Miller leads Wayne to statement win, shows why he is tops in his class

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Wayne quarterback Braxton Miller is already enrolled at OSU. (Photo by Nick Falzerano)

With a Greater Western Ohio Central Division title on the
line and playoff hopes hanging by a thread, junior quarterback Braxton Miller put the
Warriors on his back – rather his legs and arm – to turn away rival Centerville 42-20 Friday night.


HUBER HEIGHTS – Friday night was ‘Miller Time’ for Huber
Heights Wayne.

Braxton Miller’s time, that is.

With a Greater Western Ohio Central Division title on the
line and playoff hopes hanging by a thread, the junior quarterback put the
Warriors on his back – rather his legs and arm – to turn away rival Centerville 42-20.

Miller led all rushers with 176 yards on 14 carries and
four touchdowns while completing 12-of-17 pass attempts for 160 yards with a
touchdown and an interception.

After missing two games midseason with a deep thigh bruise,
Miller is undoubtedly back to form.

“I told him that this was one of those games he could prove
to be a complete quarterback by throwing the ball and being able to run and
control the game,” Wayne head coach Jay Minton said.

Miller, who is ranked as the top player in the 2011 class
by Ohio High magazine and has scholarship offers to top college programs
in the country, set the tone early sprinting 49 yards on the second offensive
play of the game to the end zone to put the Warriors ahead 7-0 less than a
minute into the game.

Following a Wayne (6-3, 3-1) take away on Centerville’s
first play from scrimmage, Miller capped off a six play, 73-yard scoring drive
on a 4-yard touchdown run giving the Warriors a 14-0 edge.

“I talked to the line and the receivers and got the group
together and let them know what was going to happen if we didn’t win tonight,”
Miller said. “I told them I was going to give it my all – all I can – and that’s
what I did.

“During this season, I wasn’t really a vocal leader but
this week I was vocal and I think that helped a lot.”

Centerville (7-2, 3-1) battled back, though, knotting the
score 14-14 early in the second quarter.

“It’s tough to come out of that but we came back there as I
thought we would,” Centerville head coach Ron Ullery said.

But Wayne didn’t waiver.

“We didn’t lose our composure after they tied it,” Minton
said. “That’s maturity and it shows how much we have matured this season through
all our trials and tribulations. We’ve been through a lot this year.”

Miller’s composure was evident on the next score. Scrambling from pressure on third down and
long, he found
junior Seth Stuart in the back of the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown strike midway through the second frame and the
Warriors took that 21-14 lead into the break.

“I just knew I had to plant my feet and deliver the ball,”
Miller said. “I have a lot of faith in my wide receivers and he caught the
ball.”

Junior running back Anthone Taylor added to the lead late
in the third quarter dancing 18 yards to the end zone late in the third quarter.

Miller added touchdown runs (6, 51) in the fourth quarter.

On the last score, Minton sprinted along the sideline with
Miller and his 4.47 speed in excitement.

“I was trying to beat him to the end zone but they would
have thrown a flag. I would have beat him,” joked Minton.

Taylor, a bit overshadowed by Miller’s performance, tallied
120 yards on the ground on 16 carries and the touchdown in the third quarter. It
was his first touchdown of the season.

“He works hard everyday,” said Miller. “The coaches push
him hard everyday. He had a big game.”

Centerville senior fullback Nick Miller rumbled 156 yards
on 26 carries and junior running back Tristan Boykin added 112 yards on 11
carries with a long of 50. He also had eight catches for 50 yards.

Elks senior quarterback Zak Bertram had a modest 72 yards
rushing on 19 carries in the triple-option offense with two touchdowns (5, 10).
He was also 8-of-13 passing for 117 yards and a touchdown to senior receiver
Drew Keister in the fourth quarter with the game well out of reach.

Centerville had 453 yards of total offense but had some
uncharacteristic miscues, including 0-for-4 on fourth down, as Wayne
held the Elks to their second lowest scoring output on the season.  

“(Wayne) is as good of a football team as I thought they
were,” Ullery said. “They are outstanding. Give them credit. That’s a real good
football team.

“To beat teams like that with talent like that you can’t
make the mistakes we made. You can’t beat good teams doing that and that’s
better than a good football team and that’s the best I have seen them play this
year.”

The win puts Wayne in position for a conference title for
the first time since 2005 and a win next week over Springfield (6-3) would
ensure a playoff berth.

“We still have a chance (to make the playoffs),” said
Minton. “I told our kids two weeks ago after we lost to Northmont that we play
our best when we’re backed into a corner and we’ve got to fight like crazy to
get out.

“We told them (Centerville) was going to be the biggest
fight that they fight and next week will be an even bigger fight.”

A fight Wayne showed they are ready for with the statement
win Friday night.

“The only thing I am worried about is getting into the
playoffs and making a playoff run,” Miller said with the Warriors faithful
chanting, “Miller Time!” from the sidelines. “I know I am going to give it my
all in the playoffs, too.”

 

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