The last time University High quarterback Manny Miles stepped onto the football field for a full game, things didn’t turn out too well for him.
Miles rolled out of the pocket on a fourth-down play against John Curtis in the Division II select state championship in December. He attempted to pass the ball down field to create some late-game magic.
Unfortunately, Curtis linebacker Kenny Young had different plans. Miles’ throwing hand got caught between his chest and Young’s facemask, which caused a severe break in his metacarpophalangeal joint, ultimately ending his junior season as the Cubs went on to lose the game 32-0 without their starting quarterback.
“I didn’t know it happened at first,” Miles said. “I got up and our team doctor came up to me, and they thought I got a concussion because I got hit high and my head hit the ground. I got up, and I was pretty mad because we didn’t convert on fourth down. … I went to unbuckle my chinstrap and when I did, I felt a sharp pain in my hand.”
Things got worse a few months later when Miles attempted to return to U-High’s baseball team. In his first practice after recovering from his broken hand, the All-Metro and Class 2A All-State player as a sophomore, hurt his shoulder.
“I tried to throw bullpen, which was not smart, and tried to see how hard I could throw,” Miles said. “When the gun wasn’t reading what I wanted it to, I just kept trying to throw harder and harder.”
Miles said he got it up to 78 mph, but that was a far cry from the 88 mph he threw as a sophomore.
Eventually Miles went home thinking everything was fine, until the next day when he felt a pain in the back of his shoulder. Miles said he originally thought it was regular soreness, but when the pain didn’t subside a few days later, he knew something was wrong.
When Miles went to the doctor, he was told he would have to sit out another few months.
“Second semester of last year wasn’t the best,” he said.
Now it’s Miles’ senior year, and he’s back under center heading into the Cubs’ season opener against Teurlings Catholic in Lafayette on Friday night. U-High coach Chad Mahaffey said Miles is fully recovered.
“Manny had a lot big plays for us last year,” Mahaffey said. “One thing we talked about for this year is maybe trying not to take as many sacks. … He can make all the throws we want him to make.”
Miles said his hand and shoulder are feeling good and he’s excited to have another chance at a state title.
“The goal of the year is to win state,” Miles said. “But staying healthy the whole year would be nice. It would help.”
Once Miles’ senior season is through, he’ll have to make a decision about what he wants to do beyond high school. Miles said he’s already received an offer from Northwestern State to play football, but he’d like to play baseball and football at the next level.
“I’m looking to play big-time football or baseball, even if I have to walk on somewhere,” Miles said. “I had a lot of schools calling to come see me after my sophomore year of baseball, but I didn’t get to play baseball my junior year when they all wanted to see me.”
Miles’ most obvious relation to the next level is his father, LSU coach Les Miles, but the younger Miles said he isn’t quite ready to play for his father.
“I don’t think it’s going to happen,” Manny Miles said. “Me and my dad have this conversation every day. He wants me to be under him and play for him, but he doesn’t want to commit because I’m his son. It’s a weird situation.”