Facing Fischer: Local coaches explain what has made playing Louisa in the Fischer era a challenge

 No matter what happens today in the Class 4 State Championship, this will be Mark Fischer’s final game at the helm for Louisa County as he retires at the end of this season. We reached out to a number of current and former local coaches to find out what made playing Fischer’s Louisa teams so difficult and Charlottesville’s Eric Sherry probably summed it up as succinctly as anyone could: “Louisa teams are always tough, hard nosed and disciplined.”


Here’s what several other coaches had to say.


Former Monticello coach Brud Bicknell, now at Patriot High


“The Louisa kids were always physically tough. They were relentless and played hard. When my teams played against them they presented you with unique challenges in all 3 phases of the game. On offense, the single wing, on defense, a 3-3 stack with lots of man coverage and on special teams, pop up kickoffs, and always a well-timed fake. The unique experience was married to the unique experience of playing the Louisa football culture he had created, of course playing in the Jungle and the circus atmosphere. He often times was able to distract our entire coaching staff by things he did on the sideline. Most importantly, he got his kids believing that they would win every time they took the field. Mark was fun to compete against, he was tremendous for central Virginia football and I have the greatest respect and admiration for him.”


Charlottesville AD Rodney Redd, who coached against Fischer at Monticello and Fluvanna


“Mark’s teams, no matter their record, were always extremely difficult to play against, especially early in the game. They were always strategically prepared, physically tough, and seemed to always be ready to start every game strong. It was easy to find yourself down 2 or 3 scores before the dust settled. As if his extensive football knowledge wasn’t enough, his charismatic personality seemingly gave him the ability to, at times, control not only his players and staff, but the officiating crew, the field and when at home, a raucous Louisa Crowd.  It was an honor to coach against him and athletics in Central Virginia benefited greatly from his contributions. Thank you Mark!!”


Albemarle coach Brandon Isaiah, who has also coached against Fischer as an assistant at CHS and Monticello


“Since my arrival into coaching, I don’t think that I have ever remembered a time where tough and Louisa football weren’t spoken about in the same context. Their physical nature and grit made it problematic as an a opponent. Some teams style of play reflects the personality as a head coach. Louisa is one of those teams. Fischer is the type of man and coach that ultimately brings the best and worst out of you. When you are in the process of preparing for and playing him, you hate him. But after your annual clash you are reminded of the fact that he is fueled with the same passion and love for the game and most of all his kids and community as you are.  The way he coaches and the way he competes and pushes his kids to compete: As an opposing coach you hate what it creates for you, but as a competitor and fellow man you love him for it.”


Former Fluvanna County coach Jason Barnett

“His players were some of the toughest players we faced. There was always an edge to them, it was almost as if he found a way to make them mad at you in a different way each and every time you played. I think his players are a reflection of him, he cannot stand to lose and walks on and off the field with a confidence that they are the best team there that day. People want to point to his offense as to what made them tough to play against, but it’s just alignments. In reality, its just a really physical running game. Its like Stanford and their seven offensive lineman, they just beat on you until you give up a big play. Playing in The Jungle was fun, I tried to make the most of it. Downplay it almost. I remember walking the team over and waving at the lion during warm-ups. I think that people take things too serious when they get there because it is so unique. Its similar to their offense, it looks and feels different, but in reality it is a lot of people that show a lot of support for a football team that they are proud of. We spent time preparing for The Jungle itself. Playing loud music, pointing out when deer walked near the field and treated it like the lion (since they are both majestic in their own habitats). It was never a fun week because you had to prepare for so much more than most places.”