Top-ranked Curtis takes advantage of Rebel mistakes in win

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 1, 2011



RESERVE — Above all else, said Riverside coach Mickey Roussel this week, the Rebels could not afford self-inflicted wounds like turnovers and penalties. Not when faced with John Curtis, the top-ranked team in Class 2A — the Patriots, he noted, are a handful on their own.

But it was indeed a rash of miscues that propelled Curtis to a quick 20-0 lead Friday night, and the Rebels never recovered. The Patriots emerged with a 48-0 District 9-2A victory and remain undefeated.

The loss snapped the Rebels’ (3-2) three-game win streak, and was far too reminiscent of Riverside’s clashes with Curtis a year ago for Roussel’s liking. Friday saw Curtis extend a 7-0 lead to 20-0 by the end of the first quarter, in part due to a pair of fumbled kickoffs and a penalty that negated a Riverside interception of Patriots’ quarterback Patrick Morton.

“We knew it would be a mismatch up front,” said Roussel. “We were hanging in there at the beginning. We get a pick and then a hold on our nose guard on their center. Then the fumbles on kickoff, like we had last year. When you get down 20-0, that makes things difficult.

“No doubt about it, though. Curtis is very good. We made some uncharacteristic mistakes tonight and we couldn’t afford that.”

Last season saw a pair of games in which Riverside saw things unravel after a rash of mistakes, most notably the team’s quarterfinal loss at home to Curtis (5-0) in which a 7-6 Rebel lead in the third quarter evaporated after a handful of turnovers.

JCC led 7-0 when Morton threw a ball up for grabs and RA’s Josh Ladner secured a leaping interception; but Curtis’ drive continued after a holding penalty was called on a Riverside defensive lineman. That advanced the ball to the Curtis 37, sparking a methodical Curtis drive that culminated in a touchdown pass from Morton to Tre’ Perrier, who caught a short pass, slipped a tackle and scored from 34 yards away to make it 13-0 (the extra point was no good) with 1:08 left in the first quarter.

The Rebels fumbled away the ensuing kickoff, and Curtis scored on its very first play when Raekwon James broke loose for a 22-yard score to make it 20-0 with 52 seconds left in the opening quarter.

Riverside fumbled again on the very next kickoff early in the second quarter, giving Curtis the ball on the RA 23. This time, the Rebel defense held firm, Tate Scioneaux ending the Patriot threat when he intercepted Morton in the endzone.

But Riverside could not mount any kind of consistent offensive attack against a Curtis defense now playing downhill, with a lead.

“Our defense played very well against a team that’s put up points,” said Curtis coach J.T. Curtis.

The Rebels wouldn’t gain a yard and were forced to punt. RA forced Curtis to settle for a field goal attempt on its next possession that sailed wide, but the Rebels had another three-and-out on their next possession. Once Curtis took over again, this time at the Rebels’ 45, it took five plays for freshman quarterback Abby Touzet to score on a 17-yard keeper run to make it 27-0 with two minutes left in the half. Touzet came on after Morton was shaken up on the previous drive; the freshman would finish the game.

“We don’t think it’s too bad (of an injury),” said Curtis. “Once we put another touchdown up, though, we felt like it would be a good spot to exercise caution and let the freshman get some time. He played pretty well.”

Curtis got one more shot at a score before halftime and made the most of it; after a 17-yard punt gave JCC the ball at the Rebel 38, Touzet completed two passes for 37 yards and capped the drive on his second rushing touchdown of the night, a 1-yard sneak to make it 34-0 at the half.

“They missed on a couple of punts,” said Curtis. “It gave us some decent field position and our offense responded.”

Riverside was able to mount more of an offensive push in the second half, but drive-killing drops plagued a number of scoring threats.

Curtis’ Sherman Badie opened the game by scoring on an 82-yard run, and he would add a 51-yard score in the second half.

“He’s a good back, real physical,” said Curtis. “We’re fortunate enough to have a nice compliment of backs who can keep him fresh.”

Roussel didn’t believe the loss would set his team back significantly, if only because he’d seen his team bounce back after the same situation arose a year ago.

“Last year’s team responded, and I think these guys will do the same,” said Roussel. “We’re just going into the second half of the season. There’s a lot of football left.”