By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The only school Logan Stewart has known in his life is Tipton-Rosemark Academy.
The Atoka native enrolled at the school in 2002 as a Kindergartner. By the time 2011 rolled around, the talk on the campus was about the incoming freshman who was going to be a stud in at least two sports.
“I did hear some of those things,” Stewart acknowledged. “My buddies would joke around saying some stuff like that. But I tried to just play my game. I didn’t let any pressure effect me.”
In some eyes, Stewart exceeded the hype becoming an All-State player in football in 2014 and All-Region selection in baseball. In between those sports, Stewart saw some time as a multi-purpose forward in basketball.
All that time spent in Rebel uniforms, team success and individual awards helped Stewart earn the title of 2015 Millington Star Male Athlete of the Year.
“It’s definitely an honor to be recognized with such a high award,” he said.
Stewart joins former Rebel teammate Conner Alexander and Lady Rebel Julanne McCommon as winners of the award from TRA.
The 2014-15 capped off Stewart’s tenure at TRA with many academic honors as well. While playing three sports at the institution, Stewart was a member of the Beta Club, National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, Science Club, Fine Arts Department and Student Council.
But the son of Chad and Amanda Stewart made a name for himself across the Shelby-Metro area in athletics.
In basketball, Stewart was a part of the best winning streak in school history in 2013-14. Football ended with two straight playoff appearances. On the diamond, Stewart and the Rebels became a powerhouse in the area including a State runner up finish in 2014.
“My senior year was definitely a success,” he said. “Baseball, we didn’t do as well as we wanted. But overall it was a good year. Football, leading it to the second playoff in a row. Basketball, we kept growing it in competitiveness. We kept baseball growing as well.”
During Stewart’s freshman year, the football program under Head Coach Dodd Gengenbach faced rebuilding. Stewart was one of the glimmer of hope.
“Faith is definitely what it took,” he recalled. “My freshman year we only had 20 kids on the team. We didn’t have enough to practice. It took kids staying together and staying with the program to built it up to where it is now.”
The Rebels reached the Division II-A playoffs in 2013 and 2014. In his final campaign on the gridiron for the Rebels Stewart made headlines across the State returning six interceptions for touchdowns.
“I was just playing and being where my coaches told me to be,” he said. “I got lucky enough to make those plays. Especially six pick-sixes I had, I’ve never heard of that before.”
An All-State season on the gridiron delayed Stewart’s debut under new Head Basketball Coach David Hunt. Prior to Hunt’s arrival, Stewart grew as a basketball player under Jason Morgan.
“It’s definitely been fun but we’ve had some ups and downs with the many different coaches,” Stewart recalled. “I like to see Coach Hunt coming in and the consistency will pick up.”
The Rebels’ best accomplishment on the hardwood during Stewart’s years was the nine game win streak his junior season.
“We were just clicking as a group in general,” he said. “We had good team chemistry. We just figured out what we needed to do to win, especially against bigger teams.
“My game is mostly defense and maybe being athletic,” Stewart added. “I’ll get a rebound. Getting rebounds is what I do and putting them back if the rebound comes my way — just being a team player.”
Stewart played power forward, small forward and center on the basketball court. In football Stewart’s resume’ was even longer playing quarterback, running back, wide receiver, safety, linebacker and cornerback.
But on the diamond he batted near the top of the lineup for Head Coach Brad Smith and played first base.
“It’s been great,” he said. “Coach Smith does a great job with the baseball team and the way he coaches. He’s helped me develop my skills to the point I’ve grown as a baseball player. To the point I can take it college and continue on playing.”
Stewart plans to join the Christian Brothers University Bucs. He will be the 20th player during Smith’s tenure to reach the college level.
“I know he’s happy to see all his kids go on to continue their dreams of playing in college,” Stewart said. “He just does a great job of raising players and teaching them the right way to play.”
Playing the right way helped Stewart hit .422 in his final campaign with a .743 slugging percentage. He scored 44 runs with 4 home runs and 44 RBIs.
With numbers like that, Stewart picked the diamond over the gridiron.
“Baseball is probably my best sport,” he said. “I feel most comfortable in baseball. I’ve been playing it for a long time. I feel like I have a high baseball IQ. It’s a tight race between baseball and football.”
Stewart’s time at TRA as a student is complete. Several awards already in his trophy case, the latest is The Millington Star Athlete of the Year. But Stewart said he wants to be remembered as more than the young man who lived up to the expectations on the field.
“I want my legacy to be the way I carried myself and acted,” he concluded. “I accomplished and did all these things. But it’s God who blessed me with these things. He allows me to do this stuff and He does it through me. He gets all the glory. It’s not about me. It’s about Him. And that’s the way we should live our lives.”
2006 Buck Wakefield Munford
2007 Joe Glass Brighton
2008 Mario Justice Millington
2009 Tausean Holmes Millington
2010 Demetre Jones Millington
2011 Alan Cross Millington
2012 Ricky Foster Brighton
2013 Antonio Webber Millington
2014 Connor Alexander TRA