The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

November 9, 2012

Miller to face familiar hurdle in quarterfinals

By Richard Polen
Globe Sports Writer

— Miller will face a familiar opponent when the Cardinals travel to Ste. Genevieve for a Class 1 quarterfinal game at 1:30 p.m. Saturday against Valle Catholic.

The two teams have played one another in the quarterfinals twice in the last three years. Valle won 56-26 in the 2010 and 42-6 in 2009. Both games were at Miller.

Valle (10-2) has lost to Ste. Genevieve 33-14 and Herculaneum 41-39 amid a season of otherwise lopsided victories. Ste. Genevieve (10-2) is in Class 3 while Herculaneum (7-3) is in Class 2.

“They’re just good at what they do. There’s no doubt about it,” said Miller head coach Dustin Baldwin. “They’re going to try to run and eventually get you sucked in and go over the top.”

Miller, 12-0 and ranked No. 3 in Class 1 by the Missouri Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association, reached the quarterfinals by defeating Lockwood 36-6 on Monday night at Miller. H-back Derrick Estell eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark by rushing for 100 yards on seven carries.

Estell became Miller’s second 1,000-yard rusher this season. Quarterback Dalton Gulick, who gained 155 yards and scored three touchdowns against Lockwood, has rushed for 1,229 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Chance Taylor, a senior, and Brenden Richardson, a junior, have split time at tailback. Combined, those two backs have gained about 1,100 yards and scored 13 touchdowns.

Gulick, a senior, has thrown for about 1,700 yards and 17 touchdowns. His leading receivers, who each have at least 18 receptions, are Taylor, Estell, tight end Chris Collins and all-Spring River Valley Conference choice Colton Sullivan.

Valle, ranked No. 5 in Class 1, advanced to the quarterfinals with a 47-10 victory at Portageville. Valle running back Tyler Fallert, a 6-foot, 200-pound junior, scored six touchdowns in the game and broke the single-season school record with 2,214 yards rushing.

“Ultimately, you have to stop the run to have a shot,” Baldwin said. “We’re averaging over 40 points a game, but our defense has really been playing well. We’re going to lean on them to keep us in the game. We want a lower-scoring game.”

Baldwin explained that Miller has lost to Valle seven times in the last 20 years, and six of those games were at Miller. The one game that was played at Valle was 14-7.

Valle won its 11th state title last November by defeating South Shelby 49-7 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, one day after Webb City won its 10th championship. Valle broke a three-way tie for most state football titles with Webb City and Jefferson City. Rockhurst has won nine.

Miller has advanced to the state playoffs in each of Baldwin’s four seasons as head coach. Baldwin’s career record is 43-7, including Miller’s first undefeated regular season this year.