The situation in which Bishop Dwenger quarterback Mike Fiacable injured his ACL last year is “something we would never allow to happen again,” according to Saints head coach Chris Svarczkopf.
It was a preseason scrimmage and Fiacable had just thrown an interception. Being the competitor he is, he followed the play as it continued with the defense trying to return the turnover for an interception.
Fiacable was blocked by a defensive lineman and tore his ACL, ending his junior season before it could begin.
“You learn from experience: You don't want your quarterback chasing down an interception in a scrimmage before the season,” Svarczkopf said. “But it is just who he is, he wanted to make a play and save a touchdown.”
No player in the area is more eager for Friday to arrive than Fiacable, who remembers the circumstances of the injury well.
“I am a serious competitor. I always want to win, even in practice,” Fiacable said. “In a way I am glad (the injury) happened. I became a better person spiritually, mentally and physically.”
Fiacable missed his entire junior season for both the football and basketball programs, but was a crucial part of the teams on the sidelines and on the bench. He stayed engaged while rehabbing his injury and continued to work on strengthening his upper body.
In all, he has been a textbook example of what you want to see out of a player attempting to overcome a devastating injury.
“When you suffer an injury like that, not only have you lost the ability to play, but you have lost the ability to do what you normally do, and that can break your spirit,” Svarczkopf said. “But Mike and his family did not allow that to happen. They continued to be a part of the team. He never walked away from it.
“That says a lot about his faith and his will to return and come back even better.”
A junior season is typically when most players begin to garner the attention of college programs. Fiacable missed out on that and looks to regain some of that recruiting momentum when the season begins on Friday.
He said Miami of Ohio and Cincinnati have been in contact recently.
Fiacable's injury was one of several doses of bad luck for the Saints, who struggled to just three regular-season victories in 2012. Bishop Dwenger bounced back for a sectional championship, but “what ifs” were used liberally when talking about what could have been.
But Fiacable, his teammates and the coaching staff are moving on. They are primed for Friday's matchup against South Side, with Fiacable ready to play his first regular-season game in two years.
He will not give a second thought to the leg injury, whether he is scrambling out of the pocket or running an option keeper.
“It will always be there in my memory, but I am not focused on it or anything,” Fiacable said about the injury. “I have already taken hits on it, so it is out of the picture really.
“I feel like not just me but our whole team has something to prove.”
The opportunity to do that begins Friday night.