By Greg Ritchie
GRAPELAND – Grapeland Independent School District (GISD) Senior Trinity Miller signed to play sprint football at Midway University in Midway, Kentucky at a signing ceremony held in the Grapeland gym Wednesday, May 10.
GISD Athletic Director and Head Coach Jordan Wood told the gathered family, friends, coaches and students that Miller was smaller but never lagged behind when it came to determination.
In sprint football, players must maintain a weight of 178 pounds or less and a minimum of 5% body fat to be eligible to play. These weight restrictions place a premium on body weight and strength and emphasize speed and agility, unlike conventional college football leagues.
Coach Wood said he was happy there was a perfect league for a player like Miller.
“I’m super excited for him. Miller is here every day and just doesn’t give up,” Wood said. “He was our JV Center as a junior at 145 pounds and there was a turnover. Nobody was around and we have one kid who just won’t stop chasing and he eventually gets him! Miller was not as fast as that kid, he just was so determined I said, ‘We have to put him on varsity. We have to have that energy and that type of person.’”
Philip Miller was proud of his son as he signed the paperwork for Midway and took pictures with his teammates. He wasn’t familiar with the sprint football league but said it should suit his son perfectly.
“I was very surprised,” Miller Sr. said. “I’ve never heard of this conference before. And just knowing it’s out there opens doors for guys his size, who had the heart and the determination to play but not the size.”
Midway University is a private Christian university in Midway, Kentucky with around 2,000 students, offering two- and four-year degrees as well as master’s degrees. Miller said his son should be alright living on his own, at least after a while.
“I think it’s going to be okay eventually but I think it’s going to be a culture shock at first,” Miller Sr. Said.
Coach Wood said the young man’s determination was not only evident during the games, but before and after, too.
“This summer, he worked a full time job for the city. You’d see him all day at work and sometimes working through lunch to get off at four,” Wood said. “He called me every single day and said, ‘Coach, I’m headed to the weight room.’ He would work out through the entire workout and do all the sprinting every single day. He’s extremely deserving and I’m excited for him.”
Miller’s father agreed young Trinity’s work ethic will take him far in life.
“He’s always been a hard worker, since he was very young. The conference he’s going to levels the playing field, because all the players are the same size,” Miller Sr. said. “It’s going to be about who wants it the most and I think he’s going to be a leader on that team.”
For the young man himself, his philosophy when it comes to football is simple yet effective.
“Just keep playing hard, that’s all you have to keep doing,” Trinity said. “And encourage your teammates.”
Asked how he himself felt about moving so far from Houston County, Trinity said he would be fine although he admitted he is, “…a little bit worried – but who wouldn’t be?”
Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]