John Curtis Rolls to 2A Title

Duke Riley

No. 1 John Curtis showed why many consider them one of the best teams in the nation with a 35-13 victory in the 2A state championship against Evangel.

No. 1 John Curtis finished off its undefeated season with a 35-13 victory against No. 2 Evangel in the Class 2A State Championship on Saturday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Running backs Sherman Badie and Kerry Buckley combined for 173 yards rushing and the Patriot defense forced four turnovers in the victory. Tulane commit Richard Allen pulled in two interceptions and senior linebacker Duke Riley led the team with 8.5 tackles and an 80-yard fumble recovery touchdown.

"This is certainly a very good football team that can compete with anybody," said John Curtis coach J.T. Curtis. "I told them in the lockerroom, ‘I don't know if you're the No. 1 team in the nation. I don't know how you can tell.' But I'll take them. I'll go to battle with them against anybody, any place, anywhere."

Evangel controlled the ball early, mounting a seven-minute opening drive into the John Curtis redzone. But Evangel quarterback Dakota Duron fumbled, and Riley recovered it then darted 80 yards for the opening score of the game.

Evangel went three-and-out on its next possession, and three plays later, John Curtis found the endzone again on a 30-yard touchdown run by Buckley.

Evangel cut the deficit in half early in the second quarter with a nine-play, 95-yard touchdown drive capped off by a 17-yard touchdown pass from Duron to Trent Taylor. Duron completed seven passes for 93 yards on the drive.

John Curtis quickly got the score back when Badie broke loose for a 72-yard touchdown run on the third of play of the next Patriot possession.

Evangel answered with a 39-yard field goal on the next series, but lost Duron for the remainder of the game to a broken collarbone.

John Curtis added again to its lead late in the second quarter when quarterback Patrick Morton sneaked over the goalline to give the Patriots a 28-10 halftime advantage.

The defenses battled in the second half, as Evangel's 34-yard field served as the only points of the third quarter. John Curtis would add one more score before the end of regulation with a four-yard touchdown run by Tevin Horton.

When asked after the game if this was the best John Curtis team ever, Curtis refused to assign them a specific ranking.

"They're very high up there," he said. "Let me just say that."

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