Isaac Washington will tell you something honest, and it makes you appreciate his greatest moment even more.
He will tell you that for every success he’s had on the football field, there’s been three more in the classroom.
He will tell you about that day in the spring during his freshman year at Cape Coral High, when he was staring at a 1.9 GPA and his coaches and teachers were telling him the hard truth.
They told him there would be no NFL, there would be no college football and there might not even be high school athletics if he didn’t stop, look around, and see the bigger picture.
So Isaac, the talented 5-foot-9 and 190-pound senior running back, snapped back to reality and within one defining semester pulled himself out of that hole.
He hit the books, aced the tests, crushed the assignments and pulled his GPA up to 3.0.
“I would say that’s been my greatest moment in my life so far,” he said.
Does it make him appreciate his school-record 356 rushing yards and five touchdown game against Ida Baker last Friday just a tad bit more?
“I knew it was coming. I had faith in it,” he said. “It was amazing. I felt great. It felt like I was on top of the world at the time.”
Isaac made the varsity as a freshman in 2013 when the Seahawks won eight games. He was a solid contributor on the team the following year when they won nine. He stayed with Cape Coral in 2015 when almost everyone left. And he’s still here as a senior, playing through another trying season.
He’ll leave the school near the top of the record books. He’s played in 26 games, carried the ball 363 times, compiled 2,503 yards and scored 16 touchdowns. He’s had five games over 180 yards.
Stats don’t matter, he’ll say. Next game. Next moment.
“I’m focused on Lehigh right now,” he said.
But the Seahawks were winless until Friday. Until Isaac went “Beast Mode” and single-handedly twisted Ida Baker up in stitches during a 46-36 win.
Everywhere Isaac. That should be his nickname.
Does it make you appreciate him more that school still doesn’t come easy? That he had a D in chemistry last year and “failed three tests over and over.”
But this kid doesn’t give up. His mind can’t get tackled. He just keeps moving his feet, making adjustments, learning on the fly. His instincts don’t fail him.
“And on that last test, I got an A,” he said. “It put me in a position where I actually had an A in that class. That was special.”
You might wonder, where does Isaac get this knocked-down-get-up mentality from? His father, Isaac Sr., was an amateur boxer. There’s an obvious answer there.
Or how about his uncle, Lorenzo Johnson, a former running back for Estero High. Isaac remembers his uncle sending him a tape of his high school performances when he was 11.
He watched that tape more often than he can count.
“It’s amazing watching him,” Washington said. “He can still run. And he can still cut.”
But now it’s Washington’s day. He has games left against Lehigh, Island Coast, Charlotte, North Fort Myers and Mariner.
There’s also the hope of a college scholarship — Bethune-Cookman is keeping a close eye on him.
“I’m definitely underrated,” he said. “But I know it’s a harder process.”
Now it’s up to this running back, equal parts bulldozer and fox, to try and lift Cape Coral back into respectability. If he can keep momentum from last week going, who’s to say he can’t pass that test as well.