Clay linebacker Kam Miller not afraid of challenges

Mark Griffin

Kameron Miller is used to challenges.
The Clay senior was ready to take on the challenge of helping the Eagles’ football team bounce back from last year’s 1-9 finish. Clay took a 3-0 record into Friday’s home game against Three Rivers Athletic Conference foe Lima Senior.
“We are collectively confident,” Miller said. “We’re excited to go into the TRAC to get better competition. Our confidence is pretty high right now.”
Miller — all 5-foot-8, 170 pounds of him — is ready and willing to challenge all of the blockers who charge him at his middle linebacker position, some of whom weigh 50-60 pounds more than him.
“I ended up (playing) inside because I’m pretty strong and fast, and I’m one of the more aggressive players on the team,” Miller said. “I just beat (linemen) with my speed. When they try to block me, I might slap their arms and try to get away from them.”
Miller plans to take on another challenge after high school. He wants to join the United States Navy, just like is uncle Ed.
“I want to try out for the Navy SEALs,” Miller said. “I want to push myself as far as I can go.”
Coach John Galyas’ first Clay team went 5-5 two years ago, upsetting St. John’s Jesuit and St. Francis DeSales. Last season, however, injuries contributed to the Eagles’ 1-9 record. Miller played well enough at inside linebacker to earn second-team All-TRAC honors after leading Clay in tackles (93) and tackles for loss (10) and forcing three fumbles.
“He plays a lot bigger than he is,” Galyas said. “He’s got a nose for the football, he’s pretty disciplined and he reads his keys. He flies around. He’s a pretty solid kid, pretty thick. When he hits you, you feel it. He’s one of our better tacklers.”
Clay opened this season with a 49-7 win over Maumee, then followed with a 28-10 win over Northview. Last Friday’s 41-8 victory over rival Waite helped erase some of the disappointment of losing to the Indians a year ago.
“I think Northview thought they were going to run all over us, and we just stopped them,” Miller said. “I think that really surprised them. Last week, we knew last year was a fluke and we went in there expecting to beat Waite by a lot.”
The Eagles’ first-team defense has given up just 10 points in three games.
“This team plays better as a whole group than last year,” Miller said. “Last year we had a lot of individual players and this year we have more of a team. I’ve improved on reading guards, I’ve improved my pass drops and I’m making better plays overall. We have done well pursuing the football and wrapping up and making tackles.”
Galyas said it was important for this team to get off to a good start. Last year’s squad was 1-2 after three games.
“The kids are playing for each other right now,” Galyas said, “and they’re really believing in what we’re doing. Our defense is running to the ball and tackling well. Our assignments have been much better and there have been a lot less mental errors. We’re pursuing the football and we’re creating turnovers (7).”
Miller has 19 tackles (nine solo) and one tackle for loss through three games. Galyas said two things that stand out about Miller are his work ethic and character.
“He’s a great kid,” the coach said. “He plays the game the way it should be played, and he plays hard. He is one of our best leaders. He certainly leads by example, and when he does speak up, people listen for sure. He plays with a lot of emotion and passion, and I think our team feeds off that. We’re very proud of our seniors right now. The leadership has been great, and we’re playing as well as we have since I’ve taken over.”
Miller said his offseason training regimen involved some running and “a lot” of lifting. He said he weighs 10 pounds more than he did last season, even after dropping down to wrestle at 138 pounds for coach Ralph Cubberly’s wrestling team over the winter. Miller was a district qualifier.
“I’ve gotten a little bit faster and quite a bit stronger,” Miller said. “I definitely have learned a lot coming off last year.”
Miller started out as a running back and defensive end when he was younger, then hit a growth spurt around age 12. He moved to inside linebacker in the seventh grade and said he loves playing the position.
“I like making lots of tackles and hitting,” Miller said, adding that his best hit so far this season came in the third quarter against Waite.
“A kid was running around and went to cut back, and I hit him on the cutback,” Miller said. “It’s exciting. I love those hits.”
Miller said he and his teammates plan is to keep the momentum going this week against Lima Senior (2-1).
“It’s going to take a lot of hard work,” Miller said. “Everyone’s been playing great.”


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