Jesuit’s Homecoming Spoiled by John Curtis, 14-7
Leading 7-0 at the Half, the Jays Stand Pat in Final Two Quarters
Into the Lens: View the Jesuit – John Curtis Photo Gallery
The Blue Jays learned a few lessons in the wake of their Homecoming game against John Curtis last Friday, October 7, at Tad Gormley Stadium.
- Never, ever give up, but know also that seven points will not win very many games in the tenacious Catholic League.
- Holding Curtis to a couple of first downs in the first half and going into the locker room at halftime with a 7-0 lead, the Jays knew they would have to come out firing on all cylinders in the third and fourth quarters.
- Instead, Curtis stole whatever rhythm the Jays exhibited in those first two quarters.
- Despite Jesuit’s 14-7 loss to the Patriots, Coach Mark Songy had nothing but good things to tell his players at the impromptu post-game meeting on the field.
“I’m proud as hell of my kids,” said Coach Songy to a prep sports reporter as the Jays headed for the buses. “Our kids played their behinds off. We scratched and clawed, we can work on it, and we can build on that.”
Then, with a nod towards the Patriots, he added, “That’s a really good football team over there. But we got a lot of fight for everybody.”
And fight the Jays must bring in massive quantities to their next game, a date with the Raiders of Rummel this Saturday, October 15, at Joe Yenni Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Pre-game tickets cost $6 each for adults and students (non-Rummel and non-Jesuit); $3 for children ages 6-11. Pre-game tickets may be purchased at Jesuit’s switchboard (blue awning entrance on Banks Street) from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. beginning Tuesday, October 11 through Friday, October 14. Pre-game tickets will NOT be sold from the switchboard on Saturday. Tickets purchased at the gate cost $8. Note that Jesuit (and Rummel) student IDs, as well as season passes, are valid for this district game and will be accepted at the gate.
The prep pundits consistently have ranked Curtis, undefeated in five games and 2-0 in district, at the top of the heap in the Catholic League. The Homecoming game was only the third time the two teams have met. Of course, Jesuit fans remember the first encounter, a 17-14 win the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for the Division 1 state championship. Last season, the Pats evened the series with a 26-14 win over Jesuit. And now the series, at 1-2, tilts in favor of Curtis.
The Jays sport a 3-3 record (1-2 in district) and showed up at Gormley to play Curtis fresh off a sound thrashing administered to longtime rival Holy Cross, 38-0, the week before.
Jesuit’s lone touchdown against Curtis occurred with about five minutes left in the second quarter. The Jays’ stout defense once again forced Curtis to punt, something they weren’t quite used to doing, especially from the back of their own end zone. Ashton Loria fielded the punt and returned it come 10 yards to set up the Jays around the Pats’ 40-yard line. A quick pass from quarterback Denny McGinnis to wide receiver Bryce Musso turned into a 30-yard play and a first down inside the 10-yard line. A couple of runs by Connor Prouet got the Jays to the six. Then McGinnis hit senior tight end Marshall Lee with a pass near the line of scrimmage and Lee did the rest, scampering untouched into the end zone. Jake Chanove hasn’t missed a PAT yet this season and his right foot remained accurate for the Jays to jump out to a surprising 7-0 lead.
The Patriots gave the Jays a taste of their explosive offense just before halftime. A Curtis running back found a hole and raced some 75 yards before a couple of Jay defenders caught up and hauled him down at the 13-yard line. With only two seconds left on the clock, Curtis attempted a field goal that sailed wide.
After Curtis kicked off to Jesuit to start the third quarter, the Jays immediately took to the air, McGinnis tossing to Musso in the flats. Musso faked running outside, pivoted inside, and left his defender on the turf. Musso sprinted 75 yards into the Curtis end zone, the Jesuit fans going wild, the Blue Jay Band striking up the Fight Song. But a yellow flag was suddenly spotted at the line of scrimmage and a sick feeling swept over the Blue Jays. A holding call negated Musso’s touchdown, which would have put him and McGinnis in Jesuit’s record book, in the middle of the list of “longest pass completions.”
Asked about the penalty, Coach Songy shrugged. “I couldn’t tell,” he said. “The man called it and he obviously saw something. He had a vantage point, we couldn’t tell.”
Instead of going two touchdowns up, the Jays seemed to lose their mojo and the pendulum swung to the Pats. It took only a few minutes for Curtis to tie the game and they went up 14-7 with about five minutes left in the fourth quarter. For various reasons that included team time outs, official time outs for measurements, penalties, etc., those final five minutes took some 25 minutes to play.
Curtis essentially owned the second half by controlling it, by keeping the offense on the field for long stretches. As for a turning point, Coach Songy said he didn’t think it was the Musso touchdown called back for a holding penalty.
“I think the turning point was the fact that they kept the ball for a long period of time,” he said. “We weren’t able to get them off the field and that was trouble. We couldn’t get into much of a rhythm in the second half.”
In telling his players that he was proud of the way they carried the fight to Curtis, Songy said the loss will hurt for a couple of days. But he quickly added that they have to shake it off.
With first quarter exams this week and a Saturday night game against Rummel, Coach Songy gave the team the day off from practice on Monday.
“We got a lot of football left to play and we have some tough opponents left to play,” he observed as he walked towards the team buses that were waiting for him. “But I love us, man. I love our kids. I love our efforts, I love how we prepare, and I’ll take this bunch over anybody in Louisiana.”
The New Orleans Advocate: John Curtis rallies past Jesuit to stay unbeaten