Clinton, Md. -- This week's DCW MVP has come a long way to help lead the Surrattsville High School Hornets football team into the playoffs.
Devante Stewart didn't get to finish his freshman year on the football field. Poor grades kept him off the team during a critical stretch at the end of the season.
Stewart blamed himself for the team's loss. After conversations with parents, teachers and friends he rededicated himself to becoming both an excellent student and athlete. Stewart went from a grade point average that hovered below 2.0 to a GPA above 3.0 as he completes his senior year.
The Hornets are also back in the 1A playoffs.
"You can be what you want to be," said Stewart. "It comes with distractions, it comes with a lot of things around but you just have to cope with it and learn how to deal with adversity."
Stewart's next challenge was a move across the country to Texas before returning to Prince George's County and rejoining the Hornets team.
This past summer, Stewart lost his mother but kept his focus in order to continue to excel on the football field and the classroom.
The team's fullback said he believes he owes it to his loved ones and his younger teammates. Stewart said if he had it to do over again he would have not messed around to start high school.
"When you come into high school make sure you start off right and stay on that track," said Stewart.
Coach Cornell Wade said his team has plenty of mature leaders but Stewart stands out because of how he thinks about team goals and achievements over individual glory. Wade believes it's why Stewart will continue to find success playing football at the next level and earning a college degree.
"Everybody loves an underdog and that's what he is," said Cornell. "He's an underdog and he's been able to fight through so many different things."