MANDEVILLE — Senior running back Dontae Jones had 151 carries and pair of touchdowns to lead John Curtis to a season-opening 14-0 win over Mandeville on Friday night at Sidney Theriot Stadium.
“This was a hard fought game we had to win tonight,” Patriots coach J.T. Curtis said. “We turned the ball over way too much, made too many critical penalties that killed drives. You have to give a lot of credit to Mandeville tonight. They played really well defensively. They were physical and smart.”
Scoreless after the first quarter, the Patriots (1-0) got on the scoreboard midway through the second period.
After forcing Mandeville to punt, Jones went 86 yards on the ensuing play to help give John Curtis a 7-0 lead.
“That play was huge,” Curtis said. “You have to give credit to Dontae. He is a really good running back. He is capable of taking it the distance because he is so physically strong in his lower body. He is not going to go down easily. It was a really fine run by him.”
The senior tailback said he could feel the momentum shift after his first touchdown run.
“You could see it on their (Mandeville) sideline,” he said. “It was a really big run. It was big for us to do it on the first play because we had committed some big penalties that killed drives early on. We needed to get on the scoreboard and fortunately we were able to do that.
“On that possession, I just had it in my mind I had to get in the end zone, and luckily for us we were able to do it on the first play.”
Jones later added a 3-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter to cap a seven-play, 80-yard drive to make it 14-0 Patriots.
“From the time we are little kids in this program, I have been taught as a running back to try and score every time we get it,” he said. “That is our mindset.”
While the Mandeville defense held John Curtis to 14 points, the Skippers were unable to put any points on the board and only managed 176 yards of total offense.
“Our defense kept us in the game tonight,” Skippers coach Guy Lecompte said. “Our coaching staff prepares the kids, and they played really hard tonight. We were just not able to get anything going offensively. The game of football is a game of momentum, and those guys (Curtis) got it on the long touchdown run. They made a nice play.”
Despite the season-opening win, Curtis said his team still has a tremendous amount to work on.
“Absolutely,” he said. “We had way too many penalties and tiny mistakes that we must fix if we are going to be as successful as we want to this year, but I’m happy with the win. We get to look at film starting tomorrow to fix the mistakes, but we are 1-0. It’s better than a blowout win to start the year. We hope to continue to get better.”
Mandeville (0-1) hosts Catholic High-Baton Rouge next week while John Curtis hosts Lufkin, Texas.