As much fun as Hike It and Spike It is leading up to the games, once the players get on the field, it’s all business for those two 12-minute halves. Between the lines, it doesn’t matter if you’re a pro athlete, Division-I football player a or high school coaching legend. The players don’t often know who they are going against, and they don’t care. All athletes understand someone is going to try to make a reputation off the opponent in front of them.
The competition is intense, because no one wants to lose or get beat deep. During the games, the public announcer continually stresses sportsmanship and the six pillars of Character Counts!: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.
Those values were on display Saturday as former Roswell athlete and New Mexico high school football coaching legend Jim Miller stood on the sidelines watching his son and former state-champion quarterback Kam Miller play.
Miller’s Silver Bullets team was blown out in their first game against OK Den, 35-7. The Bullets had trouble stopping the deep pass as well as the shorter passes over the middle.
Hike It and Spike It is special for the Millers because the elder played for Hall of Honor Roswell High coach Jim Bradley. Jim Miller started all four years and earned All-State honors during his senior season as the starting quarterback. He went on to play at New Mexico State University as a four-year starter, earning a free agent tryout with the Dallas Cowboys as a safety.
Jim Miller played in the Hike It and Spike It tournaments for years until he thought he was too old to play. He let his son play in his first HISI at seven years old. The six-time state champion coach retired from Las Cruces High School after 18 years in 2016 and was inducted into the New Mexico State University Hall of Fame in 2002.
“It’s a neat atmosphere for families,” Miller said. “And it’s a great event for athletes to come in and play.”
Both Millers are back after missing the 2016 tournament, the first time in 10 years they haven’t participated.
Kam Miller wanted to play before heading to football camp with the New Mexico Lobos. This weekend’s event provided opportunities for him to work on his man-to-man coverage and his back pedaling skills, things he will need to earn a starting defensive back position for the state’s flagship university.
Miller brought several Lobos with him to play in the tournament, but he played with his high school buddies, while his UNM teammates were on other squads teams.
In the second game, the Silver Bullets team managed to win against Plain White Tees, 14-7. In their third contest against Speed, they pitched a 21-0 shutout.
Today the Silver Bullets will play the Participants at 9 a.m. on Field 13.