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High Schools

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Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
Bishop Dwenger quarterback Mike Fiacable has recovered from knee surgery that forced him to miss the football and basketball seasons.

Saints QB counts injury as blessing

Missed ’12 season but hopes to lead team back to top

– Football has been a part of Mike Fiacable’s life for years, but these days the Bishop Dwenger senior quarterback isn’t taking playing the sport for granted.

His perspective changed when the multisport standout injured his left ACL early in the preseason last August and missed the football and basketball seasons.

“It makes me think how grateful I was to play the game of football and don’t take any little things for granted,” Fiacable said. “I just want to play to the best of my ability every time out and don’t look back anymore. I am looking forward from now on.

“The hardest part was getting through it and wondering why this happened, why me and stuff like that. Instead of wondering that now, though, I like to think it was a blessing, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without it happening.”

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Fiacable said he recovered from the knee surgery in about a month and has spent the last 10 months working to get back under center for the Saints. Part of his recovery process was spent at AWP under the guidance of Bryan Bourcier.

“I wouldn’t be where I am without them,” Fiacable said of AWP and Bourcier.

As a sophomore starter in 2011, Fiacable threw for 1,271 yards and 11 touchdowns. Fiacable is out throwing with his teammates and getting ready for the Aug. 23 season opener.

“I am conditioning, getting stronger and faster and getting ready for the upcoming season with my Dwenger teammates and preparing to win a state championship,” Fiacable said. “I am just getting back to my normal life.

“I can’t wait (for the season). I just tried to be a team player and a leader; at the same time, it was hard to watch week in and week out for eight months straight, including basketball. But my time will come.”

So when it was time to get back to throwing the football, Fiacable enlisted the help of Dwenger teammate Ryan Watercutter. The two have had throwing sessions over the winter, spring and summer.

“It has something that is tough to go through for any athlete, but it will make him stronger,” said Watercutter, a senior receiver.

“It will be good for him to overcome that adversity and make him a better person. It took a lot of time, but he is 100 percent right now.”

It was a painful experience Dwenger, too, as the team struggled to a 6-7 record in 2012 and ended up using four quarterbacks. It was the Saints’ first losing season in a dozen years.

“It was bad (Fiacable) went down, but there were a lot of other players who also went down and that didn’t help either,” said Watercutter, who still managed to catch 56 passes for 972 yards and was named an All-SAC first-team defensive back. “Overall, the backup quarterbacks did provide a lot of leadership for being only sophomores, especially since that is a hard thing to do.

“We had big things on our minds, but it didn’t go too well. Bishop Dwenger is a successful program traditionally, and we want to bring that back. It is the school’s 50th anniversary, and we want to get back to contending not only for an SAC title but for a state title as well. That’s been one of our main focuses since last November.”

Watercutter, who has an offer from Saint Francis, had his recruiting process slowed a little bit.

“A lot of schools are interested, but I was unable to take my ACT,” said Watercutter, who also plays on the AWP 7-on-7 team. “I had to use my dad’s car, and the engine died and I missed my test. A lot of the colleges are waiting on that.”

Fiacable, who spent part of his summer playing with AWP’s 7-on-7 traveling all-star football team, saw his recruiting stock fall after the injury.

“I don’t like to look at it like that,” Fiacable said of his recruiting taking a hit because of the injury. “God will put me where I need to be, and everything happens for a reason. I know something good will come out of it.”