2011 All County Football: West's Miller is Offensive Player of the Year
By Ronnie Gallagher
MOUNT ULLA — West Rowan offensive lineman Mike Norman was asked earlier this season what it was like blocking for star running back Dinkin Miller.
“If he does good, I do good,” Norman said.
Thanks in part to Norman, Miller did better than good. He did great.
Miller is the runaway winner for the Salisbury Post’s Offensive Player of the Year award.
He finished his senior year with 2,570 yards, giving him 4,690 for his career. He passed Wade Moore to become the school’s second all-time leading rusher and he stands third in county history.
“He was an outstanding running back,” receiver Jarvis Morgan said. “He’s smart and hard-working.”
No one was saying much about Miller during his first two seasons. He was the backup to All-American K.P. Parks.
“I watched him for two years,” Miller said. “I learned how to cut quicker and run harder.”
Miller proved he was the Falcons’ main man once the playoffs began:
• In a 31-12 win over Mount Pleasant, he scored three times and ran for 232 yards.
• In a 32-27 win over Statesville, he grinded for two scores and 185.
• In a 22-14 win over Concord, he recorded two more touchdowns and 159 yards.
• In the 33-7 Western final win over Burns, Miller was at his best, leaping, hurdling and running over opponents for a whopping 266 yards and three touchdowns.
The burst he remembers most was the one against Burns that didn’t count. On the first play from scrimmage, he stormed 70 yards. A penalty brought it back, but the tone had been set.
“That changed the momentum and put it in our favor,” Miller said. “We showed we were there to win.”
The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Miller isn’t the fastest guy around. He isn’t the biggest. He just gets it done.
“I’m more of a balanced back,” Miller determined. “I’ve got a little bit of speed and I can break tackles. I really don’t think about it. I just try not to get hit.”
Miller has received attention from Wofford and Charlotte, among others. His teammates love it because he has come so far. Almost all of those 4,690 yards are in the last two seasons.
“To be honest, I didn’t think he was going to be this good,” said defensive lineman Maurice Warren. “But he proved it to everybody. It was great to pick up after K.P. like that.”
The defense fed off Miller.
“He excited our whole defense,” Warren continued. “We had a backup. They were going to play behind us and we were going to play behind them.”
Miller remembers the loss to South Pointe, S.C., as a turning point for him.
“I was feeling it,” he said. “After that loss, we played even harder.”
“The offensive line got moving and they got their chemistry right,” Warren said.
Miller was more than just a runner. He was a comedian who kept the team loose.
“I don’t try to be down in the dumps,” Miller smiled. “I try to keep the team up and smile most of the time.”
Warren certainly agrees with that, saying, “He’s a goofy kid. He likes to play around a lot. But he takes the game seriously.”
That was evident in the state title loss to Havelock. He fumbled early in the second half and was visibly shaken. How did head coach Scott Young react?
“He told me he was going to hand me the ball on the next drive,” Miller said.
Young did. And Miller scored on a 38-yard run. He finished his last game with 132 yards and walked out of Kenan Stadium as one of the greatest running backs in Rowan County history.
Morgan summed Miller up perfectly.
“You see him walking around and say, ‘That’s the running back?’ But you see him on the field and you’re like, ‘Oh my God.’ There’s so much to say about Dinkin.”