Newman, Many ready for regular season showdown

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Nelson Stewart and Arch Manning of Newman
(Photo: Parker Waters)

They are the top two teams in Class 2A in the state in our latest Crescent City Sports Top 10 rankings.

The fact that the two schools agreed to play each other is admirable. The fact that the two teams cannot meet in the playoffs is disappointing.

Neither side figures to disappoint when Many (3-0) hosts Newman (3-0) before a standing room crowd Friday night.

The Tigers have dominated three opponents, blasting 5A opponents Sam Houston 38-3 and Haughton 35-3 and blitzing DeRidder 50-7.

Many does it with physicality, almost exclusively running the football in punishing fashion.

The Tigers have thrown just four passes in three games.

Junior running back Jeremiah James has rushed for 485 yards and six touchdowns, averaging over 170 yards rushing per contest while senior Jamarlyn Garner has rushed for 231 yards.

Southern Cal commit and two-way star Tackett Curtis has run for 209 yards and three scores at quarterback while completing 2-of-4 passes for 35 yards and a score.

Curtis also excels on defense, where he has 13 tackles from his linebacker spot, where he will play at the next level.

“It has been a different week, kind of like a state championship,” Many coach Jess Curtis said. “There is a lot of excitement. We have pre-sold tickets to help with the line, same as we do with state championship games.”

Many has given up just one touchdown thus far.

“These are two teams that are a clash of styles,” Curtis said. “To get us together is great. Nelson Stewart is a class act and good coach. Facing Arch and their team presents a lot of challenge for us.”

Curtis is very pleased with what his team has done thus far.

“We’ve had a really good start to the season,” Curtis said. “We kind of expected that with 10 starters back on defense and the offense is rolling. We’re happy. I don’t know that we’ve ever gone into a week four game playing this well.”

Senior defensive back Jayvion Smart has a pair of interceptions for the Tigers.

Like Many, the Greenies have also beaten a pair of 5A opponents, downing Hahnville 35-14 and outscoring Benton 54-52. Newman also defeated a solid Riverside Academy squad 35-14.

Senior Arch Manning, a Texas commit, has lived up to the extremely lofty expectations placed on him.

Manning has completed 49-of-72 passes (68%) for 785 yards and 11 touchdowns and, most impressively, no interceptions and he has rushed for 90 yards and a pair of scores.

Junior Peter Loop and Kai Donaldson have been standouts at wide receiver while Will Loerzel has stepped up at tight end in the passing game.

Newman suffered a huge blow when senior tight end/defensive end Will Randle, another Texas commit, tore a knee ligament in the win over Benton. Randle will miss the rest of the season.

“As a coach, it is tough with Will,” Newman coach Nelson Stewart said. “He’s started every game since he’s been here. He’s our top receiver and our best defensive player. You cannot replace him.”

The relationship between the two programs is on solid ground going into the game.

“Jess Curtis and I get along very well,” Stewart said. “We’re excited for our kids being in this atmosphere. I think it will be a great environment for our program.”

The Greenies have dealt very well with a difficult schedule.

“I think we have handled a beefed-up schedule well and it has already paid dividends for us,” Stewart said. “We’ve been tested against big, physical programs. We have battled adversity. We got stops when we needed last week. Our offensive line has played well and we have thrown it very well.”

Stewart knows what is awaiting him.

“Many is arguably the best team we have played,” Stewart said. “They are a tough, physical program. You have to match that. Their running backs are very good. They attack you on defense and play man coverage. They are consistent and consistently good. It’s a big test in an adverse environment.”

The two teams will play a return game in New Orleans at Lupin Field next year.

Many has done what Newman has not been able to do.

The Tigers have won Class 2A state titles in 2014 and 2020 and reached the title game in 2021, falling to Amite.

Newman has never reached a championship game in the history of the school.

It is admirable that a pair of fine coaches and persons in Stewart and Curtis have chosen to play each other in the regular season.

It is a shame that the two sides cannot meet in the postseason.

“I think it will be great,” Curtis said. “It showcases different regions of the state and different styles. Everyone in the state will pay attention to it.”

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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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