2017-04-20 / Sports
A Noble effort
Newbury Park multisport star will play football for Arizona State
He’s a Sioux City Sarsaparilla float with a double scoop of goat cheese beet swirl ice cream kind of athlete.
The Newbury Park High senior plays football, basketball and lacrosse. Last season he competed in four sports in one year, setting the pace with the track and field and lacrosse squads in the spring. He’s tried snowboarding, and he loves it.
Good luck trying to keep up with the busiest teenager in the Conejo Valley.
He worked at In-N-Out Burger for 15 months. When he stopped working in November, he became head coach of Team Pink of the Newbury Park Basketball Association. The rookie coach led Team Pink, stocked with high school classmates, to the championship game.
“It’s important for athletes to play as many sports as they want to,” Newbury Park football head coach Jason Klein said. “Drew wanted to play more than one. He shows everyone else that you don’t have to specialize if you have a dream to play.”
Noble, 18, will now live a every high school athlete’s dream.
He will play football at Arizona State. He’ll join the squad as a preferred walk-on in the fall.
The consummate teammate— loyal, hardworking, smart, humble, gracious and selfless—is beloved by his teammates.
Cameron Rising, the school’s superstar quarterback who played basketball, and Noble will star in a bromance together this summer.
“He’s such a good guy. I really love him,” Rising said of Noble. “There’s not many people like him when it comes to being a friend. He’s just a very, very good person. He’s a great friend.”
Tavis Valenzuela and Noble play football and lacrosse together. The buds played on the same lacrosse team in fifth grade then matched up against each other in seventh grade for Pop Warner football. Sports is a huge part of their lives, but Noble doesn’t talk about the glory of the game when they’re not playing, Valenzuela said.
Noble, who is 5-foot-9 and 155 pounds, brought out the best in Valenzuela.
“He’s just a genuine kid,” Valenzuela said. “With his athletic ability, you think he’d be cocky. He really takes the time to meet and talk to the younger kids and give them pointers.”
Noble, a talented wide receiver, punt returner and special teams ace, could have easily racked up 80 catches for 1,000- plus yards this season in football. But he graciously shared the stage with a plethora of playmakers, including Ian Albaeck, a junior receiver who enjoyed a breakout season.
Noble has enjoyed many memorable football moments.
He blocked an extra point kick in the Panthers’ 49-48 win against Atascadero in the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division semifinals in 2014 as a precocious sophomore.
Noble cried literal tears of joy when Newbury Park erased a 19-point deficit to stun rival Westlake 43-40 on Sept. 9.
For Noble, playing sports is about teamwork.
“When you have a tight team, that’s when the magic comes out,” Noble said. “When it’s just individual (accomplishments), nothing can be produced.”
“I have zero regrets,” Noble said. “I love every second of it.”
He grew up playing basketball, baseball and soccer. He picked up tackle football in fourth grade with the Newbury Park Steelers before joining the North Oxnard Warriors in middle school.
Noble was a steady point guard—in the vein of Houston Rocket Patrick Beverley—on the Panther basketball team.
He’s currently a short pole defensive midfielder in lacrosse.
Last season, he competed in the 100-meter dash, the 200, the 4x100 and 4x400 relays and the long jump in track and field.
This season in football, Noble hauled in 36 receptions for 615 yards and four touchdowns. He had six catches for 151 yards against Westlake.
Other sports didn’t detract from football. They only enhanced his life.
“It’s about the experience,” Noble said. “You could be good at one thing and not know if you’re good at another thing. You could be good at basketball and not know that. If football is all you know, I think that could be a missed opportunity.”
He offered advice to eighth-graders who will be incoming freshmen in the fall.
“There’s so much high school to go through,” Noble said. “Don’t stick to one sport. Try everything out.”
It doesn’t matter the sport, Noble plays the game the right way.
“His teammates like him— that’s the best thing,” Klein said. “He’s fun to be around, he works hard and he cares about what he’s doing.”
Email sports editor Eliav Appelbaum at firstname.lastname@example.org.