Miller, who founded the school in northern Calhoun County, was back on the sidelines for the Thunder’s 16-13 loss at Ragland for the first time since a double bypass operation.
Miller missed both of his team’s games on the road against Jefferson Christian and Vina in Weeks 4 and 5, after undergoing the operation on Sept. 15th.
Miller made out the practice schedules but only attended one session last week. His cardiovascular surgeon gave him approval to do what he felt like he could. However, he’s been given strict orders to take great measures to protect his chest. He can’t get hit or knocked down at all.
“As far as my heart is concerned, I’m good to go,” Miller said. “It’s the other stuff that came along with the surgery such as the incisions and my sternum being separated that has to get better.”
Miller said he feels as if he’s getting better but added that he has nowhere near the amount of energy he used to. “I’m only three weeks back from surgery. It’s a miracle I’m doing as much as I am. I missed it a lot not being out there.”
He said he said he’s not quite up to working a 14-hour day, which had become par for the course for him. He plans to split his school— he’s also the principal— and his coaching duties, adding some rest in between schedules as he recovers. However, he plans to coach both boys and girls basketball as he’s done for years this winter.
“I think it’s different for different people,” Miller said when asked when he’ll be 100 percent. “Some told me it took them a year. Some people said three to four months. I like the three to four months.”
• MILESTONE MAN: Pleasant Valley senior running back Kyle Bean came into this past Friday’s Class 2A, Region 6 contest needing 82 yards to reach 5,000 all-purpose yards for his career.
The 5-foot-10, 190-pounder reached the plateau and then some, racking up 140 yards, including 90 rushing in the Raiders’ 40-8 loss to No. 8 Fyffe (6-1, 5-1) on the road.
The loss snapped Pleasant Valley’s four-game winning streak and dropped its record to 4-3 overall and 3-2 in the region. The Raiders will travel to White Plains (1-6, 1-4) for another region affair Friday night.
• HOOP IT UP: I know we’re dead in the thick of football season with several teams vying for region titles and playoff berths this week. We’ll have more on that later this week. But being the hoops head that I am, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that next Monday marks the first day of AHSAA sanctioned boys and girls basketball practices.
Regular season games don’t tip off until Nov. 8th.
Area tournaments are slated for a Feb. 7th start and the season culminates with The Final 48 state tournament at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex, running from March 1-5. If you couldn’t tell already, I’m a little antsy for the season to jump off.
Nick Birdsong covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575. Follow him on Twitter @birds_word.