Return of Miller a Relief for Berkshire
October 6, 2021 by Mason Cole

Berkshire senior Lucas Stoddard was named homecoming king at halftime of the Badgers matchup Oct. 1 against Hawken. But the athletic star of the night was sophomore quarterback Miles Miller, whose five touchdowns led Berkshire to a 53-42 victory over the Hawks.

Game photos click here.

Berkshire senior Lucas Stoddard was named homecoming king at halftime of the Badgers matchup Oct. 1 against Hawken. But the athletic star of the night was sophomore quarterback Miles Miller, whose five touchdowns led Berkshire to a 53-42 victory over the Hawks.

After losing back-to-back games to Independence and Crestwood, Berkshire’s victory over Hawken was vital. Lucky for the Badgers, Miller returned to full fight after missing the game against Independence and being limiting against Crestwood while recovering from an appendectomy.

(It felt) awesome,” Miller said. “We’ve really been down the past two weeks. I missed two weeks from surgery, last week wasn’t too great. But this was a big win, especially since it was a conference game.”

And Miller was completely unstoppable. He had long punt returns on special teams. He had 232 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns, 149 passing yards, one passing touchdown, and no interceptions while quarterbacking the offense. He even hauled in an interception while playing safety on defense.

Berkshire coach Josh DeWeese was not surprised by what he saw from his quarterback.

He’s a competitor,” DeWeese said. “He enjoys the clutch moments. He likes the ball in his hands in those times. That’s really what drives him; that’s what makes him the player and the person that he is.”

Miller had the Badgers offense rolling from the get-go. And to go along with good quarterback play, Berkshire’s running backs were rushing with power and punishing the Hawks defense.

On the first drive of the game, senior Jack Kuehn took a pitch and drove through Hawken’s defense to give the Badgers a 7-0 lead.

Later in the first quarter, junior Hunter Nicholson took a hand-off and powered his way on a short touchdown run to make it a 14-7 lead.

Then, in the second quarter, Badgers senior Lucas Stoddard exploded for a 38-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 34-20.

While the Badgers were efficient on offense, their defense struggled for much of the first half. Early in the first quarter, Hawken senior quarterback Terrence Robinson scrambled to the left before zipping a touchdown pass to senior receiver Jordan Harrison to tie the game 7-7. Then, on the next Hawks drive, Robinson unloaded a 37-yard touchdown pass, again to Harrison, to cut the Badgers lead to 14-13.

Hawken’s duo of Robinson and Harrison was tough for Berkshire to stop in the first half. But, with solid play from their defensive line and good play against the run, the Badgers did enough to snag the victory.

Stoddard offered an honest assessment of Berkshire’s defense.

I’m not going to lie: our pass defense is not our strong suit this season,” Stoddard said. “But when our defensive line is just kind of causing havoc in the backfield, pressuring the quarterback, it allows our defensive backs to make the plays we know they can make.”

The highlight of the Badgers defensive performance came at the end of the first half. Berkshire led 34-20, but Hawken was threatening to score with the ball at the 1 yard line on first down.

Hawken’s first play resulted in no yardage, and their second play was stopped by the Badgers as well. Then, on third down, Hawken threw a screen pass to junior Dominic Johnson, who was quickly tackled behind the line of scrimmage by Badgers senior Kaige Martin, forcing fourth and goal.

Hawken Head Coach Brian Stephenson decided to go for the touchdown on fourth down and short, but Berkshire had other plans. The Hawks ball carrier was quickly swallowed up by Badgers defenders, forcing a turnover on downs and giving the ball back to Berkshire.

DeWeese believes that the Badgers goal-line stand gave his team confidence as they entered halftime.

I can’t quantify how big that was,” DeWeese said. “The momentum going into halftime, just not having a letdown in that moment, really gave the team a lot of confidence going forward.”

The Badgers carried their first-half momentum through the rest of the game and ultimately defeated Hawken 53-42.

With the victory, Berkshire improved to a 4-3 overall record and a 2-1 record in the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division.