Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Isaak Carried Year's Banner for Duchesne Tireless Marking Back Likes Going Up against the Best of the Rest

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Isaak Carried Year's Banner for Duchesne Tireless Marking Back Likes Going Up against the Best of the Rest

Article excerpt

Dan Isaak didn't lead the Duchesne High soccer team in goals, assists or shutouts this fall.

But no one was more important to the Pioneers' run to the Class 1A-3A title this season than the senior defender.

"If he's not the best marking back in the area, he's right up there," Duchesne coach Dave Thurmer said. "In each game we played, Dan was assigned the other team's top gun, their big scorer. He went head-to-head with some of the most dangerous scorers in the St. Louis area this season, and not one of them scored a goal against us."

Isaak's defensive resume this season reads like a who's who of area scorers, including Shawn Petroski, who scored 42 times for Illinois' runner-up Granite City, Mark Filla of Aquinas-Mercy and Ben Bocklage of Chaminade.

"The toughest to mark - no contest - was Filla," said Isaak, 18. "He has good size, he plays strong and he's just so quick. His moves are incredible and he never stops moving. In the first half, I played off him because I wasn't sure I had the speed to stay with him. But after coach had a talk with me at halftime, I played him a lot tighter and a lot better in the second half. He didn't score against us, but he's an incredible player."

Isaak, who stands, 5-feet-11 and weighs 155 pounds, enjoys the challenge of going against the best.

"Playing against the big guys gets me into the game and keeps me focused," he said. "I know that the other team is trying to get the ball to my man and that I'll have to play my best to keep him from scoring."

A tireless worker, Isaak excelled at his job while earning respect from both teammates and opponents. By the end of the Pioneers' 4-1 victory over two-time defending state champion Aquinas-Mercy in the quarterfinals, Filla and his teammates seemed completely frustrated. And Isaak's defense had a lot to do with it.

"Danny's the best back I've ever played with," said Duchesne goalie Tim Kelly, who posted 15 shutouts this fall. "Our defense was great this season and Dan Isaak was a big, big part of that. He's tough and he's constantly working out there."

Isaak, a three-year varsity starter, plays hard but clean. And he credits a lot of his success to his defensive cohorts - Kelly, sweeper Bob Jones and fellow marking back Brian Chier. …

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