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we lost a LOT from last years team that finished 10-2. I'm talking a lot but we do have the best athlete in the district back for one more year. I expect at worst a 7-3 season and it could be 10-0 if the stars line up right. We need a QB to pull the trigger




Speed Demon





NORTON — J.I. Burton’s Martinez Miles is a big fan of scary movies.


Raiders football coach Jimbo Adams is a big fan of Miles’ scary moves. Those comprise an entirely different kind of fright flick starring the 6-foot, 196-pound senior, who does double duty as running back and defensive back.


“I sent out an eight-minute highlight reel of last year’s big hits and big runs to all the schools he was interested in. After watching the video, the letters started piling in,” Adams said.


The mailbag includes correspondence from Virginia Tech, Maryland, Marshall, Stanford, Louisville, Kentucky and Michigan State, just to name a few. The Division II inquiries are pouring in as well.


“I think Tech is looking at him as an athlete. He already has an offer on the table from VMI. They want him as a running back,” Adams said.


“I guess he’s whatever you need on your board. He’s the type of kid that could be a safety. But when he’s got the ball in his hands ... he plants and reads things well. He’s going to be attractive to a lot of people because of his abilities.”


While Miles has started for three seasons on defense, he’s only had a season and a half of starting experience on the offensive side of the football. The Raiders have been blessed with depth in the ball-carrying department in recent years.


“We play as a team here and we have a lot of talent. You have to wait your turn at Norton,” said Miles, who rushed for nearly 900 yards subbing on offense as a sophomore and reeled off roughly 1,400 yards last season starting at the slot opposite his cousin, Jaycob Coleman.


Coleman, who rushed for 1,602 yards last season and begins his college career at Carson-Newman this fall, helped prepare Miles for the team leadership mantle that he assumed last season.


“There were a lot of good leaders ahead of me,” Miles said. “Jaycob, my brother Josh Miles, Ethan Stewart ... those guys really helped me step up and be a man. You catch on.


“So basically, last year I was being a leader even though I wasn’t a senior yet. I was helping kids out, preparing them for the next step.”


His younger teammates would be wise to pay attention to his offseason example as well. During the winter after his sophomore season, he camped out in the weight room. The results were nothing short of astounding.


“I just wanted to be bigger, stronger and faster,” he said.


This past winter, he got more of the same with a little professional guidance.


“I worked out with Justin Hamilton at Clintwood over Christmas break and he showed me some things to do ... all the form stuff he learned at Virginia Tech,” Miles said. “I gained 5 pounds with him doing that. It was phenomenal.”


Miles also draws inspiration from Thomas Jones, whom he’s met a couple of times at church and once at a basketball game as an eighth grader. Miles was only 5 years old when Jones played at Powell Valley, but he knows all about the current NFL running back’s legendary work ethic.


Miles admits he roots for the Steelers because of Honaker native Heath Miller. A non-local pro football player high on his “to meet” list? San Diego’s LaDainian Tomlinson.


Not a bad role model, either.


“My ambition is to make it to the pros,” Miles said. “I live it. I sleep it. I dream it. It’s all I think about, really.”


Miles missed most of track season last spring because of a pulled tendon on his hamstring that occurred in April. He has diligently rehabbed with this season — and beyond — in mind.


“He’s grounded and he’s got ambitions,” Adams said. “He wants to play at the next level and he knows that the universities make such a huge investment in kids that they’ll watch every move he makes.


“He understands what’s at stake. He’s not going to do anything to hurt himself. He understands that he’s always one snap away from making a big play.”

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to be honest, things are not looking that great. the team seems out of sync a lot. our "star" player and leader tried to defect before the season to a rival school. Don't understand why, they are not going to have a great season this year. They really have to get some stuff together on this off week to make some noise in the district. Looks like we may get blown out by Clintwool on Oct 30. next week at Powell Valley (the team our leader wanted to defect to) will be a real tell-tell game. those 2 games and the game on Nov 6 against J.J. Kelly may be out games that we lose.

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we got beat by the better team tonight 12-6. if you can't execute something as simple as center-QB exchange, you fumble 8 times and lose 4 or 5 of them you are not going to beat a good team. I won't say we gave the game away because PV had to score but we didn't help ourselves and in reality the score should have been 30-6.


congrats PV, now we still have to worry about CW and JJK and everyone else we play because talent takes you so far but if we can't execute basic plays we are in trouble

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7 - 1


J.I. Burton 41, Thomas Walker 0



the next 2 weeks are going to be tough. this Friday is the team that I thought would for sure give us a loss then next week, the last week of the regular season is the team that I thought might give us a loss. still can win the district if we win the next 2 games.

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the next 2 weeks are going to be tough. this Friday is the team that I thought would for sure give us a loss then next week, the last week of the regular season is the team that I thought might give us a loss. still can win the district if we win the next 2 games.




Raiders play their best game of the year and shut out the Greenwave 35-0. NO ONE expected this kind of game.


Win Friday night and win a share of the district championship.

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lets set the night. Raiders playing at home. We have a 30 game home winning streak going. it is "Senior" night. It is the last game of the regular season and it is against our longest standing rival, their school is 10 minutes away from ours. We just came off a huge win that NO ONE thought would be a blow out. JJ Kelly is coming in after a very conroversial game the week before. There was a pregame brawl before the Kelly - Appalachia game before Kelly whipped them 64-6. This would be their best shot to beat us in many many years. they play a very tough, pound it style of ball. not the most athletic team you'd see but a team with a heart as big as Bon Jovi's hair in the 80's. It is a cool night, but no rain. Prefect football weather to play but a little cool to sit in the stands and watch but not unbearable. It would be their ball control against our big play's. We win and we get a share of the Lonesome Pine District title.


What happens next is a good old butt kicking. Kelly controlled the game from the first snap. they ate up the clock and the only thing that stopped Kelly was Kelly. turnovers or penalties. So late in the 4th qtr it is 14 - 7 Kelly. We had already left because my little girl was so ready to go, being a brat but she was cold and sleepy. we leave and turn the game on the radio. with time running out Kelly is faced with a 4th and 1 on their 17. They go for it and do not make it. Raider ball at the 17. Just 17 yds from a TD but only 40 seconds left and no timeouts. Remember the have the best player in the district and maybe region at tailback. kid can scoot but he takes too many play off. if the ball isn't going to him he plays halfspeed. he pretty much was kept under controll all game by the hard hitting Kelly D.

Our QB coudn't hit the broad side of a barn all night after a maigcal game the week before. passere were falling 2yds infront of guys, behind them and over their heads.

First down the we throw it into the the endzone and it is caught for a TD.

Oh wait, it was caught out of bounds. His best pass of the night.

2nd down -- here we go again, thrown into the endzone and it is caught, this time inbounds but by the wrong team. INT and the game is over, Kelly Indians win on the Raiders home field.


8-2 season, just like I predicted but feel kind of let down. We are in the playoffs at the #2 seed so we get at least one more home game. I'm just confused how with the district title on the line we came out so flat. I could take the loss better if we played a good game but we didn't show up. guys were not ready to play.


Oh well, I can't believe the season is almost over. I'll get to see one more game probably.


And for Miles, at the beginning of the post, he is not D1 material. after watching the Thomas Jones / Boo Sensabaugh video that is what real Division 1 talent looks like. The kid will go to a small shcool like Carson Newman or something and have a good chance at playing but in the words of the scouts from Maryland "the kid takes too many play's off".

pisses me off, if the played every play 100% he could be D1 talent. I had to work twice as hard as a lot of others, I was not gifted with the gift of being a great athleate. If this kid had the work ethic I could see him as a strong safety at Virginia Tech.

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great, we win the Half-State game and set a Virginia High School League record in the process. We traveled up state about 90 minutes to take on Holston at Emory and Henery College. to say it wasn't the best day to play us a little understatement. snow and ice were every where this morning. Raiders win with a VHSL record, actually 2 records, the lowest points scored by the winner and the lowest combined score between the 2 teams. We won 2-0

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thanks to everyone who took a look at the thread and kept up with something important to me. we didn't bring home a state championship this year. this is the first time in years that we were not at a total disadvantate upstate in the championship game. We just lost it. you can't fumble 6 times (at least 3 times inside the their 20 and once inside their 5) and throw a pick and expect to win in a state game.

here is some video of the game.

maybe next year!!



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all state

Garner is joined in the offensive backfield by seniors Martinez Miles of Division 1 runner-up J.I. Burton, Chris Rodriguez of Region C Division 2 runner-up Fort Chiswell and Sam Shiley of Clarke County, which won its first 10 games before falling in the region playoffs.


Miles ran 298 times for 2,129 yards and scored 30 touchdowns; he also had three interceptions on defense.

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J.I. Burton’s Adams in the business of surviving, thriving and being a Raider for life





NORTON, Va. - What if ? They’re the two little words that pop in your mind immediately after hearing the life-altering one. Cancer.

What if the surgery doesn’t go well? What if I’m too sick to go to my kids’ graduation?

What if… what if I die?

But there was one “what if” that a certain Norton resident couldn’t bring himself to ponder last fall.

What if I can’t coach football anymore?

“I really tried,” said J.I. Burton football coach Jim Adams, “not to go there.”

Adams has gotten past the “what ifs” and has moved on to the what’s next.

After being diagnosed with cancer in the middle of the 2009 season and having surgery Jan. 4 to remove his kidney and the tumor clinging to it, Adams recently got the best prognosis he could hope for. “I’ve been cleared,” he said. “I’m cancer-free now, hopefully better days ahead.”

So Adams isn’t relinquishing his job anytime soon.

Which is appropriate.

Because if any coach has unfinished business, it’s this one, the Bristol Herald Courier’s 2009 Coach of the Year.


One left to win

In Adams’ 12 seasons as theman in charge of Norton football, the Raiders have made the Group A, Division 1 state championship game five times – and lost five times, too.

The games generally haven’t been close.

There were the two shutouts in 2004 and 2005. The 46-6 blowout loss in Adams’ first appearance in 1998. And, of course, this year’s 27-7 setback to Altavista.

There was also the 21-20 loss to Riverheads in 2006, but that’s another thing too painful to think much about.

Adams – a football coach if you’ve ever seen one, with his no-nonsense crew cut, strong voice and enough heft to have weight to throw around if he needs to – lets out a chuckle when asked about being the perpet ual bridesmaid.

“It’s, is the glass half-full or half empty?” he said. “On the downside, you know, we’ve lost five state championships. Certainly that hurts. But on the flip side, we’ve been one of the best two teams in the state of Virginia five out of the last 12 years.

“You can’t win one if you don’t get there.”

Make no mistake, Adams wants that championship, what he terms “the ultimate.”

But at the same time, it doesn’t seem like an act when he claims that chasing a title isn’t even close to being the thing that gets him in the office each day.

“I’m just a football guru,” he said. “If I hit the lotto tomorrow, I’d be at the work the next day – after I claim my money – ready to go back to work. I love what I do. Not many people can say that they get up every day and look forward to coming to work. And I do.”


A football community

Adams did try life without Bur ton football once.

And 1979 wasn’t a good year.

After graduating in the spring of 1979 from the school he now leads and played on the defensive line for during his own playing days, Adams made it one year before being pulled back to the program as an assistant in 1980.

Eighteen years later, he earned his spot as the head coach and Raiders football has been the region’s powerhouse pretty much ever since. “I think a lot of schools have football teams,” said Rocky Baker, Burton’s principal, athletic director and also a former Adams’ assistant.

“Burton has a football program – and there is a difference.”

From its sparkling new athletic complex to its packed stands on Friday nights, Burton football is the pride of Norton.

“It’s Friday Night Lights,” said senior captain Martinez Miles.

“Ain’t nothing like playing at home.”

Both players and Baker credit Adams with making Raiders foot ball what it has become.

“He’s been a big part of creating a lot of the tradition we now talk about,” Baker said.

Adams notably keeps former players connected to the program through inviting an old Raider back to address the team in the locker room before nearly every game.

The coach said the speaker may be an 18-year-old just out of school or a septuagenarian who can talk about the way things were decades ago.

“Once you’re a Raider,” Adams said, “you’re a Raider forever.”

Martinez said he plans to return often after his graduation this spring.

“I’ll come back – I might cry, you know,” the tough running back said.


Tough texter

Show up late to an Adams’ practice – heck, show up on time – and you’ll be running.

But wake up on your birthday and the first thing you’ll see when you check your cell phone will be a text from coach.

Such is the life of a Burton foot ball player.

“I guess I’m more of an old-school coach, in that I don’t think any kid that comes through the door – they all know who is in charge,” Adams said. “But they also understand that any time that they need to come intomy office that the door’s open and everything’s confidential. So I try to be, I don’t know if you’d call it a big brother or a father figure, but I try to be there for them in whatever capacity they need me to be.

“But at the end of the day, there’s only one boss.”

Junior linebacker Evan Stew art said players need both tough love and encouragement to be successful.

“You screw up at a practice or on Friday nights you’re going to hear from him, but after he yells at you, yeah, you’re still one of his boys,” Stewart said in describing Adams’ coaching style.

Chat sessions in the coach’s office may be chummy, but Burton practices are intense affairs.

Adams scripts each practice – down “to the second,” Stewart claims, with only a little exaggeration – and puts his players through a conditioning regimen that would rival any cross country program.

“He runs you,” Stewart said, “a lot”“ It’s rough,” Miles added. “I think I lost like 12 pounds.”

Stewart and Miles cited “53s” (runs across the width of the field), “Poles” (runs from goalpost to goalpost) and “Snakes” (zigzag runs across the field) as some of Adams’ most diabolical conditioning drills.

Adams said outworking other teams is the only way for Burton to compete with the bigger schools that the Raiders inevitably face as they get deeper and deeper into the playoffs.

“We’re one of the smaller schools in the region, in the state for that matter, and our athletes, if they’re going to compete, they have to be in top physical shape,” he said. “We can’t fatigue in games and expect to compete with larger schools.”

Running in practice and hitting the weight room hard in the off season may be no fun, but Stewart said winning games sure is.

“We’re a whole lot stronger than any other team around us,” he said.


Snazzy squad

The lessons Adams teaches his players don’t end when they step off the gridiron.

Most Raiders won’t play a down of organized football when their high school careers end, but they’ll all be hoping to land a quality job of some sort.

So Adams prepares them for that, too.

Burton players are required to wear neckties on the road and shine their shoes.

The players can’t complain much, though, because Adams is no hypocrite when it comes to dress or any of the other standards his players must meet.

“As a coach, if you’re going to ask kids to do things, you should be doing them too,” Adams said.

“We wear our ties to away games – coaches wear ties, too. ... If I’m going to make them shine their shoes for games, then when I go out on the field my shoes are shined.

They’re not going to be muddy. I don’t always enjoy it, but they don’t always enjoy shining their shoes either.”

Stewart said staying disciplined is much easier when your coach is doing the same.

“His one rule on the team is: Do what’s right,” the linebacker said.

“And rule two is see rule one.”

Baker, the principal, said Adams’ straightforwardness is a big part of what makes him successful.

“He’s Jimbo,” Baker said. “He’s not James. He’s a goodman.”

Adams will turn 50 later this month and his voice brightens when he talks about going camping and traveling with his 12-year-old twins.

But with his cancer scare in the rearview mirror, as long as he’s here, he’s not going anywhere – state championship or not.

“You never think about him not being here,” Baker said. “I never think of him not being the head football coach at John I. Burton.… As long as I’m here he’s got my full support.”

Truth is, Adams doesn’t need to go anywhere.

He’s already found his heaven.

“I have no ambitions to do anything but to teach school and coach high school,” Adams said. “I love being around the kids. They keep you young.”




Overall years on Burton coaching staff: 30

Years as Burton head coach: 12

State championship appearances: 5

Career record (including playoffs): 98-50

2009 season: 11-3, lost in state championship game

Secret to success: Equally willing to chew out a player and send them a happy birthday text

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J.I. Burton’s Miles headed to VMI




From the BHC...



J.I. Burton’s Miles headed to VMI





Martinez Miles made a major decision on Wednesday.


The J.I. Burton High School senior signed with Virginia Military Instittute, choosing to continue his football career at a school known for its its stringent academics and tough military proce­dures.


The eager Miles is ready to take his skills to the next level.


“I’m always up for challenges,” Miles said. “Life is all about challenges.”


Miles conquered all kinds of challenges on the field during his four years at J.I. Burton and finished with 4,323 yards of total offense and 85 career touchdowns.


As a senior, he gained 2,129 rushing yards and scored 30 touchdowns as Burton went 11-3 and reached the VHSL Group A, Division 1 state champi onship game. His playmaking ability attracted looks from schools like Louisville, Maryland and Syracuse. However, the 6-foot, 198 pound Miles chose VMI.


“It’s been a hard decision for me the last couple of weeks, deciding where I was going to go,” Miles said. “VMI fit me pretty good. I’ll be able to get a good education and play football at the Division I level. I worked hard for Division I.”


VMI, a member of the Football Championship Subdivision’s Big South Conference, went 2-9 last season and featured senior linebacker Patrick McKinney, a former star at Powell Valley High School.


Miles will look to be the latest local product to con tribute for the Keydets.


“Division I is all I’ve ever dreamed about,” Miles said. “As a 5-year-old little kid, playing Division I was what I was looking at.”


Sullivan South line backer Ty Garvin also inked with VMI on Wednesday after racking up 156 tackles and two interceptions during his senior season for the Rebels.


Meanwhile, Miles was joined by another Southwest Virginia star running back in signing a scholarship at the NCAA Division I level.


George Wythe’s Brandon Atwell earned a full ride to Ohio University. He rushed for 1,430 yards this past fall and was the Bristol Herald Courier’s offensive player of the year.


He’ll play wide receiver for the Bobcats, a member of the Mid-American Conference.

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