Soldotna's Billy Moiles hasn't hefted a Volkswagen filled with people or harnessed himself to a Greyhound bus just yet, but where character is concerned, he's already moved mountains.
"The more you're around Billy, the more you notice the character," said Allan Howard, a math teacher and athletic director at Soldotna High School.
On the field
Team captain and starter on offensive and defensive lines for Soldotna football team
Placed fifth at 2000 ASAA State Track and Field Championships in shot put with a throw of 47 feet, 6 inches, his personal record
Plans to organize a strongman competition to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of the Kenai Peninsula
In the classroom
One of Soldotna's top students
Moiles doesn't fit the description of the prototypical offensive and defensive lineman, football's strongmen who spend every game pushing their fellow behemoths around.
In fact, 14 players on the Stars' varsity football roster are bigger than the 5-foot-10, 185-pound senior captain, but you wouldn't know it from watching a Soldotna football game. One series is all it takes for Moiles to demonstrate the difference between being a big player and playing big.
"He's always been the type of athlete that you knew was going to be the guy," said Soldotna line coach Jeff Baker. "He knows the game from the inside out. As far as from the trenches, he knows center, he knows guard, he knows tackle, so whatever he faces, he can figure it out. He's incredibly persistent."
Hearing that from a coach is flattering, but the impressive thing about Moiles is that his teachers at Soldotna High School have the same things to say.
"He epitomizes the concept of student-athlete," Howard said. "I know you've heard this cliche before, but the student in student-athlete comes first. He's successful in the classroom, and the neat thing is that it spills over to (the football field)."
Moiles took math analysis, a difficult precalculus course, with Howard and excelled with the challenging course work.
"He was my top math student last year as a junior," Howard said. "It's a combination of commitment and ability, just like weightlifting and football."
Moiles does have a blemish on his otherwise sterling academic record, though. He earned a B in a language arts course last year, his first less-than-A mark in his high school career.
"The teacher (Mike Druce) really challenged me," Moiles said of the experience. "I think it was best for me. Up until that point, I almost coasted -- he made me perform my best."
On the football field, Moiles is the one driving his teammates to perform their best.
"Because of his strength and dedication, he can go 100 miles an hour for 48 minutes," Soldotna head coach Rob Dimick said. "He leads by his actions. He might let you know verbally if you're not getting it done -- but he can do that because no one's going to out-work him."
In a perfect world, Moiles would love to move out of the trenches.
"Unfortunately for him, the school doesn't have a lot of size right now, so he's stuck on the line," Baker said. "With his speed, he could be a middle linebacker or fullback, but that's another one of his strengths -- he's willing to play where the team needs him."
"I've gotten faster every year, hoping to get off the line, but we're a little too small for that," Moiles said.
Dimick has rewarded Moiles for his hard work, putting him in the backfield on occasion. He's carried the ball one time for three yards this season.
"He's earned it," Dimick said. "I love him to death. He's earned the opportunity to get the football a few times."
Moiles spends his summers weight training under the tutelage of Soldotna's cross country and track and field coach, Mark Devenney.
In an effort to get the most out of his undersized frame, Moiles doesn't limit himself to just a few standard exercises, such as bench press or curls.
Instead, he's taken on a regimen of Olympic-style lifts, ones that develop explosive power in both his upper and lower body.
"The difference is just amazing," Moiles said. "The Olympic lifts are just pure explosion."
Moiles has been able to harness that power on the line -- or more specifically, in blasting off the line. On defense, Moiles spends almost as much time in the opponent's backfield as the running backs he's trying to stop. On offense, Moiles' quickness allows him to pull, making the Stars' running game more effective.
That explosive power paid dividends last spring as well, when Moiles uncorked a throw of 47 feet, 6 inches, his personal best, to place fifth in the shot put at the ASAA State Track and Field Championships.
"It was my final throw, too -- that was pretty cool," Moiles said.
Moiles puts that explosive power to other uses as well. One of his favorite athletes is Bill Kazmire, a frequent competitor in the World's Strongest Man competitions.
Moiles closest attempt at a feat of strength was pushing his mother's van around the driveway, but that may change soon. Moiles is planning a local strongman competition to fulfill a requirement for a government course. He plans to use the proceeds from the event to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of the Kenai Peninsula.
Moiles' work ethic has earned him a role as captain with the Stars football team, a position he takes seriously.
"This is the first year I've been able to step up and be a leader," Moiles said. "I knew at the end of last year that the rest of the team would be looking up to me, and I'd have to be there as a leader."
Moiles is also a role model at home. He has a younger sister, Stefanie, who is in seventh grade, and a younger brother, Alan, a fifth-grader. His father, Gary, is a quality control representative for Peak Oilfield Services and his mother, Lora, is a secretary at Sears Elementary School.
Alan is playing his first season of Pop Warner football, though he's not being used on the line like his older brother.
"He's way too small for that," Moiles said.
Moiles has set his future goals high. He is putting together his application materials and would like to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., next year.
In the mean time, there's still plenty of football to be played. Soldotna clinched a playoff spot with its win over Kenai Saturday, extending the Stars' season by at least a week.
"This is the first time that I've had an opportunity to win a conference championship," Moiles said, "and to have a game that means so much against your cross town rivals is a plus."
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