Non Steelers, but football related: Prospect QB playing in Dayton

At the beginning of the High School football season I promised to give updates on Braxton Miller.  He is the QB for the Huber Heights Wayne Warriors.  He is also the next QB for the Ohio State Buckeyes.  I understand this is not Steelers related but we do talk about prospects here.

This year started with Braxton running all over Cincinnati Moeller in the opening game.  Wayne’s starting wideout was injured early in the first half and Braxton hurt his ankle early  in the second half.  With his limited mobility Moeller blitz him heavily and came back from 28-14 to win 35-28. The winning TD was scored with 5 seconds left.

The next game was Canton McKinley played at the Horseshoe in Columbus.  Braxton was held out and the second string Qb got hurt on the 3rd offensive play for Wayne.  A Freshman QB took over and was ineffective.  Wayne loses 26-0.  Just about everyone was writing Wayne off.  They felt Braxton would not return to form and Wayne would fade out.

Wayne’s offensive coordinator then got an idea, the idea that we fans have had for the last 3 years.  They decided to let Braxton throw instead of running.  Ever since they made that decision the only blip on their record is a poorly played game against Springfield.  Even t in that game Braxton rallied Wayne from a 21-0 deficit to tie it 21-21 late in the 4th, only to have Springfield return the following kickoff for a TD.  They would lose that game 28-21.
Two weeks later Braxton would be leading the Warriors against the team that was tops in the Dayton area.  It was against the Centerville Elks in a game televised on ESPNU.  Braxton got support from his defense, which had gelled throughout the year.  They held the number one offense in the conference to 159 yards total.  The starting unit held the Elks to 3 points through 3 ½ quarters.  Braxton lit Centerville up with 225 yards and 2 TDs. 

Wayne ran the table the rest of the way and sneaked in the playoffs by just a few thousandths of a point as the 8 seed.  Miller once again through the air made some big plays to get Wayne on the board, while Wayne’s defense pitched a shutout on the Middletown Middies.  The Middies lowest output of the year before this game was 24.  Middletown was undefeated and the number one seed in the region.

The next playoff game was a rematch against the Centerville Elks.  Centerville came out and took advantage of Wayne mistakes.  Braxton and the offense looked like they were a little out of sync.  Centerville led 16-0 early in the second quarter.  They missed an extra point or it would have been 17-0. Wayne rallied quickly scoring 13 points in 3 minutes.  Braxton used a variety of passes to confuse the Elks defense.  Wayne tried for 2 on the first TD for some reason.

That try for two made the game end in regulation in a tie.  In the first overtime Wayne faced a 4th and goal at the 20 yardline.  Braxton rolls left and is faced by a rush, he turns and fires a laser across field to a receiver at the 5 on the far sideline.  The receiver fights through a tackle to score.  Centerville answers so they go into a second overtime.  The Wayne defense stops Centerville after a first and goal at the 6 and the Elks opt to kick a fieldgoal.  On the first play for Wayne Braxton bootlegs right for 12 yards to the 8.  Then they run a dive up the middle with Taylor to the 2.  Next play Braxton takes it himself up the middle and Wayne pulls it out.

Just this past Saturday Wayne played St. Xavier of Cincinnati.  Wayne had never beaten St. Xavier and only 2 teams have won a regional final against a Cincinnati team.  Wayne did it in 1999 and Centerville in 1991.  Once again Wayne fell behind and Braxton lit up a pretty good defense.  He led them on a game clinching drive late in the 4th to beat St. Xavier 28-24.  In that drive Wayne faced a 4th and 7 at the 50.  Braxton rolls right and sends a nicely thrown touch pass across the field to Taylor for 27 yards and a first down.  A couple plays later, with the threat of pass loosening the Bombers defense Taylor took a draw 19 yards up the middle untouched for the winning score.

I realize that most likely the only audience I have right now is Ohio State fans.  I am a Penn State fan.  I also realize that my interest is that he plays for my high school team.  I know there are high school football fans too that may have gotten down this far in my post.  Since you have, why not check out the game Saturday?  The Warriors are playing the defending State Champs, Hilliard Davidson in the state semi-finals.  If you are in the Dayton area, it’s at Welcome Stadium in Dayton at 7pm.  If you have satellite and get the Sportstime Ohio (STO) channel, then look for the game.

What makes Braxton dangerous is; he has the arm strength and the accuracy to make all throws.  He also has the ability to take it to the house if you try to play pass protection.  He puts tremendous pressure on linebackers and safeties.  His numbers don’t jump out at you, but if you see him in person you see why there much hype around him.  He averages 93.2 passing yards a game and has a QB rating of 65.  He has 559 yards passing and 330 rushing.

The last thing I’ll say, because it has to be said, he is not the team.  I have to give credit to the team around him.  Without Braxton this team is not very good, but without the team Braxton can’t do what he does.   Braxton can carry the team, but they aren’t as good when he does that.  All that said, Ohio State has a good one coming. 

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