Miles rallies from slow start, surges to Division III 7-on-7 state title

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COLLEGE STATION — After going 1-2 and finishing in third place in pool play on Thursday, the Miles Bulldogs went on a stunning run on Friday by winning five straight games to take home the Division III 7-on-7 state champinoship, finishing the day out with an impressive 35-19 win over fellow surprise finalist Brady. 

“We didn’t have the best day yesterday, but we had no doubt in our minds this morning we were going to come out and give it our all,” said Carson Ellison, who hauled in three touchdown passes in the victory. 

Brady opened the game in impressive fashion when quarterback Hayden Baronet found Johnny Mennefield for a touchdown to give the Bulldogs an early 7-0 lead. Miles bounced back quickly as Hayven Book threw an 11-yard TD to Manuel Torres to tie things up. The game would turn on the ensuring possession as Miles’ Devon Medina picked off a Brady pass, leading to Book finding Jayson Petillo for a 14-yard touchdown pass to give Miles a lead it would not relenquish.

Brady responded to cut the lead to 14-13, but Miles would answer with lightning precision on its ensuing drive as Book found Ellison for a touchdown pass right before halftime to give the Bulldogs a 21-13 lead. That score would prove to be vital as Miles started the second half with the ball and the Book-Ellison combo proved lethal, connecting on a touchdown pass from 22-yards out to give Miles a 28-13 edge. 

Brady would try and get back in it with a Baronet to Zeke Jones touchdown pass to cut the lead to 28-19, but Miles would run a perfect four-minute offense, taking up a good chunk of the second half on their ensuing series with Book and Ellison connecting one more time to put the game on ice at 35-19. 

“When our defense got that turnover early it really got us fired up, everyone was into the game and the heat didn’t bother us, we just played our game and got the job done,” Ellison said.

The state championship is Miles' first in program history, and a quick rise for the Bulldogs, who first qualified for the state tournament in 2021.

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