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Lake Placid wide receiver finds end zone 10 times on way to honor

Published:   |   Updated: March 11, 2013 at 09:33 PM

Lake Placid's Ricky Miller wasn't the biggest, the strongest or the fastest player on the field. But the Green Dragons' senior had a knack for making big plays and finding his way into the end zone.

Miller caught 27 passes for 633 yards and nine touchdowns on the season and also returned 22 kicks for 495 yards and another score.

"I had a lot of fun my senior season," Miller said. "It was a good way to finish."

It was also a pretty good way to start, as Miller hadn't played varsity football before.

"We were hoping he'd come out the past several years," said Lake Placid coach Jason Holden. "His stats and the fact that he's Player of the Year show what kind of athlete he is. He's a great kid from a great family and he's very respectful and coachable."

Miller plans on playing baseball in college and he has been a key part of the Green Dragons' success on the diamond the past few seasons.

For his efforts, Miller has been selected as the 2012 Highlands Today All-Highlands Offensive Player of the Year.

The team

QB Ryan Dick, senior, Avon Park Dick suffered through an injury filled senior season, but did plenty of good things when he was able to play, throwing for 704 yards and rushing for 401.

"It's a great honor for him in his senior season to make the All-Highlands team," said Avon Park coach Lee Brown. "He received the most awards he ever has. It was a credit to the hard work he's put in the last four years."

QB Robert Walton, junior, Lake Placid Walton threw for 821 yards and 12 touchdowns on the season and added 212 and a pair of scores on the ground.

"He has a lot of natural gifts and works extremely hard," Holden said. "He's pestering me all the time wanting to learn things and know things."

RB A.J. Gayle, junior, Sebring Gayle's first season with the Blue Streaks was a solid one, as the former Lake Placid running back rushed for 859 yards on 196 carries and scored three touchdowns.

"He was a hard, hard runner," said Sebring coach LaVaar Scott. "He was a tough runner and never complained. He went through eight games with a knee injury. He was probably at 70 percent and I can't wait to see him at 100 percent."

RB Marquavein Copeland, junior, Lake Placid Copeland tied for the team lead with three rushing touchdowns and averaged a solid five yards per carry for the Green Dragons.

"You'll never coach a nicer guy," Holden said. "He's a super person, a great athlete and a great football player."

WR Steven Roberts, senior, Avon Park Roberts was the primary go-to guy for the Red Devils' passing attack, hauling in 26 passes for 362 yards.

"Steven was a guy who was virtually unknown prior to this year," Brown said. "I thought he did very well for himself, having the most receptions and yards that he's ever had. I think that speaks volumes to the work that he has put in."

WR Duran Randolph, freshman, Sebring Randolph had a solid freshman season with the Blue Streaks, catching a team-high 16 passes for 190 yards and adding another touchdown on a kick-off return.

"The minute we saw him in spring practice we knew he was going to be special," Scott said. "He stayed focused and worked hard in the weight room."

OL Vinny Vassell, senior, Avon Park Vassell moved around a bit on the Avon Park offensive line due to injuries, but was rewarded with a spot in the South-Central Football All-Star Classic.

"He was another guy who was virtually unknown, but worked hard and was rewarded for his efforts," Brown said.

OL Charles Council, junior, Avon Park Council helped solidify the Red Devils' offensive line and has a bright future in store.

"He's an emerging, up-and-coming lineman," Brown said. "It's a credit to the amount of work that he puts in. He's a tremendous kid."

OL Devon Durham, junior, Sebring Durham anchored the Sebring offensive line and the Blue Streaks have high expectations for him in his senior season.

"Devon was solid for us all year," Scott said. "He really turned it on."

OL Gary Demerest, junior, Sebring Demerest came on strong for the Blue Streaks as the season progressed and Scott is confident he will continue to improve.

"Gary got better as the season went on," Scott said. "He turned it on and once he learned the schemes he was tough. He and Devon are going to be really good together next year."

OL Johnny Vega, senior, Lake Placid Vega had a strong senior season for the Green Dragons, helping hold down the offensive line on the county's highest-scoring team.

"He's an extremely hard-working guy," Holden said. "He's a small lineman, and I know he's tired of hearing that, but for him to step in and make the All-Highlands team speaks volumes for his work ethic."

K Freddy Moreno, senior, Lake Placid Moreno was the leading scorer among kickers in the county, despite not having played football before.

"Wilfreddy is a fun story," Holden said. "He's a soccer player who hadn't played football, but I had him in a weightlifting class and saw what kind of person he was. I asked him if he wanted to play football and he said he would. The team took to him right away and he brought a lot of life to the team."

Honorable mention

WR Damon Braswell, freshman, Avon Park Braswell had 15 receptions for 180 yards and a touchdown and threw for another score.

RB Eldon McKenzie, sophomore, Lake Placid McKenize is a big, bruising runner who rushed for 413 yards and a pair of score for the Green Dragons.

RB Jake Bryan, senior, Sebring Bryan missed most of the season with injuries, but was still an emotional leader for the Blue Streaks. He earned a spot in the South-Central All-Star game.

OL Ezell Gammage, senior, Sebring Gammage was a constant presence on the Blue Streaks' offensive line.

Coach of the Year While it was tough season for the three county football teams, nobody had to overcome as much as the Lake Placid Green Dragons. Injuries and low turnout had the Green Dragons routinely dressing fewer than 28 players, but they were competitive all season long. For leading the team to three wins, Jason Holden is the 2012 All-Highlands Football Coach of the Year. (863) 386-5841


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