The current crop of running backs at John Curtis has to exercise patience, because the group - entirely comprised of underclassmen - will be splitting touches during their high school careers. In addition, while Curtis undertakes a challenging non-district slate against large schools, the Patriots are rarely tested in district competition vs. small Class 2A programs.
Thus, Curtis' starters log more time watching from the sidelines in blowout wins than they spend on the field. Four RBs and two QBs have combined to run for more than 3,100 yards through 11 games, all Curtis victories. The roster is stacked so deep with backs that junior Brandon Porter, who plans to play running back in college, is almost exclusively utilized on the defensive side of the ball.
Last Friday, Curtis defeated Ville Platte in the second round of the playoffs, 49-6, and Tevin Horton -- who trails only Sherman Badie on the team's rushing charts -- racked up a season-high 94 yards on 10 attempts with two touchdowns.
"I ran a lot of dives and a couple of sweeps," said Horton. "I also got good yardage on the draw.
"Our line has been doing great and I have to thank them. Overall, they've done a great job but they turned it up in the playoffs. Brandon Godfrey (6-3, 260) is doing real well. He moved from center to tackle with one of the starting tackles out, and he didn't have to adjust because he already knew the position. The others are Mason Pembo (5-10, 225), Matt Kimble (6-0, 250), Brett Salomon (5-9, 240) and Jonathan Levens (6-8, 320)."
Anthony Taylor, a 6-foot-7, 330-pound junior, could be the best of the bunch. He's currently out with an injury.
Curtis, seeded first in 2A, returns to action this Friday vs. No. 9 Kinder (11-1).
"I saw a couple minutes of their defense on film today," said Horton. "Their cornerbacks are real fast and quick. We're taking things one game at a time and focusing on who we play each week - not looking ahead."
After recent visits to both Arkansas and Mississippi State, Horton plans to visit MSU again for the Egg Bowl. His teammate, senior DE Torrey Bell, is committed to the Bulldogs. Badie, who leads the team with just under 1,000 yards on the ground, lists LSU as his early favorite. Another Curtis senior, TE Dillon Gordon, is committed to the Tigers.
Junior LB Duke Riley is first on the team in tackles for the second straight season. He accompanied Horton and Bell on their last trip to Starkville. Riley's early frontrunners are all in the SEC: LSU, Alabama, and Mississippi State.
Horton has amassed 606 yards rushing on 57 carries and is averaging 10.63 yards per tote. He has nine touchdowns, as does James.
Badie has 14 TDs and is averaging almost 16 yards per attempt.
The Patriots have finished as the Class 2A runner-up each of the past two years to north Louisiana rival Evangel Christian.