Defeat at the hands of John Curtis football teams comes in different fashions.
Brother Martin got the 70-second dose Friday night in Curtis’ 40-20 Division I select semifinal playoff victory at Tad Gormley Stadium.
“Big plays?” Curtis Coach J.T. Curtis repeated moments after the game. “Jeez-em crickets, we had big plays both ways.”
Curtis scored two touchdowns within 70 seconds of each other in the final moments of the first half to turn a 24-12 deficit into a 26-14 halftime lead. Then the Patriots took the third-quarter kickoff and marched 57 yards and scored on Dontae Jones’ 9-yard run in the first 2:30 of the second half to make it 33-14.
“Huge… huge,” Curtis said of the scores his team sandwiched around halftime. “We got that two-touchdown jump just before halftime, and that gave us the momentum.
“Then we were able to come out and have that nice drive at the beginning of the second half, and that was really important.”
Curtis (10-1) moves on to the final in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Dec. 6 against the winner of Saturday night’s Jesuit-Rummel semifinal. The Patriots will be seeking their fourth consecutive and 27th overall state football title.
Four big plays by the Patriots jerked the game away from Brother Martin (10-2). The two game-changers that occurred within 70 seconds of each other in the final 2:34 of the half.
Trailing 14-12 and Brother Martin punting from its 48, linebacker Joshua Schweiger blocked the kick, scooped it up at the 25 and ran it into the end zone to give Curtis a 19-14 lead with 2:23 until halftime.
After the kickoff, the Crusaders (10-2) faced a third-and-4 from their 35. Quarterback Jake Broggi, who was sacked five times in the first half and seven times in the game, dropped back to pass. His attempt was batted by Curtis’ blitzing linebacker Mike Corcoran, who picked the ball out of the air and raced 22 yards. Curtis led 26-14 and 1:13 remained in the half.
When Jones, who rushed for 94 yards on 14 carries, closed Curtis’ first possession of the third quarter with a 9-yard touchdown run, Curtis had a 33-14 bulge.
“Down 12 points (at half), we’ve been there before,” Brother Martin Coach Mark Bonis said. “We just weren’t able to play a clean second half to get back into the game. We made mistakes but Curtis makes those mistakes happen.”
Two long runs in the first half produced Curtis’ other first-half scores.
At one point, Curtis had run only five offensive plays, but had two touchdowns.
The first came on a 39-yard run by Jones on Curtis’ first offensive snap, and Myles Washington added a 48-yard scamper on his team’s fifth snap. Washington gained 91 yards on 12 runs.
“Our coaches just put us in position to make the plays,” said Jones. “We just have to respond. Offense, defense, special teams — we all came to play tonight.”