Special teams, Jones leads Patriots by Comets, 48-0

Published 1:19 am Saturday, November 23, 2013


LAPLACE – Special teams are a “sacred cow” to St. Charles Catholic coach Frank Monica. That made Friday night’s loss all the more painful for the veteran coach.
Top-seeded John Curtis blocked three kicks, returning two for touchdowns en route to a 48-0 victory in a Division II select quarterfinal playoff game at Muss Bertolino Stadium in Kenner.
Curtis (8-2) advanced to the Division II state semifinals, where it will face perennial postseason rival Evangel.
Patriots running back Dontae Jones blocked two Comet punts by himself – those were the first blocked punts of his career – and returned both for touchdowns.
Jones redeemed himself after fumbling away the game’s opening kickoff. The two blocked punts were the first blocked kicks of his career.
“I had to make up for that first play and make it up to my team,” said Jones. “Once I got it, I was just thinking, ‘Scoop and score.’ I heard coaches screaming that on the sideline. It’s just crazy.”
The game started with promise for St. Charles (8-4) after the Comets forced and recovered Jones’ opening kickoff fumble, setting the Comets up at the Curtis 23. But Curtis forced a fourth down, and the Patriots blocked the ensuing field goal attempt.
“It’s nothing we didn’t prepare for,” saidSt. Charles coach Frank Monica of the blocked kicks. “The first blocked kick, it wasn’t a full rush. We had six to block five people. That was very disappointing. I’m really disappointed at the way our special teams performed.”
Said Curtis coach J.T. Curtis, “I think what it said was we can’t control the circumstances but we can control our reaction to it. And to stop them and not let them get in the end zone was huge. The to come back and block the field goal I think lifted the spirits of the whole team.”
On Curtis’ first play from scrimmage, Myles Washington looked deep to a wide open Malachi Dupre, who hauled in the pass for a 72-yard touchdown.
“We knew they’d go deep on the first play,” said Monica. “We knew it was coming. They did it, and we had a missed assignment.”
The Patriots forced another three-and-out on SCC’s next possession, this one resulting in the second blocked kick of the game – Jones flew through, blocked the kick, recovered and scored on a 5-yard return to make it 14-0, despite protests from Monica and the Comet sideline – the coach felt Curtis lined up offsides on the play.
A Washington 34-yard run set up Curtis’ next score, this one an 11-yard scamper by Raekwon Jones that made it 21-0 early in the second quarter.
Another connection between Washington and Dupre set Curtis up at the 5 on its next possession, and Washington scored on a keeper to make it a 28-0 lead.
Jones’ second blocked punt of the night led to a 31-yard return and score, making it a 35-0 halftime lead.
Washington and Brock Hebert added second half rushing touchdowns to round out the JCC scoring.
Curtis held the Comets to 198 yards of total offense. Austin Weber completed 8 of 16 passes and was intercepted twice. He added 59 rushing yards.
Washington accounted for 198 yards of total offense, rushing for two scores and passing for another.
“I hoped we could get it to the 2nd half .. I just hate it for my 20 seniors,” said Monica. “I feel bad for them. Credit to John Curtis. They’re the better team. We were outmanned tonight.’
“I felt like we were lethargic. I don’t know why. I saw it in practice today and hoped I wasn’t seeing that … I can’t blame anyone but myself. I needed to do a better job of preparing them to play and getting them motivated.”
Monica said during the week that Curtis got attention for its Veer option offense, but that the Patriots were truly made by their defense and special teams.
His words bared out Friday.
“Coach always said, if you can’t be a special teams guy, if you don’t want that, he doesn’t want you out there,” said Jones. “We put a lot of emphasis on special teams, and it’s been paying off for us.”