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Daily News Q&A: Elizabeth Forward's Jalen French

| Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, 12:11 a.m.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | For the Daily News
Elizabeth Forward's Jalen French tries to avoid West Mifflin's Kevin Garbark (17) in a game on Oct. 3, 2013, at Elizabeth Forward.

For now, Jalen French is a football player. Soon, though, he'll be a basketball player. He likes both sports, but the Elizabeth Forward senior says he likes hoops a bit better.

“My mom was a good basketball player. She played at Duquesne University,” said French, a running back/defensive back in the fall and a point guard in the winter at EF, a WPIAL playoffs qualifier in football with one regular-season game remaining Friday at Greensburg Salem.

Christine French was known as Christine Anderson when she played guard for Duquesne in the mid-'90s. A former McKeesport girls basketball coach, she's been known to emphasize the importance of defense on occasion to her son.

“My mom played real good defense — or so I've heard,” said Jalen French, a 5-foot-8, 155-pound senior who rushed for 121 yards and one touchdown in a 47-8 victory over Albert Gallatin on Friday,

Perhaps French soon can emulate his mother's defensive court sense. For now, he'll continue to concentrate on football as it heads toward the postseason.Q: Who's been your biggest influence?

A: It would definitely be my mom. She's been here since Day 1.

Q: As far as football is concerned, most of the attention at Elizabeth Forward this season has been given to QB JaQuan Davidson and WR/KR Matt Bernadowski, but you're coming off a strong performance against Albert Gallatin and have been an important element of the team. How do you feel about your role?

A: I've kind of gotten used to those guys being the stars and scoring all the points and that stuff. I know my role on the team, and I don't care about stats. I just want to win. I just want to go to Heinz Field (for the WPIAL Class AAA championship game).

Q: What has it been like to play in the shadows of those two guys?

A: Both of those guys are explosive. When “Quanny” gets going, our whole team gets going. We all start rolling. You can't really say much else when those two do it all. It makes our jobs easier. I like football, but I really don't want the fame. I'm focused on winning games.

Q: What type of music do you generally listen to?

A: I listen to hip-hop and R&B. I listen to a lot of old slow jams.

Q: What's your favorite college football team?

A: The University of Texas. I've always liked the color orange because of my cousin Kendall Hunter. He played basketball at Westminster College. He's like a brother to me. We talk all the time. His favorite color is orange, but his favorite team is Florida. I always watch for Texas to beat teams from Florida.

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