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Prentiss Miller might be one of the more underappreciated running backs in the state. Not many seniors already have two 1,150-yard seasons under their belt with not much college attention to show for it.
But if anyone has doubts about Pine View's 5-foot-9, 180-pound back and his durability, a state-record 51 carries for 270 yards against Orem on Friday night should do much to allay those concerns.
One of the folks whose never doubted Miller: Panthers coach Ray Hosner. After sophomore quarterback Kody Wilstead was injured in Week One, Hosner elected to hand off to his stalwart rusher. A lot.
"We decided if we're going to win games, we're going to let him carry the ball," he said. "To me, when he's blocking a blitzing linebacker, that's just as hard a hit on his carries. So if he's taking 50 or 60 of those hits anyway, and he's in his groove, let's go to him."
Miller has an outside shot at leaving his name on a few top-10 lists when he graduates after this season, but he can be fairly certain no one will wipe his name off the most carries in a game for a while. His 51 was three more than the state record 48 set by Altamont's Kyle Foy last season. Foy, incidently, holds the Utah record for most rushing yards in a game with 451.
The 270-yard performance doesn't even crack the top 10 in state history, but Pine View did pick up a critical 24-21 win against the Tigers. Miller also was on the kick return team and played cornerback for most of the game.
Hosner said Miller helped pick up the team after its season-opening 35-0 loss to East and losing Wilstead for a large chunk of the season.
"He pointed out that we were in the game except for a few big plays we gave up," Hosner said. "He rallied the troops and said, 'Count on me to pound the ball, coach.'"
Miller will need to continue to pound the ball to keep Pine View in the Region 9 race this season, as well as pick up scholarship offers. But if he has more performances like Friday night - although hopefully with fewer carries for his body's sake - Miller and the Panthers might just be OK.
Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon