By Michael Rich
Gabe Miller had 453 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns to lead the Buckeye Valley football team to a dominant 54-18 non-league win over Whetstone in its home opener on Friday night.
“I thought we could score points,” BV coach Matt Stephens said. “(The Hayes game) showed me what kind of team we had, though. You gotta be physical and we weren’t that physical last year, and I think that’s the biggest thing now is that we’re able to play physical football for an extended period of time.”
Things didn’t look so good for the Barons early … the only thing they could do in a third-and-31 situation from their own 31 was run four fly patterns and hope they had the numbers.
And sure enough, Ben Spaulding found Miller over the middle for a 69-yard catch and run for the Barons second touchdown.
They cruised after that.
Miller made a leaping catch between two defenders at the goal line and landed in the end zone on a 22-yard touchdown with five minutes left in the third quarter. He finished with four catches for 134 yards and two touchdowns.
“He’s just dynamic back there,” senior running back Ben Kidwell said. “He has the ability to do that every game. I’ve never seen him play like that before, and I’ve been playing with him for nine years.”
Miller returned two kicks for touchdowns and had four kick returns for 218 yards and three punt returns for 111 yards.
“That’s a career game right there,” Stephens said. “He’s a guy who we thought last year was a big-play guy and we just struggled getting him touches. We’ve kind of grown and learned how to get him the ball, and when he gets the ball, he makes guys miss, he’s got good speed, he’s strong (and) he’s got good hands. That’s awesome … what a game.”
Spaulding threw for three touchdowns in the first half, two to Kidwell out of the backfield. Kidwell caught five passes for 46 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another.
Spaulding led the Barons (1-1), completing 10 of his 11 passes for 245 yards and four touchdowns, throwing for 223 yards and three touchdowns in the first half alone. He completed nine of 10 passes as the Barons outscored Whetstone (0-2) 40-6 in the first half.
The Barons finish the non-league schedule with Johnstown-Monroe at home next Friday at 7 p.m.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.