John Curtis looks to end state title drought against Catholic High

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Scotlandville vs. Curtis

Never take success for granted.

For the past five decades, it has been a given that success would follow John Curtis Christian football annually.

Since winning its first state championship in 1975, the Patriots have claimed 26 titles in 42 years on the field under legendary head coach J.T. Curtis.

As a rule of thumb, a drought in sports championships is typically signified by at least a decade, if not decades of coming up short.

At John Curtis, not winning a title since 2013 and not appearing in a championship game since 2014 is a certified drought.

“You never take success for granted,” said J.T. Curtis. “We know what it takes to get to a championship game and while we play fewer games to do it now, it is still a task, an accomplishment. We are very happy to be back.”

The second-seeded Patriots have a chance to end the streak when they battle the fourth-seed Catholic Bears of Baton Rouge Saturday at noon in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. You can listen to the game live on WGSO, 990 AM and at WGSO.com.

“We have talked about the fact that we have not won since 2013 but we are not obsessed with it,” Curtis said. “Our kids see the years of our championships on the wall and they know that their class, their four-year cycle, is absent. They certainly want to change that.”

The Patriots went through the Catholic League as unbeaten champions for a second straight year. Their only loss was to powerful Grayson, Georgia.

Curtis has done it with a balanced effort.

Offensively, sophomore quarterback Collin Guggenheim has improved significantly since his freshman season. Guggenheim has completed 57-of-108 passes for 967 yards and seven touchdowns with just two interceptions. He has rushed 97 times for 845 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Despite losing star running back Marquese Albert early in the season to a knee injury, seniors Darryan Washington and Malik Wells have stepped up to provide additional punch in the running game. Washington has 137 carries for 867 yards and 12 touchdowns while Wells has 78 carries for 705 yards and three scores. Senior Tyrone Legette is the top receiver with 24 catches for 476 yards and five touchdowns while senior tight end Glenn Beal has 14 receptions for 259 yards and two scores.

Gabe Fertitta has done an excellent job of getting Catholic back to the title game for the second time in three years. The Bears won the Division I state title in 2015.

Quarterback Cameron Dartez has completed 142-of-234 passes for 1,448 yards with nine touchdowns and seven interceptions. He has rushed 87 times for 343 yards and two scores. Parker Smith leads a balanced running game with 101 yards for 547 yards and six touchdowns. Vernon Langley is the top receiver with 37 receptions for 492 yards and six touchdowns while Austan Hood has 32 catches for 341 yards and three scores.

Despite the successes of both programs, this will be the first meeting between the two schools on the gridiron.

While Curtis has always been known for its outstanding kicking game and special teams play, the Bears have excelled in that facet of the game in recent years. This year is no exception. Catholic blocked a punt for a touchdown in their semifinal win at Evangel.

“What you see when you watch them is an outstanding kicking game,” Curtis said. “They have great schemes on returns, on blocks and kick and punt the game very well. You have to be prepared for all things when you face them. They have always been known for trick plays.”

A year ago, Evangel knocked out John Curtis in the Division I semifinals.

“Our kids have overcome injuries and challenges all season long,” Curtis said. “We have to avoid turnovers, compete well in the kicking game and remain disciplined. Catholic is very good on defense. You don’t go to Evangel and win much at all and they have done it two straight years. We know this is going to be a tough game. These kids would like to add their legacy to the wall.”

The Patriots will first have to scale the wall of the Bears to do so.

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Ken Trahan

CEO/Owner

Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…

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