For the third time in four years, Rummel is headed to the Dome.
For the first time since 1995, Curtis is not.
Rummel ended John Curtis’ run of 19 straight trips to the title game with a hard-fought 24-10 victory at Yenni Stadium in the Division I semifinals Friday night.
“We’ve earned our trip to the Dome; now we have to finish,” Rummel coach Jay Roth said.
Rummel will go for its third title in four years Friday when it plays Catholic High of Baton Rouge at 8:30 p.m.
It was the hot hand of quarterback Chase Fourcade that led the way.
Fourcade completed 18 of 22 passes for 273 yards and a pair of touchdowns for the top-seeded Raiders (11-1).
The victory also ended the Catholic League champion jinx from the past two seasons, when the district champion lost in the state semifinals.
Rummel won the league title last year but lost to Jesuit in the semifinals. The year before, St. Augustine won the district title but lost to Rummel in the semifinals.
“I know what it’s like both ways, so I kept motivating everybody: ‘Don’t get down on yourselves,’ ” Fourcade said.
Curtis, the No. 5 seed, finished 8-3, with two of the losses coming to Rummel.
The Raiders beat the Patriots 21-14 on Halloween. Round II was just as tight until the Raiders finally got some separation late in the fourth quarter.
It marks the first time since 1995 that perennial power Curtis won’t be playing in the title game.
“We had a shot at doing it again,” said Patriots coach J.T. Curtis, who was going for his 27th state title.
But Rummel was too much.
Fourcade, a Nicholls commitment, completed his first seven passes, including a 33-yard strike to Jamar Chase on Rummel’s second play from scrimmage to give the Raiders a 7-0 lead. It was the only touchdown of the first half.
The teams traded field goals in the second quarter, with Rummel’s Alex Bollinger booting a 35-yarder and then Josh Hartley answering with a 30-yard field goal with 1:27 left in the half.
Curtis stole some momentum early in the third.
The Raiders took the opening kickoff of the second half and drove to the Curtis 22-yard line. But Curtis sophomore safety Brandon Davis picked off a deflected Fourcade pass.
Curtis took advantage by driving 71 yards, capped by Devon Benn’s 16-yad run.
The drive was highlighted by a 25-yard fake punt on fourth-and-2 when Jay Curtis connected with Glenn Beal for a 25-yard gain. Benn scored two plays later.
“It was pretty scary there with it 10-10 and their crowd going crazy over there,” Roth said.
But Rummel answered, marching 86 yards. Barry Kimbrough finished off the drive by hauling in a pass from Fourcade and rumbling in for an 8-yard score to put the Raiders up 17-10.
“We couldn’t stop doing what we were doing,” Roth said. “If we wanted to sit on a 17-10 lead, we weren’t going to win. So we just put the ball in Chase’s hand and he took care of it.”
Then it was the Raiders defense coming up with the big play. Senior Kristian Fulton, playing safety instead of his normal cornerback position, forced a fumble on a big third-down completion, and teammate Derrick Munson recovered.
“I had to strip the ball and make a play, and that gave us a lot of momentum,” Fulton said.
Rummel once again capitalized, stretching the lead to 24-10 on Maurice Bailey’s 3-yard run.
“The fumble really hurt us on the long pass,” Curtis said. “They hustled and made a good play. It’s hard to be critical of my team because I thought we competed the whole game.”
Roth knows the job isn’t done though, but he was glad to be a step closer to his third title in four years at his alma mater.
“Accomplishing what we did this year against who we did it against with the strength of our league, I’m very proud of them,” Roth said.