They are not exactly separated-at-birth, Doppelganger twins. But Steele Canyon’s Thomas Fishburne and Granite Hills’ Jake Siegfried are so similar that the comparisons are fascinating and freaky.
Both seniors play quarterback. Both have started for three years. Both wear No. 5. And both are incredibly athletic, the obvious keys to their teams’ success. And they’ll share the field Friday night when Steele Canyon (8-4) invades Granite Hills (10-2) in the San Diego Section Division II high school football semifinals.
“If you looked at them, you wouldn’t think they’re as good as they are,” said Steele Canyon coach Scott Longerbone.
“Both are highly competitive kids,” said Granite Hills coach Kellen Cobbs.
And while both plan to play football in college, neither will likely line up at quarterback. The problem is they don’t pass the major college quarterback eye test. Siegfried goes 6 feet, 205 pounds. Fishburne is 5-10, 170. By college football standards, they’re vertically challenged.
Siegfried is a runner first, passer second. Incredibly quick, Fishburne uses his legs to buy time, enabling receivers to break free.
“I’m a dual threat,” said Siegfried, who has rushed for 1,275 yards this season, passed for 1,044 and accounted for a combined 31 TDs running and throwing.
“I’m more of an athlete on the field,” said Fishburne, who has totaled 2,011 yards from scrimmage and a combined 29 TDs for seventh-seeded Steele Canyon. “I love to extend plays with my legs.”
Siegfried produced an incredible performance in the No. 6 Eagles’ 49-30 upset of No. 3 Valley Center last Friday. Directing a ground-oriented spread offense, Siegfried carried 35 times for 257 yards and scored four touchdowns. He did not pass often but when called upon he was accurate, completing 6 of 8 attempts for 124 yards and a TD.
Asked how his body felt Saturday morning after the 35 rushes, Siegfried sighed then said, “Let me just tell you, I’m still feeling it.”
Bullish enough to tuck the ball between the tackles, plus dangerous in the open field, Siegfried is a fighter, literally. He has boxed for more than four years and not the hip, cardiovascular boxing classes.
Siegfried laced up the gloves for the first time in the eighth grade, spars regularly in the offseason and is unbeaten in two amateur fights.
Boxing, he said, improves his footwork and toughness.
“You come out of the gym getting punched in the face and it isn’t odd anymore,” Siegfried said. “It should be weird, but it isn’t. It’s awesome. I love the sport.”
Good luck finding a prep more athletic than Fishburne. Not only is he a three-year starter at quarterback, he’ll be a three-year starter on the basketball team as well. Last spring he ran track (400 meters and hurdles) plus played volleyball.
While Siegfried almost solely plays quarterback, Fishburne lines up some at safety, plus punts and place-kicks.
“He’s a freak,” said Longerbone. “If we had a ping-pong team, he’d be the best ping-pong player.”
Primarily because of their size, neither is being recruited by Division I Football Bowl Subdivision schools. Siegfried is drawing interest from Sterling, an NAIA college. Fishburne, who carries a 4.1 GPA, has heard from UC Davis, Columbia and Drake.
Siegfried will likely shift to running back. Fishburne’s future likely lies as a slot receiver or safety.
Both carry the intangibles you would expect out of senior quarterbacks.
“Fish is the hardest-working kid on the team, far and away,” said Longerbone. “He leads all the runs and gets after it in the weight room.”
“He’s a kid who wants the ball in his hands,” Cobbs said of Siegfried. “When it’s time to shine, you want that out of your quarterback.”
Confidence is not an issue for the Granite Hills QB, whose team beat Steele Canyon 43-41 during the regular season.
At the end of an interview, Siegfried was asked if he’d like to add anything.
“You didn’t ask who’s going to win,” he said.
So when the question was posed, he said, “Granite Hills, baby. We’re going all the way.”
The quarterback on the opposite sideline will have a say in that.
Granite Hills’ Jake Siegfried and Steele Canyon’s Thomas Fishburne have put together similarly productive careers. A numerical look at the quarterbacks.
Stat | Siegfried | Fishburne
Yards rushing | 2,622 | 1,030
Yards passing | 3,638 | 4,958
Total yards | 6,260 | 5,988
TD passes | 31 | 48
TDs rushing | 39 | 11
Total TDs | 70 | 59
3-year record | 27-9 | 19-17
Norcross is a freelance writer.
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