The son of former Washington and NFL quarterback Hugh Millen is showing his own skills for the Wildcats. He passed for over 400 yards and seven touchdowns in a game as a sophomore.
It took a trip to Los Angeles for Cale Millen to find himself.
There, on a refrigerator door, was a picture of the University of Washington’s key 1983 offensive players, shirtless in short shorts on a Hawaiian beach. Millen stepped closer to see it was his father Hugh and the owner of the home, Mark Pattison, when the Huskies played in the Aloha Bowl.
Of course Cale knew his father was a UW and NFL quarterback. Strangers still ask Hugh for autographs or to coach their kid. And there’s always that, “like your dad” line when someone connects Cale’s last name as the starting quarterback for Mount Si.
With memorabilia from the Orange Bowl — where Pattison made a heroic catch — and 10 years as a pro stashed in boxes, Cale didn’t know how much he resembled the young Hugh, or what’s possible for him as a football player until spotting the photo and asking to see game footage.
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“For whatever reason, I hadn’t seen it before, but I could see he was a late developer and I’m a late developer,” said Cale, a junior who added 30 pounds to his 6-foot-3 frame during the offseason. A recent physical showed Cale will likely grow two more inches, like his father did before walking on at UW.
“When I was watching him in the pros, in a way, I could kind of look at my future self,” Cale continued. “Hopefully I can get more size, but he could throw the ball like a baseball. It’s going to be sweet if I can do that. But I did have to bust him for (some) techniques that he teaches me now that he didn’t use.”
Not that Cale is a slouch. As a sophomore last year, he started five games and set a school record for passing yards (402) and number of touchdowns thrown (seven) in a single-game. Mount Si is off to a 2-1 start this season, losing to Bothell after a week where the team couldn’t practice outside due to smoke from wildfires.
In a 28-25 win against Eastlake on Friday, Cale completed three passes for 80 yards in the game-winning drive with under a minute left. The Wildcats kicked a 26-yard field goal with one second on the clock to clinch the win.
Cale has 695 passing yards this season with eight touchdowns and two interceptions.
“Cale is more active on his feet than Hugh was,” longtime Mount Si coach Charlie Kinnune said. “Cale showed early on a competitor’s edge and nobody outworks him.”
The Millens, including younger brother Clay, a freshman quarterback, spend summers in an open field by their Snoqualmie home working on footwork and throwing form. Hugh is also a coach for the Wildcats.
“I try to stay out of it, but they’ve indicated that they like my involvement, so I do what I can to help,” Hugh said. “I think Cale has better wiring than me. He’s a feisty competitor like, put on some Eminem, let’s go. But he’s the one that has to make the ball fly straight. I just tell him to make sure his work ethic matches his dreams.”
Cale started playing quarterback at age 8 because he was the one who could remember the plays. Despite being a standout in swimming, lacrosse, baseball and basketball, he continued to come back to football.
By junior high, it was Cale’s passion. He names Tom Brady as an idol.
“Football is everything to me,” Cale said. “I love how it’s a team game. Everyone has to do their job on every play in order for it to work. I also love the friendships you make. You face adversity and it makes you closer as a team.”
Cale said the bond between this season’s players is the best he’s experienced. Senior Collin Fleisch, the starting center, said his quarterback helped cultivate the unity by starting a roll call for offseason workouts and tracking teammates down who missed lifting sessions.
September was a big focus because Mount Si plays Kingco 4A’s top teams in Skyline, Bothell, Eastlake and Woodinville in the opening four weeks. The Wildcats, which missed the playoffs last year, defeated Skyline 41-30 in Week 1.
“Cale has a sense of competitiveness like no one else I’ve ever met, he’s just a winner,” Fleisch said. “It’s not about games, it’s about reps. He wants to win reps in practice and is a perfectionist and brings everyone along with him. It’s great having his dad around too, cause he’s just like him. It’s a spitting image.”
And now Cale knows of a photo to prove it.