Fountain Central coach Brian Moore usually knows good football teams when he sees them.
He played for the 1983 Fountain Central state championship squad, coached an undefeated state champion at Seeger in 2004 and was athletic director/assistant coach for the Mustangs’ Class A state runners-up in 2009 and 2010.
But this year’s Fountain Central team, ranked sixth in Class A entering Friday night’s county rivalry game against Attica, had Moore concerned before the season.
Projected top running back Jack Bolin was lost for the season due to nerve damage in his neck, and Moore had doubts about his team’s identity.
“The day we lost Jack, I panicked a little bit,” Moore said. “Then I said I can sit around and whine about this, or we can get to work. I started talking to Central Catholic’s staff a little bit, among others, about throwing the ball better.”
Junior quarterback Koby Pierce has made big plays in his second season as the starter, but the emergence of senior Jared Fishero and a large, athletic offensive line eased Moore’s mind.
So did the season-opening 50-31 victory at Southmont.
“We looked to the offensive line initially and thought we had a chance to be pretty good up front, but we thought it might take a little while with all these fresh running backs,” Moore said. “We only really had one back who got a lot of playing time in Jared Fishero. Daniel Harrison got some, but not a lot, at fullback.
“Against Southmont, who is a very good opponent, we were able to run the ball very efficiently. I talked to coach Hannum after that game and he said, ‘Coach, I think you’re a little better than you think you are.’ I think maybe we are. We’re ahead of where I thought we’d be.”
The Mustangs (4-0) have outscored four opponents 241-51 and are coming off a 68-0 victory over their other Fountain County rival, Covington.
Fishero leads the Mustangs in rushing with 328 yards, but Fountain Central has received significant contributions from Harrison (168 yards, 4 TD), Alex Haddock (132 yards, 2 TD) and Casey Walls (101 yards, 2 TD).
Like his coach, Fishero was pleasantly surprised with Fountain Central’s offensive dominance against Southmont.
“I thought it was going to be a really close game, but we smacked them,” Fishero said. “We’ve been playing really great.”
Fishero has been playing football in the Fountain Central system since second grade, so praise of his offensive linemen isn’t merely a goodwill gesture.
“It’s the best line I’ve ever had since I started playing football,” he said. “It’s the biggest line, the best technique line. They make the holes, I just run through it. I’ve got to give all my yards to them. They don’t get recognized for it, and they should.”
Pierce has completed 19 of just 31 passes but they’ve gone for 472 yards and nine touchdowns. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Pierce threw spiral after spiral at Tuesday’s practice.
“We both played a little quarterback last season, but now it’s just unbelievable how much more he sees and reads the field,” Fishero said. “He knows everything now. You don’t have to remind him of anything.”
Moore and his veteran coaching staff spent as much time teaching during Tuesday’s practice as they devoted to running plays. That’s intentional.
“We have a philosophy that we believe in, and we’ve learned it from a lot of good programs and a lot of good concepts,” Moore said. “Everybody has schemes, but our kids believe in what we’re doing because we have coaches who believe in what we’re doing. If you practice it the way we teach it, you’ll have success. We do a few things and we try to do them really well.”