Showdown breakdown: John Curtis vs. ESJ
RESERVE - As a result of the two hurricanes, football schedules have been turned topsy-turvy, especially in south Louisiana. Week 5 thus brings some exciting matchups that were originally not slated to occur, including Class 2A John Curtis (0-0) at 5A No. 4 East St. John (1-1).
East St. John has two games under its belt, plus former Patriot Johnnie Thiel at QB. However, John Curtis is John Curtis and the Pats - ranked first in the preseason in 2A - should never be underestimated.
Junior ATH Joe McKnight was reportedly en route Wednesday to rejoin the Curtis team after suiting up for Evangel Christian in two games. If McKnight returns, the only key player missing from Curtis' roster will be sophomore RB Jerico Nelson, who is now at Destrehan.
"We're anxious and the kids are ready to get
themselves back to playing Patriot football again," said JC assistant coach Jeff Curtis.
Although Curtis was scheduled to take on Ferriday last weekend, Hurricane Rita resulted in a cancellation. Conditioning is a concern for the Patriots.
"We've been working hard," lamented Curtis, "but I don't know if we'll have fresh legs late in the game. We're facing one of the top teams in Louisiana in their backyard and it's certainly going to be a touch callenge."
Thiel passed for three scores and ran for two more in the first-half of ESJ's 49-7 win over East Ascenion last week.
"It's an awkward situation," said Curtis in regard to his former QB. "We want to see him do well. He's a good kid, but he's not wearing the red, white, and blue now."
Curtis, having taken in both East St. John games, had glowing praise for the Wildcats.
"They completely dominated both games (ESJ lost to Hahnville on a last-second pass in the opener) they've played and the talent level is outstanding there. Johnny does a great job getting the ball to the receivers, and those guys will turn an eight-yard gain into an 80-yard gain. Their defense is super aggressive and super fast. You'll see a swarm of black helmets when they're on defense."
Thiel has his pick of the top crew of receivers in the state, including Ricky Dixon (6-2, 205, Sr.), Roy
James (5-10, 160, Sr.) and Louis Lee (5-10, 165, Sr.). If the Curtis secondary is rusty, then it could be a long night in Reserve.
Curtis had its way with a good 5A Fontainebleau team in a jamboree. Junior QB Kyle Collura will need to make good reads on the option and not succumb to the pressure to outduel Thiel.
If McKnight doesn't play, the fate of the Patriot rushing attack will likely lie in the hands of Blaine Roberts (5-10, 180, Sr.) and David Seeman (5-10, 190, Jr.). Seeman took the opening kickoff back for a TD against Fontainebleau.
While all signs point to a likely East St. John victory, kicker Josh Medley will punch a 40-yard field goal through the uprights at the buzzer to seal the deal for Curtis.
PREDICTION: John Curtis 31, East St. John 30