Turnovers, second half surge lift John Curtis past St. Augustine, 31-22

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METAIRIE – The John Curtis Patriots capitalized on mistakes, grinding out a 31-22 victory Friday night against District 10-5A foe St. Augustine.

“Just another typical St. Augustine-John Curtis football game,” said John Curtis head coach J.T. Curtis.

Struggling at times to find any offense at all just one week after scoring 56 points, the Patriots took advantage of miscues by the Purple Knights to stay in the game early.  Curtis recovered fumbles twice inside the St. Augustine 30-yard line to set up short scoring drives.

“They played a different defense than we had ever seen before,” said J.T. Curtis. “It took us until halftime to get there and make adjustments to it.”

A week after scoring four touchdowns, Curtis quarterback Collin Guggenheim found the going much more difficult against the Purple Knights.  He mustered 58 yards rushing for the night on 11 carries but tallied two more touchdowns, making great use of the field position generated by St. Augustine turnovers.

St. Augustine found tremendous success rushing the ball without a true starting quarterback.  Wide receiver Josh White took most of the snaps behind center, helping to spark their offense to 205 yards rushing in the first half without attempting a single pass.  For the game, the Purple Knights finished with 259 yards rushing.

St. Aug ended up with 132 yards through the air, thanks to a couple of long touchdown passes.

The Purple Knights gave the ball away three times, twice on fumbled punt returns.  The Patriots made them pay dearly for those miscues, scoring 16 points. John Curtis (6-1) stayed in range until their offense finally started clicking.

Trailing 16-8 mid-way thru the third, the Curtis defense recovered a fumble by White at the St. Augustine 25 yard line.  Three plays later, Guggenheim broke free for a 19 yard touchdown run and converted the two point conversion pass to Darryan Washington to tie the game up 16-16 with 3:11 to play in the quarter.

The Patriots would never look back.

After forcing a three-and-out on the Purple Knights and taking possession at their own 40, the Patriots marched 60 yards in 10 plays, scoring on an 18 yard end around run by Corey Wren. Another two point conversion by Guggenheim put the Patriots back on top 24-16 with 8:46 to play in the game.

However, St. Augustine (5-2) did not back down.  On first down at their own 20, the Purple Knights dialed up a double-reverse to De’Andre Cooper, who pulled up mid-stride and fired a pass down field to a wide open Joseph Walker for an 80-yard touchdown pass.  The cheers of thrilled Purple Knights fans were short lived though. The Patriots stuffed Garland Lafrance on the two point conversion, preserving the Curtis lead 24-22 with 8:35 to play in the game.

Taking over at their own 35 on the ensuing possession, Curtis methodically marched down the field, burning off precious time.  Curtis moved the ball inside the Purple Knights 10-yard line thanks to 10 consecutive rushes.  It looked like the Patriots were going for the score to put the game out of reach, but a fumbled handoff was recovered by Terrell Jolla for St. Augustine at the six-yard line with 2:50 remaining.

A nine yard run by White moved St. Augustine to the 15.  Facing second and one, White put together another solid run to pick up the first down, only to have the play negated by yet another mistake, a holding call that moved the ball back to the Purple Knights seven yard line.  Three plays later, St. Augustine quarterback Dwayne McGill was sacked at the two yard line, ending the threat and effectively the game.

Guggenheim’s keeper on the next play put the game out of reach at the 1:19 mark of the fourth quarter.

Capitalizing on the first St. Augustine turnover of the night, Guggenheim connected with Troy Taylor for a 35 yard touchdown pass with 7:54 to play in the first quarter.  The two point conversion by Darryan Washington made the score 8-0.

St. Augustine answered the score two drives later when White scrambled in from seven yards out to cut the lead to 8-6 early in the second quarter.  A 25-yard field goal by Kyle Sims gave the Knights a 9-8 lead with 4:48 to play in the half.

Following a Guggenheim interception at the Curtis 47 yard line, White put the ball in the air for the first time. Walker was wide open on the far sidelines for the touchdown, extending the St. Augustine lead to 16-8 with 7:37 to play in the third quarter.

It was a missed opportunity to take sole possession of the District 9-5A lead into a bye week for St. Aug. Instead, John Curtis moves ahead with that distinction to face Holy Cross next Friday night.

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