He died on Monday and RAF Marham in Norfolk, where he was based, described him as a "very popular member" of the team and community.
Previously, Stevenson had played at Harrogate rugby union club but was also on the books at York where Ford coached him at Under 18s level.
“Obviously it’s devastating news and I want to pass on my condolences to all his family and friends,” he said.
“In my time spent with Scott, he was so full of energy and so full of life.
“He was a joy to coach, too, and it is just such a massive shame to see what has happened.
“It’s hard to put into words; you never expect to have to say these things about someone you’ve coached.”
Castleford Tigers centre Greg Minikin, 24, was a team-mate in that York City Knights squad.
He Tweeted: “No words! Honoured to have made so many memories which will last forever!
“Rest easy brother”
The UK Armed Forces Rugby League (UKAFRL) said it was "deeply saddened by the devastating news".
"SAC Stevenson was an extremely talented player and popular teammate within the UKAFRL squad," it said in a statement.
"His passing is a terrible loss to the Armed Forces Rugby League Community.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, teammates and colleagues at this sad time."
Ralph Rimmer, chief executive of the Rugby Football League, said it was "tragic and heartbreaking news".
"I know everyone involved in the game will join me in sending deepest condolences to Scott's family and friends, and to all involved in rugby league in the RAF and the other services," he added.