What's next for Many football after repeat falls short? Get to work on winning two titles in three years

LaMar Gafford
Alexandria Town Talk

NEW ORLEANS – Many will not have long to rid the bad taste of its loss in the Class 2A championship game.

Just minutes after losing 17-6 to Amite Friday at the Caesars Superdome, the first thing on the mind for Tigers coach Jess Curtis and his team was getting back to work.

“We’re going to get the trailer unloaded Monday and get back at it,” Curtis said. “That’s what we are and people may say, ‘Give them a little time,’ but these guys want to work. They’ll be mad at me if I’m not blowing the whistle. That’s why I love them and I wouldn’t do it for anybody else.”

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Many (13-2), which was in its third straight trip to the Class 2A title game, was hoping to win back-to-back titles – a feat that it failed to do after winning in 2014.

However, like their runner-up finishes in 2013 and 2019, the Tigers will have a lot of experience returning.

Leading that group of returnees is junior quarterback/safety and four-star recruit Tackett Curtis, who is being recruited by a slew of Power 5 programs.

“We didn’t get the outcome we wanted, but there’s going to be a lot of motivation for next year, for sure,” Curtis said.  

After making 10 tackles against the Warriors, Curtis finished the season with 103 stops – 67 of those coming unassisted.

While it loses senior running back London Williams, who rushed for 2,646 yards and 47 touchdowns this season, sophomore running back Jeremiah James is ready to carry the load as Many’s featured running back.

James was held to 43 yards on 16 carries, but still burst onto the scene with 1,572 yards and 19 touchdowns in his first season of significant playing time.

“To see London leave, he motivated me,” James said. “He taught me how to run the ball well and how to do a lot of things in the backfield.”

Against Amite (11-3), the Tigers trailed for the first time at halftime since losing to Ferriday in the 2019 Class 2A championship and were held to 211 yards – something that their 17 returning starters will be sure to remember going into next season.

Many has made it to the semifinals in each of the last six seasons and it believes that it can make another run next season.

“They were this close to their dream of going back-to-back, but what champions do is that they go back to work and they go back to work soon to lifting those weights, running and conditioning,” Jess said. “I wanted this so much for them, but that’s life and that’s football and we’re going to be OK. We have a lot to be proud of and that’s my message to them. My juniors are going to go to four straight championship (games) and I wouldn’t bet against them.”