Fisher to host Cumberland for second straight year

Fisher coach Jake Palmer shows emotion in last years playoff game against Cumberland 

FISHER — The Fisher Bunnies football team is headed back to the playoffs for the third year in a row. The Bunnies will host Toledo Cumberland for the second straight year in the first round. The Bunnies would not of had the opputunity to host with out taking down the Leroy Panthers 55-36 on Friday night.

The Bunnies were driven by Tyler Wilson who started the game 75 yards back of the Fisher High School single season rushing record. Wilson shattered the record with his second 400 plus yard performace of the year. Wilson’s 415 yards and four touchdown’s propelled the Bunnies into hosting contention. Wilson was not the Only record breaker this season as Will Delaney became the all-time career passing leader in Fisher High School hostory passing for 1,740 yards so far in his career breaking Troy Burgess’s record of 1,340 yards.

Wilson got the Bunnies going early with a 33-yard touchdown run to put the Bunnies up 7-0 with 9:27 to go in the first quarter.

Fisher head coach Jake Palmer  said that the offensive line was a big part in the Bunnies ground game success. 

“The offensive line did a great job and they just continue to get better every week,” Palmer said.

Wilson benefits from the holes that O-line gives him but it is all Wilson after that.

“Tyler is very special when he gets to the second level with his speed and vision,” Palmer said.

Will Delaney added on to the Bunnies lead with a 23-yard touchdown run with 5:47 to go in the first quarter to put the Bunnies up 14-0. 

Jeffery Tuley got the Panthers back in the game with a 64-yard touchdown run with 3:11 to go in the first quarter making the score  14-8.

The Bunnies offense could not be slowed down as Delaney found Drew Purvis for a 29 yard touchdown pass that put Fisher up 20-8 with 1:26 to go in the first.

The Panthers did hang around getting back in the end zone on a 10-yard touchdown run with 5:28 to go in the first half making the score 20-12. 

Wilson would put the game away with a pair of touchdowns runs from two and 74 yards out giving Fisher a 35-12 lead at the break. 

Wilson would continue his dominance into the second half with a 68-yard touchdown run with 8:32 to go in the first half to but the Bunnies up 42-12. 

Tuley got the Panthers back on the board with 5:58 to go in the third cutting the score to 42-20. 

Fisher took just 36 seconds to respond when Delaney found Cale Horsch for a three yard touchdown pass putting the Bunnies up 49-20. 

Horsch was not done on the day as he ran it in from 12-yards out for the Bunnies final score of the game.

Fisher lead 55-20 heading into the fourth quarter.

Fisher fell to Leroy in the final week of the regular season last year and the Bunnies did not forget about that game.

“After the frustration last year we really wanted to come out and execute and we really did that this year,” Palmer said. 

The Panthers would make the game close with a pair of touchdown runs in the fourth quarter from inside the five yard line. 

The Bunnies finished the regular season 7-2. 

Fisher can now turn its attention to a familiar foe from last years playoff in the Pirates from Toledo Cumberland. The Bunnies won last years game against the Pirates 48-15.

The Pirates are 6-3 this year with a signature win coming in week five handing Arcola one of its two losses beating the Purple Riders 28-26. 

Cumberland head coach Lucas Watkins says that the Fisher offense is very unique.

“Seeing the offense Fisher runs is not something we are accustomed to with the competition down here,” Watkins said.

Despite seeing Cumberland last year Palmer does not want his team thinking they have a win in the bag.

“Watching them on film they are not the same team from last year,” Palmer said. “They are more run first and they switch up formations and have very speedy running backs.” 

Watkins agrees with Palmer that his team is different.

“We threw the ball a lot more last year and this year we are more balanced,” Watkins said. “Also on defense I think we are a lot faster and we fly to the ball.” 

Palmer is very thankful to have his team playing in front of their home crowd.

“This is something that doesn’t happen around here very often,” Palmer said. “Playing in week 10 is awesome no matter what but playing at home is even better.”

The message for the Bunnies does not change drastically as they head into the playoffs but one thing is slightly different.

“You have to understand the sense of urgency that teams will have in the playoff,” Palmer said. “Every team will have that in the playoffs and we have to match it.”

The Pirates will have the urgency and a chip on their shoulder on Saturday.

“I hope we can learn from last year and maybe we can use it as motivation and get some redemption,” Watkins said.

Both teams will have a different weekday schedule with the Bunnies hosting Cumberland on Saturday at 2 PM. 

“We want to keep everything the same obviously but you have the extra day of prep,” Palmer said. “You have to come on Saturday with that win or go home mentality.” 

Other area games: 1A: Tri-County (5-4) at Arcola (7-2), White Hall NorthGreene (5-4) at Argenta-Oreana (8-1), Salt Fork (5-4) at Camp Point Central (8-1), 2A: Villa Grove/Heritage (5-4) at Nashville (8-1), 2A: Rushville-Industry (6-3) at GCMS (8-1), Tremont (6-3) at Watseka (6-3) 3A: Chicago Carver (6-2) at PBL (7-2),  St. Joseph-Ogden (5-4) at Williamsville (9-0), Monticello (6-3) at DuQuoin (8-1)

 You can contact Ryan Birch at Rbirch@RantoulPress.com or on Twitter @RyanBirchRP