Jesuit uses ‘team’ game to defeat John Curtis
I couldn’t tell who was happier about Jesuit High School defeating Curtis to win the Division I football championship. Was it Jesuit High School or the Louisiana High School Athletic Association?
The LHSAA’s heavy lean toward Jesuit wasn’t a surprise. It was the classic case of the underdog, who hadn’t won a state football title in 54 years, against Goliath, winners of 26 football crowns.
But, it was much more than that. The acrimony in the association between public and private runs at an all-time high. And, of course, much of it is aimed at John Curtis Christian School.
But, there is something wrong with this narrative. Curtis, the school that always wins, didn’t Saturday night. Jesuit, a team with few college recruits, defeated Curtis at its own game. The Jays won the line of scrimmage, ran the football effectively and played smart and hard.
They were the epitome of team.
The LHSAA will never give Curtis credit for playing all the way up to Division I. But, the school should get kudos. If J.T. Curtis wanted to just stockpile another championship (a charge I hear constantly), he could have kept his Patriots in Division II. Curtis would have easily defeated Division II champion University Lab or runner-up Parkview Baptist.
I didn’t hear any backlash against Calvary Baptist for staying in Division III, when they should have played up. Calvary won its first two playoff games by 38 and 32 points. The Cavaliers knew the only real competition in their bracket would be Catholic of New Iberia. Calvary defeated them 27-24 in the title game.
The Calvary-Catholic of New Iberia game was the second of four games played on a Friday at the Superdome. When I arrived at 8:45 a.m., the Superdome still seemed asleep. But, 75 minutes later, Southern Lab and Ouachita Christian kicked off before less than 1,000 fans.
At 9:30 p.m., I returned to the studios of WGNO-TV for the late news and Friday Night Football. I didn’t see one play live of the Jesuit-Curtis game. The game ended just after midnight.
Playing four championship games in one day was truly a disservice to the private schools and to the public schools playing their semifinal games around the state.
What’s next? An LHSAA source said that the current playoff system “is broken and needs to be fixed.” We’ll see what that means.
Several proposals will likely be offered, including one that would reunite class 5A and 4A in football. The lower classes would remain split in football. John Curtis, of course, plays in class 3A in all of its other sports.
After two years of this silly playoff system, you would hope there would be a push to return to an emphasis on the common good. But, that ship appears to have departed.