You could feel the buzz in the air this time a year ago in the days leading up to kickoff of the John Curtis vs. Edna Karr showdown.
It was one of, if not THE most, anticipated games of the year in the New Orleans area.
The atmosphere likely won’t be quite as electric this time around when the Patriots and the Cougars meet Friday night at Muss Bertolino Stadium in Kenner.
You won’t have quite as many college coaches salivating over five-star recruits like last year when Malachi Dupre lined up for the Patriots and Speedy Noil and Gerald Willis suited up in the purple and gold.
Dupre is now at LSU, while Noil is at Texas A&M and Willis is at Florida.
Most of Noil’s and Willis’ teammates on the field that Thursday night at Behrman Stadium are gone as well.
A whopping 20 members of that Karr team are playing college football this fall.
But despite so many of the big-time names from last year’s game now playing on Saturdays, there are still enough big names to make the 2014 edition of Curtis-Karr our Game of the Week.
Highly-recruited guys like Hunter Dale and Willie Allen at Curtis and LSU commitment Isaiah Washington at Karr highlight this year’s game.
Both teams are ranked in The New Orleans Advocate’s Super 10 and by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.
Karr (1-1) is No. 9 in this newspaper’s large school rankings and No. 9 in Class 4A. Curtis (3-0) is No. 1 in the small school rankings, No. 1 in Class 3A and No. 20 nationally in the USA Today Super 25.
But the two teams may have a hard time topping last year’s game that started as a dud and ended up a classic.
Curtis jumped on Karr early, sprinting out to a jaw-dropping 30-6 lead in the second quarter.
The Cougars rallied, though, somehow clawing all the way back and eventually taking the lead.
But Curtis had the last laugh, scoring with just 26.5 seconds left on a touchdown run by George Moreira to win 38-33. It came just seconds after Dupre, who hadn’t had much impact on the game, took an end around to get the ball to the Karr 3-yard line to set up the game-winner.
The victory snapped Karr’s 16-game winning streak.
Now it’s Karr looking to snap Curtis’ winning streak.
The Patriots have won 10 consecutive games dating to last season, the best winning streak among local teams.
The last time they lost a game was the week after playing Karr last year when they fell to St. Augustine.
It was the third part of an epic three-games-in-four-weeks stretch of the 2013 season that followed the St. Augustine-Karr and then the Curtis-St. Aug showdowns.
That trifecta of games was supposed to determine exactly which team ruled the city.
That debate never really got settled.
Karr beat St. Aug, which beat Curtis, which beat Karr, which eventually lost in the 4A title game to East Jefferson, which well… didn’t lose to anybody.
Friday’s Curtis-Karr game likely won’t determine who the king of the city is.
Curtis looks to be in that conversation, though, along with Warren Easton and Rummel.
But here’s hoping Friday’s game can be just as thrilling as last year’s battle and come down to the last few seconds.
Good luck with that.
I doubt it.
My pick: Curtis 27, Karr 18