The numbers tell you all you need to know about Friday night’s much-anticipated Division I select championship showdown between always-here John Curtis and finally-here Jesuit.
Patriots coach J.T. Curtis has been in charge almost five decades: 540 victories and 26 state championships.
Jesuit coach Mark Songy has been in charge just five months: 100 unanswered text messages and about 70 or so emails he hasn’t had time to reply to.
“And my Facebook page is blowing up, too,” Songy said with a laugh.
“I would like to get back and reply to these guys, but it may take me a couple of weeks.”
So if you’re waiting on a reply, he’ll get back to you eventually.
But this week, he and Curtis are quite busy.
They took a break from game preparation Monday afternoon and spoke at the New Orleans Quarterback Club luncheon at The Cannery in Mid-City.
Songy mentioned all the congratulatory messages from Jesuit alums he’s received ever since knocking off heavyweight Rummel on Saturday night in the semifinals.
So Friday’s 8:30 p.m. kickoff in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome can’t get here soon enough for the students and former students who have sat in classrooms on the corner of Carrolton Avenue and Banks Street.
“It’s really huge for our community,” said Songy, who also coached the Blue Jays in the ’90s.
“The kids are certainly fired up, and the coaches certainly are. I think all of those guys who have played in the past have been rooting for us year in and year out to get back to this situation and to play in a game of this magnitude.”
Songy said his team will try to take the same business-like approach into Friday’s game.
“All season, we’ve tried to treat every game the same,” he said.
“We try to keep the same routine. When you try to treat one ballgame any more important than the others, you get yourselves into a lot of trouble.”
Good luck with that, Coach.
This isn’t just another game.
It’s Jesuit’s first trip to the state championship game since 1978.
That’s a 36-year title-game drought.
John Curtis has won 24 state titles since then. The Patriots also won two before 1978, pushing the total to a jaw-dropping 26.
J.T. Curtis has been asked the question so much that the question itself has probably become old.
Does it ever get old?
“No, honestly it doesn’t,” he said. “It doesn’t because it’s a new group of kids that present new challenges.
“It’s all about molding men into a team, into a cohesive unit, and being able to use their talents.”
Don’t expect Curtis, whose 540 career wins rank second in the nation all-time, to slow down any time soon.
“I enjoy doing it,” Curtis said. “I don’t know another way to say it. When it comes to the point where I can’t enthusiastically do what I do, then I will stop doing it. If I can’t do it with all of my heart, all my soul, then I won’t do it.”
Curtis is 67.
His birthday is Saturday, meaning he’ll probably be 68 by the time he walks out of the Superdome, considering the game’s late kickoff time.
He could have plenty to celebrate, adding a 27th state championship ring to his collection that began way back in 1975.
“The first championship ring was a modified class ring,” Curtis said. “But it really turned out nice. That’s actually one of my favorites.”
He keeps them all in a box that he had specially made.
What’s his plan when the box gets full?
“Have a bigger box made,” he said.
Or perhaps Songy will be the one celebrating late Friday/early Saturday.
It would be his first ring, so no need to have a box made.
Not that he’d have time anyway.
There would be even more text messages and emails to respond to.