The Patriots opened the 2017 season with a 27-18 victory over a talented Landry-Walker team Thursday night at Behrman Stadium in a battle between two teams ranked in the top five in the city in preseason polls.
Tyrone Legette produced the game’s biggest play, electrifying the crowd with a 95-yard kickoff return in the second quarter that extended the Curtis lead to 14-6 at the time. That came on the heels of Legette’s TD reception of a Collin Guggenheim pass for the first score of the game.
After Landry-Walker tightened the score to 14-12, Guggenheim guided a five-play, 71-yard drive culminating in a 34-yard scamper by Ernest Jones to make it 21-12, Patriots. Guggenheim did the honors from the four-yard line late in the third, and a Landry-Walker touchdown with four minutes left in the contest produced the game’s final score.
An opportunistic Curtis defense took advantage of four turnovers by the defending Class 5A champion Charging Buccaneers. The Patriots handed Landry-Walker their only defeat of the season in last year’s opener.
Curtis scored on the first possession of the game with a sustained 68-yard march in eight plays. Guggenheim showed his ability with both his arm and his legs on the drive, hitting tight end Glenn Beal on the first play for a 14-yard gain, then keeping on a fourth down play near midfield, chugging 29 yards to the Landry-Walker 13. Two plays later, he hit a diving Legette over the middle for the first Patriot TD of the season.
The defense forced Landry-Walker turnovers on their first two possessions, including an interception by Jay Curtis on the onset of the second quarter. Sacks by Cade Beloso and Drake Brantley sparked the defensive effort, the latter resulting in a fumble recovery by Nicholas Duncan. But Curtis was unable to take advantage with untimely penalties messing up both drives.
The Patriots punted on their next two possessions and the Charging Bucs cranked up their first scoring drive at the Curtis 40. On the fourth play, a 15-yard pass and a remarkable one-handed catch cut the Curtis advantage to 7-6. Curtis blocked the PAT kick to maintain the one-point lead in a play that would prove pivotal with Landry-Walker, trailing throughout, forced to go for two after its’ two remaining scores.
Legette’s big run cane with 3:34 remaining in the second quarter. The diminutive senior hauled in the kickoff, started up the middle to set up his blockers, then made a sharp right turn and took off down the sideline with two pursuing Charging Buccaneers losing ground in his wake.
Landry-Walker drove across midfield to open the second half, but gave it away on a fumbled snap. Curtis was unable to pick up a first down and with fourth down on the 50, disaster happened. A punt snap sailed high over Brock Wunstell’s head all the way back to the Curtis 12.
The Charging Bucs were quick to jump on the opportunity, scoring on a pass on the next play and just that quick it was 14-12. Landry-Walker tried for two, but after bobbling the snap, the Charging Buc quarterback was wrestled to the ground by Corey Orgeron.
Curtis came right back with a 71-yard scoring drive in just five plays. Wells initiated the march with a 23-yard run on the first play. A nine-yard pass from Guggenheim to Beal came on a third-and-11, and Jones’ 34-yard lightning score came on fourth down and two. Wunstell added his third PAT kick of the night through a slightly tilted goalpost to provide a 21-12 cushion.
After pinning Landry-Walker deep in its’ own territory, Curtis took over on the enemy 39 after the punt. Darryan Washington broke loose for 35 yards on the next play. Guggenheim followed that by bolting over the stripe behind the left side of his offensive line. Curtis was on top 27-12, but an attempt to make it a three-score lead with a PAT run fell short.
With a dangerous offense fueled by elusive backs, Landry-Walker still loomed with a nine-play, 71-yard drive to make it 27-18 with four minutes remaining. The Charging Bucs tried to pull within seven points, the Curtis defense again snuffed the two-point try and the rest was history.
Next weekend, Curtis will face national power Grayson (GA) in the Battle on the Border in Shreveport’s Independence Stadium. The kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. A live audio broadcast by the venerable Kevin Fayard and Danny Wimprine can be heard on this site.