Darius Stills

Fairmont Senior defensive end Darius Stills poses for a photo after being named the Overall Battle Player of the Game MVP at the National Underclassmen All-American Junior Performance in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. 

FAIRMONT — For most, high school football season is over.

But not for Fairmont Senior’s Darius Stills.

Stills, a junior defensive end for the Polar Bears, was invited to participate in the National Underclassmen (NUC) All-American Junior Performance in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

“They invited me and told me I was selected to play in the All-American competition with the top 100 junior linemen in the country,” Stills said of the invite, which he found out about around mid-November.

On Dec. 30, Stills represented the Polar Bears as the starting defensive end for the AA Junior North Squad.

For Stills, the invitation to be selected was something to build on.

“It felt like an honor,” said Stills, who earlier this week was selected to the USA Today High School Sports All-West Virginia Second-Team Defense along with his brother, Dante, and teammate Dom Smith on offense. “I didn’t know I was considered one of the top juniors.

“I really figured out how good I can be,” he continued. “Going up against those guys really boosted my confidence.”

Stills said players from all over the nation gathered together for the event, which began with two days of practices.

During those practices, athletes were able to show off their skills to coaches, who then decided where they would fit best within the scheme they wanted to run.

Stills was selected to start at his natural position, defensive end, where he was told to focus on rushing the passer.

When it came time for the competition, Stills said the biggest challenge was finding ways to best use his skillset against top-notch competition.

“Down there, there is more competition,” he said. “Their footwork is better, so I had to work really hard to get around those guys.”

Stills wound up accumulating 13 tackles, eight quarterback hurries, four assisted tackles and six sacks during the course of the competition.

Afterward, Stills was recognized by the NUC, winning the Junior Performance Battle Award for his team and the Overall Battle Player of the Game MVP.

“To win those awards, it meant that I was a good player and the coaches felt the same way,” he said. “It felt good to receive those awards.”

Stills said coaches from Florida State, Coastal Carolina, North Carolina, South Carolina and Michigan, among others, were in attendance.

With one more year of high school to go, Stills has his sights set on West Virginia University, where his father played.

Going to showcases and camps like this one in the offseason, Stills said, is just one way to help further achieve his dream of playing Division I football.

Email Matt Welch at mwelch@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.

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