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Top-seeded Curtis eliminates Comets from Division II playoffs

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  • November 22, 2013 - 11:40pm

Photos by Eddie HittSt. Charles Catholic's Jordan Favorite (5) is unable to get a handle on the ball in the Comets' 48-0 home loss Friday night to the John Curtis Patriots.

By Jason Duhe

It was much the same for St. Charles Catholic in the second time around against John Curtis.

Behind a stingy Patriots defense and penalties in crucial situations that impeded the Comets from being able to string together drives, top-seeded Curtis eliminated St. Charles from the Division II playoffs with a 48-0 won. For St. Charles (8-4) it was the first shutout of the year for the Comets.

“Early today, I could see that we weren’t intense,” St. Charles coach Frank Monica said. “I was hoping I saw something else, but unfortunately I was on the nose. I take responsibility. It falls on me to get them ready to play.”

It was the second time Curtis defeated St. Charles in 2013. In Week 6, the Patriots defeated the Comets 46-13 to open District 11-3A play.

Patriots coach J.T. Curtis said his defense continues to improve weekly and this is how he wants his defense to be playing in the playoffs.

“You hope that your defense continues to improve week to week. I think we did that tonight. I thought our linebackers played well, our front played well, and we had a couple of nice picks in the secondary. When you get that kind of balance, that’s what you are looking for to get you through the playoffs.”

One of the major factors turned out to be special teams. Curtis (8-2) blocked a crucial field goal and two punts which Dovante Jones blocked and returned for touchdowns. These were Jones’ first-ever blocked punts.

“I heard the coaches scream ‘scoop and score’ so I just started looking around for the ball,” Jones said. “Coach always says, ‘If you can’t be a special team guy then we don’t want you on the field first through third down.’ We take special teams very serious.”

Monica said his team knew exactly what to expect from the Patriots’ rush.

“It's nothing we didn’t prepare for,” Monica said. “The first blocked kick, it wasn't a full rush. We had six to block five people. That was very disappointing.”

The Comets opened the game with a sky kick to a Patriots return man who fumbled the ball. St. Charles was able to recover the fumble on the Curtis 25 yard-line but went three-and-out. That brought up a field goal attempt by the Comets, but Curtis managed to block the attempt.

The Patriots coach said his team responded to the early adversity.

“I think what it said was we can’t control the circumstances but we can control our reaction to it,” Curtis said. “And to stop them and not let them get in the end zone was huge. Then to come back and block the field goal, I think lifted the spirits of the whole team.”

The Patriots did not need much time to take advantage, scoring on their first play - a 70-yard pass from Myles Washington to Malachi Dupre.

“We knew they'd go deep on the first play,” Monica said. “They did it, and we had a missed assignment. But we knew it was coming."

Quarterback Austin Weber led his team on offense completing 8-of-13 for 73 yards and rushing for 68 yards. Despite his effort, the Comets still fizzled on their second possession, forcing a punt. Jones blocked the punt and returned it for a touchdown for the Patriots.

Raekwon James tacked on a 6-yard touchdown for Curtis to put the Patriots up 21-0 and the Comets fumbled the ensuing kickoff. That led to a quick drive, capped off by a 6-yard Washington touchdown. With a 28-0 lead, the Patriots continued playing solid defense, forcing another St. Charles punt. It was Jones blocking the punt once again, this time returning it more than 30 yards for a touchdown and a 35-0 Patriots lead going into half.

The Comets continued to fight and struggle, but while it seemed like they made progress they continued hurting themselves through turnovers and penalties.

“I hoped we could get it to the second half,” Monica said. “I hate it for my 20 seniors. I feel bad for them. Credit to John Curtis. They're the better team. We were outmanned tonight.”

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