Football Preview: Many eyes repeat title in Class 2A
This past season, the Many Tigers captured their second Class 2A state title in the past decade.
Head coach Jess Curtis has had a very impressive tenure, winning 118 games in 11 seasons. Last year certainly was yet another resume booster for him when the Tigers completed their historic season by beating the Kinder Yellow Jackets, 16-13, in the state championship game, close to home in Natchitoches.
Many now looks to replace two key seniors from last year’s team in running back Terrence Williams who signed with the University of Louisiana Lafayette, and quarterback Cadillac Rhone who will play at Northwestern State in the fall.
Still, the talent pool continues to run deep with talented Tigers.
“We return with the bulk of our championship team. This team is powered by its talented 2023 and 2024 classes. The defense returns almost entirely intact from last year,” Curtis noted.
Overall, the Tigers are still stacked on both sides of the ball and ready to reload for another deep playoff run, led by safety/linebacker hybrid Tackett Curtis (6’2”, 215) who returns as the reigning Louisiana Football Coaches Association and Louisiana Sportswriters Defensive Most Valuable Player. The junior phenom will have many options when it comes to where he wants to play at the next level. Curtis, who has racked up 41 collegiate offers, is 49th highest rated recruit in the nation for 2023 according to 247sports.
Adding to his plate with the Tigers, Curtis is also projected to be the starting quarterback in the fall, proof of how dynamic and gifted he is.
Running back London Williams (5’11”, 170) also makes his return to the backfield, looking to emulate what he achieved last year. In 2020, Williams compiled 1,515 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns, while splitting carries with Terrence Williams. Expectations will be high for the senior running back.
In Many’s 83-36 rout of General Trass in the state semifinals, London Williams scored six times. Performances like that have attracted interest from a few different collegiate programs including Norfolk State, Lamar and Southeastern.
Corey Jones (6’2”, 270) leads an offensive line that deserves a lot of the credit for the effectiveness of the Tigers’ running game. Jones was the anchor then and enters his senior campaign looking to lead his fellow linemen to repeat the same dominance they displayed in 2020. He has also been getting recruiting attention from from Central Arkansas, Norfolk State, and Southeastern.
The most valuable player from last year’s title game, Tylen Singleton (6’2”, 190), returns for his sophomore season. The defensive back provided the deciding score in the championship win when he returned an interception for a touchdown. The underclassman will also have to start thinking about his future, because he is already getting looks from big time programs such as Arkansas and Mississippi State.
Coach Curtis’s team last year not only possessed depth but also provided game experience for plenty of younger players. This is a luxury that most championship teams rarely enjoy when a deep and experienced senior class usually dominates the snaps.
“We feel that we have a shot to be in the championship talk for the next three years,” Curtis said. “Anything less than that will be a major disappointment. The culture of winning is prevalent here.”
Many schedule of games includes five on the road and five on their home field. The season opens with a tough matchup against Union Parish at home before road tests at Deridder and North DeSoto. Union Parish reached the Class 3A championship game in 2020.
The last non-district game of the year comes at home against another tough foe, the Tioga Indians. Tioga reached the 4A quarterfinals a year ago.
Many’s first district opponent of the season will be Red River in Coushatta before home games versus Winnfield and Avoyelles. Then the Tigers travel to Alexandria to square off with Holy Savior Menard for their eighth game of the year.
A home game against the Bunkie Panthers in week nine and an away game versus the Lakeview Gators in Campti wrap up the regular season.
To say that Many’s program has high expectations would be a gross understatement. Well equipped to compete for years to come because of how much experience the young members of the roster already have, the Tigers can be considered 2A title contenders yet again. If they can stay healthy in 2021, there is no reason that Many should not still be alive and fighting for another state title.
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