f every football coach could have a Danny Fisher on his team, he would.
That’s the way Phillipsburg head coach Frank Duffy feels about his senior co-captain.
“Danny Fisher will do anything that he is asked to do,” Duffy said. “I can’t say enough good things about that kid. I love him to death.”
Fisher, who might have the biggest smile in Phillipsburg, doesn’t care where Duffy asks him to line up.
“I just like being on the football field doing what I love,” said Fisher, who has played outside linebacker, middle linebacker, fullback and quarterback for the Stateliners.
And the 6-foot, 180-found Fisher may be back at quarterback Friday night (7) when Phillipsburg hosts Bridgewater-Raritan in the Stateliners’ home opener and a key Mid-State 38 Delaware Division game. With sophomore starter Jack Stagaardsidelined with an upper-body injury, P’burg could turn to Fisher. It was Fisher who took over for the injured Stagaard in the second half last week at Hunterdon Central and secured the 17-14 win for the ‘Liners.
“We’re going to see how practice goes this week to see who plays quarterback,” Duffy said. “We may have to shake up some positions, and remember Danny really helps us at fullback and plays linebacker too.”
Fisher’s answer? Whatever.
“When I came in for Jack I knew I’d been there before last year when I was strictly a quarterback,” he said. “I didn’t have any doubts about my ability to play there. But I am not worried about the position I play. All I focus in is helping the team win the game.”
Friday would represent an enormous win for Phillipsburg. The Stateliners enter the game 2-0 overall and in division play, and so do the Panthers. The winner will seize control of the Delaware Division race.
And then there’s the matter of 2015, where Bridgewater-Raritan handed Phillipsburg its sole regular-season defeat, 31-28.
Fisher said avenging that loss won’t require a lot of complicated strategy or the like.
“We need every single kid to play Phillipsburg football, mentally tough and physically tough and nobody does that better than us.,” Fisher said. “We just need to play our brand of football and do what we do best.”
Fisher has both sides of the toughness equation down. He’s a Stateliner wrestler, so that takes care of the mental toughness.
“Wrestling makes you an overall better athlete and teaches you things other sports don’t,” Fisher said.
It also helps with the physical side.
“Wrestling really helps with getting in shape,” Fisher said. “After I do wrestling conditioning, I can do football all day long.”
Fisher also praised Craig Merrick of Made Strength and Conditioning for his work with himself and with the Stateliners.
“He’s the best,” said Fisher, who said in the offseason he can work out Merrick four or five times a week. “He breaks the workouts down individually and he really cares about the athletes. I knew I had keeping working hard to better myself mentally and physically, and always be ready to give everything I had.”
All of Fisher’s trainers and conditioners started out working on a pretty strong base, to be sure. Fisher is pure-bred P’burg football.
“Danny is a typical hard-nosed Phillipsburg football player,” Duffy said.
And a veteran one, too.
“I have been playing all my life since I was 5, and I am 18 now,” Fisher said. “I started with the Phillipsburg Colts and then the Little Liners, My dad was my coach all the time I was growing up so I still have all my old football stuff at the house. And now I’m out there playing football with my best friends. It doesn’t get better than that.”
Well, maybe it does – getting to watch Danny Fisher and his friends play P’burg-style football can be pretty fun, too.
Brad Wilson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @bradwsports. Find Lehigh Valley high school sports on Facebook.