Arch Manning, Texas football commit, just one storyline in No. 1 Many vs No. 2 Newman
A standing-room-only crowd in excess of 3,000 is expected to invade Tiger Stadium on Friday night when LSWA Class 2A No. 2 Isidore Newman gets introduced to the unique football atmosphere at No. 1 Many.
To say there’s a lot riding on the game might be the understatement of the Louisiana high school season.
With the LHSAA embroiled in a controversy about divvying up which schools are Select, and which are Non-Select, this game might be a statement for what’s right or wrong for proponents on both sides. Newman is a New Orleans private school that attracts athletes from outside its attendance zone. Many is a rural public school that is limited to attracting athletes just from Sabine Parish. Former Many principal and softball coach Norman Booker introduced legislation in 2016 calling for a split in the LHSAA in basketball, softball and baseball which stands today.
It’s extremely rare for two highly successful programs on opposite sides of the spectrum to meet this far into the season, especially when they aren’t in the same district.
Many coach Jess Curtis won’t get caught up in the Select/Non-Select argument. He was just looking for an opponent when none of the schools within two hours of Many would agree to play. Newman was willing.
“We will play anybody,” Curtis said. “You have to get games where you can.”
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And then there’s the obvious matchup of Greenies quarterback Arch Manning against Tigers linebacker Tackett Curtis. Manning, a Texas commitment, is the No. 1 quarterback in the country, while Curtis, a USC commitment, is the No. 6 linebacker in the country, both per 247Sports Composite. Many also has Louisiana’s 2024 No. 1 recruit in safety Tylen Singleton. That pair led a defense that held 5A Haughton to three points last week in a 35-3 win.
“Many is big up front on both sides of the ball. That is where it all starts,” Haughton coach Jason Brotherton assessed. “Offensively, they lean on you and wear you down over the course of the game. The backs are also big and fast.
“Defensively they line up and play man-to-man, which they’re good at, and that allows them to have more in the box than you can block in the run game. It also allows them to send more in blitz packages than you can account for. This does allow for the opportunity to make some big plays if you can connect on them.”
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Manning led Newman to a 54-52 win over Benton last week, throwing for 370 yards and four touchdowns, while adding a 35-yard TD run.
“Arch is as good as advertised. He’s going to make plays against any defense,” Benton coach Reynolds Moore said. “They’re tougher than people think. They have good size and depth for a 2A school.”
Many principal Moses Curtis said this school had sold more than 1,200 tickets by Monday afternoon in addition to Tiger season tickets and 500 tickets sent to Newman.
“We will continue to sell them at the school through Thursday at lunch, and then sell at the gate too,” Curtis said. “It should be an awesome environment Friday night.”
Jimmy Watson covers Shreveport-Bossier area sports. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @JimmyWatson6.