Wilson’s running back Ian Issa cherishes every moment he touches a football — whether it’s in practice or a game, he is looking to score.
That determination was developed when his football career was uncertain.
“I had two really bad concussions my freshman year,” Issa said. “I wasn’t allowed to play my sophomore year, (my family) was really hesitant letting me come back to play football my junior year.”
After numerous talks with Issa’s family, along with getting reassurance from head coach Mark Ziegenhagen during the Moore League track finals his sophomore year, Issa was allowed to return to the field his junior year.
“Big thanks to Zig,” Issa said. “He spoke to my mom in person, she really appreciated that.”
As can be expected after a rollercoaster year for Issa, one thing was sure — he would never take the opportunity to play lightly.
“I was so happy, I couldn’t believe it,” Issa said. “That’s part of the reason why I play like I do, I know how much of a privilege it is to play, so every play I get — I go all out.”
On Friday, Issa will try to help lift the Bruins’ to a win when they take on Poly.
Along with getting his chance to play, Issa also is looking to play the entire season for the first time in his football career.
His junior year was cut short due to injury, so this year is one that Issa wants to make memorable for his family, who he says is his motivation for everything.
After spending his junior year behind Jacoby Hardy, Issa said he wants to help bring the Bruins back to the CIF semifinals.
“He and I are great friends,” Issa said. “After he broke the touchdown record last year with seven touchdowns, I always joke with him and say I’m going to make it eight.”
Issa has not disappointed his senior year, rushing for more than 500 yards and accounting for more than 800 all-purpose yards.
With “natural leadership qualities” Ziegenhagan says Issa has not only been a big part of the offense, but also become a leader for the team.
“It’s not only vocally,” Ziegenhagen said. “He leads by example at practice and in games.”
While those leadership qualities have shown on the field as one of the Bruins’ captains, Issa also is the ASB president at Wilson.
“I take a lot of pride in Wilson,” Issa said. “I ran for president to try and help out and I try to give back to the school and community as well.”
He said one of his goals off the field is getting his fellow students to become more involved.
Issa said he looks to the long list of successful people that have come out of Long Beach as inspiration, and hopes to become someone who the city remembers.
Scheduling a life that includes being a member of the football team, track team and now ASB president can be challenging, Issa said.
“I’ve been able to get support from the activities director and our athletic director Jeff Evans,” Issa said. “They’ve helped me a lot.”