John Curtis/Westgate Preview

Prep football fans are in for a treat tonight when four talented teams take the field in a doubleheader at the Louisiana Superdome. In the initial contest, John Curtis Christian - led by SEC commits Torrey Bell (Mississippi State) and Dillon Gordon (LSU) - tries to take down Class 5A Westgate (New Iberia, La.)

John Curtis Christian and Westgate will slug it out tonight at 6:00 P.M. in the first of a two-game set at the Louisiana Superdome. Both clubs are accustomed to success, with Westgate advancing to the Class 5A semifinals on multiple occasions over the past few years (including 2010) and John Curtis -- of course -- owning more state championships than any program in the state. This game shouldn't take long to play, seeing as how both squads employ an old-school, blue-collar offensive philosophy.

"Westgate likes to run the football, so this game will be won up front," said John Curtis veteran coach Jeff Curtis. "They have a big, physical defense that can run - with so many guys that make plays. Their secondary is very talented. Last week, they lost to a tough, tough Breaux Bridge team. If you look at the score (Breaux Bridge won, 35-10), you'd think Breaux Bridge had their way with Westgate for the entire game, but it wasn't exactly like that. Breaux Bridge had seven or eight big plays, but outside of that, the game was really even; and you're very likely to see Breaux Bridge in the Dome (for the 4A state finals). Breaux Bridge has that extremely talented receiver (LSU commit Travin Dural) who broke several tackles on a long run to start the game.

"We anticipate Westgate going man-up against us with their secondary; a free safety with eight in the box. Last week, we had five to six guys carry the ball effectively and we were pleased with how they ran. (Quarterback) Patrick Morton did a great job of running the offense and we were able to keep everybody fresh. On defense, Brandon Porter had a nice pick and return."

Curtis gained a whopping 286 yards on the ground in the first half of last week's 34-0 win over defending Class 4A state champ Franklinton.

"The elements (driving rainstorm and heavy winds created by Tropical Storm Lee) favored us more than a passing team like Franklinton," said Curtis. "We were happy with our success moving the ball."

RB Raekwon James (sophomore) and QB Morton (junior) each rushed for more than 100 yards last week for Curtis, and junior RB Tevin Horton scored two touchdowns. The Patriots' defense is paced by senior DE Torrey Bell (Mississippi State commit), senior LB Dillon Gordon (LSU commit) and junior LB Duke Riley (team's leading returning tackler). Gordon also plays tight end and the versatile big man (6-5, 250) could conceivably see action at offensive tackle on the next level.

This evening's event has been dubbed the first-ever Allstate Sugar Bowl Prep Classic. Immediately following Curtis/Westgate will be a high-profile rematch of last year's 2010 quarterfinal game: Defending 5A state champ Acadiana vs. St. Paul's.

"We're ecstatic about the Sugar Bowl stepping up and creating this event," said Curtis. "It's at a venue that's top-notch, second to none, and I expect this possibly will grow into a national event. New Orleans and the Superdome have so much to offer and we're really excited."

Westgate, as mentioned earlier, is angry and licking its wounds after losing by 25 points to Breaux Bridge in week one. The Tigers, however, also lost to Breaux Bridge in the first game of the 2010 season and that setback didn't prevent the New Iberia-based program from eventually reaching the 5A semifinals. In the playoffs, Westgate ousted previously-undefeated and No. 1 seeded Dutchtown on the road in the quarters.

D'Nerius Antoine, a dual-threat QB, is also a college prospect at defense back. Brandon Malveaux can play RB or LB, and DE Duvall Jackson is among the state's best defenders. RB Jamal Sam (6-1, 210) is a top underclassman who can fly when he gets into the open field. Junior Josh Boutte heads up the offensive line at 6-foot-5, 305 pounds.

Last week, Antoine led the team in rushing with 61 yards on 13 attempts. Malveaux (13-29) and Sam (5-19) were largely bottled up by a cagey Breaux Bridge defense powered by LBs Lamar Louis (LSU commit) and Tyren Alexander (UL-Lafayette commit). Antoine was 0-of-4 in the passing department.

Westgate's head coach is Brian Fine.

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