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Fisher faces challenge in return to General Brown

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The Steve Fisher era at General Brown begins anew, with the longtime Lions’ boss returning to the sidelines where he roamed for 43 years and won 252 games.

After Tom Frears led General Brown to three consecutive Class C North crowns, including a state finals’ appearance in 2010, he stepped down and Fisher came back after one-year stints at Alexandria and Thousand Islands, respectively. The cupboard isn’t exactly bare because the Lions’ program usually sustains itself. But Fisher does face a challenge with just three starters returning and new faces all over the field.

“Practice has gone slower than usual due to all the teaching that had to be done,’’ said Fisher, who announced his retirement from coaching after the 2009 season. “Some injuries to key personnel has also slowed the process of improvement. With so few experienced players, mistakes have been very frequent and the quality of play average at best.’’

Fortunately, Fisher has a stud in junior running back Zech Pitre, who rushed for 1,061 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. He also has a couple of very experienced linemen and leaders in seniors Rob Pickeral and Derek Webb.

But he will start a new quarterback in either senior Matt Haley or newcomer Evan Will, and the rest of the skill positions will be manned by mainly inexperienced players.

Webb on the line, Pickeral and Pitre at linebacker and Haley at safety are the lone starters back on defense, always the backbone of the Lions’ success.

An opening date date at Class D power Westmoreland on Saturday will give Fisher a better idea of where his club stands in what promises to be a very tough conference.

General Brown returns for its first game at Fisher Field with Fisher as coach against South Jefferson on Sept. 13.

General Brown Lions

2012 record: 7-1, 5-0 Class C North.

Coach: Steve Fisher (46th year, 253-128-8).

Players to watch: Zech Pitre (Jr., FB/LB, 127-1,061, 13 TD); Rob Pickeral (Sr., OL/LB); Matt Haley (Sr., QB/DB; Dylan Heath (WR/DB); Jared Christopher (Sr., RB/DB); Dylan Daughan (Sr., WR/LB); Derek Webb (Sr., OL/LB); Evan Will (QB).

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