Jerit Roser’s excellent story on NOLA.com makes us PROUD TO BE A PATRIOT. Read why:
John Curtis seniors: ‘One game doesn’t define who you are’
By Jerit Roser
To say John Curtis’ seniors left the Mercedes-Benz Superdome empty-handed Saturday would be a drastic misunderstanding.
The Patriots (11-2) watched their hopes of winning the program’s first state championship since 2013 slip away in the final seconds of a 20-14 loss to Catholic-Baton Rouge (11-3).
But, as Darryan Washington explained, the title game — as well as his and his classmates’ high school careers — bears a significance far beyond a six-point final differential.
“Most definitely,” the running back said. “Curtis doesn’t teach you just football. They teach you about life experiences. And our coaches, the things that they tell us after practices, I’m gonna remember for the rest of my life. They teach us how to be a man, and one game doesn’t define who you are. Football doesn’t define who we are.”
Curtis has compiled a 39-8 record over the past four seasons, including 33-4 in the regular season, two state championship berths and two other semifinal appearances.
And the Patriots showed character and perseverance to reach the Superdome for the first time since 2014, coach J.T. Curtis said.
“What most people don’t know is the inside of any team,” he said. “This team has overcome some real obstacles. A number of injuries. Several of our guys, including three of our seniors, didn’t get to play in this game. Losing Marquese (Albert) early in the season was certainly an adjustment we had to make. Then we lost our starting safety (Cade Comeaux) and another defensive back (Max Maunoir) in that ballgame.
“So this team has really had to pull together and fight and put themselves in a position to compete for a championship. I’m really proud of that. And, again, that’s not something the average person knows, but it’s what we know and it’s what we love about each other is, I guess you could say, we had each other’s back.”
Washington and company showed that quality again Saturday.
Catholic put Curtis in a precarious position in the third quarter with a go-ahead touchdown, then forced a quick punt that would’ve potentially allowed the Bears an opportunity to take a two-score lead in a tightly contested defensive battle.
Instead, Jay Curtis deflected a pass that fellow senior linebacker Cade Beloso snatched away with a diving interception.
The Patriots quickly marched their way up the shortened field and tied the game on a Washington touchdown and extra point by senior Brock Wunstell.
“It was a big play in the game,” J.T. Curtis said.
Added Washington: “We left a strong impact. We left an impact to be a leader. The past couple years, we didn’t have true leaders, so that’s what our class focused on was leading the team. And even when we were down, one minute left in the game, we were still rallying the team to gather together and fight back.”
Curtis managed to hold a pair of promising Bears drives the rest of the way to field goals and keep its hopes alive in the one-possession contest.
The Patriots could ultimately never find the end zone again.
But that heartbreak will not be what Washington and company remember, even in the minutes immediately following the final horn.
“What I’m going to remember most is all the hard workouts we did, the conversations that me and my brothers had,” he said. “And the main thing is that we kept God first. We always talked about God, so that was what brought us close together throughout the whole season.”