BRADEN RIVER — Stephen Fischer isn’t known for calling the shots.
In fact, the Braden River High quarterback is arguably the most reserved player in the Pirates’ offensive huddle. He isn’t one to voice his frustration or come unglued on the sidelines after a missed opportunity.
For the past two years, Fischer simply has walked into the huddle, called the plays he was given and made any adjustments he deemed necessary after the snap.
But in the midst of preparing for his senior season, the Pirates’ signal caller has spent the past three months not only working on further developing his game but also recognizing what it takes to be a leader on the field.
“I’ve been working on becoming more of a team leader because everyone looks up to me now,” Fischer said. “I’ve gotten better. I’m becoming more talkative and showing more leadership. It’s a new role for me, but it’s going pretty well, and I like it so far.”
“He’s certainly become a leader,” Braden River coach Ed Volz said. “He’s finally starting to come out of his shell.”
Following in the footsteps of his uncle, a former arena football quarterback, Fischer began playing football when he was 7 years old. He gravitated toward the quarterback position and spent five years playing in Cape Coral before moving with his family to the East County in the seventh grade.
Fischer joined Braden River’s football team in its inaugural season as a freshman. As a sophomore, Fischer split time under center with Willie McNeal, who will play for Western Kentucky this fall. The two quarterbacks spent the season switching off during games depending on the offensive scheme Braden River was running.
But when Volz took over as Braden River’s offensive coordinator last season, he sat down with both Fischer and McNeal and expressed his desire to have just one primary quarterback.
Recognizing that McNeal would be better off at wide receiver, Fischer assumed all of the Pirates quarterbacking duties. In his first full season at quarterback, Fischer led the Pirates into the postseason and helped the team earn its first playoff victory.
Fischer racked up nearly 1,400 yards through the air, throwing for eight touchdowns and six interceptions. He also ran for three touchdowns.
“The thing I love about Stephen is that he’s the most even-keeled kid I’ve ever been around,” Volz said. “I can be tough on my quarterbacks, but he’s focused so much on the message and not the tone of the message.
“He has a genuine desire to be great, and that’s exactly the way you want your quarterback to be,” he added.
Best recognized as a pocket passer, Fischer has spent the past year working on becoming more of a dual-threat quarterback — similar to University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, from whom he draws inspiration.
“I like being able to move out of the pocket; my feet really help me,” Fischer said. “I like to scramble. It feels good to be able to juke people out.”
Last season, the Pirates finished 8-4 and earned their first playoff victory with a 30-17 victory over Palmetto. Braden River continued its winning ways with a 35-20 victory over Sarasota Riverview in the spring game.
With McNeal off to college and the Pirates set to open the regular season in about six weeks, Fischer is planning to spend the rest of the offseason breaking in a new group of talented receivers.
“I’m just going to do whatever it takes to help us get better, Fischer said. “We’re looking good right now. We’ve been working hard, and everyone is stepping up and doing their part, but if we don’t work as a team, then we aren’t going to get anywhere.”
Contact Jen Blanco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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