Miller High School Football Heads to 7-on-7 State Championships

Despite all that Miller High School football has accomplished in its resurgence over the past few seasons, one thing it hadn’t done was qualify for the 7-on-7 state football championships.

The fast-pass competition only held in the offseason to help quarterbacks and receivers cut their time has grown in the state over the past decade and now has three separate divisions contested at the championships. State at College Station.

An undefeated run over the summer brought Miller to last week’s 7-on-7 Corpus Christi State Qualifying Tournament with positive momentum.

And it never wavered.

Behind an experienced stable of quarterbacks and receivers, the Bucs won their pool by beating Del Rio, San Antonio Stevens and Mission Veterans Memorial.

Miller beat Gregory-Portland in the round and with a State spot on the line, the Bucs held off Flour Bluff 27-26 in overtime.

“They’re playing as a team right now,” Miller 7-on-7 coach Lupe Garza said. “I started coaching Miller last summer. My son is the quarterback and I wanted him to acclimate to his receivers and slow him down. … The kids all responded with whatever I asked them to do to the best of their abilities.

“Once they click and roll, it’s hard to stop them.”

High school coaches are not permitted to coach 7-on-7 teams in the state, and attendees are required to sit in the end zone, away from team areas.

Garza, who started coaching the Miller 7-for-7 team last season, said all of the Bucs’ key returning players, including quarterback Jaedyn Brown, receivers Lonnie Adkism, Jayden Moreno, Damare Lister, Eathen Vela , running back Ethan Greenwood and others all play with a few new faces.

Last fall, the team averaged 36 points per game and eclipsed 40 six times with the same plays filling skill positions on offense.

Garza said the team was on a mission this summer after failing to qualify for the state tournament last year.

“We lost a few games last year when we (qualified),” Garza said. “We have a few seniors and the quarterback who are the captains and said, ‘We win every time we step on the court. They responded very well.”

The team is running plays that Miller has in his regular playbook, which helps quarterbacks and receivers develop rapport and keep their timing tight before the season returns in August.

Garza said the depth of talented receivers has been huge for the Bucs’ success and anyone can step in and do as well as anyone else.

“It’s huge for Miller and the community,” Garza said. “A lot of people count on us because of the part of town we’re from. We’ve got talent, just like the Southside. Being 13-0 and playing a really big 7-on-7 tournament with class 5A and the class 6A schools competing across the state, this is a great opportunity to showcase our talent in our city.”

Miller was placed in Division 1 Group P, which begins play at 1:45 p.m. at Veterans Park and Athletic Complex on Friday. The Bucs are grouped with A&M Consolidated, Flower Mound Marcus and Houston Heights.

The top two teams in the group stage will qualify for the championship bracket from 8:45 a.m. on Saturday. The third and fourth place teams compete in the consolation bracket.

Both brackets are single elimination.

ANOTHER FIRST TIMER

In addition to Miller making his first run at the 7-on-7 State Championships, Three Rivers also qualified for the first time.

The Bulldogs advanced by defeating another Coastal Bend school, George West, in the Ganado State Qualifying Tournament on June 11.

The Class 2A Bulldogs finished the 2021 football campaign 7-5, falling to eventual state champion Shiner in the zone, also showing glimpses of a high-powered offense behind quarterback Caden Soliz.

The Bulldogs will compete in Division 3 Pool F with Hawley, Hearne and Stamford.

Unlike Division 1, the four teams in Divisions 2 and 3 qualify for a 32-team knockout championship on Saturday.

Quinton Martinez covers all things sports in South Texas. Support local coverage like this by checking out our subscription options and special offers at Caller.com/subscribe

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