HARRISBURG, Pa. - High energy and a motor that's always running. That's Central Dauphin's Zayd Issah in a nutshell, and that high energy part was even more heightened following a come-from-behind 24-21 victory in overtime against Mid-Penn Commonwealth Conference rival Harrisburg Saturday afternoon.
Though teammate Drew Scales scored all three of the Rams' touchdowns in the win - two rushing and one via an interception return - it was Issah's defensive and special teams play which got the ball rolling for Central Dauphin's rally.
Trailing 7-0 in the third quarter, Issah blocked a Harrisburg punt to set the Rams up in prime position, and it led to the first of Scales' touchdowns to tie the game. That blocked punt was only part of Issah's day - he recorded six tackles, recovered a fumble (which thwarted a Harrisburg threat late in the first half and kept the score 7-0) and blocked the punt. He also rushed twice for 26 yards, including a 22-yard jaunt following the punt block.
But for all that Issah did, he said it could have been better.
"I'm actually not happy with myself at all - I wish I could have done more to help my team," Issah said. "I did it playing on a sore knee, but I still wish I could have done more (than I did)."
Issah has been playing primarily on defense for the last three games - he tweaked his knee in a Central Dauphin game three weeks ago and it began bothering him a little more in the Rams' 54-6 demolition of Lewistown (Pa.) Mifflin County in Week 6. The Rams' career 3,300-yard rusher has played sparingly on offense since then.
Issah said he has told schools that are recruiting him about the sore knee, but isn't worried that it will affect his recruiting.
The Panthers are among Issah's finalists whenever he does decide to choose a program to continue his football career. Initially, Issah had committed to Penn State, but reopened his recruitment prior to the start of the season.
"Pitt calls me every week," Issah said. "They are pretty consistent (with their contact)."
But that doesn't mean the Ram senior linebacker is going to rush to make a decision.
"I don't have any official visits planned during the season," Issah said. "My goal is to finish my senior season and help our team win a second PIAA championship, then worry about the recruiting stuff and make a decision after that."
Central Dauphin is 6-1 overall and has won 21 of its last 23 games, but the Rams had to fight tooth and nail Saturday for that sixth win. CD trailed, 21-7, with 5:37 left in regulation before scoring two quick touchdowns in a 13-second span to force overtime. Kicker Casey Hartzell capped the 17-point rally with a 26-yard field goal in overtime.
"Coach Mac (CD head coach Glen McNamee) likes to preach words like, 'Just keep marching," Issah said. "The whole team showed a lot of heart today. Everybody was up and going."