To cap off the LHSAA Prep Classic, the John Curtis Patriots defense put on a dominating show suffocating the Brother Martin Crusaders’ offense in a 23-0 shutout victory.
The Patriots defense cooled down a hot Crusaders’ rushing attack led by Texas State commit Torey Lambert. Lambert entered the state championship game leading a 13th seed Cinderella Brother Martin team with close to 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns in a four-game period, but tonight, the Patriots’ stingy run defense shut Lambert down only holding him to 61 rushing yards.
With Lambert being held in check, Brother Martin could not muster any offense as the Crusaders finished with only 111 total yards and only seven first downs throughout the game including only 59 yards through the air.
Not only did the Patriots give up hardly anything defensively, but the unit also made plays by forcing three turnovers including a bobbling interception by Michael Turner, a 39-yard interception return by Jermal Callio, and finally, to put an exclamation point on the scoreboard a fumble recovery by Jason Curtis, which was forced by Adrian Martin.
Because of having such a dominant defense, quarterback Dagan Bruno managed the game and did a good job of it as he earned MVP honors completing six passes for 109 yards and a 38-yard touchdown strike to a wide-open Michael Turner, who made a big impact tonight on both sides of the football, thus ending the scoreless tie.
The most impressive drive of the game came in the second quarter when Bruno led a 99-yard drive taking nearly ten minutes off the clock and was capped off by a one-yard touchdown run from Bruno in order to give the Patriots a 13-0 lead.
The Patriots added one more touchdown before halftime as after Turner’s interception, running back Kaheam Smith, who snagged the option pitch from Bruno one handed and scampered down the sideline 29 yards for the touchdown. John Curtis took a 20-0 lead at halftime and went on cruise control in the second half only adding a Jaden Alphonso field goal to the scoring in the second half.
“I’m really proud that two teams out of our district, we’re competing for a state championship. It says a lot about our league. It says a lot about the quality of coaching and the quality of the young men that play. Since we joined the league several years back, it has really been a pleasure to be a part of. I know the disappointment that Coach Bonis and his team go through right now. I have been there, but by the same token, they need to realize and recognize what a privilege it is to play for a state championship. There were only two left standing at the end, and I just want to make sure that you all know how much we appreciate being in such a fine organization.”John Curtis Head Coach J.T. Curtis
Brother Martin (9-6) got hot at the right time in the playoffs and exceeded expectations making it this far as this is the program’s first state championship appearance since 1989. Head Coach Mark Bonis has done an excellent coaching job throughout these playoffs, but in the end, the team that better performed won at the end of the night.
John Curtis (12-2) was a dark horse in the playoffs as teams like Edna Karr and Catholic High School (B.R.) were considered to be the favorites in this playoff bracket, but when John Curtis defeated Catholic High in the semifinals last week, it shows that nobody can ever count out the Patriots.
Arguably the greatest high school head football coach of all time, J.T. Curtis does it again winning the program’s 28th state championship, which is the most of any high school football coach ever by a wide margin and is on pace to be the winningest head coach in terms of wins next season.
Winning this many state championships may seem to get old for some, but it certainly does not for J.T.
“I get this question all the time, does it ever get old? I’ll tell you a Jim Mora story quickly. We were talking and he said, “Does it ever get old winning”? And then he stopped and said, Will you please forgive me for being stupid? He said no. It never does. It doesn’t because you deal with these young men and the way they perform year-to-year. It’s their team. They took control of it. They had their own personality. As the result, they were able to have this kind of success.”John Curtis Head Coach J.T. Curtis
Check out some of the photos taken by Billy Metcalf! We will release the magazine with all the game photos throughout the weekend for the Prep Classic. If you wish the receive the magazine for free through email, fill out the contact sheet form at the bottom of the article.
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Stay tuned on Monday. We will release the magazine with all the game photos throughout the weekend for the Prep Classic. If you wish the receive the magazine for free through email, fill out the contact sheet form below!