John Curtis returned to its rightful place atop Louisiana high school football with last year’s Division I title win over Catholic-B.R. The nationally-ranked Patriots exacted revenge against the Bears with a 49-7 win after falling to the Baton Rouge-based school, 20-14, in 2017, but there’s no time to look backwards as Curtis sets its sights on going back-to-back for the first time since 2011-12.
“You’ve got to recognize that what you did yesterday doesn’t count,” legendary coach J.T. Curtis said. “It only counts what you did today and it’s the same way with practice. We can’t worry about what we’ve done in the past, we’ve got to learn from it and move forward.”
“That’s definitely our main goal and it should be everybody’s goal,” said four-year starting quarterback Collin Guggenheim of winning Curtis’ 27th title. “Winning it twice in a row is harder than winning it once, of course, but I feel like with the core people we have coming back, we have a really good chance of doing the same thing as last year.”
Replicating last year’s season would be nothing short of ideal as the Patriots were dominant throughout a 13-0 season. Their average margin of victory against 12 in-state opponents was a whopping 25.2 points per game, and only two teams finished within three touchdowns of the Patriots — Warren Easton, 38-20, in Week 4 and Jesuit, 27-14, in the Division I quarterfinals.
The offense directed by Guggenheim, who announced his commitment to Army on June 24, was nearly unstoppable averaging 38.4 points per game with eight games scoring at least 38 points.
Guggenheim was one of two Patriots to finish in the metro area’s top 30 rushers last regular season with 750 yards and 10 touchdown on 90 carries, and Curtis’ top rusher is also back in the fold.
Georgia commitment Corey Wren is regarded by many as the fastest player in the metro area, and the 5-foot-10, 180-pounder is anxious to get his senior season started.
“Everything came so quickly,” said Wren, who rushed for 753 yards with eight touchdown on 74 carries during last year’s regular season. “I tell the young guys all the time it’s going to happen quick, so everyday go hard and take these memories with y’all.”
That type of leadership is prevalent throughout the Patriots’ roster with a senior-laden team, many of which were starters last season.
Curtis returns four of its five offensive lineman, the previously mentioned 4-year starter at quarterback in Guggenheim and two experienced running backs in Wren and Shane Goins. The Patriots will also add three more backs to the fold in converted linebacker Tony Alexander, Charles Quinn and Malique Ward.
The Patriots will have nine seniors starting on the offensive side of the ball alone, and they will lay the foundation for the heights the Patriots can reach.
“That’s they key to any football team,” Curtis said of a team’s leadership. “You’re going to be as good as your leadership on the team, we (as coaches) can (only) do just so much. We can ask, we can encourage, we can give examples, we can push, but the bottom line is the players have to be the guys that take control of this team and allow them to achieve what they’re capable of achieving.”
And the leadership certainly doesn’t preclude the defensive side of the ball either.
The Patriots return a host of key players including seniors Angelo Anderson and Marquis Martin at the defensive end spots along with senior Joseph Kreger and junior Elinus Noel III, another returning starter.
Senior Matthew Jayne will be back to anchor the linebacking core with senior cornerback Dante Thomas patrolling the back end. The Patriots are also high on juniors Caleb Spann and Kerry Mcmillion in the defensive backfield, but talent alone won’t get the Patriots where they want to be by season’s end.
“Being disciplined is mainly the reason why we’re beating more athletic teams like your Warren Easton’s or Landry-Walker’s,” said Anderson, who committed to Tulane in late May. “Everybody knows they have one job and to do their job, and we’re going to make plays.”
The Patriots’ season unofficially begins with a scrimmage against St. Paul’s on Wednesday (August 21) before taking on Carver in the St. Augustine jamboree on August 31.
Their first regular season matchup will be a clash between Louisiana’s premier programs as Curtis takes on three-time defending Class 4A champion, Karr, September 5 at historic Behrman Stadium in Algiers.
The focus, however, is still on the day-to-day procedures as the Patriots look to improve with each practice leading into the season.
“We just try to come out here, get better every day and do the very best that we can with what we have,” assistant coach Jeff Curtis said. “At the end of the day, we just hope to come out and play well in Week 1, learn from our mistakes, play a little bit better in Week 2 and continue that through the end of the season and into the playoffs.
“We want to hit our peak heading into playoffs and play our best football then,” he added. “We really don’t talk about repeating much, the tradition of the school kind of takes care of itself. Those guys do it on their own and they know the stakes and the bullseye that’s on their back. They’ve come out and they’ve had a really good summer, they’ve worked extremely hard and we just hope we can continue to work hard throughout the season and get better.”
John Curtis 2019 Schedule
Week 1 | Sept. 5 (Thurs.) | @ Karr, Behrman Stadium | 7 p.m.
Week 2 | Sept. 14 (Sat.) | vs. Westlake @ Independence Bowl, Shreveport | 11 a.m.
Week 3 | TBD
Week 4 | Sept. 28 (Sat.) | @ St. Augustine | 7 p.m.
Week 5 | TBD
Week 6 | Oct. 11 (Fri.) | @ Shaw | 7 p.m.
Week 7 | Oct. 18 (Fri.) | vs. Jesuit | 7 p.m.
Week 8 | Oct. 25 (Fri.) | @ Holy Cross | 7 p.m.
Week 9 | Nov. 2 (Sat.) | vs. Rummel | 7 p.m.
Week 10 | Nov. 8 (Fri.) | vs. Brother Martin | 7 p.m.