The Post-Journal

Fischer Reaches Milestone, State Title Game In 25th Season

The day after Thanksgiving, Curt Fischer stood in a hallway outside Maple Grove’s locker room in the Carrier Dome and answered questions from a group of reporters.

The Red Dragons had just suffered a gut-wrenching, 21-20, overtime loss to Cambridge in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class D championship game and it was up to their veteran and highly successful coach to try to put some perspective to it all.

For most of the impromptu press conference, Fischer was upbeat.

“These guys are crazy fun,” he said. “Every day I went to practice, they made my life great… When a coach can say that, it makes it worth it.”

But then, searching for more examples of his fondest memories from the 2016 season, Fischer’s words came haltingly.

“I wish I could have pulled this out for them,” he said. “You can’t take that pain out of them. If I could, I would… I love these kids so much.”

Finally, the emotion of the loss and the realization that there would be no more football with this team began to set in. And once the questions stopped, the waterworks in Fischer’s eyes turned on.

“Sorry,” he said.

But in yet another remarkable season in a career full of gridiron greatness dating back a quarter century, Fischer had no reason to apologize, because not only did the Red Dragons play for a state title, but they also fulfilled Fischer’s prophetic statement more than two months earlier.

“I think we could do a lot,” Fischer said during a September appearance on The Post-Journal’s online video talk show, ‘All in a Week’s Sports.’ “Getting out of (Section VI) Class D is the hardest thing. I really believe whoever gets out of it has a good chance to go to the state championship, I really do. I think we have a shot. I think we have just as good a shot as anybody. That’s our goal.”

Behind the coaching of Fischer and his assistants, Dan Greco, Jordan Saxton, Bob Goold and Dave DuBois, the goal was realized.

On the road to the Carrier Dome, Fischer picked up his 200th career victory in Week 2 against Frewsburg; the Red Dragons ripped off 12 straight wins; averaged 41 points per game, and yielded an average of 8; and survived injuries and low roster numbers to play for a state championship for the third time in school history.

While Maple Grove wasn’t able to leave Ernie Davis Legends Field with a third state title – the Red Dragons claimed crowns in 1998 and 2008 – Fischer, The Post-Journal’s 2016 Coach of the Year – still departed the Syracuse University campus with the proper perspective.

“In about an hour, we’re going to be laughing and having fun again, realizing we did some special things,” he said. “This was a memory of a lifetime. There are a heck of a lot of teams that would have loved to be here. Would we love it to be the other way? Absolutely, but congratulations to (Cambridge). They fought a great fight.”

Before he headed back to the locker room to be with his players, Fischer was reminded of a quote that is believed to have originated with children’s author, Dr. Seuss.

“Don’t cry because it’s over,” Seuss wrote, “smile because it happened.”

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