Preview: John Curtis returns to Dome while Brother Martin seeks first title in half century

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The winningest program and coach in Louisiana prep football history will face off Saturday night against a brilliant coach looking to lead his program to its first state title in 51 years.

In a strange comparison, both John Curtis Christian and Brother Martin have experienced dry spells of different sorts.

The Patriots have won 26 state championships, by far the most in Louisiana history. Head coach J.T. Curtis has won 614 games, by far the most in Louisiana history and second all-time in United States prep football history.

Most programs would be very happy to be playing for a second state championship in five seasons. That is not the standard at John Curtis.

Since capturing their first state championship in 1975, the Patriots have not gone more than five years (on the field) without winning a state title. It has been four years (2018) since Curtis won their last state championship and that happens to be the last time John Curtis reached the title game.

The Patriots are back in 2022 and will face Catholic League rival Brother Martin for the Select Division I state championship Saturday night around 7 p.m. at the Caesars Superdome. You can listen to the game live on NASH ICON 106.1 FM and at www.nashfm1061.com.

It has been 51 years (1971) since the Crusaders won their first and only state championship. It has been 33 years (1989) since Brother Martin reached a championship game, the only other time that has occurred.

After six semifinal appearances under Mark Bonis, that dry spell is finally over.

John Curtis defeated Brother Martin on October 28 at Yulman Stadium in District 9-5A competition, 23-14.

The Patriots eliminated the Crusaders, 40-20, in the 2014 Division I semifinals.

The in-season rematch figures to be close. Both teams are better than when they saw each other over a month ago.

Brother Martin (9-5) has ripped off four playoff wins, averaging 38.7 points per game after averaging just 15.4 points in the regular season.

It has been all about senior running back Torey Lambert. In four playoff games, Lambert has rushed 138 times for 954 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Clayton Lonardo has been a nice complement to Lambert as a dual threat, playing quarterback or wide receiver and running, catching or throwing the football. In all three disciplines, the senior Lonardo has accounted for 1,344 yards and eight touchdowns.

Defensively, junior defensive back Greg Jackson has five interceptions and returned one 95 yards for a score in the 55-24 semifinal victory at Carencro. Rylon Johnson has been in on 162 tackles, including 10 for loss.

The Patriots (11-2) lost only to Zachary and Karr and posted their biggest win of the season, rallying from 11 points down to oust defending Division I state champion Catholic of Baton Rouge 24-21 in the semifinals at Memorial Stadium.

Junior running back Marlon Prout, despite a slight ankle problem, has been superb, rushing 125 times for 1,006 yards and 16 touchdowns and he has a touchdown reception as well.

Junior quarterback Dagan Bruno has stepped up to complete 56 of 95 passes for 956 yards and nine touchdowns with three interceptions and he has rushed 80 times for 340 yards and five scores.

Defensively, senior inside linebacker Justin Horne has 136 tackles, including 15 for loss and six sacks while sophomore strong safety Jason Curtis has 65 tackles and three interceptions.

The wait for John Curtis has been lengthy, by Patriot standards.

The wait for Brother Martin has been very lengthy, painstaking.

In 2014, Jesuit ended a 54-year drought by defeating John Curtis in the Division I state championship game for its first title since 1960.

In 2022, Brother Martin hopes to end its 51-year drought against the same formidable opponent.

Something has to give in the rematch of two excellent programs from an excellent league.

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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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