The Student News Site of Willis High School

The Voice of the Wildkats

The Student News Site of Willis High School

The Voice of the Wildkats

The Student News Site of Willis High School

The Voice of the Wildkats

Lagway breaks records, leaving legacy

D1 quarterback makes impact with 12-1 season
photo or infographic by Jackie Diaz
LAGWAY LEADS. Leading the team to victory, senior DJ Lagway sprints with a football.

The crowd screams with excitement and chants. DJ! DJ! DJ! As quarterback DJ Lagway makes a run with the ball, he passes through a crowd of strong linemen from the opposing football team. TOUCHDOWN!

The ref’s arms fly up signifying another six for the Wildkats. Another Lagway touchdown leads to another Wildkat win. 

The season full of Lagway magic led to him being named a finalist in Dave Campbell’s 2023 Mr. Texas Football. Voting ends Monday, December 18th at 11:59pm the winner of Mr. Football will be announced prior to the TaxAct Texas Bowl at NRG Stadium on Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2023. Former winners of the award include 2018 Heisman Trophy winner and current Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray and 2012 Heisman Trophy winner QB Johnny Manziel. Most recently, Timpson’s Terry Bussey took home the award in 2022.

With an impressive football season of 12-1, it is no surprise that star D1 quarterback DJ Lagway has left his mark on high school football in Willis. More impressive is that Lagway has made an impact outside Willis. His success has led to kids asking for his autograph at football games to big-time news sites such as ESPN interviewing him, making Willis a known spot on the map.

“He was the quarterback who set the single-game points record at 75,” head football coach Trent Miller said. “He leads us to the most wins in a season in Willis’s history. The first time being 6A undefeated district champs. He also set the single-season record for touchdown passes at 58 in 13 games.”

Lagway’s records include the most touchdown passes in the state of Texas, the Built Ford Tough Player award, the Gatorade National Player of the Year nominee, and many more. DJ has also contributed to Willis’s finishing as a Regional Semi-Finalist (the first time since 1993), and the first time in school history as undefeated district champ.

“It’s a special sense of pride for me to see him do that,” Miller said. “These were all team goals, but he was the captain of the ship out there on the field making it happen. I’m proud because, as a coach, it is rewarding to see the payoff at the end. We all did this together, which is also the first thing DJ would tell you as well.”

Although Lagway won the record for most touchdowns, he did not make this his main goal throughout the season.

“I really didn’t know I broke the record until after the game, but I was just trying to win the game since we were in the playoffs,” Lagway said. “Going onto the next round was the biggest thing I was focused on.”

After a rewarding season, DJ believes the team’s success is a whole team effort.

“It’s a blessing that my team has been catching the ball and making good blocks,” senior DJ Lagway said. “It wouldn’t be possible without the whole team being accountable, so it’s an accomplishment for all of us.”

With the intense amount of fame and praise he receives, Lagway still leads the team with humility.

“DJ has a work ethic and a level of commitment not only to himself but to others that sets him apart from everyone else,” Miller said. “He carries the weight of the world on his shoulders, and he does it the right way. That is the true definition of a servant leader. Everything and everyone comes before himself which is why he is so successful. He lifts everyone around him to be better versions of themselves both on the field and in life.”

Although it looks easy on the field, Lagway’s season wasn’t all smooth sailing.

“I’d say the biggest struggle this season was staying consistent with school and football,” Lagway said. “With the playoffs, the season ended up three to four months long, and as a captain and a team it took some work to keep our streak.”

With Miller able to coach DJ throughout his career, a lasting legacy will remain in history.

“Seeing him put the team on his shoulders to lead us down the field against the Woodlands is something I will never forget,” Miller said. “That game was back and forth all day and it never felt like anything was going our way and that we would have to do something special to finish it out. DJ took the reigns and became something that day that we had never seen from him before. The look he had in his eyes is something that cannot be explained. He refused to lose that day and carried all of his teammates with him. That is something I am extremely proud of.”

Beyond a lasting legacy for Coach Miller, Lagway leaves a legacy for the people of Willis.

“DJ has definitely impacted Willis in a really big way,” senior CC Rausch said. “He brought us together as a community and helped us be a family again. He’s a big part of why Willis is on the map but he’s not the whole reason. His teammates helped him play a vital role in building the community but DJ is a huge part of the success.”

Lagway is preparing to leave for Florida next semester to continue his journey and one day be the face of the NFL but before he leaves, He has some words of encouragement for future athletes.

“I recommend you put God first because without him nothing is possible,” Lagway said. “Also continue to work hard and keep going because when things get tough, the lord will guide you.”

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About the Contributor
Jackie Diaz, VOW Staff
Jackie is a senior this year and is on both the newspaper and yearbook staff. Along with the yearbook and newspaper, Jackie is also involved in NHS, UIL speech/journalism competitions, Interact, and is Vice president of DECA. Last year Jackie placed 2nd in editorial writing and qualified for regionals. After high school, Jackie plans on going to Texas A&M University while majoring in journalism with a minor in biology and later attend medical school. It is also a known fact that Jackie is obsessed with Chick-fil-A and despises ranch dressing. You can reach her at [email protected]
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    Danica SundquistDec 26, 2023 at 3:32 AM

    Hehe this was read on the other side of the world