High School Football on Fox Sports 1 is back this Friday night, as Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic takes on River Ridge (La.) John Curtis at 7 p.m. eastern. This is an intriguing game matching one of the top teams from the Northeast against one of the very best programs from the Deep South.
John Curtis is a super power year in and year out. They have won an astounding 25 state championships and have played for the state title for 17 consecutive years. J.T. Curtis has won 520 (only 46 losses and 6 ties) games in his illustrious career as the Patriots head coach. John Curtis won at least 10 games every season for 38 years in a row. This year they are 1-0 and currently ranked No. 22 in the nation in the Fox Sports 50. It’s been an amazing run.
"It starts with the coaching staff,” said Chad Simmons, national recruiting analyst for Scout.com. “J.T. Curtis and his staff run a great program. They are very detailed, very demanding, and teach their kids to execute at a very high level. They definitely have talent to work with at times. Even when they don't have the elite recruits they win. They practice hard, play hard, and they play the game the way it is supposed to be played."
This year’s squad is led by the nation’s top wide receiver, five-star Malachi Dupre. At 6-foot-3, 195-pounds, this is a long, smooth and speedy wideout that could very well stay home and play for LSU. He’s still open and has offers from practically everyone in the college football world.
"Dupre is a big-time player,” Simmons said. “Despite playing in a run heavy offense he has what you look for in a No. 1 receiver at the next level. He has great size, explosiveness, and really snatches the ball out of the air. Dupre can also block on the perimeter. He’s a pretty complete player and Dupre will only get better and better.”
Dupre isn’t the only BCS recruit for John Curtis. Inside linebacker Kenny Young is a sledge hammer who man’s the middle of the Patriot defense. He wants to set up trips and visit Oklahoma State, Miami, FSU and Texas A&M. Cornerback Terrence Alexander and safety Mattrell McGraw are two 2014 prospects that both have impressive offer lists. Then you have a big time safety in next year’s class in Hunter Dale. Also, keep an eye on an emerging junior prospect in running back Miles Washington.
Bergen Catholic is no stranger to championships and rings. In fact, they have won 16 New Jersey state titles since 1963 and have amassed an impressive won-loss record of 408-145-12. Their last championship was in 1994 and last year’s squad lost to rival Paramus (N.J.) Catholic is the Non-Public Group 4 title game 37-34. They are 22-7-2 against out of state opponents.
While they did get hit hard by graduation Bergen Catholic still has a lot of talent coming back. They have a terrific one-two punch at defensive end in Garrett Dickerson and Kurt Holuba. Dickerson, who also stars at tight end, is down to a trio of schools in Stanford, Michigan and Northwestern. Holuba likes five schools – Stanford, Virginia, Duke, FSU, and Wisconsin. Dickerson is a four-star recruit while Holuba is a three-star.
“The thing about Holuba and Dickerson is they make nice complementary bookends,” said Brian Dohn, East recruiting analyst for Scout.com. “Holuba is quick off the ball, powerful and can shed blocks. The kid is relentless. Dickerson can play in space, has tremendous length and can run plays down from the back side. That both are going to wind up at high-level BCS programs, as well as great academic schools, is a testament to their abilities as players, and their abilities in the classroom. Both are smart kids, and both work hard.”
There’s no question that they lead the strength of this team, the Bergen Catholic defense. But there are others like linebacker Cameron Quiero, who has committed to Northwestern. Another stout defender is 2015 linebacker Anthony Malaguti.
“We have nine starters back, seven on defense,” said Nunzio Campenile, Bergen Catholic’s coach. “We will have a much improved defense, especially our defensive ends. They are two of the best in the country. Our linebacker corps is strong and the secondary has made strides.”
On the other side of the ball the team is led by two quarterbacks, senior Colin McGovern and 2016 signal caller Jarrett Guarantano. Guarantano, who already holds an offer from Rutgers, will see time on Friday night.
“It’s an honor for us to get the opportunity to go down to Louisiana and play a team like that,” Capenile said. “John Curtis is one of the best programs in the country. They have one of the best coaches in the country. We are truly excited about playing this one.”
The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1 at 7 p.m. eastern on Friday. Daron Sutton will do play by play while Ben Leber will serve as analyst. Jennifer Hale will be the sideline reporter.
Jamie has been covering college football recruiting since 1992 and is entering his ninth year with Scout.com and FOXSportsNext. He’s currently a National Recruiting Analyst and Manager for the state of Florida. Jamie is also covering the NFL Draft for the network.