While the Kenai Central High School football team's 4-0 record may not come as a huge surprise, the manner in which the Kardinals have been able to dominate their opponents has turned some heads.
Then again, if you take a look at the key to Kenai's success -- the offensive and defensive lines -- it's not so hard to see why the Kardinals have been able to push aside every team in their path.
"We're getting a lot of our goals accomplished," said Dane Myers, a driving force in the trenches for the Kardinals. "This has been one of the most fun years of football, just because we have a good group of guys."
Myers, listed as a 6-foot, 210-pound lineman on the Kenai roster (a very conservative estimate on Kenai coach Jim Beeson's part), has been instrumental in accomplishing those goals, clearing the way for running back Cory Janson on offense while plugging the gaps on defense.
"He's one of the biggest reasons why we're 4-0," Beeson said. "Cory gets the yards, but we line up and run behind Dane. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why."
Myers hasn't always been the one clearing the way, though.
"I remember going out on the recess field and playing pickup football," Myers said. "I was always the wide receiver. When I got to high school and I was bigger than everyone else, I knew I wouldn't be touching the ball much."
Myers said he's had one carry in his high school career, getting the ball in the last junior varsity game of his freshman season.
Though the Kardinals haven't called his number since then, his presence is still felt on every play.
"I'm pretty much in on every play," Myers said. "I love staying in the game. I love playing both ways."
Beeson said some Myers' biggest contributions come away from the play.
"He's got a great personality. He leads in a positive way," Beeson said. "He's always making little jokes, keeping everybody loose. He does everything you ask him to.
"It helps that he has a little bit of size and ability, but football is secondary. He's the kind of kid you love to see have success."
Myers also plays basketball and competes in the the throwing events for the Kardinals track and field team.
"Basketball has been something I like to do to stay with the team and to stay in shape," Myers said.
Myers has competed in the state track and field championships in the shot put in both his sophomore and junior seasons. His best throw in that event is 47 feet, 3 inches, and he finished seventh in the state last year. His best throw in the discus is 127 feet.
This year, he's set a much loftier goal for himself, shooting for a spot on the awards podium at the state meet.
"This summer, I went to a camp at (Eastern Washington University) for throwers," Myers said. "There were a lot of Olympians and some world record holders there. They taught me a lot."
Off the field, Myers is a strong student and a member of the National Honor Society. He's taken an interest in politics this year, serving as the vice president of the senior class and on the student council.
"It's my last year and I wanted to get involved," Myers said.
Myers' parents, Vicki and Chris, said that Dane's involvement in athletics has been a great experience.
"It keeps him extremely busy, but the payoff is positive," Vicki said. "Last night he came home and said, 'School, football, homework and sleep, that's my life.' He's very dedicated to whatever it is he's going to do."
"I think for him, athletics has really motivated him to be at school all the time," Chris said. "He does really well in his classes, and sports has kind of tied it all together. There's the friends and camaraderie you get with it. It's been a good experience."
Myers' older sister, Chantel, played basketball at Kenai while his younger brother, Chase, is just getting started in athletics as a middle school student.
Kenai is just halfway through football's regular season, and after facing Eielson this week, the Kardinals will play conference opponents Skyview, Homer and Soldotna.
"Every week we go and re-evaluate our goals," Myers said. "The overall goal is to make it to the state championship game, and to come out on top. It's going to take a lot of hard work and dedication. I like our chances right now."
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