VIDEO: Red Lion's Jesse Shay talks about his defense, WR Randy Fizer, QB Zach Mentzer and captain Eli Workinger after Red Lion's win over Waynesboro. JACOB CALVIN MEYER, 717-505-5406/@jcalvinmeyer
Growing up, as the most athletic player on his teams, Randy Fizer Jr. was always required to play quarterback.
When he joined the Red Lion High School varsity team as a sophomore, Fizer was asked to take on a new role after losing a summer quarterback competition with two upperclassmen — wide receiver.
While he was initially disappointed to be changing positions, he took a positive approach and worked hard to adjust. He trusted Red Lion coach Jesse Shay and the decision paid off more than Fizer ever imagined.
“This kid is an athlete,” Shay said. “We need to get him the ball in space because he can do stuff with it, and receiver was an obvious choice.”
The Lions got Fizer the ball and he knew what to do with it. The 5-foot-11 pass catcher had more than 800 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns and was named a York-Adams League Division I First-Team All-Star.
Already knew the plays: Fizer credited his experience as a quarterback as the main reason he was able to adjust so quickly. His ability to read defenses, combined with his athleticism, allowed Fizer to quickly become one of the league’s top wide receivers.
“It plays a huge role,” Fizer said. “I was in all the (quarterback meetings), so I was so familiar with what to do on all the plays. It gave me a huge advantage over other wide receivers because I know exactly where I need to be and what I need to do to get open for our quarterback.”
Although he was confident in his abilities, it wasn’t until his second game when Fizer knew the position change was the right move for him. He caught three touchdowns against Waynesboro High, which sparked a love for the wide receiver position.
“I was like, ‘I really love this. I love catching touchdowns. I think I can really make something out of this,’” Fizer said.
Shay said that Fizer’s team-first attitude and incredible work ethic are the keys to his early success at wide receiver. He added that the coaching staff and Fizer will need to work harder to create plays for him with opposing defenses locked on him this season.
Both Fizer and Shay said there was no real discussion about making a transition back to quarterback this year after quarterback Zach Mentzer graduated, but neither closed the door on a return for his senior year.
The wide receiver prides himself on being a team-first player and Shay said next year he could play wherever the team asked him to play.
“He’s going to be on the field and a difference maker no matter where we put him,” Shay said.
Getting even better: With an offseason spent catching passes instead of throwing them, Fizer said he expects to improve on his stellar first season at wide receiver. He said he is spending more time running routes, lifting in the gym and his 40-yard dash time was recently hand-timed at 4.43 seconds.
“I expect a lot out of myself, so I expect my numbers to go up a lot higher each year I keep playing and gaining experience,” Fizer said. “You’re always trying to get better year after year.”
Looking forward: As for goals this year, Fizer started with repeating as York-Adams Division I champions and a victory in the state playoffs. On the personal side, he aims to improve on his Honorable Mention All-State distinction and break 1,000 receiving yards while scoring 20 touchdowns.
Fizer attended a few college camps this summer and plans to participate in a number of them in the future. He said college coaches have started to reach out to him about playing slot receiver and he is excited to visit schools in the future. Pennlive.com has already rated him one of the top 90 recruits in Pennsylvania for the 2021 recruiting class.
While he never planned on playing wide receiver and struggled with the adjustment at first, he said the change ended up being exactly what he was supposed to do.
After the countless hours of practice, Fizer wasn’t surprised by last season’s success and expects to have more in the future.
“I would not have expected myself to have changed positions and be in the position I am now, but I put so much work in that I am not shocked with the success I am having,” FIzer said.
Reach Rob Rose at email@example.com.