A few weeks after his stellar football career at Fort Osage came to an end, Dalton Miller had a realization that struck him like a Nathan Iloilo tackle.
“I don’t think about anything during the season but (Fort Osage) football,” said Miller, who was part of an all-senior offensive line that helped the Indians go undefeated in the regular season and provided protection for standout sophomore quarterback Skylar Thompson and semi-truck size holes for all-area running back Ezra Vaoifi, who finished the season with 2,034 yards and 25 touchdowns.
“But when the season ended, it hit me like a truck – I have another game to play.”
The 6-foot-2, 265-pounder is the lone lineman to represent Missouri in the upcoming Blue-Grey All-American Game Jan. 11 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
“It’s pretty exciting when you think about it,” the low-key Miller said. “I don’t really know how I was nominated. I got a letter in the mail about a tryout camp at Missouri Western College in St. Joe. I went up there, and I guess I did all right.”
When Fort Osage teammate Griffin Bledsoe heard that comment he just shook his head.
“All right?” Bledsoe said, grinning. “He was there with all those huge linemen from Texas and he dominated. Ask him about his bench press.”
Now, it was time for the Class 5 all-state first team member to shake his head.
“I did all right,” he said, with a little coaxing from Bledsoe.
He stunned the Blue-Grey representatives by benching 185 pounds 24 times.
“There were these big ol’ linemen who could only do it twice,” Bledsoe said. “My boy did it 24 times.”
Now that the game is approaching, Miller said he is excited about the prospect of playing with, and against, the best seniors in the nation.
“I thought they might have like 10 or 15 offensive linemen, and they only have six, so that makes me proud,” Miller said. “And I get to represent Fort Osage and the state of Missouri. Now that this is the only football game I have to concentrate on, I’m really excited.”
Miller, who is running and hitting the Fort Osage weight room on a daily basis, and his family will leave Independence on Wednesday. He and his South teammates will practice, do a media session and then play the game.
“To be honest with you,” Miller said, “It’s pretty cool. I never thought I’d be able to do something like this. Maybe playing in this game will help me get recruited and get a scholarship somewhere. That’s my real goal – to play football in college.”
The Blue-Grey scouting tip sheet on Miller would indicate that is a good likelihood: “Safe to say that the 6-2 and 265-pounder is capable of paving the way for a running back or delivering consistent pass protection for a quarterback. That said, Miller will have a heavy workload when he lines up for the South during the game in Florida.”