While he’s played almost every position on the offensive line over the past four years, Stuart Hayden has returned to his roots in 2017.
The Brownstown Central senior is manning the middle, playing center for the Braves.
Hayden, who began playing football in Brownstown’s 56ers league, said he’s thriving in his role this season after playing as a guard last season.
“It’s where I started,” Hayden said. “I grew up playing center, and has some sentimental value.
“(The offensive line) is kind of the big brother of the team. We make holes for the running backs and make the offense move. Defensively, you are the key to stopping momentum.”
At 6-foot, 220-pounds, Hayden’s also working as a defensive end with the Braves.
While he also plays basketball and baseball, Hayden said that he has always enjoyed the uniqueness of football.
“It has always been fun,” Hayden said. “I’ve always enjoyed hitting people. In basketball and baseball, you don’t get to do that. It’s a really physical sport.”
Last year’s regional title and semistate berth are the pinnacle thus far in his career.
While there are plenty of memorable games on the field, Hayden said the relationships built off the field add to the fun.
“Every year you come back and meet new guys,” he said. “You make new friends int he locker room and connections with the team.”
This winter, Hayden said he will play a center-type role on the basketball team.
While he’s undersized for his position, Hayden said that coach Dave Benter has helped him develop his game in the post.
“(Benter) has helped me with my size, he helps with post moves and defense,” Hayden said. “He has also helped me with 3-pointers and long range jumpers.”
Hayden started playing basketball in the third grade in the Enter His Courts program, and played at Lutheran Central before enrolling at Brownstown.
This year, Hayden expects the Braves to play with pace.
“We like to get up and down the court fast,” Hayden said. “I feel like I can do that. I can get the ball to the point guard and rebound and all that.”
Hayden first took the baseball diamond at 5-years-old.
“When I was younger, my dad coached,” Hayden said. “He loves it, and I do, too.”
In the spring, Hayden said he will spend time at first base and on the mound.
“I hope we can have a winning season, rebuild and get a sectional championship,” Hayden said.
He has enjoyed working with first-year coach Brandon Tormoehlen.
“He’s great,” Hayden said. “We’ve had off season workouts, and he’s starting from the beginning with most of us.”
Hayden said that the athletic program at Brownstown stands out.
“There are great coaching staffs,” He said. “It’s a great environment, a great community. There’s a lot of support. There are a lot of great people involved.”
After high school, Hayden’s looking at attending either Notre Dame or Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology to study computer science.
Name: Stuart Hayden
School: Brownstown Central
Parents: Tim and Carol Hayden
Sibling: Sterling Hayden
Sports: football 4 years, basketball 4 years, baseball 4 years.
Athletic highlights: Football – 2015, 2016 sectional champions, 2016 regional champions. Basketball – 2016 sectional champions. Baseball – 2016 sectional champions.
Organizations: Booster Club, National Honor Society, Letterman’s Club.
Plans after high school: attend college to study computer science.
Favorite food: chicken alfredo
Favorite TV show: SportsCenter
Favorite musician: Luke Combs
Favorite movie: Facing the Giants
Favorite athlete/team: Jeff Saturday, Indianapolis Colts