College Station safety Fisher Mainard needs only one hand to co-lead the Cougars in interceptions | #schoolsaftey

Orthodox football doctrine mandates all skill players catch a football with their hands outstretched from their body.

For College Station senior safety Fisher Mainard, a hand and any available body part will do.

Since injuring his left thumb in a car accident early in the season, Mainard has managed to reel in three interceptions. Adding to the challenge is the massive tape-wrapped club trainers have built around the injured hand while Mainard plays free safety for the Cougars.

“I think my left mitt has superpowers,” Mainard said of the fingerless ball of bandage and tape with a smirk.

His first interception, and possibly his most impressive, came in the Cougars’ 44-6 win over UANL Monterrey. After jumping the route, it was a lunging effort which ultimately saw the ball nestle between his right hand and the back of his leg. And, for as impressive of a physical effort the interception was, it was his football IQ that tallied the interception.

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“He was supposed to have inside leverage, but he knew that he had help based off of what happened,” safeties coach Jarrett Beckhussen said. “So, he was able to be really aggressive on the route and he made a great break and jumped in front of the receiver. He tried to catch it with one hand and the club and he kind of losses the balls, but ended up catching it behind one of his legs. And so, it’s just the coordination and the athleticism to be there in the first place and to stay with it and hang through it shows that not everything is perfect, not every play is perfect, but you keep fighting.”

There was no fear when Mainard first injured the left thumb. In fact, he relished the idea of sporting the big club on the football field.

“I honestly thought it was pretty cool. I thought I was just going to be able to like left hook people with it. Refs told me I couldn’t,” he said, laughing. “But, I wasn’t expecting interceptions.”

Football is a new experience for Mainard, who joined the Cougar football program his junior year after he transferred to College Station. Having played basketball through most of his teenage life, he was starting from scratch when it came to knowledge of the game.

However, just a brief walk through the halls of his new high school proved to him that the gridiron is where he wanted to be.

“You’re expected something, no matter who you are,” Mainard said. “Like, grades are expected—it’s just excellence here. I wanted to be apart of that, especially going to the games and football. I thought, ‘How cool would it be to be here and to being play and to be out there on the field.’ I didn’t want to miss out on that.”

The determination needed to embrace contact and run through hits was already present, due to his status as the youngest of a four brother household.

“I grew up with three older brothers, so hitting was never an issue,” Mainard said with a laugh.

Reading offenses and covering some of the state’s best wideouts presented an early challenge that held Mainard on the sideline for most of his junior season.

There wasn’t much about the position that he mastered early in his career, he said.

“I didn’t have much understanding of the defense or offense, really, in high school football,” he said. “I played man my whole life in middle school, so I knew nothing about zone coverage. I couldn’t guard a receiver, to be honest, at all. That was pretty much the focus all of the summer, was just being able to stay on somebody.”

It all started coming together for Mainard in spring practice, he said, less than a year after he rejoined the sport. The daily challenge of covering Cougar senior wide receiver Paden Cashion gave him the confidence that he could guard anyone in the state, he said.

“Out of all the receivers I’ve guarded—and the Lovejoy receivers that are 5-stars—Peyton runs beautiful routes. They are so difficult to guard. I had two or three against “Pey Pey” that I felt that I was guarding pretty well and that’s when I was like, ‘OK, if I can guard this guy—confidence rolled from there.’”

He worked his way into the starting lineup in his second season and has recorded 39 tackles, three interceptions and a forced fumble in four games this season.

“I think the biggest thing is, mentally, he’s very prepared going into the game,” Beckhussen said. “He knows what’s likely to come, as far as what routes they’ll run on him, and he’s able to be really aggressive and go make plays.”

Friday, as the Cougars host a more pass-friendly Georgetown East View team, Beckhussen said Mainard and the rest of the defensive secondary will be key, should the Cougars come out with a victory. The game presents another opportunity to break the tie with junior Braylen Wortham for the team lead in interceptions.

Only two weeks remain where Mainard has to wear a protective brace wrapped into a club for his football games. But, should things continue to trend in a positive direction, why loo\se the clear source of his superpowers?

“I’m thinking about [keeping it on],” he said with a laugh. “If I get another pick this game, then I might have to keep it on.”

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