BY MATT VINES, Journal Sports
MANY – Make room on the couches, layaway beds and even the floor.
Plenty of extended families who have roots in Many are reporting back to their home bases this weekend as the Tigers host Isidore Newman and a member of Louisiana’s unofficial First Family of Football – quarterback Arch Manning.
The grounds in and around John W. Curtis are expected to be swamped with tailgaters and spectators of all kinds for this top-10 matchup in Class 2A as the No. 1 Tigers (3-0) rumble with the No. 2 Greenies (3-0).
“There is a lot of excitement in town about this game,” said Many coach Jess Curtis. “Tickets went on sale, and the line was around the school.”
While there’ll be plenty of position battles to determine a winner, none will be more flashy than the 2023 No. 1 overall prospect Manning taking on an incredibly athletic and talented Many secondary.
The Tigers secondary, which features Tackett Curtis and Tylen Singleton among others, will face off against the nephew of Super Bowl champion quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning.
“Arch is a special talent,” Curtis said. “You can tell that he is a student of the game. He can make every throw, so we will need to be sharp in the secondary.”
Arch Manning and the Greenies are averaging more than 43 points per game through three games this season to begin another impressive chapter in Manning’s high school career, which includes 6,000 passing yards and 100 total touchdowns (81 passing, 19 rushing) for this dual-threat quarterback entering the season.
Manning outdueled Class 5A Benton in a 54-52 shootout in which the Greenies rallied from an 18-point halftime deficit, including a rollout touchdown pass on fourth-and-13.
“Our secondary is a good group,” said a modest Curtis, who boasts one of the premier secondaries in the state regardless of class. “We’ve got a couple of four-star talents back there along with some very underrated guys. They are excited about the matchup. It’s always fun to go against the best.”
Drama is one of the few things missing from Many’s season so far as the Tigers have poleaxed their competition by a combined score of 123-13. Two of Many’s three wins have come against Class 5A opponents Sam Houston and Haughton as the Tigers defense kept both opponents out of the end zone.
It’s the first time Many has a pair of wins against Class 5A competition in the same season.
The Tigers are coming off a program-defining win when Haughton visited last week in a 35-3 demolition in which Many rushed for a mind-blowing 519 yards without needing to attempt a pass.
That power ground game will be relied upon to control the clock and keep the ball away from the high-powered Greenies.
Newman halted Hahnville’s power running game in a 35-14 win while the Tigers smothered spread attacks in Sam Houston and Haughton.
“We want to play our style of football,” Curtis said. “We want to do the things that have made us very successful.”
The Week 4 matchup will serve as an important measuring stick for Many, who has a Week 5 bye before entering an improving but likely overmatched District 3-2A schedule.
PHOTO: Darrin Dyess/Journal Sports
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