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PREP FOOTBALL '98 / PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE

Laguna Hills Changes Gears With Fischer

Hawk receiver figures to have a few more passes thrown his way this season.

September 08, 1998|DAN ARRITT | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

So rarely would Laguna Hills call a pass play the last two seasons that Jeff Fischer had to be careful not to tip off the defense on those occasions.

"I'd hear a pass play and my eyes would just light up," Fischer said.

It was the heart of the Michael Jones era. A time when Fischer spent nearly all of his time looking for a defensive back to knock down from his wide receiver position. Jones was 90% of the Hawks' offense, but who could complain? He broke Orange County's career rushing record during his three seasons in the Laguna Hills backfield.

Jones has graduated and there doesn't appear to be anybody close to replacing him. Suddenly there are some additional pass plays in the Laguna Hills playbook.

"The last three seasons I've been here I've been sitting on my [butt] the whole time. That's all I did, watch Michael run," Fischer said. Fischer expects the Hawks' passing game to increase by about 80% and for him to be one of the beneficiaries. Junior quarterback Brandon Champlin is more than capable of hitting his targets and he just happens to be Fischer's long-time neighbor.

"We've been going to the park and throwing the ball for years," Fischer said. "We have real good karma together."

Laguna Hills Coach Bruce Ingalls plans to do everything he can to get the ball into the hands of Fischer, who will play flanker this season. Quick hitches, slants and an occasional long pass should turn into weekly highlights in the Laguna Hills film room.

"If we can get him isolated on the linebackers, he should be able to make a lot of good things happen," Ingalls said.

Fischer's contributions won't be limited to offense. He's grabbed 11 interceptions at free safety the last two seasons, and earned first-team all-league honors a year ago. This season he will move to cornerback and continue to handle the Hawks' kickoff and punt return duties.

"Basically I didn't come off the field last season," Fischer said. "The only teams I haven't been on is the field-goal team."

At 5 feet 10 inches and 170 pounds, Fischer is about 15 pounds heavier than last season. A steady weight program combined with a dietary supplement called creatine have helped him add to his frame.

"I think [creatine] helps a little bit," Fischer said. "It helps put on muscle mass and brings up your weight. The weight scales tell me I've gained, but I can't really tell. I feel stronger though. "

Fischer also plays for the Hawks' baseball team, but football remains his first love. Whether he'll continue to play once he graduates is uncertain.

"I don't know what I'm going to do next year, I don't even know if any sports will be in my picture," he said.

For now Fischer is concentrating on the next 10 games and maybe a few more. Although Laguna Hills lost 18 starters to graduation, Fischer says he doesn't think the Hawks will miss a beat in their attempt to defend their league title.

"Team-wise, we're just trying to fill in the gaps," Fischer said. "We want to continue dominating the league, basically. We want to come back and show that just because we lose everyone doesn't mean that we're down and out. I've never seen so many people work so hard. They're just trying to pick up from where we left off last season. It's awesome."

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