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Arch Manning, Newman face Many in big showdown in Louisiana Class 2A football

Texas commit Arch Manning, USC commit Tackett Curtis highlight highly anticipated matchup in Many

By LaMar Gafford | Photo by Parker Waters 

John W. Curtis Tiger Stadium in Many has hosted its share of big games over the past 10 years, but this one might be the biggest.

The top two teams in Class 2A square off as Many hosts New Orleans school Isidore Newman in a battle of unbeaten teams.

“This is a good matchup between two programs that are rolling right now,” Tigers coach Jess Curtis said.

“We’re excited to go against Newman. They’re a well-coached team and (Newman coach) Nelson Stewart does a great job.

"When you have a talent like (Greenies' quarterback and Texas commit) Arch Manning leading the team, it’s going to be a great challenge for us.”

Manning, who is the No. 1 overall recruit according to 247Sports, passed for 392 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Greenies to a 54-52 comeback win against Benton.

Currently, Newman (3-0) sits as the No. 1 team in Division III’s select subdivision.

For the season, Manning has completed 47-of-71 passes for 790 yards with 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions, and Curtis had nothing but good things to say about the nephew of Super Bowl champions Peyton and Eli Manning.

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“You can tell that he’s been schooled in the game,” Jess Curtis said. “He knows where to go with the football, has a live arm and is a great athlete.

"I don’t think people give him enough credit for the kind of athlete he is. He can move, he’s agile and he throws a great ball. All the things we thought he was about when we watched the film, he definitely did that.”

However, Manning is not the only top recruit in this game.

Manning will have his work cut out against a Tiger secondary that is led by USC commit Tackett Curtis - the No. 6 player in Louisiana and No. 7 linebacker in the nation.

While Curtis is off to another great start after returning three punts for touchdowns in Week 1, he will have a strong defense and running game supplementing him.

Last week, Many (3-0) defeated Class 5A’s Haughton, 35-3, by rushing for 519 yards - 196 of those coming from junior Jeremiah James.

"They're almost the same team," said Stewart in an interview with “(Coach Jess Curtis is) really doing the same stuff. Physical play at the line. They always have two good running backs.

"They take a lot of pride in their strength and conditioning. I’ve seen them enough times to know they’re a true program. It’s not cyclical. It’s not up and down.”

Many has been to the last three Class 2A championship games and look poised to return to the LHSAA Prep Classic as the No. 1 ranked team in the Division III non-select subdivision.

Kickoff Friday between the Tigers and Greenies is scheduled for 7 p.m.