St. Paul’s will travel to Metairie Friday to play John Curtis in the quarterfinals of the LHSAA Select Division I football playoffs.. The kickoff will be at 7 p.m. at the Shrine on Airline.
The Wolves, seeded seventh in the bracket, gained the right to challenge Curtis with a pulsating 27-24 won over #10 Holy Cross on St. Paul’s’ home turf. The Wolves are coming into the game with a 6-4 record. Meanwhile, Curtis earned a bye into the quarterfinals with its #2 seed. They are 9-1 and they sport an eight-game winning streak.
The two teams are well familiar with each other, although they have played only five official times since J T. Curtis began coaching in 1969. The two have frequently faced off in preseason scrimmages in recent years.
Curtis has emerged victorious all five times in the games that count.. The rivalry goes all the way back to 1978. Three of the five games have been in the playoffs.
The Patriots won a first round game in Class 3A in 1987. The wins in second round encounters were in 1991 and 1994, both in Class 4A. The most recent game, in 2012, came on short notice, when both teams’ opponents had to cancel the week of the game because of Hurricane Isaac. Curtis won it, 26-7. The victory launched a perfect season and a consensus national championship for John Curtis.
Capsules of Previous Curtis-St. Paul’s Games Under Coach Curtis:
1978, JOHN CURTIS 45, ST. PAUL’S 13, Curtis won with a relentless ground attack in the 45-13 win over St. Paul’s. Joey Lopinto gained 233 yards and scored four TDs, including a 65-yarder. Sam Smith picked up 180 yards, including two trips across the goal line.
1987, JOHN CURTIS 48, ST. PAUL’S 24, CLASS 3A FIRST ROUND. Curtis ran out to a 41-0 lead over St. Paul’s and cruised to a 48-24 outcome. Billy Duncan scored on two short runs and threw TD passes of 40 and 18 yards to Kevin Fayard and 42 yards to Michael Stewart. Gerald Mitchell and Randy Brown also reached pay dirt. The Patriots’ defense picked off three passes to help mount a 28-0 halftime lead, and they added one more pick in the second half.
1991, JOHN CURTIS 55, ST. PAUL’S 26, CLASS 4A SECOND ROUND. St. Paul’s scored first, only to see Reggie Wilson run the kickoff back 83 yards for a TD and Curtis cruised from there, 55-26, behind Chris Howard’s 234-yard, three-touchdown performance . Chris Rooney scored a pair of touchdowns for Curtis. Johnny Comeaux added one for the defense with a 14-yard fumble return.
1994, JOHN CURTIS 49, ST. PAUL’S 7, CLASS 4A SECOND ROUND. Jeff Curtis rushed for three touchdowns and passed for three in bouncing St. Paul’s by a 49-7 score. Malcolm Orgeron had two interceptions and the Wolves’ only positive yardage in the first half came on two one-yard runs. Kevin Dukes, Ricky Brandt and Jack Frost all caught touchdown passes.
2012, JOHN CURTIS 26, ST. PAUL’S 7. Only Hurricane Isaac looked like it could stop the 2012 Patriots and that was to no avail. Both Curtis and St. Paul’s opening opponents were unable to play thus, on 24 hours’ notice, the two agreed to play each other. On a sweltering Saturday afternoon in Covington, Curtis stormed back from a 7-0 deficit to score four unanswered touchdowns, winning the game going away, 26-7. Raekwon James tallied the first three TDs on runs of 12, 16 and 38 yards. The 19-point winning margin would turn out to be the closest anyone came to the Patriots in the entire season.