SECTION IV FOOTBALL: TIOGA'S AIELLO, WAVERLY'S MILLER ADMIRE OTHER'S ACCOMPLISHMENTS, AND THE OTHER'S QUARTERBACK
(2023-09-08)By TIM BIRNEYValley Sports Report
WAVERLY — Tioga’s Nick Aiello and Waverly’s Jason Miller are two of the most successful football coaches in Section IV, and they both admire what the other has accomplished. The duo also agree the other’s quarterback is special.
Aiello has coached the Tigers to 10 Section IV, Class D titles, and three state titles since 2011, while Miller is Waverly’s all-time winningest coach and has led the Wolverines to four Section IV titles — two Class B and two Class C.
“The record speaks for itself,” said Miller of Aiello.
“Nick is very detailed oriented. What people don’t realize about Tioga is how complex they are,” noted Miller. “We have more than 20 formations for them, as well as variations of formations … and they do a lot of different things from a lot of those formations.
“He has always been able to utilize talent at different positions, and get people the ball. I think now with the multitude of talent that they have, the offense is expanding even greater … they have weapons everywhere.
“It puts a lot of pressure on the defense,” said Miller. “Then you throw in their No. 1 and 2 plays — the veer and the mid-line, it’s a nightmare.”
“Defensively, they always fly to the football, and are physical,” added Miller. “Tioga is always well-coached.”
Aiello has seen Miller’s work first-hand.
“We’ve worked together quite a bit in recent years,” said Aiello. “It started with Covid, us going down there for 7-v7 … you get a sense of how he coaches up his team, and what type of work ethic the program has.
“You have to have respect for a coach who puts that much time and effort into the game, and gets his kids to play a certain way. And, it’s not just him, it’s his entire staff.
“I have the utmost respect for what Jason (Miller) does there. He works hard, and brings a lot of excitement to the program,” added Aiello. “He has a big staff around him, and if you talk to any of those guys, they would do anything for that program.”
Aiello also credits Miller for being an innovator.
“On the Xs and Os side of things, it you look at the spread offense he runs, it’s very effective,” he said. “He was really one of the first ones in our area to really commit to it.
“He probably has one of the premier spread offenses in the state,” added Aiello.
Aiello also applauds Miller’s dedication to special teams.
“A true test of a program is special teams,” said Aiello. “If you watch Waverly on special teams, you can tell they put a lot of pride, and a lot of time and effort into making their special teams sharp.
“They have phenomenal kickers and punters year after year, and they have great coverage teams.
“If you look at the entirety of the program, and you look at Coach Miller being the head of the program, I have nothing but respect for that,” Aiello added.
Tioga and Waverly have played four times while Aiello and Miller have been coaching. They each have two wins.
Tioga senior Caden Bellis is the returning Class D “Player of the Year,” and holds all the Tiger passing records, while Waverly senior Joey Tomasso is a two-time all-state performer, and holds nearly all of the Wolverine passing records.
Aiello is well aware of the problems Tomasso’s poses to opposing defenses.
“What more can be said about (Joey) Tomasso,” said Aiello. “He has the arm, and he has the legs … he’s a phenomenal athlete all around, and he does some special things at the quarterback position.
“He’s a leader for them, a five-year starter, and very comfortable in their system,” noted Aiello. “He has an unbelievable quick delivery, and he snaps the ball out there.
“He’s definitely a dual threat, because he can take it the distance with his legs on any given snap as well.
“What kind of problems does he pose? All of them when it comes down to stopping him, but he also has weapons around him, and in that offense he utilizes the weapons he has around him very well,” added Aiello.
While Tomasso is a dual threat on offense, Miller sees Bellis as a threat on both sides of the ball.
“Their offensive stats are similar, but in my mind they are different players,” said Miller.
“Caden (Bellis) gets a lot of his yards running inside, on variations of the option. Of course, he can take off on the perimeter as well when he rolls out.
“He’s just a tough kid,” noted Miller. “I don’t think there has ever been a better football player at Tioga, and that says a lot.
“It’s just not offensively, he’s a great defensive player, too.
“He doesn’t miss tackles, and he’s all over the field,” continued Miller. “They moved him back into the secondary, and he covers an enormous amount of ground.
“He’s a complete football player on both sides of the ball,” he added.
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