J.T. Curtis, the head football coach at John Curtis Christian (River Ridge, La.), was watching video of this week's opponent, St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale), when John Curtis basketball coach Mike Krajcer walked in.
"He just said, 'I'm glad it's you and not me that has to play them,' " Curtis said.
While Curtis is the defending Super 25 champion and is ranked No. 4 to No. 6 for Aquinas, the Patriots may have a tough time slowing the Raiders because of St. Thomas Aquinas' offensive line.
"They're much bigger than us, both offensively and defensively," Curtis said. "If they're not the biggest team we've played, they're one of the biggest. They want to line up and mash you at the line of scrimmage and then hit you with the big pass."
The game will be played in the Mercedes Benz Superdome, the same stadium that Curtis kick-started its national title run last season with a defeat of Plant (Tampa). The game is sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
"Any time you play in that facility, it's a great experience," Curtis said. "The Superdome is a tremendous place to play and for high school kids to play there, it's a great experience for them."
Like John Curtis, Aquinas is accustomed to playing in big games in big arenas. The Raiders opened two weeks ago with a 38-3 thrashing of Miami Northwestern in Sun Life Stadium, home of the Dolphins.
Aquinas is the defending Florida 7A champion and is 7-1 against out-of-state teams, with the lone defeat a 20-10 loss at home last season to Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.).
"They're well-respected in our state and we're well-respected in ours," Aquinas cornerback Al Harris told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel regarding John Curtis. "They're a polished team. They work hard, just like us."
John Curtis has won 29 games in a row, but struggled last week in a 24-13 defeat of then-No. 41 Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.), scoring nothing after halftime.
"We had opportunities and we hurt ourselves," Curtis said. "But, it was the first game of the year and you're going to make some mistakes against a quality opponent like Bergen Catholic. I think our team grew from playing them."
Here are a few other Super 25 games to watch:
No. 9 Junipero Serra (Gardena, Calif.) vs. Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks), Friday: Serra quarterback Jalen Greene has thrown for 799 yards and seven touchdowns in two games, both wins, and faces another good team this week in the Knights. Serra needed a late touchdown to escape with a 26-23 win last year against Notre Dame. The Knights have averaged 42.5 points in its first two games and Lucas Alfonso kicked field goals of 49 and 50 yards in a 41-24 defeat of Del Oro (Loomis) last week.
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No. 12 De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) at St. Mary's (Stockton), Friday: The Spartans struggled to defeat Serra (San Mateo) 21-14 last week and are putting their long streak of not losing to a Northern California school on the line this week. The last time the Spartans lost to an area team was in 1991, a span of 237 games. Last year, a DLS team that wound up winning the state Open Bowl had one of its toughest games of the season with a 21-13 win at home against St. Mary's.
Byrnes is averaging 66.5 points per game behind the arm of quarterback Shuler Bentley, left, while Northwestern's Mason Rudolph has guided the Trojans to a 3-0 start. Photos: USA TODAY Sports; Joe Jackson
No. 15 Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.) at No. 25 Northwestern (Rock Hill), Friday: It's unlikely that the score will be low because of the teams' stellar quarterbacks. Through three games, Northwestern quarterback Mason Rudolph has thrown for 818 yards and 12 touchdowns, including five last week in a 65-7 defeat of South Aiken (Aiken). Rebels quarterback Shuler Bentley has 15 touchdowns and 818 passing yards through two games, including a whopping nine touchdown passes in a 82-49 defeat of Woodruff last week. Byrnes defeated Northwestern 32-28 last season as the teams combined for more than 800 yards of offense.
MORE: Bentley throws for 9 TDs in rout
No. 18 Centennial (Corona, Calif.) vs. Long Beach Poly, Friday: The Huskies have scored a lot of points this season, averaging nearly 65 points a game, but they've also given up an average of 46.5 points. This was a bigger game before Poly was upset 31-24 last week by Servite (Anaheim), but the Jackrabbits have shown they know how to bounce back. They'll have to find a way to stop Centennial running back Tre Watson, who ran for 465 yards and seven touchdowns last week.
No. 19 Colerain (Cincinnati) at Trinity (Louisville), Friday: Trinity's Shamrocks fell out of the rankings last week after losing to Lawrence Central (Indianapolis), Trinity's second defeat to a Super 25 team. Colerain's triple option has been hard to slow, thanks to quarterback Kelvin Cook, who is averaging nearly 200 yards a game on the ground.
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No. 21 Jenks, Okla. vs. Union (Tulsa), Friday: For the past 17 years, one of these two teams has won the big-school state title. Jenks came back to defeat Trinity (Euless, Trinity) 27-23 last week in Southlake, Texas. Jenks sophomore quarterback Cooper Nunley threw two touchdown passes in the final 16 minutes and 43 seconds. Union fell to DeSoto, Texas 44-20 last week, also at Southlake, but the Redskins' games with Jenks are always a toss-up. Jenks lost its regular-season game 14-7 to Union last year but defeated the Redskins 41-10 in the playoffs.
No. 23 Edna Karr (New Orleans) at No. 45 St. Augustine (New Orleans), Friday: This is a repeat of last season's Louisiana 4A semifinals, won 28-12 by Karr. St. Augustine has American Family Insurance Preseason ALL-USA running back Leonard Fournette, who ran for 159 yards and two touchdowns in only four carries in the Purple Knights' opener last week, a 47-12 defeat of McDonough (New Orleans). Karr counters with quarterback Devante "Speedy" Noil, who after sitting out the first quarter of the Cougars' 34-12 defeat of St. Paul (Covington), threw a touchdown pass on his first play and finished with 93 yards passing and 97 yards rushing.