Teams change, but the script doesn’t.
When it comes to John Curtis, nothing is as timeless as the split-back veer.
John Curtis avenged a loss in the 2014 Division I state championship game by mounting a second-half comeback to defeat Jesuit 24-16 in a District 9-5A game Friday night at Joe Yenni Stadium.
The Patriots (4-1, 1-1) made history by picking up their first victory over Jesuit and their first victory as a member of New Orleans’ storied Catholic League.
Curtis piled up 316 total yards, including 307 on the ground. Senior running back Devon Benn rushed for 191 yards on 20 carries and found the end zone three times, including two in the second half.
There was no secret formula … just classic John Curtis football.
“We started off really slow, then got it going into halftime. Then after halftime we exploded and played the way we’re supposed to play,” Benn said. “We came out and made a statement. We didn’t want another loss or to feel the way we did against Brother Martin (in their district opener) or how we felt after last year.”
The Blue Jays (2-4, 0-3) held a 16-7 advantage at halftime, but the deficit was cut to two as Benn raced 77 yards for the touchdown on the first play of the second half.
Curtis turned to a more methodical approach its next possession, turning in a 20-play drive, featuring 16 running plays, that drained 9:24 off the clock from the third to fourth quarter.
Benn’s 1-yard touchdown run put Curtis on top 21-16, and, more importantly, kept the ball away from the Jesuit offense.
“We felt like we had to break their rhythm,” Patriots coach J.T. Curtis said. “They were in such a rhythm in the first half and we couldn’t get them out of it, so we got them on the sideline for a little and that helped us a little bit.”
“(Time of possession) is a big part of the game,” Benn said. “My offensive line gave me everything they had, and I gave them everything I add.”
Joshua Hartley’s 37-yard field goal with just under five minutes to play marked 17 unanswered points for the Patriots, who rendered the defending state championships scoreless over the final two quarters.
Jesuit jumped on Curtis early, thanks to a pair of touchdown passes from senior quarterback Peter Hontas to Kalijah Lipscomb and a stout rushing attack that racked up 167 yards in the game.
That running game was limited to just 27 yards in the second half as the offense struggled to regain its form.
“We didn’t execute well offensively in the second half,” Jesuit coach Mark Songy said following his team’s third consecutive district loss.
“We couldn’t put things together because we were off the field quite a bit. Hats off to Curtis. They’re a good football and well coached. I’m proud of our kids for fighting as hard as they could. They made little mistakes, but played hard the whole game.”