St. Thomas Aquinas to play in Allstate Sugar Bowl Prep Showcase
The third annual Allstate Sugar Bowl Prep Football Showcase will feature two of the top high school football programs in the nation, as well as a top-notch clash between two of the top football programs in the New Orleans metro area. The doubleheader is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 13 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
John Curtis Christian School, of River Ridge, La., will meet St. Thomas Aquinas High School of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in the nightcap of the showcase. Curtis was the consensus high school football national championship last season – a season which was jump-started by a convincing victory over Plant High School from Tampa, Fla., in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Prep Showcase. St. Thomas Aquinas, a two-time national champion itself (2008 and 2010), is the defending Class 7A State Champion in Florida. The Raiders defeated Lincoln High School from Tallahassee to win the title – Lincoln defeated St. Paul’s, 14-13, in the first game of last year’s Allstate Sugar Bowl Prep Showcase.
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This year’s first game will feature Jesuit High School of New Orleans against St. Paul’s School of Covington, La. Jesuit has made three-straight trips to the Louisiana State Playoffs, while St. Paul’s, which is making its third appearance in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Prep Showcase, is a perennial district powerhouse. The St. Paul-Jesuit game will kick off at 6 p.m. followed immediately by the Curtis-St. Thomas Aquinas game, which will be televised by Fox Sports Florida. Ticket information is forthcoming.
Last year’s showdown between Curtis and Plant was rated as the number one out-of-state game in the country and this year’s Curtis-St. Thomas Aquinas match-up will be among the best as well.
Curtis rolled to a second consecutive perfect season in 2012 to extend its current winning streak to 28 games. The Patriots were ranked No. 1 in seven of the nine national polls, including Rivals.com, MaxPreps.com and USA Today. Curtis won a state record 25th State Championship in Coach J. T. Curtis’ 44th year of coaching; Coach Curtis was also selected the USA Today High School Coach of the Year. For the entire 14-game season, the defense allowed just three touchdowns and scored three of their own while recording seven shutouts.
St. Thomas Aquinas is no stranger to national success as well, with national titles in 2008 and 2010. The Raiders, who have a host of NFL alumni, have won seven Florida State Championships, including three in the last five years. The powerhouse has lost just six games in the past five years.
Officials from the Allstate Sugar Bowl and SMG, the Superdome management company, collaborated to create a top-flight early season contest in 2011 with four in-state teams, as Curtis beat Westgate (New Iberia), 27-7, and St. Paul’s topped Acadiana (Lafayette), 18-17. Last year, the event expanded to bring two teams from Florida to the Superdome, as well as adding the exposure of Fox Sports to the showcase.
“The Sugar Bowl Committee has long demonstrated a strong commitment to high school football,” said Allstate Sugar Bowl chief executive officer Paul Hoolahan. “We’re very pleased to be a part of this event which showcases some of the top high school programs in our area, as well as a tremendous representative from the state of Florida in St. Thomas Aquinas. Our early vision was to create high school games of local and national significance, and already we’re seeing that concept take shape based on the excitement surrounding this year’s games.”
“The Mercedes-Benz Superdome has proudly served as the home of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s football championships for many years,” said Alan Freeman, SMG’s General Manger of the Superdome. “We fully appreciate the passion fans have for high school football in this state, and, with the Prep Showcase in its third year, we have now established a major event in the early part of the season as well. We’re also honored to work with J.T. Curtis and his staff. This is just another example of their dedication and passion for youth in the sport of football.”
The Sugar Bowl Committee continues to be very active in the New Orleans community by holding fast to its mission of sponsoring and promoting amateur sporting events which foster revenue and spark economic growth for the city and the state. This year the Bowl will support 25 events in sports such as volleyball, basketball, golf, lacrosse, sailing, track and field, soccer and tennis, as well as football. In addition, the Allstate Sugar Bowl was a key part of the local organizing committee for the 2012 NCAA Men’s Final Four and will serve in the same role for the 2013 NCAA Women’s Final Four this April, while also sponsoring the local chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame as well as the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame.