Leader Male AOY: KJ Miller, no one has caught the Mustang yet

Published 8:03 am Friday, June 9, 2017

It has been a tall feat for anyone to “corral” the West Orange-Stark athletic program, especially the last three years.

There’s one Mustang, especially, that opponents simply never could get back into the gates — Kentavious “KJ” Miller.

To say that Miller was a busy young man in his days as Mustang would be an understatement as he flourished in football, basketball and baseball.

Miller was a tremendous cog in the Mustangs’ run to three straight Class 4A Division II State Championship football games and was huge on their trek to back-to-back state crowns in 2015 and 2016.

“That was such a great run for sure,” said Miller. “The time and effort we put in to become State Champs was what got us over the top. My teammates and coaches, they were so amazing in putting it all together. We are like one amazing brotherhood. You won’t find another program that works harder than ours.”

Miller had played with his teammates most of his life and that bond will always be there.

“I grew up with most of my teammates that were in the program from the days when we played junior football and summer baseball and we’re all a part of what we feel is a ’family’”, said Miller. “If we were not at practices, we were at someone’s house every weekend. The memories will always be there and we’re always going to be a part of one another’s family. We’ll have what we accomplished in our minds the rest of our lives and it’s definitely something to be proud of for sure.”

Catch him if you can. That was the scouting report for opposing coaches each week in trying to contain Mr. Miller and they still couldn’t do it.

Miller simply did it all for the Mustangs in his senior season, accounting for 21 touchdowns in the state title run. The biggest question is what Miller did not do and good luck with that.

Miller led the Mustangs with 37 receptions for 767 yards and 13 touchdowns. He carried the ball 19 times for 207 yards and a score. He shredded opposing special teams in the return game to electrify the Mustang faithful. He had 22 punt returns for 576 yards and five TDs and had two kickoff returns for 118 yards and a score. He was the holder on all of the WO-S extra-point and field goal attempts. He punted 27 times for a 33.3-yard average. He was also inserted a lot on defense as well, especially in the playoffs and made some key stops. And how about some icing, he completed 2-of-2 passes for 79 yards and yes, a TD.

“I really just did what ever the coaches wanted me to do to help the team as much as possible,” said Miller. “Especially going into my senior year because I put so much work into that offseason. I’m glad they showed confidence in me to get the job done. I know I didn’t get a lot of rest but that’s the way I like it, it made me feel that I was always involved in the game.”

Miller never has let his smaller stature get in the way from what he wanted to accomplish in every sport.

“Growing up, I was small anyway and it always seemed like I played up with the older kids,” said Miller. “Sure, I would get picked on about my height and size but it just made me want to work harder to prove that I could do it and then I started getting some respect from some of the older guys and teammates my age and that just boosted my confidence even more.”

Miller promptly took his talents to the basketball courts and the baseball diamonds after football season, where he also earned All-District honors.

Miller was part of a couple Mustang playoff basketball teams.

As a senior, he poured in 15 points a game and was named the Offensive Player of the Year in a rugged District 22-4A.

He played as a point guard, handling the ball well and setting up his teammates, just like his father Kent Miller did “back in the day” in the mid 1990s for the Mustangs.

On the diamond, Miller excelled tremendously as a three-year starter. As a sophomore, he played such a key cog in the Mustangs’ run all the way to the 4A State Finals in 2015.

As a junior, he helped spark the Mustangs to the third round of the postseason.

He capped off a tremendous run as a senior as he hit a whopping .382 with seven doubles and 16 runs batted in. He had a stout .504 on-base percentage and swiped 24 bases for a Mustang team that finished 27-4, went a perfect 10-0 in District 22-4A and advanced all the way to the 4A Region III semifinals.

“So many memories in baseball too,” said Miller. “That run to State as a sophomore was awesome because we started out the season so rough and made it all the way to Austin with so many people not giving us a chance at all. This year was great because we didn’t lose a game in probably the toughest district in the state when you look at it. We had a big senior group and it was a blast playing with those guys over the years from summer ball through high school.”

Miller has had a strong support system throughout the years in his father Kent, mother Tyeshia Guillory along with step-father Erick Guillory Sr. and the rest of his family.

“I’m so grateful to have a family that has supported me and pushed me every step of the way,” said Miller. “There were so many things they didn’t have to do, like logging all of those miles to get me involved in camps and summer leagues and making sure I kept my grades up and kept me focused. They always went the extra mile to be sure that I was taken care of and for that, I will forever always be grateful.”

Now, Miller will be concentrating on his future endeavors at East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, where he will play both football and baseball.

The Tigers were a solid 7-3 in football last season and 30-15 in baseball so Miller is going to participate in an excellent program.

“I really loved it there on my very first visit and for them to have enough confidence in me to play both sports really made it an easy decision,” said Miller. “The campus and the people there are really nice. The thing I noticed most is that coaches and players there really treat you like you’re part of a family. That definitely was familiar to me, because that’s just the way it is here at West Orange-Stark.”