Ready for the opener

High school football gets off to a roaring start on Labor Day (Sept. 1), as the most successful program in Louisiana high school football history - John Curtis Christian - visits the top-ranked team in the nation (Trinity High School of Euless, Texas) at Texas Stadium.

Prep football fans couldn't ask for a better storyline to open the 2008 campaign.


Trinity is 50-7 over the past four years and the Trojans appear to have supplanted fellow Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex school Southlake Carroll as the top modern-day national power from Texas. Trinity went 10-4 in 2004 -- with only one loss each of the past three seasons.

Meanwhile, John Curtis is the most successful football program in Louisiana prep football history - and it's not even close. While the New Orleans-based private school has only been around for approximately four decades -- the Patriots have captured an astonishing 22 state titles.

John Curtis is known as a "road warrior"-type team, having ventured to Alabama in 2006 to defeat then-No. 1 Hoover (Hoover, Alabama). Can the Patriots do it again?


Well, they won't have the likes of five-star Joe McKnight on the roster this time, but Curtis does have one of the most intimidating players to suit up for the squad in recent years in RB/LB Kenny Cain.

Cain, the No. 40 weak side linebacker in the nation, will likely spend most of his time at RB for the Patriots this year. The 6-foot-1, 215-pounder is a bruising runner who bounces off tacklers like a pinball. Last season, Cain rushed for 1,122 yards and 15 TDs on only 132 carries.

Cain is a four-year letterman who started on the powerhouse 2006 team as a sophomore linebacker (68 tackles, 5 sacks, 2 interceptions), and he is being recruited as a RB and an LB.

The Patriots recently completed their version of Hell Week: three-a-day practices starting at 6:00 A.M. Cain said that the three-a-day's separate the men from the boys.

"It's a rough week, but it's alright," he said. "You can tell if the players are committed (if they make it through the week)."

Cain has offers from Arkansas, Florida, Tulane, and ULM, - and he attended football camp at the University of Alabama recently.

"(Head coach Nick) Saban said he liked me and I might get an offer," said Cain, who has a former teammate in Tuscaloosa in Green.

"ULM offered me when some of their coaches came down to our school this summer," Cain said. "I'm interested in any school that's interested in me."

The versatile Cain may see action on both sides of the ball versus Trinity.

"I'm ready for as many reps (on defense) or as many carries as they give me," he said.

Cain has also been garnering interest from Nebraska, which signed former Curtis DB P.J. Smith last year. To make the plot more interesting, Nebraska has a verbal commit from Trinity senior RB Dontrayevous Robinson. Is there a chance that Cain and Robinson may be on the same team next year?

"I've been playing football with P.J. since we were in playground ball," Cain said. "We were all-stars back then and we went to Tennessee to play.

"(Robinson) is a nice back," Cain continued. He's a big back (6-0, 215) and a lot of teams don't have the luxury of a running back with that size."

Cain will be counting on fellow senior leader Brandon Porter to hold things down on the defensive side of the ball. Porter, a 5-foot-7, 160-pound corner, relies on strength and speed (and a nice vertical) to make up for any height disadvantages.

"I don't have any problem with (my) height," Porter said. "No matter your size, you can be a good player."

Porter, the No. 148 corner in the nation, has an offer to play football on the next level for Army, and he is also hearing from Louisiana Tech, SMU, Air Force, Louisiana-Monroe, and Louisiana-Lafayette.

"(West Point) is more than football," said Porter. "It's a prestigious school and a military opportunity.

"Basketball is my first love," he continued (Porter was a starting guard on the Curtis hoops squad that reached the quarterfinals last year). "I also run track."

What does Porter have to say about facing the top-ranked team in the nation?

"We're not as big as them, but I think we can win if we play our best," he said. "We lost three great players in the secondary, so it's up to Jonathan (McKnight) and me to step up and fill their shoes.

"I've heard that they're ranked No. 1 and we've watched film of them. I feel like we match up pretty well. We don't really pay attention to all that (media hoopla surrounding the game)."

What's the key to the game?

"Defense is what will win the game for us," said Porter.

Prep football fans are ready and anxious to see which of these two great schools will take the bull by the horns to start the 2008 season.

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