The Press Newspaper
But on offense this year the wide receiver turned starting quarterback was even chosen Homecoming King.
Alongside cousin Kaylee Paul, who was crowned queen, that may have made his Wildcat teammates accept him as their unquestionable leader every Friday evening, despite Woodmore’s 2-8 final record.
At quarterback, “King” Fahle was slinging the rock downfield to moving targets Aaron Albright, Adam Trolio, Jon Custer, and Justin Garver on Friday nights.
But the 18-year-old, 3.3 honor roll student, and student of the game has finished his swan-song senior season in Wildcat blue and gold, even while the rest of WHS’s still-rebuilding football program struggled to get out of the garage in the win column.
“Yeah, I definitely felt very pressured this year, you know, when it came time to come into the first week of camp this past summer, just knowing that there was a very good chance of me taking over as starting quarterback, and becoming the main guy,” admits Fahle.
He followed two predecessors, and mentors, in former All-SLL signal callers Curtis Schlea (Honorable-Mention All-SLL, 2006) and Chris Noe (Second-Team All-SLL, 1,000-yard passer, ’07). He learned from them until 11th-year Wildcat coach Lou Bosh tapped him for the starting QB position.
“From just being able to watch both Curtis and Chris, and from taking in all of that experience from the sidelines over the years, and all that they were able to get done out on the field, and what skills each one of them brought to the game,” Fahle said, “I think it helped me through a lot of growing pains over the past couple of years, because everyone struggles at times. I think those years showed me how to become a better leader, and how to stay calm back there, and not get rattled. And to always know what to do, in every type of situation.”
While he was learning from Schlea and Noe, on defense Fahle, a rookie free safety and outside linebacker recorded 59 tackles during his sophomore year, finishing fourth on the team. As a junior, he notched 72 and one interception, landing second only behind Max Nusser.
As a slot receiver during his junior season, he had one touchdown but was second on the team in both receptions and receiving yards. All the while, Fahle was learning the QB ropes as both Schlea’s and Noe’s understudy,
“Yeah, I do think my legs are probably a little better than my arm, and I probably run around a 4.7 40, but I also believe that my arm will get the job done, too,” relents Fahle, “but coming into practice this past summer, I do think I had to be way more mentally fit to become comfortable in this position than I did physically fit.
“If you’re a lineman, and you’re big, and you’re strong, and you can overpower the guy across from you, it’s all good. You’re going to have an advantage. But as a quarterback, you have to be a little more strong in the mind, too, because everything is different back there, even down to the flow of practice.
“The switch was definitely a lot different for me at least, and a really big change from playing on the line, at linebacker, at safety, and as a wide receiver. But I think I adjusted pretty well. But again, I think it was all because I had plenty of time to observe first Curtis, who was a very physical kind of quarterback, and wasn’t afraid to run someone over, and had a great arm, and then Chris, who was very mental, and just knew what he was doing all the time, and could really throw the football and outrun you, too.
“I really learned from their examples, just being able to play behind two great quarterbacks for those first few years.”
Coach Bosh said, “Coming back for his senior year, we did not expect Michael to fill anyone’s shoes but his own.”
Fahle responded by scoring four touchdowns, passing for 571 yards and 12 touchdowns, and he ran for 392 yards on 108 attempts. He even had three receptions and 72 yards catching passes as he helped prepared the rebuilding Wildcats for next year.
“We never compare or hold the next player to the standard of a previous player. We try to build on the strengths that each individual brings to the team. All throughout his career, Michael has been consistent in his play and reliable. He would do whatever we asked of him for the team. This team has looked to him as a proven leader because of the years of experience that he has brought with him into his senior year,” Bosh said.
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