Dynamic duo propels West Orange-Stark HS to repeat

Kentavious Miller and Keion Hancock form a dynamic tandem on the football field for defending Class 4A Division II state champion West Orange-Stark.
That was never more apparent than in the Mustangs’ 49-7 bludgeoning of previously unbeaten Navarro (14-1) in the state semifinals at NRG Stadium.
Hancock got the onslaught underway with a 24-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Jack Dallas with two minutes, 34 seconds left in the first quarter. An extra point kicked by Chad Dallas gave WO-S a 7-0 advantage.
A 28-point second stanza by the 15-0 Mustangs put the game out of reach and left little doubt as to which school would advance to this week’s state title game against Sweetwater at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Sweetwater defeated Gilmer 48-35 in the other 4A Division II semifinal.
Miller returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown with 10:23 remaining in the second quarter to give West Orange-Stark an insurmountable 21-0 lead. It marked Miller’s sixth punt return for a touchdown this season.
“Once I caught the ball, I made a little move and saw a hole,” said Miller, a senior who’s being recruited by Grambling, Blinn, Kilgore and East Texas Baptist University. “I hit it full speed after that. I just make plays when I have the opportunity.”
Hancock closed out the first-half scoring with his second TD reception of the game. With 4:28 left before halftime Hancock hauled in a 23-yard scoring pass from Jack Dallas. Chad Dallas’ PAT gave WOS a 35-0 edge at intermission.
“I’ve been playing with most of my teammates since I was little,” Hancock said. “I’m just trying to make it back to state because this is my last route with these dudes and we want to make it our best run.
“It was special coming back here (NRG Stadium) to play again,” Hancock said. “It feels like we won the state championship all over again.”
West Orange-Stark will be making its third consecutive appearance in a state championship game. The Mustangs defeated Celina 22-3 last year at NRG Stadium after falling to Gilmer in 2014.
A two-year starter in the WOS secondary, Miller electrified the crowd in the early stages of the fourth quarter when he returned an interception 71 yards for a touchdown.
“He’s fun to watch, isn’t he? I just love to watch him,” said WOS head coach Cornel Thompson. “He’s dangerous back there and if you kick the ball to him, he can be lethal.
“We work on the return game all the time and every time we have a defensive workout, we finish up with punt returns because that’s a big deal,” Thompson said.
Miller says there is a reason why WO-S is on the brink of repeating as state champions.
“We came back with the same mindset as last year,” he said. “We had to work hard through the summer with championship aspirations like we did before and maintain that mindset throughout the season.”
For Miller and Hancock, both seniors, seeking championships has become like a family tradition.
“Keion and I have been playing together since we were four years old,” Miller said. “He’s like a brother to me and this is like a bond that can’t be broken.”