10 Oct Bismarck’s Clayton a gridiron ironman
by Levi Gilbert
Bismarck’s Dylan Clayton is an ironman on the gridiron.
Through six weeks of the 2018 season, Clayton leads the Lions in rushing (299 yards and three touchdowns), receiving (232 yards and five touchdowns) and tackles (35).
“He has the ability to take over a game when his teammates need him,” said Bismarck Coach Daniel Keithley.
Clayton, a senior wide receiver and defensive back for Bismarck, was selected to this year’s 501 Football Team — 28 players representing all 11 counties of the 501. The team, sponsored by Conway Ortho and Sports Medicine Center, Conway Regional Health System and First Security Bank, boasts the best the 501 has to offer both on and off the field. Clayton was nominated by Keithley.
How does the senior do it all for the Lions? He’s wondering that himself.
“Going both sides of the ball for four quarters is sometimes dreadful — I’m not going to lie,” Clayton said. “After the first quarter, I’m tired, but it’s not about me and how I feel. I play for the town I represent, and I’m ambitious about trying to create successful plays. I want to win more than my body tells me that I do.
“My success as a player has to do with mentality. I want to be noticed as the go-to guy, and I feel that I have the potential to prove my skill to everyone on that field.”
With four games left, Clayton and the Lions are looking to finish strong and get their first 5-3A win of the year.
“My team goal is simply to make the playoffs right now as well as developing the lowerclassmen to build a successful program,” Clayton said. “I’m just trying to simply cherish every day I spend on the field. I know my time is temporary, and the game is something important to me. I’m striving to play at a higher level, but if not, I’ll be able to honor the time that I did have.”
As impressive as Clayton has been on the field for the Lions, he’s equally impressive in the classroom, boasting a GPA above 4.0.
“Dylan does well in the classroom and is a great example as to how to conduct yourself off the field,” Keithley said.
“When I’m not playing football, I’m literally studying 24/7,” Clayton said. “I have a rigorous course study — even on the weekends — and I sleep in between assignments just to catch up.”
In addition to football, Clayton also plays basketball and runs track for the Lions. In school, he’s involved with Beta Club and the Future Business Leaders of America. In the community, he volunteers for CHI St. Vincent hospital as well as the New DeRoche Fire Department. Clayton is also a student leader at Lakepointe Church.
“After high school, I plan on attending college somewhere — it’s undecided,” Clayton said. “I plan on majoring in biology. I want to eventually become an anesthesiologist.”
Horatio (2-4, 1-2) is up next for Bismarck (1-5, 0-3).
“The last four games have been on the down side for us,” Clayton said. “We are a young team with a lot of cleaning up to do, especially with the intensity that we are bringing. We have under 20 players, and I have to step up on all sides of the ball. High energy and focus will win us the game.
“We’ve proven that we can compete with anyone. We just have to maintain that grit and that energy through the entire game.”
The Bismarck Lions play host to Horatio at 7 p.m. Friday.