With over 2,000 yards passing and his team boasting an unbeaten 6-0 record, Mumford High junior quarterback Monty Stewart is having the kind of season that previously he only dreamt about.
“I’ve never been to the playoffs, not even in little league, so I feel real good about where we are,’’ said Stewart, who completed 17 of 32 passes for 417 yards and four touchdowns last Friday in a 50-0 victory against DCP-Northwestern and has been named the Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learner of the Week.
Indeed, the Mustangs are playing like a completely different team than a year ago, which was head coach Donshell English’s first season at the helm.
English credits Stewart’s leadership with being at the forefront of the turnaround. The Mustangs already have clinched a spot in the PSL semifinals as well as the state playoffs entering Friday night’s battle of unbeatens against two-time defending Division 1 state champion Cass Tech.
“He’s one of the main reasons we’re winning,’’ English said. “Now that we’ve had a whole year with the kids, they’ve all been in the weight room and gotten stronger. They understand the system and believe in each other. Monte is the catalyst being in the leadership spot as quarterback. He’s putting up stats like a video game.”
English said Stewart’s abilities fit right into his offensive philosophy which favors the passing the game,
“He has a very strong arm but it’s also accurate,’’ English said. “Sometimes he might not make the right read but he always makes up for it. He has a lot of moxie. When he’s being pressured, he steps up in the pocket and finds his way. He’s all about making plays.
“He can run but he rarely does because he relies on his arm to get the ball where we want to go. But he does a good of improvising if that’s what’s needed.”
Stewart, a 6-0, 185 pounder, attributes his strong arm to having played quarterback since he was age 8.
“I can throw it about 65 or 70 yards,’’ he said. “You still have to have good receivers and make the right reads. Last year, I couldn’t make the right read for nothing, but I’ve got it down pat now. And our talent is way better than last year.”
Stewart is hopeful of earning a college scholarship and aspires to play in the NFL. “If that doesn’t work out, I plan to be in law enforcement,’’ he said. “I want to be an FBI agent.”
With still another year of high school, Stewart is optimistic about the future. He said hard work and discipline are the main ingredients that have gotten Mumford’s program back on track and he’s embraced his role as a leader.
“We work hard every day in practice,’’ he said. “Even when we’re not at practice, my receivers come over to my house or I come to their house and I’m throwing the ball and making sure they catch it.
“I thank my receivers every day for what they do. And I thank my offensive line every day, too. I buy them whatever they want, usually donuts.”
The Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learner of the Week award is representative of the league’s top boys and girls athletes. The award is presented by the DPS Office of Athletics and sponsored for the fourth year in a row by Detroit-area McDonald’s owner-operators.