John Curtis football coach J.T. Curtis looks at his opponent for Friday night’s Division I select semifinal playoff game at Tad Gormley Stadium and sees a Brother Martin team that stuck to a plan that came together.
Crusaders coach Mark Bonis, the designer of that plan, will look across the field at Curtis’ team and see the second-winningest high school football coach in the country and a program accustomed to winning championships.
Brother Martin, Curtis said, “is an excellent football team. They’ve built for (this) over the past couple of years, and now they’ve put it together.”
Seeded No. 5, Brother Martin (10-2) will be playing its first semifinal playoff game since 1989 when it faces top-seeded Curtis (9-1) at 7 p.m. Friday. The Patriots have their sights set on another visit to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and their fourth consecutive state football title — and 27th overall.
Friday’s winner advances to face the victor of Saturday’s Jesuit-Archbishop Rummel showdown in the state title game Dec. 5.
The Patriots may have history on their side, but J.T. Curtis said he thinks any of the remaining teams is capable of winning the title.
“There isn’t a dominant team in this (group),” said Curtis, who has 539 career wins against only 57 losses. “It’s going to be a team that can stay away from injuries, or a team that plays well on special teams, or a team that has a chance to make a big play that will get to the Dome.”
Brother Martin’s balance on offense and defense and its “offensive weapons give them a chance to be that team. They have great balance,” Curtis said.
In Bonis’ sixth season as head coach at Brother Martin, the Crusaders have shown steady progress, adhering to what he calls “the process” and benefiting from “the dedication and leadership” of his senior class.
He said he would sit down for Thanksgiving and “give thanks for my seniors. The last couple of years have been tough, but we made a decision (in the past) to go with younger players. It’s tough sometimes, but our seniors bought into that and bought into the process. They worked every day; they tried to get better every day. In today’s age of instant gratification, it’s not easy to do that.
“That’s why they are in the situation they are now, and I couldn’t be happier for them.”
Brother Martin quarterback Jake Broggi and running backs Jared West and Bruce Jordan-Swilling spearhead a team that has scored 452 points this season and has averaged 38 points, both school records.
The teams have met just twice, and Curtis won both: 14-0 in 1989 and 38-6 in 1990.