"We were devastated afterward," Miller said. "[Making the playoffs] was the main goal but it lights a fire in your belly and makes you work harder just to get your goal next year."
Miller is a wingback-turned-quarterback-turned wideout-turned quarterback again - a senior who has rushed for 132 yards on 17 carries and thrown for an additional 181 yards and three touchdowns on 12 for 24 passing so far this season.
He has been helped so far by returning running backs Dominic Walker (242 yards on 36 carries) and Jared Wilkinson (195 yards on 28 carries).
Miller played at quarterback a bit his sophomore but spent most of his time at wingback before being moved to receiver last year. He responded with 481 yards receiving on 39 catches and eight touchdowns to lead the team in all three categories.
Miller's performance was good enough to earn Class AA all-state special mention honors.
"He's been a four-year starter for me on defense, so he's a good athlete," Smolder said. "To be honest, he's a heck of a quarterback, but I think he's a better outside linebacker. He has a strong arm, he's a really smart kid - he's got the Promise Scholarship already - he runs our offense smoothly, he doesn't miss a beat, and he's a coach's son and that helps a lot being coachable. He's just leading our team - he's a tremendous leader and playing well."
It wasn't just the Braxton County loss that kept Sissonville out of the playoffs last year.
The Indians endured three losses by nine points or less last season, including a 14-7 defeat at Tolsia. Those same Rebels come knocking this week when the two square off in Sissonville. Miller said he and his teammates are more than ready.
"We're really excited," Miller said. "That was a big game - that was probably the turnaround of our season. We hit a downhill slope there and we're just really excited to play them and get a win."
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, ryan.pr...@wvgazette.com, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.