DEXTER — While many are heaping praise on the General Brown Lions for their talent, experience and toughness, veteran coach Steve Fisher always expects more out of his teams — including the 2014 version.
Despite a cast that includes may of the key contributors from last season’s Section 3 Class C championship club, Fisher isn’t quick to anoint his Lions as a repeat contender any time soon.
In fact, he’s been disappointed with the preseason and what it has meant to the Lions.
“Mainly due to the time we had to spend on improving conditioning rather than improving football skills,” Fisher said. “There’s some talent, no doubt. But you’ve got to work hard every day and make the most of your talent. So far, we have not.”
Despite Fisher’s protestations, this is a team certainly capable of winning another sectional crown. It’s a senior-laden club with plenty of skill players, tough two-way linemen and hard-hitting defenders.
Start with a backfield any coach would covet. The leader is senior running back Zech Pitre, who led all area rushers with nearly 1,300 yards a year ago and scored 20 touchdowns. He’s a bulldozer with speed.
His brother, senior Joe Pitre, came on strong at the end of last season and is almost as powerful as Zech. Add in speedster Ryan Cumberbatch, a player Fisher says has more potential than any other Lion, and you have a dynamic backfield. Quarterback Evan Will did a nice job of directing the offense as a sophomore, and he looks even more comfortable this time around.
Fisher has a rebuilt offensive line, but does have some experienced hands in Jacob Wojasinski, Colton Snyder and Conner Purvis.
General Brown lost its four leading tacklers from a year ago, including All-North linebacker Rob Pickeral. And as Fisher points out, “We also lost kids who led us in receptions and key blocks. Those sometimes don’t show up on stats sheets that we have to replace.”
The Lions have six starters back on defense, and that unit is always the heart and soul of the team. The Pitre brothers are standout linebackers, while Dylan Heath, Cumberbatch and Brandon Maier give Fisher a solid secondary.
General Brown Lions
2013 record: 9-2, 4-1 Class C North, Class C champion.
Coach: Steve Fisher (45th year, 000-00, 47th overall, 262-130-8).
Players to watch: Zech Pitre (Sr., FB/LB, 1,278 rush yds., 20 TD); Joe Pitre (Sr., RB/LB); Ryan Cumberbatch (Sr., RB/WR/DB); Evan Will (Jr., QB/DB, 847 pass yds., 6 TD); Joshua Totive (Jr., OL/DL); Dylan Heath (Sr., WR/DB); Brandon Maier (Sr., RB/DB); Connor Purvis (Sr., TE/DT); Colton Snyder (Sr., OL/DE); Jacob Wojasinski (Sr., OL/LB); Dylan Davis (Sr., WB/DB).