Oozing with 'potential'
Cody Stewart: The heart of a Lion and the dogged
determination of a multi-talented competitor
By Bruce Hallihan
Published in the Daily Gleaner on Thursday June 18, 2009
Appeared on page B1
A big cat is going to the dog pound.
Cody Stewart, one of the most decorated athletes to ever play sports
for the Leo Hayes High School Lions, has received a football scholarship
to suit up for the Saint Mary's University Huskies in the fall.
Stewart, who'll graduate tomorrow night with a 92 average, will be
working towards a business degree at SMU and toward a starting slotback
role with the Huskies.
Steve Sumarah, the Huskies' head coach, was impressed with Stewart as
soon as he saw him at the Maritime Football Combine at Citadel High in
Halifax in February.
"The thing that jumped out at me the most was his initial size
and athleticism," Sumarah said. "He moved very fluidly and
caught every ball thrown to him. When I approached him about coming to
Saint Mary's University he was shy but excited. I liked that quality. He
was prepared to work and excited about the new challenge ahead of
"I heard from a lot of different schools," Stewart said.
"They were talking to me and saying they wanted me to come visit.
When I went to the combine, Saint Mary's saw me catch balls and they
liked what they saw. I went back down to meet with the coaching staff.
They offered me a scholarship and I accepted."
Stewart leaves LHHS with quite a sporting legacy.
This year, he was the school's senior male athlete of the year and
most valuable player in three sports: football, hockey and rugby. As
well, a panel of judges crowned him Lion King at The Playhouse for his
performance, which involved doing a dance, a skit and answering improv
"It was a pretty good year," Stewart said. "I had a
lot of fun playing all the sports and doing the extra-curricular
activities that I did. I was able to keep my marks up too. I just found
time, basically. When I got home from hockey or football or whatever, I
tried to get as much homework done as I possibly could."
Leo Hayes athletic director Kurt Allen used to coach Stewart in
bantam AAA hockey.
"He's a terrific athlete," Allen said. "He's certainly
come into his own. When I coached him in bantam, he had the same great
hands, but he was small - short and chunky."
"When he turned the corner and started to get some size, boy, he
became pretty dominant in every sport he played."
Stewart is now a strapping six-foot-four and 220 pounds.
"A lot of big guys get by on brute force and things like
that," Allen said, "but he's got a terrific set of hands and
he works hard."
Sumarah says Stewart oozes potential.
"As a player he has tremendous upside," Sumarah said.
"He's big and fast. We'll be playing him at slotback and how far he
goes this year will be determined by how quick he learns, but his future
is very bright."
Stewart says his favourite sport "is probably football, but
hockey's real close. I grew up playing hockey and soccer. I just started
playing football in Grade 10, but I've loved sports my entire
Stewart joins a Saint Mary's squad that topped the Atlantic
conference last season with a 7-1 record for the second year in a row.
"I will be disappointed if he's not a starting slot for us in
the future," Sumarah said. "His personality says he will not
be satisfied by anything less, so I like his chances."
Leo Hayes phys ed teacher Daneen Dymond is putting Stewart through
his paces with a training program provided by Saint Mary's.
"Daneen's a fitness freak," Allen said. "By the time
Cody leaves for Halifax, there's no question she'll have him in tip-top
Sumarah is hoping Stewart has a great experience - and spreads the
"Finding players with his skill set are not easy to find,"
the coach said. "Coming to Saint Mary's University will hopefully
open the door for other New Brunswick players to be excited about the
opportunities the school and team has."
Editor's Note: Cody began his football career with CAMFA's Northside
Junior Lions. He is currently a slotback with the Capital Area
Gladiators of the Maritime Football League