State Stories


Morrison’s Fischbach Sets IHSA Single-Season & Career Kickoff Touchdown Return Record

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Morrison High School senior Ethan Fischbach quietly became one of the best kick returners in high school football history during the 2016 season, as Fischbach set the single-season IHSA state and NFHS national record for kickoffs returned for touchdowns.

“It's an incredible feeling, like I'm on top of the world,” said Fischbach. “I've worked tirelessly to be where I'm at, and to have my efforts rewarded reminds me that anything is possible with the right mindset and dedication.”

Fischbach returned eight kickoffs for scores in 2016, besting the previous Illinois single-season record of six set by Mike Williams of Cuba High School in 1994. The single-season national record of seven returns for touchdowns in a season was shared by Jose Cortez (Mammoth Lakes, CA, 2008) and Derek Bair (Galva Canton-Galva, KS, 2005).

Amazingly, his single-season mark is also good for the IHSA career record, topping the record of seven shared by Riverside-Brookfield's Eric Bava (1995-97) and Lexington's T.J. Stinde (2006-09).

Fischbach's record-setting season also ties him for #2 in the NFHS National Record Book for career kickoff returns for touchdowns, as he trails only Jabari Felton-Smith of Mayer Orme School in Mayer, Arizona, who returned nine kickoffs for scores between 1999 and 2000.

He finished the season with 28 returns for 1094 yards, meaning that 28.5 percent of the kicks he returned resulted in touchdowns.

“Before the ball is kicked I go into this mode where I block everything out and focus solely on the task at hand. Nothing matters but the end zone,” said Fischbach. “I convince myself that no one person is going to take me down. If my initial path breaks down that's when I create. I'm scoring no matter what. It also helps when your team makes the kind of blocks mine did this year. It wouldn't have been possible without them.”

Below is the list of Fischbach’s touchdown returns from the 2016 season, as well as highlights via HUDL. Impressively, five of the six teams he returned kicks for scores against made the IHSA playoffs:

Week  Date  Opponent  Score(s)
Week 1   August 26   at Kewanee (H.S.)   2: 85 yards & 84 yards 
Week 4
 September 16
 vs. Taylor Ridge (Rockridge)  85 yards
Week 5
 September 23
 vs. Port Byron (Riverdale)
 97 yards
Week 7
 October 7
 at Orion
 95 yards
Week 8
 October 14
 vs. Hamilton (West Hancock)
 2: 88 yards & 87 yards
Week 9
 October 21
 at Manlius (Bureau Valley)
 78 yards

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