2A FINALS: John Curtis vs. Evangel Christian

The rematch occurs tonight. John Curtis Christian and linebacker Seth Jones have waited a long year for the chance to avenge their 2009 loss to Evangel Christian in the Class 2A state finals and late this afternoon, the Patriots get another crack at the Eagles in the Louisiana Superdome. Will Evangel capture a second straight title or does Curtis get the nod?

(Class 2A picks through four rounds: 28-2; Overall, 115-34)

NO. 2 EVANGEL CHRISTIAN (11-2) VS. NO. 1 JOHN CURTIS CHRISTIAN (12-1) -- The juggernauts of Class 2A collide again tonight in a rematch of the 2009 finals, won by Evangel (18-13).

Last week, Curtis throttled previously-undefeated East Feliciana in the semis by a 40-8 margin. The Patriots, whose only loss this year was to Class 4A Salmen, recorded eight quarterback sacks, intercepted two passes, and blocked a punt.

Senior running back Torrey Pierce ran for 159 yards and two TDs on 20 carries and backfield mate Quincy Smith added 109 yards on 14 attempts with a touchdown. Up-and-coming sophomore Brandon Porter set up a score with a fumble recovery in enemy territory.

Torrey Bell
QB Brandon Bourgeois does a fine job of calling the signals for the Patriots' split-back veer offense. His favorite receiver, senior wide out Josh Hanberry, has an offer from Navy.

Beefy junior defensive tackle Marcel Andry, a three-star prospect, accounted for two sacks and five tackles last week. He has 89 stops (and eight sacks) this fall.

Linebacker Duke Riley, just a sophomore, leads Curtis with 112 tackles. He's part of an extremely solid LB corps that includes senior Seth Jones (SMU offer) and 6-foot-5 junior Torrey Bell (seven sacks).

Last year, the Patriots had trouble defending the pass against Evangel WRs Eric Thomas and Thomas Bridgewater, and the good news (for Curtis) is that both Thomas and Bridgewater have moved on to the college ranks.

Curtis defensive back Raydell Mason, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound senior, has picked off five passes - including two in the postseason - and junior Jordan Frost has two interceptions and 45 tackles.

Marcel Andry
"When I was in high school, Evangel vs. John Curtis was the fun matchup everyone wanted to see and we creamed them in the playoffs," said former Patriot and current Nebraska safety P.J. Smith, who helped Curtis to a 29-10 win over the Eagles in the 2007 semifinals.

"These two teams are just the good matchup that you always want to see in the championship."

Evangel junior strong safety Dwight Gatlin broke open a close game last week by returning an interception 35 yards for a TD in the Eagles' 35-15 semifinal victory over St. Charles Catholic.

The defending state champs picked off four passes vs. St. Charles, but they also fumbled away the football on three occasions. Senior cornerback Dexter Burnom had two of the four interceptions.

Jermauria Rasco
The Eagles' top player is five-star defensive end Jermauria Rasco, who is a dominating force off the edge. LSU, Texas, Alabama, and Florida State are among the frontrunners in Rasco's recruitment. The 6-foot-4, 250-pounder has been a starter since the eighth grade and is athletic enough to play linebacker.

RB/DB Dionte McDuffy, QB David Dee Duron, and WRs Judah Jones, Trey Taylor, and Trent Taylor are other prominent players for Evangel.

"I see this one going back and forth," said Many High School coach Jess Curtis, who has faced both teams in the playoffs over the past two years. "It's going to come down to whether Curtis can establish the run. Can Curtis run the football?

"They have a shot if they can do that. Evangel's offense has struggled some in the playoffs and it should be a good game that could go either way. I don't want to try and pick a winner."

BOTTOM LINE: Evangel doesn't look to be quite as strong as last year, having graduated several players that are now suiting up on Saturdays. By the same token, Curtis is a junior and sophomore-laden team, although the Patriots do have a handful of outstanding seniors.

Last year, Curtis couldn't get the running game established vs. the Eagles' defensive front, and the Patriots' DBs were unable to cover Thomas and Bridgewater.

However, while Evangel returns Rasco, they're missing some of the central figures on defense from last year, such as DTs Brandon Jackson and John Nard.

Moreover, ECA does return its QB in Duron, but their receivers aren't as spectacular and physical as last year's dynamic duo of Thomas and Bridgewater.

John Curtis, 21-14

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