There were two key plays in Bolingbrook’s Week 3 win over Lincoln-Way West where it was clear I’Marion Stewart was going to be involved.
The game’s outcome might have hinged on the successful completion of those plays, so it stood to reason that the Bolingbrook sophomore receiver would be on the back end of a big passing play.
In reality, Stewart was very much involved in both of those plays, but he didn’t catch the pass in either of them.
On the first, Stewart received the ball on what appeared to be a jet sweep. But it wasn’t. Stewart stopped, planted his foot, and threw a lofty bomb to teammate Kyan Berry Johnson that went for a 67-yard gain. Bolingbrook scored a touchdown two plays later.
With the clock winding down and Bolingbrook needing a first down to ice the outcome, Stewart flared out wide and drew defensive attention. A pass was risky in that situation, as a failure to convert would stop the clock and give Lincoln-Way West a chance to respond.
Stewart wouldn’t catch the pass on that play, either. But the mere threat of what Stewart was capable of doing drew a pass interference penalty on a defender barely after the ball was put in the air. Without even getting near the football, Stewart had made his presence felt.
Stewart ended up with five receptions for 102 yards and a score in the game, but the realization of how he’s willing and able to make any kind of play at any time was a big reason why Stewart earned the Friday Night Drive Team of the Week MVP award for Week 3.
Stewart received 363 votes at FridayNightDrive.com to win the award. There were 8,874 votes cast.
Stewart was presented his MVP belt, sponsored by Schweickert, Ganassin, Krzak, Rundio, LLP, at Tuesday’s practice in front of his teammates and coaches. Stewart then answered a few questions from Herald-News sports editor Steve Soucie.
How do you feel like things are going for Bolingbrook right now?
We’re doing a lot with a little right now. [Bolingbrook’s varsity roster has about 45 members on it, which is low for a Class 8A team.] And we’re feeling pretty good. We’re making it work.
You showed an ability to adjust well to a ball thrown in the air in Friday’s win. Do you feel like that’s one of your strengths?
Most definitely. I’m always going to find the ball wherever it is - always.
You always seem to take advantage of man coverage when teams play you that way. What’s your feeling when you see that?
Man-to-man coverage. Those are my favorite four words. That’s where I go to work. When I see it, I get excited, and I look straight at [offensive coordinator] Harvey [Jackson].
Even though you are only a sophomore, college interest has been strong. How is that going for you?
I have eight offers. It’s kind of chill right now, but that’s something I’ll look at more after the season. It’s fun. I’m enjoying it.
Do you have any favorite players?
What do you like about his game?
He plays aggressive, has great hands and nice speed. That’s what I really like to see.