John Curtis blanks Brother Martin for 27th state champioinship
NEW ORLEANS – A four-year state championship drought felt like uncharted territory for John Curtis Patriots fans.
However, Saturday night’s LHSAA Oschner Prep Classic Division 1 Select State Championship game against the Brother Martin Crusaders felt like old times.
The Patriots dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and reclaimed their place on top of the mountain top with a 23-0 victory for their 27th State Championship at the Caesars Superdome.
Junior running back Kaheam Smith led the Patriots’ ground attack, tallying 67 yards on just seven carries and one touchdown. Junior quarterback Dagan Bruno found dual success for the offense, connecting on 6 of 11 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown, while also gaining 29 yards on 11 rushes for a touchdown.
One week after they exploded for 422 yards and 55 points against Carencro to punch their ticket to the state championship, the Crusaders dream playoff run ran out of gas as they struggled to just cross mid-field. Brother Martin only crossed into John Curtis territory twice, driving the ball down to the Patriots’ 35-yard line both times and failing to come away with any points.
The key to the Patriots defensive success going into the game was to contain Brother Martin Senior Running Back Torey Lambert, who had rushed for 951 yards and 12 touchdowns in the Crusaders four playoff games. The Patriots slammed the door on that momentum, holding Lambert for a meager 61 yards on 19 carries.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Patriots deployed the tried-and-true method of ball control and time of possession. John Curtis (12-2) dominated time of possession 30:42 to 17:48 with a bruising rushing attack that only totaled 168 yards on 46 attempts, but successfully kept the ball out of the hands of the Crusaders offense.
Brother Martin (9-6) struggled finding any offensive rhythm from the onset. Sophomore Quarterback Seth Dazet was under duress from the relentless Patriots defense and was only able to connect on 5 passes for the entire game for 43 yards and two interceptions. The Crusaders longest plays of the game were two 16-yard passes.
John Curtis imposed their will and took control of the game in the first half, rattling off three consecutive touchdown drives to all but put the game away before halftime.
On their second possession of the game, the Patriots showed their quick strike ability with a two-play, 52-yard drive, scoring on a 38-yard touchdown pass from Bruno to junior wide receiver Michael Turner to give them a 6-0 lead with 3:13 to play in the first quarter.
Curtis’s next possession appeared in peril, having to start on their own 1-yard line following a brilliant Brother Martin punt. But the Patriots showed they could put together a dominating multi-play scoring drive, as they marched down the field with an 18-play, 99-yard drive, capped off by a one-yard touchdown run by Bruno that stretched their lead to 13-0 with 2:41 to play in half.
The Curtis defense immediately put the offense back on the field as Dazet’s pass was intercepted by Turner, setting up the Patriots at the Crusaders 29-yard line. Two plays later, Smith broke off a 29-yard touchdown run to bring the score to 20-0 with 1:01 to play in the half.
The final Curtis score would come in the third quarter, with a 29-yard field goal by Jayden Alphonso, bringing the score to the final tally of 23-0 Curtis with 6:45 to play in the third quarter.
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