St. James battles Curtis to 19-7 final
Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 2, 2006
By JOHNNY PEPPO
VACHERIE – There aren’t very many teams that can say they held John Curtis to one first down in a full half of play. There also aren’t very many teams that can say they led on the scoreboard against the Patriots this season.
But alas, there are still no teams that can lay claim to having beaten Curtis this year in prep football.
St. James fell just short of that when the Wildcats took their first loss in 10-2A play after the Patriots put together a pair of scoring drives late in the game to take a 19-7 win.
Things got started out in favor of St. James when Luther Ambrose took the opening kickoff back 61-yards to help the Wildcats get the ball down to the 2-yard line. But a pair of sacks backed them out of scoring range. St. James would get back to inside the Curtis 25-yard line twice, but were unable to break onto the scoreboard.
The Wildcat’s momentum was at risk in the second quarter when all-state, all-purpose back Joe McKnight caught a pass and rumbled downfield for a 70-yard gain. But he was stripped of the ball from behind as he neared the goal line and St. James recovered in the end zone to retake possession.
Immediately following the break, Curtis came out and took the opening possession for a touchdown but missed the extra point. The Wildcats responded with their first score of the night, a 52-yard pass reception to Terry Isom at receiver from quarterback Antonio Phillips. The extra point by Juarelle Narcisse gave the Wildcats a 7-6 lead.
But the Patriots came right back downfield with their next two possessions while clamping down defensively on the St. James offense with pressure in the backfield. The Wildcats finished with 80 yards passing and 100 rushing, though they lost more than 40 yards in second half sacks.
The meeting secured the district title for Curtis, who is a heavy favorite to repeat as the 2A state champion. The landscape of that classification suggests that it will be either St. James or the St. Charles Comets who will be the state runner-up. The Wildcats and Comets will meet this Friday for their district match-up.