MORGANTOWN — Two years ago, Darius and Dante Stills wreaked havoc on offensive lines while playing at Fairmont Senior High School.
After suffering a Class AA state championship loss to Mingo Central, the brothers weren’t sure they’d ever share a field again.
Darius, the older of the two, had already committed to play at West Virginia, following the same path his father, former Mountaineers linebacker Gary Stills, did 20 years before.
Dante, though, had offers from all across the country, including the likes of Florida, Oklahoma, Georgia Penn State and, of course, West Virginia. His future was more wide-open, but in August 2017, Dante donned a WVU hat during a commitment ceremony, certifying he’d join his brother in Morgantown.
Last Saturday, it became a reality when both took the field against Tennessee at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.
Both Stills were on the second wave of defensive linemen coordinator Tony Gibson rolled out, and they made an impact. Darius led the team with 2 1/2 tackles for loss, and Dante recorded his first collegiate tackle in the second half.
Whenever one made a play, there other was the first there to celebrate.
“If I had a brother, it would be a dream for me to go out there and play and make stops with them,” nose tackle Kenny Bigelow said. “To see their bond and to see them have that moment was really special.”
Ezekiel Rose couldn’t wait to see the Stills boys playing side-by-side. Even from the sideline, Rose made sure to take notice.
“I’ve been waiting to see that since Dante got here,” Rose said. “I knew they were going to be great together because they’re used to playing together. Just seeing it verified what I was thinking — it was a great feeling those two brothers celebrate with each other.
“I was happy for them, seeing Darius make the tackle and Dante come up behind him and be the first to hug him — that’s a special bond.”
Rose also said Darius and Dante feed off one another in a positive and negative way. They’ll be each other’s biggest supporters but will not hesitate to call one another out if necessary.
Not only was it a cool moment for brothers, their performances against the Vols caught the eye of Gibson.
“Darius made some huge plays at important times in that game,” he said. “Dante got a shot at Trey Smith, which is a really good offensive lineman for Tennessee, and he held his own. I don’t think any moment is too big for him. He’s confident in what he does and in his talent, so I think he’ll be a really, really, really good player here.”