40 teams in 40 days – Day 15: Central Dauphin (3)
Junior quarterback Brandon LaVia threw for 1,490 yards and 16 touchdowns. His favorite target was Zayd Issah. He caught 29 passes for 672 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Issah was also the team’s top rusher. He rushed for 1,345 yards on 237 carries and 21 touchdowns. On defense he had 123 total tackles.
It’s one thing to have one great all-purpose player and it’s another to have two. The Rams have two, Drew Scales along with Issah.
Scales was the second leading rusher with 953 yards and seven touchdowns. He caught 20 passes for 321 yards and two touchdowns. On defense he had 51 total tackles.
A season to remember
After losing to Bishop McDevitt in week two, Central Dauphin ripped off 14 straight wins in a row en route to a Class 4A State Title.
In the PIAA Western Class AAAA semifinals, Central Dauphin stunned North Allegheny 23-20.
The stage was set, Central Dauphin vs. District One power, North Penn.
On a snowy night in Hershey, the Rams defeated North Penn 14-7. Central Dauphin became the first District three-4A team to win a state title in nearly 20 years.
Drew Scales led the way with 280 all-purpose yards, including a 74-yard touchdown reception on a pass from quarterback Brandon LaVia.
The Rams finished the 2011 season with a 15-1 record and the gold trophy.
Q & A with Central Dauphin head football coach Glen McNamee
We sat down with McNamee and talked to him about his team for the 2012 season.
How is your off-season going this summer?
It’s been a good off-season. The kids want to get better and better and are working really hard at every little thing. We are focusing on the small things right now.
Who do you have coming back on offense?
We only have one returner on the offensive line and that includes the tight end. That player is Arthur Lewis.
So we have five guys gone and one back. Up front is going to be a lot of new faces.
This will be a big part in determining what kind of year we will have.
We have battles in all the line spots this off-season. When we put on pads, I will know a lot more at that point.
Here are a couple of potential names that will be battling for a spot. Dalton Brill (6-3, 280) has the size and potential. Nate Garland is poised to step into one of the spots. Jacob Roesch, is another that could step in. At tight end is Daylin Russo.
Returning at quarterback, we have, Brandon LaVia. He has been really good in terms of leadership and production and we are thrilled to have him back. He is a good kid and a good student. He is exceptionally competitive. His starting record is 24-3. He already is the winningest quarterback in school history. He has all the tangibles, competitiveness, good instincts and a great work ethic. He has meant a lot for us. There is no doubt.
The two big guys we have returning at running back are, Zayd Issah and Drew Scales. Scales and Issah had a great year for us last season.
Ben Mosey will be at fullback. Another guy that can be a fullback or running back is Malachi Holmes. He is looking good in the off-season.
Issah and Scales is also our top returning wide receiver. We are going to split those guys out a decent bit and do a lot of jet motion. They can be a real dual threat.
Andrew Burgwin is another receiver. He had a couple of starts for us last season at split end. Jordan Bowman started on defense last season. He will play some receiver for us. He looked good in the off-season. Malyk Harris will get some reps too.
Who do you have coming back on defense?
Again all five guys have graduated on the defensive line. It’s wide open.
Here are a couple of potential names. Nate Garland, Nolan Pharris, Spencer Chisholm and Arthur Lewis. Lewis did get a few reps for us last season.
Returning at outside linebacker is all-state candidate, Zayd Issah. Daylin Russo led our team in tackles last season. Ben Mosey is back at inside linebacker.
We also have another kid, Codie Zimmerman. He has a lot of potential. He has good instincts and he has become really strong in the weight room.
We have depth at linebacker with some young guys. All three starters return in the secondary.
Drew Scales and Andrew Burgwin play at corner back. Jordan Bowman returns at free safety.
There are two other guys that are pushing the starters, David Laudermilch and Malyk Harris. On paper, the secondary has a lot of experience and athleticism.
What do you have to do to be success in your league this year?
The Mid-Penn is very competitive. Cumberland Valley always comes to mind, for good reason. They lost some good seniors. But they just reload. Jeremy Salmon is a guy returning for them and he looks physically impressive.
The last two years, State College hasn’t had good regular season records, but they have had good playoff runs. They have so many kids in their program. They’re always dangerous and Coach Wolski does a great job.Those two are always favorites.
Carlisle is up incoming. I like their younger coach. They seem to be getting better each year. Last year they gave us fits. That game wasn’t decided until the very end.
Central Dauphin East made the playoffs for the first time in a long time. That game is such a rivalry game.
We went to Bloomsburg University this summer for a 7-on-7 camp and played Chambersburg. Coach Saunders is going into his third year. They gave us everything we can handle. They’re taking the next step.
In our non-conference schedule, we have Manheim Township, South Western and Bishop McDevitt.
What about special teams?
Casey Hartzell is our returning all-conference kicker and punter. He is poised to have a phenomenal year. He has a great leg. In the return game, Drew Scales had a tremendous year.
To have a successful season you have to?
A lot of people have asked me that. Its cliche, but I really believe it’s the same as every other year. The question, are we going to be able to get better each week and get closer as a team?
In high school I think you prove it and chemistry. Make you or break you. Last year we had great improvements as the year went along and our chemistry got better as the year went along.
The mental part of the game will be very important this year.
Central Dauphin opens at Manheim Township on August 31st
40 teams in 40 days
Day 5 – Berwick Area (2)
Day 6 – Easton Area (11)
Day 7 – LaSalle (12)
Day 8 – Downingtown East (1)
Day 9 – Council Rock North (1)
Day 10 – Riverside (2)
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