Latrobe QB Bobby Fetter displays leadership, perspective for Wildcats

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Thursday, August 19, 2021 | 4:23 PM


When Bobby Fetter learned he might not be able to play football again after he separated his left shoulder for a third time and needed surgery, the Latrobe senior gained a measure of perspective.

He didn’t ask for pity, and he didn’t pout. Instead, he used his consternation to help others.

“It made me think about other athletes who might not have the opportunities I have,” said Fetter, who returned to action and will be the Wildcats’ quarterback this season. “I am so grateful for the experiences I have had to play the game.”

Fetter formed his own initiative to address his concerns.

“Cats’ Pride” came to life in the spring. Fetter and teammate Tyler Lynch, a senior lineman, took in donated sports equipment for young athletes in need of it — a basketball or baseball glove here, a pair of soccer cleats there. It made some kids smile — like the one Fetter flashes with confidence.

And after receiving a $1,500 grant from a local donor, and another $1,000 from Dick’s Sporting Goods, Fetter and Lynch decided to have a short-essay contest for Latrobe elementary students with the winners getting to shop for new gear at Dick’s.

Fetter and Lynch, who had an equipment donation at Latrobe High School, took the children shopping at Dick’s.

This Christmas, Fetter said he is planning a letters to Santa-type drive to continue the pay-it-forward action.

“I can be Santa,” he said. “Maybe we can bring toys to the kids’ houses.

“We’re not just here to be athletes. It’s nice to do good for other people. If people need help, you should help them.”

So that sums up Fetter’s contribution to humanity. What about his contribution to the Wildcats?

Along with his role at quarterback, he also will play some cornerback and safety.

“Bobby has shown tremendous leadership qualities in the offseason and early on in camp,” Latrobe coach Jason Marucco said. “He has earned (the position) over the last couple years.”

Known for his shiftiness and quickness running the ball, Fetter started to show his potential as a sophomore when he played quarterback. He began to get more comfortable under center as the season went on, and helped lead the Wildcats to a last-season must-win over Plum, which clinched a playoff berth. He ran for 116 yards and three touchdowns in the 28-20 win.

He also led the offense in a first-round loss to Penn Hills.

“It was great to get that experience,” Fetter said. “We had a ton of guys hurt and I knew I had to step up.”

In between his sophomore and junior seasons is when the shoulder got knocked out of place again. His first separation occurred in a football game, but the other two followed in basketball — once in a practice and again during game. Surgery followed. Fetter had seven anchors, which look like large staples, implanted in his shoulder.

The good news was that he came back sooner than expected. Instead of a year on the sidelines, he recovered in about half that time.

“After they told me I might not be able to play, I had a long talk with my parents,” he said. “I knew I wanted to play.”

Fetter also is a pitcher in baseball, but throws with his right arm. Doctors told him he should avoid basketball, but also that he could return to football with caution.

“It was tough to deal with the rehab and everything,” he said. “You have to lift your arms more in basketball, which you don’t really think about. In football, your arm is lower, and you have the shoulder pads, too.”

Fetter said his platform as a senior quarterback helped him spread the word about his equipment initiative, but his voice is also loud and clear in the locker room.

“I feel like I give us a good chance to win,” Fetter said. “And I try to be a vocal leader. This team, I think, is the most prepared we have had since I have been here.”

In a bizarre 2020 season because of the covid pandemic, Fetter saw spot time under center and filled in on defense in the secondary as he continued to rebound from his surgery.

Fetter also tweaked his hamstring last year, so Landon Carns took over at quarterback.

“(2020) was a strange year,” Fetter said. “Chaos is the word. I ran the ball a few times and caught a pass. I got an appreciation for the running backs, seeing a linebacker coming at me like that. I have played quarterback my whole life.”

Fetter only attempted six passes, but ran for 121 yards and two touchdowns, and had two receptions.

With the QB position finally his, Fetter has high hopes for a team that will start 10 seniors on offense.

Marucco calls Fetter a dual threat and expects him to show it on the field.

“He has really worked on his throwing,” Marucco said. “But his legs are his best attribute. We think he will be able to move the ball on the ground or through the air.”

Assistants Johnny Yester and Pat Murray, former quarterbacks, have worked with Fetter on his mechanics.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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