15 touchdown passes.
Ferguson said he has received some interest from a few Division I-AA schools, but is still awaiting an offer.
In the meantime, his focus is on winning, not waiting.
"I am extremely proud of what this team has done so far," Ferguson said. "To block out all the people that said we could not do it and then prove them wrong is something that ultimately brought us together as a team and shows just how special this La Salle team is."
Others considered: Imhotep junior Mike Crawford forced, recovered and returned a fumble 68 yards in the Panthers' 20-14 win against Archbishop Wood in the AAA City title game. The Panthers' Mike Waters added 85 yards rushing, a touchdown and a fourth-quarter interception in the victory. La Salle's Syaire Madden added 174 yards rushing and two touchdowns in the Explorers' victory. McDevitt's Dontae Mason had 85- and 86-yard kickoff return touchdowns and a 55-yard scoring reception in the Lancers' 35-19, Class A first-round win against Marian Catholic.
On Twitter: @AceCarterINQ