Players of the Pine Belt: Oak Grove senior kicker Luke Stewart

Published: Aug. 17, 2023 at 11:24 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Drew Causey enters his ninth season as head coach of Oak Grove and he’s got an experienced group of Warriors to work with this fall.

“It’s a great time of the year for us,” Causey said. “It’s hot but it’s a lot of fun preparing for a season, getting ready. This is what we all chose to do for a living and I don’t think there’s been a day I’ve had to go to work.”

Oak Grove has Division I talent scattered all over the field – at quarterback, wide receiver and defensive line.

But the X-factor could very well be senior kicker Luke Stewart.

A soccer player most of his life, Stewart traded those cleats for the football kind and has turned into a weapon for the Warriors.

“I think it all started back in my sophomore year,” Stewart said. “That was back when I was trying to fight for that starting spot. It just took working hard every single day, especially in the offseason whenever you can. It’s a big opportunity to come and be a kicker for a big school like this, especially when you know you’re going to have opportunities to win games and score points.”

“He actually kicked a 60-yarder in practice the other day,” Causey said. “We expect a lot of big things out of him and he’s going to have a lot of opportunities to play at the next level. He deserves every opportunity he’s going to get.”

Few forget Stewart’s game-winning 51-yard field goal at Wayne County last season.

Whether he’s kicking it through the uprights, kicking off or punting, Stewart embraces his role on a team with state championship aspirations.

“I think I’m just one ingredient to this football team,” Stewart said. “We’ve got a lot of good guys and we’ve all agreed no person’s individual status really matters until we all come together and just prepare the right way. Whatever we can do for this team is what matters. Understand and realize our expectations for this year - to go all the way or nothing. We’ve all really committed to this team in a way I’ve never seen before.”

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