Nederland’s Fisher still a threat

Published 11:18 pm Tuesday, September 27, 2016

NEDERLAND — His team down 21-7 to Vidor, Nederland senior Dean Fisher wasn’t waiting much longer to make noise.

Quarterback Marshall Lange turned to the wide receiver for the two biggest plays of a drive following a long Vidor touchdown run, and the Bulldogs scored to swing momentum late in the third quarter of a key District 22-5A tilt.

“It was just the determination to get my team back, like, when we’re down,” Fisher said.

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Fisher caught three of his five passes in the second half, helping the Bulldogs even the score at 21-all going into overtime. He had catches of 24 and 17 yards on the drive.

Vidor eked out a 29-28 win, but Fisher had 98 yards on five carries.

“I just think he felt like he needed to make a couple of plays due to the situation with the game,” senior wideout Connor Perkins said. “So, he became clutch.”

Fisher’s used to big games like that. Against Port Neches-Groves last October, Fisher — then a first-year varsity player — stretched out on a slant route and brought down a difficult catch to put Nederland at the Indians’ 8 with 13 seconds left. The Bulldogs won 30-27 on a field goal.

Fisher had 113 yards on seven receptions that night and finished the regular season with nearly 500 yards and six touchdowns. This season, he was fairly quiet in four games before Vidor.

“I think the opportunities presented themselves,” Bulldog receivers coach Bryan Spell said. “With the weapons we have, teams are going to try to decide how they defend us. Coach [and offensive coordinator Monte] Barrow did a great job the other night recognizing opportunities for Dean to make plays. That’s something coach Barrow has done for years.”

Fisher is still making an impact in a deep, senior-laden receiving corps for the Bulldogs. He’s seventh in the district in receptions with 11 for 161, while Perkins ranks fourth with 15 for 211 yards and three. Kory Guidry and Reid Garrett also have risen to the occasion as senior wideouts.

“I think their work ethic is unmatched,” Spell said. “They go hard every day. They take it upon themselves to take a leadership role. I think Connor, especially, has spent a lot of time in weight room. I think Dean has spent extra time on film study.”

But all season long, secondaries have made the receivers work harder for the completions.

“We’re adjusting every week,” Fisher said. “Pretty much, all the secondaries we’ve seen are pretty good. Vidor played hard, and it was hard working on them.”

Add to that the challenge of connecting with three different quarterbacks in five games, and Fisher has found his groove at a good time for the Bulldogs.

Who will start under center for Nederland on Friday at Port Arthur Memorial is still a mystery. Lange played more than one half against Vidor with a high ankle sprain but took over for Blaysin Fernandez, who sustained a concussion and is under protocol. Kevin Laday, who won in Nederland’s district opener against Livingston as a starter, is still held out as the UIL determines his eligibility after transferring from Memorial.

“The biggest thing has been chemistry with the quarterbacks,” Fisher said. “It’s something to get over, but I think we got it going forward.”

Whoever starts, Memorial’s standout secondary led by Kary Vincent Jr. (three interceptions to lead 22-5A) is likely to prove Fisher’s toughest challenge yet.

“Our execution is going to have to be near-perfect,” Spell said. “We’re going to have to execute extremely well and take advantage of every opportunity. They’ll put a lot of pressure on you with your press coverage. You may be open for a second, but you don’t stay open long. We’re just going to have to be fundamentally sound.”

Fisher isn’t backing down, either.

“It’s something I look forward to,” Fisher said. “I expect to come home with mutual respect between their corners and us receivers.”

I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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