Nate Fisher showed up at Pequea Valley’s second spring football practice two years ago, grabbed a helmet out of the pile and trotted out to the Braves’ turf field in the school’s stadium.
It was his first football practice. Literally.
Fisher played zero organized football before that day, at the tail end of his sophomore year in high school. And he had to coax his parents into letting him even attend that practice.
“One way or the other,” Fisher said, “I was going to play high school football.”
By the Braves’ sixth game last fall, Fisher, who started his prep career as a wide receiver, was firmly entrenched as PV’s starting quarterback in his junior year, and second-year coach Jeff Werner hasn’t been able to pry him out from behind center.
“I didn’t want to throw him to the dogs right away, so I waited until the sixth game to get him in there at quarterback because he’d never even played football before,” Werner said. “And for a kid who never played quarterback on a Friday night before, that’s a pretty daunting experience. But he’s done a tremendous job for a kid who had no experience.”
None, before that spring practice two years ago. Now, Fisher is a fixture in the Braves’ lineup calling signals.
The other reason Fisher never had the opportunity to play organized football growing up? He was Amish until he was 6.
“The clothes, the hats, the horse and buggies, no electronics,” Fisher said. “All of it.”
Fisher and his family reside on a farm in the southeastern part of the county, and his chores include feeding the chickens every night. He has relatives in his family who are still Amish.
Fisher is one of 10 children — he’s seventh in line at the dinner table — and he’s just the second person in his family to play organized sports; younger brother Tim plays soccer for PV.
Fisher used to attend Faith Mennonite School in Kinzers, and now he goes to Linville Hill Christian School in Paradise, and he plays sports for PV thanks to an athletic co-op between the schools.
As for his football quarterbacking prowess, Fisher has a little bit of John Elway in him: Gunslinger mentality. Get hit, but get right back up and run the next play. Keep going, no matter what. And Werner says he has a cannon for a right arm, hence his switch to an Air Raid, pass-happier kind of a scheme this season.
“The terminology was probably the toughest thing to pick up,” Fisher said. “I didn’t know what a sweep was. Or a dive play. What’s a dive play? As far as playing quarterback, I had to learn if the defense was in man coverage. Are they in a zone? I’m looking for holes. All of it. And I still have a lot to learn. But I love that part of the game. I love trying to pick apart a defense and figure out what they’re doing.”
It hasn’t taken Fisher very long to pick up all of the nuances of playing quarterback, running a huddle, and being a team leader.
“He’s tough, he’s resilient and he’s smart,” Werner said.
Fisher is also committed to becoming the best quarterback he can be. He’s even attended QB guru Jim Cantafio’s camps at Spooky Nook, and he’s worked out with former Coatesville standout QB Ricky Ortega, who is a freshman at Villanova.
And to think, Fisher never put on a uniform, let alone took snaps in a varsity game under the lights on a Friday night, before two short years ago.
“I was not going to go through life without playing high school football,” Fisher said. “My parents didn’t want me to play football. I kept asking them my whole sophomore year if I could play. Me and my dad had to work some things out. And on that second day of spring ball, he let me come out.”
The rest is history.
“Now, Fisher said, "my dad comes to every game. He’s a big fan.”
And he has plenty to be proud of.