Fresh off title playing with the big schools, John Curtis could be even scarier next season
- MAY 13, 2017 – 9:19 PM
SULPHUR — For those keeping score, John Curtis won its 70th state championship in a team sport on Saturday.
The Patriots’ 5-0 victory over Catholic high for the Division I championship was the school’s eighth title in baseball, to go along with the 26 state championships in football and all the other trophies the school ‘s athletic teams have stockpiled over in River Ridge.
But this one was probably just a little more special.
It was the school’s first boys state championship in one of the four major sports (football, baseball, basketball, soccer) while playing in the LHSAA’s classification of large schools.
This one came against the big boys.
Well, at least some of them.
The Patriots, who won their second straight Catholic League title this season, had to get past Evangel, Rummel and then Catholic to hoist the state championship trophy.
Unfortunately because of the LHSAA’s current split playoff format, they didn’t get a chance to play the likes of Baton Rouge Central, which upset West Monroe in Saturday’s 5A title game, or Barbe or any of the other non-select 5A big boys.
“I wish we could settle the champion on the field,” said athletic director J.T. Curtis. “We competed against who we had to.”
And this season, the Patriots competed at a high level.
Curtis pitcher Ian Landreneau put the finishing touches on the season by throwing a no-hitter.
It gave second-year Patriots coach Jeff Curtis his first state title as a head coach, leaving him one behind his brother Johnny and four behind his dad J.T. who won five baseball titles to go along with his 26 in football.
J.T. and Johnny, of course, were both at McMurry Park to witness yet another state title and greeted Jeff as he exited the field.
Jeff Curtis inherited the program from Johnny last season when Johnny left to take an assistant football coaching position at Ball State.
“I can’t be more proud of the program that Johnny passed to me,” Jeff said. “He put it in great position for me and I just had to steer the ship.”
With one of the more potent offensive lineups in the state, the Patriots often made it look easy this season. It’s scary to think how good the team would have been if LSU signee Daniel Cabrera hadn’t transferred to Parkview Baptist.
Cade Beloso, who returned to the New Orleans this season after going to Texas after Hurricane Katrina, helped fill the void. Beloso blasted his eighth homer of the season in the third inning to give Curtis all the runs it would need.
When it was time to receive the state championship trophy, Austin Haensel is the one who went to get it.
“That was the best moment of my life,” Haensel said. “It was a special moment.”
Haensel is the only senior on the team.
Everybody else is back.
Landreneau.Beloso. Brandon Davis. Dax Ford. Jordin Labruzza. Jay Curtis. Logan Stevens. Hunter Bufkin. Alex Michel.
“This one is special,” said catcher Jay Curtis, Johnny’s son. “We just have to work on getting stronger in the weight room, getting better on the field and we can be back here.”
And he summed up best just how good the Patriots could be next season.
“Scary good,” he said.
FOLLOW ROD WALKER ON TWITTER, @RWALKERADVOCATE.