Ed. Note: The summer series of feature stories on returning Bethel athletes continues with a look at sophomore Dillon Kelley.
At any small school, it is vital for student athletes to play multiple sports in order to make the school successful on the field throughout the school year. Bethel’s sophomore Dillon Kelley is getting ready to hit the football field on Friday nights to begin his tenth-grade year with the Bees, while later on in the year, he will also contribute to the basketball and baseball programs.
Growing up, Kelley has always enjoyed athletics, and credits those closest to him for the love of participating in the different sports.
“My family has influenced me like my parents and my older brother, who I grew up watching play,” Kelley said. “That was my determination to be better than everyone else around me.”
As a freshman on the Bethel football team, Kelley started on both offense and defense for coach Scott Clodfelter. Looking back on his first year with the Bees, Kelley didn’t have a hard time to determine what was the biggest highlight of his young career.
“The last game of the 2016 season, against Arcanum was a long, hard fought game and we all came together as one,” he said. “We pulled out the win with a last second field goal to take the lead and a blocked field goal on the other end to steal a victory.”
Kelley is determined to become a better player and a bigger impact on his team, and has worked hard in the off season to prepare for that responsibility.
“I am always in the weight room in the off-season putting in work and making sure I am the best I can be for the upcoming season,” he said.
“I am working on my mental game, and working on my nerves and being confident in my abilities.”
Kelley did open the eyes of his coaches and teammates last year with his steady play, being named the Best Defensive Back award, Cross County Conference Academic team award, the Bethel High School Sportsmanship Award, Scholar Athlete and recipient of the Sons of the American Revolution Outstanding Citizenship Award.
While he received a lot of individual attention, Kelley has his focus on the prize at the end of the season.
“Our main goal is for the team to make it to the playoffs and come together and play as one,” he said. “My goal as an individual is to be a leader on and off the field, and be the leading tackler on the team.”
Down the road, Kelley hopes to make the jump to play college football. He is actively involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes and was the freshman representative for Homecoming court.
The Bethel sophomore plans to study Neuropsychology.