CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Jack Wiles packs quite a punch in his 5-foot-5, 120-pound frame.
The St. Albans senior leads the Kanawha Valley with 31 goals heading into this week's sectional tournaments. With the help of Wiles' offensive prowess, the Red Dragons have a chance to extend their season beyond the first round for the first time in recent memory.
"That's one of my biggest advantages,'' said Wiles of his size after Thursday's game at Cross Lanes Christian. "I enjoy being small.''
Wiles has been standing tall in helping No. 18 SA (10-9-2) gain respectability this season. The Red Dragons have been in the state coaches association's Class AAA top 20 rankings for every week but the first and reached as high as No. 11.
"He means everything to the team,'' said SA first-year coach Cameron Ashley, who was an assistant the past two seasons. "The ball funnels through him. He always gives his hardest [effort], but more importantly he's a leader to all the guys.
"He helps them out more than anything else. If a player is having a hard game he'll go up to them quietly and go, 'Hey, man, settle down, you'll be fine. Just play your game.'
"At practice he'll be straightforward with players. He's like, 'This is not going to work. You have to try it like this. This'll work. Trust me.' A lot of the players believe in him.''
The Red Dragons beat defending state champion Hurricane 3-0 during the regular season. SA owned a 1-17-1 record in 2011 and went 4-12-2 last year.
"The goals are just the icing on the cake,'' Wiles said. "I just love winning. We didn't lose very many seniors.
"On top of that, we had six great freshmen come up this year, which I think is the key. They all play year round. They pass and get good plays going.''
After netting 28 goals through SA's first 13 games, Wiles has been slowed to three in the last eight.
"Yeah,'' smiled Wiles, "people know. Double- and triple-teams every game. It's very frustrating. You've just got to work around it and spread the field. Just keep moving. I'm in the back of [opponents'] minds so if I'm moving and confusing them that's sort of how I get my offensive game to go.''