The last few years have been tough at times for the Louisa County football team, but they were even tougher for Mark Fischer. After leaving the Lions for a job in South Carolina, Fischer's team went 8-22 in three seasons.
Now, Fischer is back as Louisa's head coach after a short absence, and this time around he brings a new perspective to the field.
"I learned a lot being away, because I was humbled too," Fischer says. "I was humbled in St. James. I didn't do a very good job down there. I'm not the end-all be-all. I wasn't the cure then, I had great kids."
In Fischer's first tenure the Lions had a lot of success, including a run to the state time game in 2006. In the three seasons he was gone, Louisa won 14 total games, including a 7-win season that came right after his departure in 2011. Now that they're reunited, Fischer says they're no magic formula to return the team to its winning ways.
"It ain't about Mark Fischer, it's about the kids that play the game. I haven't thrown a touchdown in all of the years I've been here, I ain't tackled anybody. It ain't about me, it's about what can we convince these kids that they can possibly do."
To kick off the 2014 season, the Lions were the first team on the field when the clock struck midnight on July 28. That's fitting for a team that hopes to be playing the role of Cinderella this season.
"We've been underdogs and I love being in the underdog role," says senior linebacker and tight end Brian Townes Jr. "When we show up teams, I love to see the look on peoples faces, and the stands start to fill up."
"They can think whatever they want," added senior running back and linebacker Demetrious Washington. "But when the helmets come on and the clock strikes, all that matters is how they feel after the game when we're clapping it up and we're happy, that all that comes down to it."
After a 3-7 season in 2013, Fischer knows there won't be high expectations surrounding his team this year. But the new head coach is using that to motivate his players in fall camp.
"That's kind of the mentality we're taking,us against the world," said Fischer. "We've got a chip on our shoulder. Some of the guys that we were kind of questionable as to whether or not they could get mean. We found out 'ooh, they can.' We had one of our big lineman, got his nose smeared across his face, he was bloody everywhere. He finally got mad, and he came back out there and I was very excited."