Buddy Miller provided inspiration for state champion New Lothrop football team

More than two years later, the football team he dreamed of playing for, continues to play for him.
Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 6:14 PM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (1/25/2021) - The relationship between a 9-year-old New Lothrop boy and his hometown football team is indescribable; and, it grew this past weekend.

“I think Buddy was special to them,” Buddy’s Dad, Brad Miller said. “Now they continue to lift us and lift Buddy and Buddy helps them,I believe.”

Braden “Buddy” Miller passed away in October 2018 from an inoperable brain tumor.

More than two years later, the football team he dreamed of playing for, continues to play for him.

The New Lothrop Hornets took home the championship trophy for the second time in three years this weekend.

And, they have proof their guardian angel was with them every minute of the game.

“Buddy has made it known that he’s, he’s still part of the team,” Miller said. “That just warms our heart more than, more than I can tell you.”

Three years ago this month, doctors diagnosed Buddy with DIPG, an inoperable brain tumor.

Immediately, their whole New Lothrop community stepped up to help his family deal with their devastating new reality, including Buddy’s idols -- the high school football team.

That love and support goes both ways.

“He’s been the center of many talking points of many pre-game speeches about just his fight,” head football coach Clint Galvas explained. “And a lot of times, I get choked up even, you know, I mean when I talk about it. But these guys know what kind of, what kind of kid he was and what kind of fighter he was.”

Coach Galvas’s son was Buddy’s best friend.

The 9-year-old’s impact on the team is clear. The Hornets first incredible Championship run happened in 2018. They only lost one regular season game that year -- the day Buddy died.

A few days later, the whole team showed up in their uniforms to Buddy’s funeral. Buddy matched them. He was buried in his New Lothrop football jersey.

“Buddy will always be a part of my family and our football family,” Coach Galvas said.

Every year, the team dedicates a game to Buddy to help raise money for DIPG research.

And at this weekend’s championship game, Coach Galvas and his son wore their signature bright green ‘Buddy socks,’ to make sure Buddy’s presence was known. And it was.

Not only did the Hornets beat Traverse City St. Francis, the team they lost to the day Buddy died. They also scored the touchdown that would win the game at 12:37. That’s the exact time Buddy passed away.

“I mean, I get chills,” Coach Glava said. “It’s awesome; because it just -- he’s just giving you, doing little things to let you know he’s there and he’s watching and, and I know he’s always pulling for us.”

On the way back into town celebrating their win, the team bus made a special stop at the Miller’s to share the championship trophy.

“To see that parade of fire trucks and the bus stop in front of our house,” Miller explained. “It was one of the most touching moments and, you know, he’s leaving his mark, that’s for sure.”

To learn more about the Team Buddy Forever Foundation, created in Buddy’s honor, click here. You can also follow the foundation on Facebook.

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