Friday was a big testing day at John Curtis.
Junior running back Devon Benn was pleased with how he did in the classroom. He was even more pleased with his performance on the football field.
“Good in school. Great tonight,” he said with a smile. Benn rushed for a career-high 269 yards and a touchdown to lead Curtis to a 34-22 victory over Karr at Bertolino Stadium
“We knew the running backs would have to carry the load tonight so we wanted to come out and just play hard,” Benn said. “Our line did a great job of opening holes for us all game.” Patriots coach J.T. Curtis had to leave immediately after the game for a postgame show and wasn’t available for comment.
It was the 11th consecutive victory for the Patriots (4-0), ranked No. 1 in The New Orleans Advocate’s Small School rankings, No. 1 in the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 3A rankings, and No. 20 nationally in the USA Today Super 25. Curtis racked up 473 yards rushing and got a stellar performance from its defense in the second half. Much like in 2013 at Behrman Stadium, Curtis jumped out to an early lead. Donte Jones rushed 13 times for 101 yards and a touchdown.
Last year, the Patriots led 30-6 in the first half. This time they built a 27-0 lead just three minutes into the third quarter. The Patriots scored on their second possession when Benn broke loose for a 69-yard touchdown.
Karr quarterback Aldon Clark fumbled on the Cougars next possession and it was recovered by Darius Audrict.
The Patriots took advantage just three plays later when Jones scored on a 4-yard run. They added a touchdown late in the second quarter on a 7-yard run to make it 20-0.
Curtis held Karr to 99 yards in the first half (6 rushing and 93 passing.)
Curtis picked up right where it left off in the second half, scoring on its opening drive when Myles Washington plunged in from 2 yards.
But then the Cougars (1-2), ranked No. 9 in The New Orleans Advocate Large School rankings, made it interesting.
Karr avoided the shutout with 7:24 left in the third on a 13-yard fourth-and-goal pass from Aldon Clark to Kenneth Simmons. The drive was aided by a pair of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties that led to two Curtis ejections.
After recovering the ensuing onside kick, Clark connected with Colby Jefferson to make it 27-13. Washington scored on a 1-yard run with 3:18 left to push the Patriots ahead, before Clark hit Simmons for another touchdown.
Clark hit Simmons for a 22-yard touchdown with 1:59 left.
Clark completed 20 of 45 passes for 238 yards and three touchdowns, but an interception by Nathaniel Evans sealed any chance of a last-minute miracle.
“They made mistakes, but we made too many mistakes,” Karr coach Nathaniel Jones said. “You can’t beat a team like John Curtis when you beat yourself. I think we played disciplined, but there were lapses. Our quarterback played well in the second half, but we have to put it together for two halves. We have to get past just playing hard and not getting the W.”
Washington finished with 89 yards on 19 carries.
The Patriots will play St. Augustine on Saturday at Tad Gormley Stadium, looking to avenge its loss against the last team to beat them.