While sports — from the pinnacle of the pros and even the Olympics all the way down to Little League — has ground to a global halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s certain that someday, athletes will once again take to the court, the field and the gridiron to compete.
And, when that day comes, there are plenty of college football teams around the country who would love to have a Canby Cougar or two on their rosters.
One of the most highly prized prospects on the Canby High School football team is current junior Chance Miller, a human highlight reel known for his explosiveness on both sides of the ball.
On Saturday, the Three Rivers League first-teamer announced he was “honored” to have received a full ride scholarship offer to play Division I football for the United States Air Force Academy.
I am honored to have received a scholarship offer to continue my academic and athletic football career at the Air Force Academy. Thank you to @Coach_Thiessen and the rest of the @AF_Football staff for this opportunity. pic.twitter.com/vsbQpjhQIE
His coach, Jimmy Joyce, said it won’t be the last D-I offer that comes his way.
“His recruiting is just starting,” he said. “I believe more offers are to come very soon. I am very proud of him. He is a special athlete, and the best is yet to come.”
Miller is indeed “special,” or as he was called in at least one scouting report, an “unreal overall athlete” who “requires a consistent double team if you hope to contain him.”
“I hear from schools almost daily about Chance and others on the team,” Coach Joyce said. “The secret is out about the talent we have coming up.”
Miller has until February to make a decision, and it makes sense to wait and see all the offers that come in before he makes a decision.
But you could certainly do worse than joining the Falcons, who are known for their premiere offense, the distinctive lightning bolts on their helmets and for their players excelling in academics as well as athletics.
Last year, the dynamic receiver not only reeled in 59 catches and piled up 1,127 receiving and rushing yards, with nine touchdowns (top 10 in the state in all three categories), he also maintained a 3.8 GPA.
“The Air Force Academy offers unbelievable personnel opportunity outside of playing Division I football,” Coach Joyce said. “As I told Chance, the Pac-12 and SEC recruit the best football players in the country. The service academies recruit great football players who are also the best people in the country, and that’s Chance.”
There was huge excitement for the Canby Cougars this season, with their reinvigorated offense led by Miller and quarterback Mikey Gibson and their restored team culture and swagger under Coach Joyce, who is in his second year with the team.
The Cougs were also going to be moving out of the brutal Three Rivers League, to play at least a couple of seasons at 5A, with a new crosstown rival in Wilsonville.
But some of that excitement has been replaced by uncertainty, after Governor Kate Brown announced she would not lift her ban on large gatherings, including live sporting events with fans, until at least October, or until a reliable treatment or prevention is found for Covid-19.
She and other public health officials were asked what that might mean for the state’s high school and college football seasons, and their answers were noncommittal. As a full-contact activity, football is a bit behind sports such as golf and tennis in meeting new safety guidelines during the coronavirus era.
But Coach is optimistic.
“We’ll have to wait and see, but come fall, I think we’ll have a lot of good news to report,” he said. “At least on the football field.”
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