BISBEE — Bisbee place kicker Camden Miller is someone his teammates know they can count on to help them put points on the board.
On opening night, Aug. 27, against the Tucson Catalina Trojans, Miller kicked a 46-yard field goal, breaking the school record of 45 yards by Kirby Dominguez in 1979.
In the Douglas vs. Bisbee game last Friday, Miller attempted what would have been another school record — a 52-yard field goal — but his kick was an estimated 5 yards short of clearing the cross bar.
Miller, a senior, says he began kicking midseason in his sophomore year and found it to be something he really enjoys and is good at.
“I get to do a lot without really doing much,” he said. “When I was a kid, I played a lot of soccer, so that’s basically where it all started. I enjoyed doing something with my foot, and this seemed to be the best way to do it. Looking back, it’s hard to believe that coming into high school I was a shy kid playing cards by himself on the bench, and now here I am playing varsity football with people that I consider as close as I can to brothers.”
Through three games this year, Miller has had four touchbacks on his kickoffs. He’s averaging 43.5 yards per punt and he has scored 10 points for Bisbee, connecting on one of his two field goal attempts.
Bisbee coach Brian Vertrees, said Camden is an important part of the football team.
“Camden is just a tremendous young man in general,” he said. “He’s an outstanding student. A super strong leader. Watching him emerge from a sophomore into the person he is now has been inspiring. It’s what coaching at this level is all about. Seeing him improve on the field equally as much has been a pleasure.”
According to Vertrees, Miller has a nickname on the team.
“We call him Leg-a-tron,” he said. “Anytime we are inside the 30, I know we can look to Leg-a-tron, and we’re in pretty good shape to get at least three points if we protect the football. He’s always had a strong leg, but it’s the past year and half he has really progressed in terms of accuracy and control.”
Looking back on the night when he broke the school record, Miller admitted he was a little more nervous than he expected prior to the kick and wasn’t sure if would actually make it or not.
“We’d been practicing for a little bit but really hadn’t gotten our timing down,” he said. “I’d been kicking low all night. My special teams coach (Doug Odom) told me to take a few extra steps back, and even though the kick was low, it kept on cruising until it went through. To see that kick go through the uprights was exhilarating. I was happy I was able to do it and put some points on the board for my team. It was definitely a real confidence boost.”
Miller knows that because of his foot, sometimes he’s the hero, but then there will be times where he’s the goat. He said one of his goals this year is to make a 50-yard field goal.
“I try to take everything in stride and not let it get to me,” he said. “I enjoy doing this, it’s fun, and I’d like to be able to continue doing it, possibly at the next level.”
Miller says he has really enjoyed playing football at Bisbee and really appreciates the support his coaches and teammates have provided him.
“We’re all like brothers here, we all get along,” he said. “We’re going to have a good season this year, I know we are. We’re all hungry and determined to make it back to state, and I think we will. We have a saying on this team, ‘luck is preparation and opportunity coming together at the right moment.’ ”
Vertrees believes Miller does have a legitimate shot of playing at the next level; it’s just a matter of finding the program that is the right fit.
“He definitely has the leg, the size, the work ethic, the attention to detail, all those key factors that play a role in him playing at the next level,” the coach said. “We just need to find the right coach that can help him grow and develop.”