Columbus Academy Roundup: Robert Mills playing essential roles for Vikings

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Senior Robert Mills is enjoying his final season with the Columbus Academy football team, which defeated Liberty Union 41-15 on Sept. 25 to clinch at least a share of the MSL-Ohio Division title. Mills, a tight end and defensive lineman, has been a key contributor in the Vikings’ bid to win a league championship.

While his teammates might compile the statistics or grab the headlines, Columbus Academy football coach Robin Miller believes Robert Mills has made just as many important contributions to the team’s success this season. 

Mills, a senior tight end and defensive end, has played a key role in the Vikings’ bid for an MSL-Ohio Division title and what they hope is a long postseason run. He rarely comes off the field, starting on both sides of the ball while also contributing on special teams as the long snapper on punts. 

“His stats aren’t eye-popping,” Miller said. “He does the dirty work by blocking on offense and occupying blockers on defense. His role for our team goes far beyond stats.” 

Mills has 26.5 tackles and has helped the Vikings rush for 685 yards and 11 touchdowns on 154 carries. 

“Blocking is the best aspect of my offensive game,” Mills said. “That’s not something that shows up on the stat sheet, but that’s not something I really care about. I care about getting my guys room to run and scoring touchdowns.” 

After beating Liberty Union 41-15 on Sept. 25 to clinch at least a share of the league championship, Academy is 4-1 overall and 4-0 in the MSL-Ohio and can wrap up the outright league title with a win Friday, Oct. 2, at Grandview. 

Despite playing an abbreviated regular season because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Mills said the Vikings’ goals haven’t changed. 

“That doesn’t matter,” he said. “We’re chasing a league championship. That’s the main goal right now and then we’re hoping to head into the playoffs shooting for a home playoff game.” 

Mills also plays midfielder in lacrosse and forward in basketball for Academy, but football became his first love heading into his junior season. 

“I was thinking about football and lacrosse because I love them both just as much, but my junior year is when football really stuck out to me as my favorite sport,” he said. “It’s something that I wanted to continue to do at the next level. It was unfortunate not to have the spring lacrosse season (because of the pandemic) this year.” 

Mills, who is 6-foot and 200 pounds, plans on playing football in college and has received offers from Bates College and Kenyon College. 

Last season, he was second-team all-league and special/honorable mention all-district in Division V as the Vikings qualified for the Region 19 playoffs and finished 7-4. 

“He’s tough and hard-nosed,” Miller said. “He really loves football and he really loves our program. He’s made a lot of sacrifices position-wise over the years. He’s played a lot of different positions for the good of the team, but the byproduct of that made him just a more well-rounded, complete football player.” 

Mills, who lives in Powell, is the third of three brothers who have enjoyed success in athletics at Academy. 

Jack Mills graduated in 2016 after excelling at tight end and safety and went on to play cornerback for four years at Washington University in St. Louis. 

Harry Mills graduated from Academy in 2019 after playing wide receiver and cornerback. He is attending Washington University, where he is competing in track and field. 

Harry and Robert were teammates on the football team for two seasons. 

“(My brothers) were both role models,” Robert said. “They were captains of their teams. I went to every single one of their games and I’m modeling my game after them. We play different positions, but I try to work as hard as them. We work out in the weight room together. We work out in the offseason together. 

“We care so much about this program. They try to come back to practices when they’re home. They were fortunate to come to two games this year because they love what coach Miller is doing with the program.” 

Boys golfers  

win league title The boys golf team wrapped up its fifth consecutive MSL-Ohio title by finishing first in the league postseason tournament Sept. 23 at Denison Golf Club. 

The Vikings shot 315 to finish ahead of runner-up Bexley (333) and first overall for the season at 12-0. 

Aditya Reddy led Academy with a 72, followed by Stephen Ma (80), Arvind Rajagopalan (81), Matthew Fang (82), Jake Stouffer (92) and A.J. Bradley (104). 

Field hockey team 

defeats Thomas 

The field hockey team rebounded from its first loss to win three consecutive games. 

Through 10 games, the Vikings were 9-1 overall and 3-1 in the COFHL-East. 

Academy lost at Watterson 3-1 on Sept. 9 but won its next three, including 2-0 over Thomas Worthington on Sept. 22 at home. 

Regan Cornelius scored both goals, and goalie Sarah Silver had four saves. 

“We played as a team,” assistant coach Dani Sparks said. “Everybody contributed something and we’re super happy. (Watterson) pointed out some of our weaknesses and we worked really hard to try and fix those, and I think we’ve done a good job.” 

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com 

@ThisWeekFrank