James' 45-yard run at the 7:39 mark of the first quarter gave the Patriots all the points they needed. The sophomore from Slidell also scored Curtis' second touchdown on a 42-yard pitch and catch from QB Abby Touzet in the third period. He finished the day with 65 yards on six carries, the 42-yard reception, and two punt returns totaling 42 yards. James ranked third on the team in rushing in 2011 with 761 yards. He averaged nearly 8.5 yards per carry. Former Salmen DT Malcolm Pichon, now at Louisiana Tech, spoke of James' potential a year ago.
Badie consistently ripped off huge chunks of yardage during Curtis' 14-0 season, averaging 14.24 yards per attempt en route to a team-leading 1,239 yards and 19 TDs. On Saturday, he led all rushers with 105 yards on 11 tries with a 43-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Badie is both chiseled and flexible, and he was even more explosive in person than on film. He hopes to eventually join teammate Dillon Gordon at LSU, although hometown program Tulane would love to steal him. Badie is talented and athletic enough to play either running back or strong safety. If he grows an inch or two, linebacker is another option.
Who says Curtis can't throw the football? Touzet connected on 4-of-6 passes for 115 yards and the touchdown toss to James. The freshman was on fire in the playoffs, completing 23-of-30 with consecutive 4-of-4 performances in the quarters (41-14 win over Kinder) and semis (38-6 win over Evangel Christian). Perhaps most importantly, he steered clear of errant pitches and made clean exchanges on the dive while executing the reads in Curtis' veer offense.
Moore is projected as a receiver in college, but he took all of the snaps at quarterback vs. Curtis. Listed at 190 pounds, Moore is lanky and appeared closer to 175. Regardless, he's tough and elusive when running with the football. The senior had 93 yards on 20 rushes with 45 more on 5-of-13 passing. Moore also returned five kicks for a total of 83 yards. He has visited Nebraska and Mississippi State, which have both offered, although Louisiana Tech hopes he'll stay in north Louisiana.
Riley owns the Superdome. In 2010, he notched 20 tackles vs. Evangel Christian in the championship game. In early September of this year, the junior racked up 15 stops in a 27-7 victory over Class 5A Westgate. On Saturday, Riley returned to the scene of the crime once again, collecting eight solo tackles with six assists and three TFLs. He made plays all over the field. Riley paced Curtis over the past two years with a grand total of 229 tackles. He is almost exclusively an inside linebacker at Curtis, although Riley moved outside with great success in the semis. He needs to add weight but his production speaks for itself. LSU and Alabama lead with Mississippi State not far behind.
Thomas and Riley make for a downright nasty tandem at inside linebacker for Curtis. The bull-necked Thomas lacks ideal height but makes up for it with quickness and tremendous strength. He engaged in a footrace with Moore on one play, and while Thomas didn't catch up with the Winnfield QB, he didn't lose any ground over a span of probably 15-to-20 yards. Thomas registered six solo tackles and three assists with 2.5 TFLs and a forced fumble. He excels at filling the gap and wrapping up ballcarriers in the open field. Thomas says he's camping at Miami this summer and lists the Hurricanes and Georgia as favorites.
Allen can run. He was clocked at a scorching 4.38 at the New Orleans Under Armour Combine, which was faster than Dutchtown five-star safety Landon Collins (4.39). Allen is a free safety for Curtis but his future probably lies at cornerback. In the second quarter -- with Curtis nursing a 7-0 lead -- he demonstrated excellent ball skills by soaring into the air and intercepting Alonzo Moore in the end zone. Allen ranked third among Curtis defenders with four unassisted tackles (and one assist). On the year, he was first on the team in both picks (4) and passes broken up (12).
Gordon doesn't generate much hype playing tight end at Curtis, but the LSU commit could make a huge impact for the Tigers. His blocking was instrumental for a team that averaged 8.79 yards per carry on the season. That's right; the Patriots, on average, moved the chains after almost every handoff. Gordon also hauled in two passes for 24 yards vs. Winnfield. There's been talk that he'll move to tackle in college but Gordon hopes to stay at tight end. He's also a team player: "It's an honor to play at Curtis," he said at the postgame press conference when asked about being a part of head coach J.T. Curtis' 500th career win (which occurred during the regular season).
The speedy slasher gained 73 yards on 20 rushes, caught two passes for 15 yards, and added 18 yards on two kick returns. Gilbert is the second-leading rusher in school history, trailing only Anthony Thomas (who went on to star at Michigan). He ran for 57 touchdowns during his career, according to Raymond A. Partsch III of the Alexandria Town Talk.
The rangy Mississippi State commit improved a great deal over the past year, improbably getting faster and thicker. Bell was first on the team in sacks (16). On Saturday, he had a pair of TFLs (with one sack) and three solo tackles. Bell's wingspan makes it difficult for offensive tackles to keep him engaged, as well as providing ample opportunities to bat down passes. He played standing up at Curtis' DE/LB hybrid position.