Karr rallies past Curtis, 36-33, in another instant classic

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It has been a strange year, a year of rarities.

That has crossed all boundaries in all phases of life.

You can most certainly apply it to the high school football level as well.

John Curtis Christian School has been the dominant program in Louisiana, winning 26 state championships, along with another on the field that was taken away. All of those have come since 1975.

Winning 26 state titles in 45 years is astounding, an amazing accomplishment.

In the midst of doing so, the Patriots of J.T. Curtis have seldom lost a game.

As a matter of fact, Curtis had not lost back-to-back games in a single season since 1974.

As a matter of fact, the Patriots had not lost consecutive games since losing in the semifinals of the state playoffs in 1978 before dropping their season opener in 1979.

Both of those long-standing facts have been erased, replaced by the fact that a program with another incredible taste for winning big has ended that amazing streak.

The Karr Cougars overcame two fourth quarter deficits Saturday night to defeat John Curtis, 36-33, at Joe Yenni Stadium.

A.J. Samuel connected with brilliant wide receiver Destyn Hill on a 34-yard touchdown pass with 1:16 to play as Hill went up over a defender to make a great catch on a go-route.

The Patriots had one last possession but a Karr sack of Buddy Taylor sealed the deal with 29 seconds left.

Things started well for the Patriots.

On the first possession of the game, Taylor raced 63 yards for a score to give Curtis a 7-0 lead with 10:30 to play in the opening quarter.

Karr responded as AJ Samuel connected with Hill on a 23-yard touchdown pass to get even at 7-7 with 5:13 to play in the opening quarter after a missed extra point.

After recovering a Curtis fumble on the next possession, Karr took its first lead as Samuel scored on a quarterback draw to give the Cougars a 14-7 lead with 4:08 to play in the first quarter.

The Patriots pulled even as Taylor again broke loose on another long touchdown jaunt, scoring from 49 yards out to make it 14-14 with 1:25 to play in the opening quarter.
The second quarter belonged to Curtis.

After remaining tied for most of the quarter, the Patriots closed the half fast with a pair of scores.

First, Taylor capped a long drive with a 1-yard quarterback sneak and Curtis took a 20-14 lead with 1:42 to play in the half after a missed extra point.

Karr then committed its second turnover of the half as Samuel was intercepted and Trey LaBranch capitalized, scoring on a 28-yard run to give Curtis a 26-14 lead with 42 seconds left in the half.

The third quarter was scoreless but the fourth quarter was furious, with both teams exploding offensively, combining for 29 points in the final 9:13 of the contest.

Samuel cut the deficit to 26-21, scoring on a 6-yard run on fourth-and-goal with 9:13 to play as he evaded heavy pressure and found the end zone.

Karr then took the lead on a 17-yard pass from Samuel to Aaron Anderson with 3:22 to play. Anderson went up over two defenders to make a brilliant catch in the left corner of the end zone. Samuel connected with Hill for the 2-point conversion to make it 29-26.

John Curtis fought back to recapture the lead, driving 68 yards in 1:12 with Ronald Poole scoring on a 20-yard run and the Patriots led 33-29 with 1:59 to play in the game.

That left too much time for the potent Karr offense.

Once again, it was Samuel and Hill connecting on the game-winner.

Samuel completed 14-of-21 passes for 185 yards and three touchdowns with one interception and he rusheds 15 times for 115 yards and a fourth score in a superb performance. Hill finished with eight catches for 90 yards and two touchdowns with a 2-point conversion.

Taylor finished with 22 carries for 157 yards and three touchdowns and he completed 10-of-13 passes for 125 yards.

Karr coach Brice Brown was pleased with the way his team fought back from a two score deficit after some first half struggles.

“Hats off to the coaches,” Brown said. “Our offensive line did a great job in protecting Samuel in the second half. The first and second quarter, he really struggled in the pocket due to some pressure but we settled down in the second half and got the job done.”

Speaking of streaks, the Cougars are poised as the clear favorite to capture an unprecedented fifth straight Class 4A state title as what has become the top football program in Louisiana, a moniker which John Curtis held for so many years.

Karr, which has now beaten elite teams in Warren Easton, Catholic of Baton Rouge and John Curtis in consecutive weeks, returns to action next Saturday, hosting Wossman at 7 p.m. at Hoss Memtsas Stadium while John Curtis will host Archbishop Shaw Thursday at 7 p.m.

“This win was a testament of how hard the coaches and players have worked through this 3-game stretch,” Brown said. “Two great communities and programs gave their best effort tonight and that’s all we can ask for. God has blessed all these kids with an opportunity to play through these circumstances and we are thankful for that the most.”

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Ken Trahan


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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