CHS Football: 2017 STATE CHAMPIONS!
Ask the casual prep football fan and they would say that the Catholic High football team did the impossible last Saturday – it knocked off the 26-time state champ John Curtis, 20-14, in the Mercedes Benz Superdome. The Bears received awesome efforts from all three phases to defeat the Patriots to give CHS its second Division I state title in three seasons. The win denied the Curtis senior class from winning a state title, the first to not do so since 1975.
The Bears were paced on offense by signal called Cameron Dartez, named the game’s Most Outstanding Player by the working media. Dartez was 22 for 31 passing for 206 yards and a touchdown. Dartez found receiver Austan Hood on a 65 yard completion in the first quarter to put the Bears up 7-0. A long Patrick Mensah punt return to the two yard line set up a Beau Griffon rushing touchdown to put the Bears ahead 14-7 late in the third quarter. The scoring was closed out on two Preston Stafford field goals.
The defense was led by linebacker Kael Howard, who had a key interception of a batted pass late in the fourth quarter to set up a Stafford field goal to put the Bears up 20-14. Mensah had a touchdown saving forced fumble, that was recovered by Tim Morgan, on the Patriots’ first drive. Mensah also had the game clinching interception to clinch the state title for Catholic. The CHS defense, which allowed just 23 points in the playoffs, held the Patriots to under 300 yards of total offense.
Mensah was huge in the contribution by the special teams with the aforementioned punt return and a long kickoff return as well. Stafford’s two field goals and two extra points along with the field position changing punts of Blake Davis proved tough for John Curtis to overcome.
The victory was the “cherry on top” to a four game playoff stretch run with victories over two traditional Catholic League powers in Archbishop Shaw and St. Augustine, followed by wins over two former high school national champions in Evangel and John Curtis. The latter two schools have combined to win 39 state titles since 1975.
The state championship was won by a group that had to replace eleven players that went on to play college football; its starting quarterback; its entire defensive staff; its 2015 state championship winning kicker; and its legendary head coach. Not bad for a group that, like the state championship winning Big Orange Wave in cross country, was on no one’s radar to begin 2017.
Congratulations to the Bears, head coach Gabe Fertitta, the coaching staff, the administration, faculty, community, and Bear Nation on another state championship!
Check out articles below on the Bears’ state title win over John Curtis courtesy of Crescentcitysports.com, Nola.com, and The Advocate.