Dillon carries the load on and off the field
PEARISBURG – Kearsley Dillon is a demonstrably smart young man, but one of his great educational breakthroughs happened after he put his faith in a dumbbell.
When Dillon started attacking assorted weight training paraphernalia with the same vigor as he did his school books, that’s when his high school football achievements multiplied for Giles.
Dillon is a three-year starter at guard for the state’s No. 10-ranked Group A team and one of the main reasons up front that the Spartans single wing rushing attack has again been so effective.
There’s more to Dillon than that, though - much more.
“He’s the strongest kid we’ve had in our football program since I’ve been been associated with it,” said Giles coach Jeff Williams, who has a long frame of reference. “And we’ve had some strong kids.”
Dillon has hoisted over 1,000 combined pounds in the bench press, hang clean, and squat. He’s one of only five at Giles to have done that. The squat was 500, going all the way down to horizontal thigh position, over 300 on the bench, and a 265 hang clean.
As they used to say back in the 60′s, that’s heavy, man.
“I knew I’d have to be able to do that in order to be successful over here,” Dillon said. “With our type of football we play, which is smash-mouth, three yards and a cloud of dust kind of game, it takes a lot of strength to be able to do that.”
Renewed weight room urgency emerged in the past offseason after he was informed it was likely he’d be seeing increased defensive duties along with offensive guard. That prediction came true when he was appointed a two-way starter, adding tackle and noseguard to his repertoire.
“It’s mainly been defensive tackle. I think it’s fun, to be honest. It’s hard to have to play both sides of the ball, but it’s a lot of fun to actually get to hit someone and not just protect our backs. I really enjoy that.”
He’s enjoyed lifting weights and seeing results.
“Everybody thinks my strength is natural and part of it was because I came into eighth grade squatting 225 with sets, which is pretty weird,” he said. “But, it takes a lot of hard work. I was never the type of guy who would skip a rep or a set. I did all my work. I actually did more than they required me to. I think that’s why I’ve been successful as I am today, because of effort. That’s all it comes down to, just effort.”
Ability also plays a part. For a lineman, he’s fast at 5.1 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He has natural born power and a strong frame at 5-foot-11, 240 pounds.
“He has good feet, moves well, works hard, smart, just a good all-around football player,” Williams said.
Where Dillon goes post-graduation is still up in the air, but we know he’ll be going to higher education somewhere. With his grades, he is most definitely college material. His GPA stands at 4.1. Furthermore, he spends half his school day at the Southwest Virginia Governor’s School where his academic buffet includes college biology, anatomy, and calculus.
“It’s rough,” he said. “I’m up at 5:30 a.m., go to Pulaski County for Gov School, get back to Giles at about 11:40, then football practice 3:30 to 7 most nights. Then I go home and eat dinner and by that time, it’s 8. So I have three hours to do homework from 8 to 11, then I get six hours rest. Then I keep doing that.
“That’s just how it is. It’s hard. You’re sleep-deprived. But it’s worth it in the end, I think.”
No doubt. Where does he see himself 10 years hence?
“I’ll probably be a biochemist, something like that,” he said. “I like chemistry how it relates to living things.”
Dillon has visited Washington & Lee, which is his first choice in colleges. He also has an application in at Virginia Tech and Bridgewater. He’d also like to play football if he can swing it, which is another reason to be interested in W&L.
“If they don’t want me for football, I’m small for a college lineman and I’m fine with that. I’d like to play if I can.”
At Giles, they can be happy he found time to play some high school football.
“He’s been a joy to coach for the last three years,” Williams said. “We’re really going to miss him next year. Kids like that only come around so often.”
By Ray Cox
The Roanoke Times | 381-1672