There are student-athletes who thrive in the limelight and there are others who focus on the task at hand, regardless of how much attention is paid to them.
That second description fits Kade Moledor especially well after he played an integral — and versatile — role in the football team’s Region 7-3A championship season in 2022.
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DCN 2023 Athlete of the Year
While the high school football season typically reveals a spotlight on successful programs, the perennially playoff-bound Tigers went into the 2022 season with slightly less fanfare than usual.
After the graduation of quarterback Zach Holtzclaw and several other impactful seniors, other programs within the realigned region were looked at as having potential breakout seasons.
But none of that bothered Moledor or the rest of the Tigers program, who proceeded to earn a perfect 6-0 mark against all region opponents.
Instead, Moledor — who played both linebacker and running back — set a very firm example in training, practicing and performing with a level of focus that rendered any outside noise or doubts irrelevant.
During his senior year, he accrued 90 tackles and five sacks, earning him First Team All-Region honors and the region’s Defensive Player of the Year award.
His particular role on defense was far deeper than just the numbers, though. Moledor served as a fulcrum, helping bring additional pressure against the run game while having the athleticism to provide mid-range coverage against the pass.
Eventually, his ability to help lead a stout defense resulted in two shutouts and two other games where only 7 points were allowed.
And if he didn't have enough work to do on defense, he also served as one of the main running backs, carrying the ball 101 times for 532 yards and 5 touchdowns.
No matter which side of the line he was on, Moledor’s work ethic and determination ultimately proved most important to the team’s journey to a region championship win over their rivals.
After his decorated high school career ended, he received an opportunity to play Division I football at North Carolina A&T — a fitting accomplishment for what he gave to the Dawson County football program.
“He’s an outstanding young man. Sometimes you can make leaders, but in this situation, [Moledor] was born to do what he does — and that’s lead others,” head coach Maxwell said at his college signing day. “Each day he came in to get better. Not only did he get better, but he would make those around him better and people would try to be more like him.”