Multi-sport dynamo: Cody Stewart proved to be the master of all sports at Leo Hayes High School during the past season, earning most valuable player awards in hockey, football and rugby. He was also named the school’s male athlete of the year all the while maintaining a 92 average in the classroom. He takes his considerable athletic and academic skills to Saint Mary’s University in Halifax where he has been given a full scholarship ride to play with the football Huskies. He’s projected to be a slotback with the Atlantic University team.

Oozing with 'potential'
Cody Stewart: The heart of a Lion and the dogged determination of a multi-talented competitor

By Bruce Hallihan

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 him."

"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 questions.

"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 life."

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 shape."

Sumarah is hoping Stewart has a great experience - and spreads the word.

"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