HS Football: Willis’ Historic Season Leads to Signing Day Celebration

By: Jake Wilson
| Published 12/20/2023


WILLIS, TX -- After a short pause following the conclusion of the most successful season in Willis High School Football history, the community came together for the signings of D.J. Lagway and Josiah Stephens as part of early signing day.

Willis’ school cafeteria was filled with friends, family, and community members who came in support of their well-deserving athletes.

The ceremony was a pseudo-coronation of the Willis program and its accomplishments in the season. Hefty trophies were handed out to Lagway and Willis Head Coach Trent Miller for the record-setting season each had helped construct through their contributions.

In year two under Miller, the Wildkats asserted themselves as the top team in District 13-6A. But instead of taking his time on the microphone to celebrate the quick turnaround, the head man highlighted his guys as pillars of what Willis hopes to produce.

“We’ve got two young guys here who are the true definition of what we are aspiring all of our young men in this community to be,” said Miller about his commits. “It’s a team effort. It takes a village for any individual’s success.”

With multiple media outlets present, a focus fell on future Florida D.J. Lagway, who had been at the center of speculations but stuck to his guns regarding the Gators. The 5-star and MaxPreps National Player of the Year was all in on the University of Florida and put to rest any thoughts of flipping.

“I just want to get to development,” said Lagway. “I want to get to the field and ball out whenever that chance is so I can make sure that I’m ready.”

Lagway joins the Gators with the most passing touchdowns in Texas UIL 6A history, along with multiple school records that will likely remain unchallenged. Despite all of the numbers, moments, and stats, Lagway hopes that the memories of an upstanding student-athlete are what gets remembered most.

“I hope they remember that I was a good young man,” said Lagway. “Other schools tried to get me from across the country, but I always wanted to be a Willis Wildkat because I grew up here. I wanted to leave it better than I found it, and I think I did.”

Aiding in the reshaping of Willis High School and signing during the ceremony was stand-out defensive lineman Josiah Stephens. The defensive force will play at the next level for Sam Houston State University, staying close to home while elevating his talent to new heights.

Stephens’ gratitude was similar to Miller and Lagway in his appreciation of the community and how it has helped him throughout his journey. A journey that has led to reaping the benefits of determination on the field of play and in the classroom.

“It’s my hard work really paying off,” said Stephens. “It feels good to see myself grow as a human not just on but off the field too.”

An emphasis on work during class and in school was put on full display by both future Division One athletes and something that Coach Miller took great pride in celebrating.

“Both of these young men are going to be headed to their universities in the next couple of weeks,” said Miller. “To graduate early is a testament to their academic work. Had they not taken care of business in the classroom, they wouldn’t be signing their letters of intent today.”

The future Florida Gator and Sam Houston Bearkat have helped to impact the Willis area and have forever changed the history of Willis High School for their irreplaceable contributions to the field of play and their scholarly work in the classroom.

Congratulations to the Willis High School signing class of 2024.

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