Player of the Week: Luke Stewart’s 51-yard FG lifts Oak Grove to walk-off win
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Wayne County waltzed into Friday night’s intermission with a 20-0 lead over visiting Oak Grove.
The Warriors finally awoke from their slumber, clawing back to tie the game at 23-23.
As intensity built in the fourth quarter, junior kicker Luke Stewart’s nerves remained surprisingly calm.
“On the sidelines everybody’s telling me it’s going to come down to me,” Stewart said. “Me and my longsnapper Gavyn [Jones], he was just trying to keep my mind off of it. We were actually singing a song on the sideline.
It was ‘Let’s Stay Together’ by Al Green.”
Oak Grove stuck together to score 26 points in the second half, punctuated by Stewart’s 51-yard game-winning field goal as time expired.
“I knew he had the leg to make it,” said Oak Grove head coach Drew Causey. “The previous kickoff that he kicked went out of the back of the end zone. Lucky for us, he hit it good and we win the game.”
“I just got tackled by everybody,” Stewart said. “It was a great moment and it’s what I’ve been dreaming for my whole life. It was just a great feeling.”
The sort of feeling that lured Stewart from the soccer pitch to the gridiron.
He joined the football team midway through last season – Friday was only his second game in action.
“Extremely proud of him and happy for him,” Causey said. “First year kicking, he’s made a couple of big field goals already. He’s getting to where he’s being consistent kicking the ball in the end zone. With our defense, that’s huge if we can make people have to drive 80 yards on us.”
Stewart, of course, is just one piece to what Oak Grove hopes is a state championship puzzle its putting together.
As Causey and company continue to figure things out, one thing he knows for certain is the Warriors aren’t going to quit.
“‘Cause we’re Oak Grove we think we’re going to have the win,” Stewart said. “But after halftime [Friday] we realized we were down, losing - we found our sense of competition. And we just come back, find a way to win. I was blessed the other night to have that opportunity.”
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