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Bear Miller Wraps Paws Around Golden Helmet Award

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Bear Miller Wraps Paws Around Golden Helmet Award

Miller holds his Golden Helmet Award after being recognized last December.

Miller holds his Golden Helmet Award after being recognized last December.

Barrett Miller

Miller holds his Golden Helmet Award after being recognized last December.

Barrett Miller

Barrett Miller

Miller holds his Golden Helmet Award after being recognized last December.

Jaden Brumage, Reporter

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Eaglecrest’s football team has seen its share of accomplishments throughout the years, namely  making the playoffs in recent seasons and going to the 5A state title game in 2017, all the while being backed by a spirited crowd and strong internal team leadership. Senior Barrett (“Bear”) Miller, a left tackle, has embodied the RAPTOR way on and off the field during his four years at Eaglecrest, helping the Raptors remain unified through their struggles and triumphs.


“We never would have got as far as we did without [Miller]. If the team was down, he would bring us back up. Bear’s impact on the team was huge,” says Roger Byrd, one of Miller’s teammates.


Curtis White, the receivers coach, exclaims that “[Miller] demanded excellence from everyone and expected his teammates to be fully committed in practice and during games. If you weren’t playing to your potential, Bear would let you know.”


In late December, Miller beat five other senior nominees from Palmer Ridge, Erie, Pueblo East, Highlands Ranch, and Cherry Creek to take home The Denver Post’s Gold Helmet Award.


The Gold Helmet Award was first awarded as a golden shoe in 1951 before it was changed to a helmet in 1962, and is annually given to Colorado’s “top football player, scholar-athlete, and citizen,” traits the Miller undoubtedly possesses and demonstrates in his athletic and academic career. Miller’s rank as Colorado’s top recruit by 247Sports, multiple varsity letters in football (as well as track), and his 4.3 GPA (according to his twitter, @34bear34), among multiple other accomplishments, only shows that Miller surpasses the expectations of a Gold Helmet Award Winner and that his work-ethic on and off the field is something to be praised.


When Miller first learned he would be receiving this award, he “felt a huge relief followed by a lot of excitement.” Miller explained that “there [were] a lot of great guys also being looked at [to] receive the award doing the same thing I had to. For a week I stressed out if I was going to get chosen. Then during class one day, I actually got a call telling me that I won. I took a deep breath of relief and was at a loss of words at the same time.”


His family, on the other hand,  wasn’t so shocked: “They were super excited for me, but not as surprised as I was when I won. From the start when I was told I was a finalist my family knew that I won it, no questions asked. I had their endless support even if I didn’t win the award,” Miller states.


Winning the award only exemplified how passionate and dedicated Miller is to football. “My drive for football is already so high–that’s how I was able to win this award. Nothing will change that, from summer workouts putting in sweat and blood to running close to a mile [before] and [after] practice. This sport isn’t for anybody who doubts their love for the game. Any football player knows this.”


Vincent Orlando, EHS Athletics Director, confirms that “Bear [has] demonstrated the spirit of our football team through his dedication and commitment not only on the field, but in the classroom as well. He serves as an example [of] what we want all of our football players and every athlete at Eaglecrest to strive towards.”


The football-star’s athletic strengths have made him a leader on the team and a role model for those playing on the same field as him. “Bear is a great leader and influence on the younger guys,” claims senior A.J. Cohen, one of Miller’s teammates. Reece Atteberry, another football player, similarly says that “Bear helps us add stability to our team with knowing he would be working everyday with the rest of us.”


Although it may look like Miller has easily maneuvered the field and the classroom, he concedes that “balancing football and academics is nearly impossible for me.” He continues, admitting, “what really got me here is never giving up and sticking to school and football. There were points where my body was so beat up that I didn’t have the strength to pick up a pencil so I had to accept an F on a paper because I couldn’t physically do it.”


Miller has received a full ride scholarship from Stanford University, and plans to play division one football and study engineering in one of the most selective schools in the nation in the fall, an honor that has come from years of hard work and pushing himself.


“Bear leads by example. He is smart and hardworking and engaged in class. Bear is taking tough classes and is succeeding,” John Fennell, Miller’s AP Chemistry teacher, writes.


As to the legacy Miller will leave at Eaglecrest?


“Bear’s legacy at Eaglecrest is that he truly embodied the definition of a student-athlete, combining academic and athletic excellence throughout his four years as a Raptor,” Orlando claims.


Cohen states that Miller “will leave a legacy of excellence and achievement for both the school and the football team.”


“Bear will be remembered as a key part of the best three-year run in EHS football, but as the Gold Helmet award shows, he is equally successful in the classroom,” Fennell says.


Byrd exclaims that Bear will leave a legacy of “toughness, work effort, love for the game and how to be a killer on the field and in the classroom.”


The award-winner himself, however, is modest in his opinion of the impact he will leave at the school. “Right now I can’t say what type of legacy winning this award will leave, because this is the making of a new legacy. EHS is on the rise in everything. I’m glad I could be a part of it and make a contribution.”


It’s certain that Miller’s impact and exceptional example of a well-rounded, devoted student will serve as an example of how future Raptors, both athletes and scholars alike, can fly high.

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Bear Miller Wraps Paws Around Golden Helmet Award