BRADEN RIVER — Ryan Fischer remembers his first catch in a varsity uniform as if it were yesterday.
It was 9-yard grab in the third quarter of Braden River’s 29-13 victory over Cardinal Mooney in the Preseason Kickoff Classic. Fischer didn’t score a touchdown on the play, and he didn’t even gain enough yards for a first down.
So what made Fischer’s only catch of the night so memorable?
It was the first time the sophomore wide receiver and backup quarterback had caught a pass from his older brother Stephen — the Pirates’ starting quarterback.
“It feels good being able to catch the ball from him,” Ryan Fischer said. “I had never gotten to catch a ball from my brother (before this season).”
The two grew up playing football, but since they’re two years apart, this is the first season the two have been able to play together on the same field.
“Getting to play with my older brother — I won’t get to enjoy this much longer, so I’m going to enjoy it while I can,” Ryan Fischer said. “I look up to him all the time.”
However, Stephen and Ryan Fischer aren’t the only pair of brothers on the Pirates’ roster who have had the opportunity to play together this season.
The Pirates have eight sets of brothers on their varsity and junior varsity rosters this season — three on varsity (Stephen and Ryan Fischer, Sharrod Neasman-Glover and Michael Glover, and Justyn and Josh Weirich), four on varsity and junior varsity (Mark and Matthew McKoan, Mick and Connor Olitsky, Ben and Sam Peacock and Dakota and Forrest Wilson) and one on junior varsity alone (Chase and Chandler Fisher).
For many of the siblings it’s the first time the players have been able to play together on the same field, which has proven beneficial at times throughout the season.
“We play the same position, so we discuss the plays and stuff,” senior wide receiver Sharrod Neasman-Glover said of playing with his younger brother, Michael.
Stephen Fischer agreed.
“It’s good because he’s a quarterback, so we can talk to each other,” he said. “It’s also good having someone out there that you trust because he knows if he doesn’t catch the ball, then he’ll have to come home to a very angry (person).”
Over the summer, the eight sets of brothers competed against one another in drills, practiced together and inspired one another to work harder.
“We were able to bond and it brought us closer,” Mark McKoan said. “I think they have a little more respect for us now because they want to play on Friday nights under the lights.”
As the season began, some of the brothers were separated as their younger counterparts moved down to junior varsity while the rest have become accustomed to having their brothers with them on the sidelines.
That bond has helped carry each of the players this season through triumph and disappointment and through it all the players have been fortunate enough to have each other to count on.
“We’ve got each other’s back,” Justyn Weirich said.
His brother agreed.
“We enjoy playing together, and I’ll be the first one to celebrate with him,” Josh Weirich said.
And on those occasions where one brother has more prominent role in the game plan, the other brothers admit they’ll be the first ones to cheer their brothers on.
“He started on varsity before I did, and he really showed himself,” Justyn Weirich said. “I’m proud of him for that. What kind of brother would I be if I wasn’t. I love this kid to death.”
Ryan Fischer agreed.
“Stephen plays a big role on the team, but we’ll celebrate together no matter what,” he said.
Contact Jen Blanco at email@example.com.
BRADEN RIVER HIGH BROTHERS
Ryan Fischer, sophomore, quarterback and wide receiver (varsity)
Stephen Fischer, senior, quarterback(varsity)
Chandler Fisher, offensive line (JV)
Chase Fisher, offensive line (JV)
Michael Glover, junior, wide receiver (varsity)
Sharrod Neasman-Glover, senior, wide receiver (varsity)
Mark McKoan, senior, tight end (varsity)
Matthew McKoan, freshman, right guard (JV)
Mick Olitsky, senior, defensive back (varsity)
Connor Olitsky, freshman, defensive back (JV)
Ben Peacock, junior, defensive back (varsity)
Sam Peacock, freshman, left guard (JV)
Josh Weirich, sophomore, defensive line (varsity)
Justyn Weirich, junior, wide receiver (varsity)
Dakota Wilson, junior, offensive line (varsity)
Forrest Wilson, freshman, cornerback (JV)