The kid named after wrestling royalty has put his name atop the football record book at Grundy High School.
Senior Gabe Fiser owns the two most prolific rushing performances in the rich history of the school’s gridiron program and making that achievement even more impressive is that those outputs came in consecutive weeks.
Fiser gained 336 yards on 27 carries in a 40-12 victory over River View (West Virginia) on Aug. 31.
He went for 337 yards on 19 carries seven days later in a 43-14 beatdown of Lebanon.
Fiser wasn’t exactly keeping a running tally in his head.
“When we were at River View I had no idea how many I had until after the game,” he said. “Against Lebanon, Keegan Bartley, our stat keeper, asked me at halftime if I wanted to know how many I had and I said, ‘Sure, why not?’ and he told me I had 293 and then I knew I only had one drive to try and break the record and I gave it all I had on that next drive.”
Tyler Berglowe was the previous record-holder for the Golden Wave, rushing for 321 yards against Tazewell in a 2010 game.
“It honestly is just a blessing to have that record,” Fiser said. “There have been dozens of great running backs come through this program dating back to the early-80s. … This is something I’ve been looking to accomplish since I saw the record broke by Berglowe when I was a kid. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my line and my blockers and [quarterback] Derick Endicott and [wide receiver] Jake McCoy opening up the passing game.”
Football is Fiser’s second-best sport.
Just consider he has a sublime 111-9 career record as a varsity wrestler and is a three-time VHSL state champion on the mat.
What’s better: A pinfall or a touchdown?
“Honestly, it depends. Sticking someone in the state finals, there is no better feeling than that,” Fiser said. “But scoring a touchdown in front of the whole town on a Friday night is amazing as well. I’d say they are pretty close.”
Now, about that name.
When Travis and Jackie Fiser’s first child arrived on Dec. 18, 2000, they decided to name him Gabriel Aaron Fiser.
Gabe pays homage to Dan Gable, a wrestling icon.
You see, Travis Fiser was a two-time NCAA All-American (1991 and 1992) while wrestling in the 190-pound weight class for Gable’s Iowa Hawkeyes.
“Coach Gable had an impact on my dad’s life that he will remember forever,” Gabe Fiser said. “I have met Coach Gable. He’s a great guy and will talk about anything. If you need advance you got to him. He’s great.”
Travis Fiser was a multi-sport star as well, playing on the offensive line and at outside linebacker at Iowa Valley High School in Marengo, Iowa.
The elder Fiser has been the wrestling coach at Grundy since the 1996-97 season.
“My relationship with my dad is awesome,” Gabe Fiser said. “We joke around all the time and have a good time, but when we are competing we are on the same competitive page. He just pushes me to be my absolute best all the time.”
Craig Plymal, in his third season as Grundy’s head football coach, can vouch for that competitiveness.
“What you see on Friday nights is what Gabe gives you Monday through Thursday,” Plymal said. “He’s just got that tenacity. I’ve seen him get a pick-six, a fumble recovery. At Martinsville [in the 2016 playoffs] he picked off an option from the quarterback out of the air and took it to the end zone. … He’s everywhere.”
Indeed, Fiser does have an extensive highlight reel.
“Most of his rushes are impressive,” said teammate Casey Lawson. “But there was one game where he broke three tackles and rushed for a 70-yard touchdown.”
Fiser will look to make more highlights tonight when Grundy (2-1) hosts Honaker (3-0) in a critical Black Diamond District contest. Honaker has a pretty accomplished running back of its own in Trevor Dye.
“We are amped up for Honaker,” Fiser said. “This is one of the biggest games on our schedule. They are coming in undefeated and will be ready to rock some heads. We have to be pumped up and bring our A-game just like they will.”
That’s never a problem with Fiser.
“He’s been great,” said teammate Michael McCowan. “And he just keeps getting better.”