Buford, Ga.--Few high school football players ever get to experience the thrill of competing in a state championship game. Jessel Curry, an Auburn commitment who has had an impressive career at Buford High, is an exception to that rule. A major exception.
On Friday afternoon in Atlanta, Curry and his Buford teammates will take on Calhoun High School at the Georgia Dome. The winner will leave the field as the Class AA state champion. That championship feeling is something that Curry has experienced and he is eager to make it happen again.
Curry helped Buford win the state championship the past two seasons. “We are playing the exact same team we played last year,” he points out. “We are a young team with a lot of sophomores playing and it is really exciting for us.
“We don’t have as much talent as we normally have on our team,” he adds. “It is like this is a team that is playing for each other. It is a big, big, big thing for us. It will just cap the season off if we win state.”
Last year Buford defeated Calhoun 45-21. It will be a surprise if the Wolves win big in the rematch. Calhoun has won 25 of its last 26 games with the only loss to Buford so the Wolves will face a highly-motivated opponent.
Buford’s only loss this year was in game three falling 28-21 to Lovett. Calhoun defeated Lovett last week 49-41 in the semi-finals. The only other opponent both teams have played is Avondale, a team Buford blanked 41-0 and Calhoun outscored 42.14.
Last week Buford won 38-28 at Fitzgerald in a comeback victory. The Wolves didn’t ice the game until late when Curry scored his third touchdown of the night on a one-yard run. A week earlier Buford defeated Callaway 35-21 in the quarter-finals.
“We have had two really good teams to play in the playoffs the last two games, which is something we haven’t experienced because we are used to rolling over teams in the playoffs,” Curry says. “We had two real dogfight games, back to back, and we had to battle it out to the fourth quarter. We were able to show what we are capable of doing.”
Projected to be a linebacker at Auburn, Curry plays both ways for Coach Jess Simpson’s Wolves. “I don’t come off the field,” he says.
The Auburn commitments says he feels good about the way he has played this season. “I wasn’t predicted to have as good a season because I changed position,” he says. “I went from outside (linebacker) to mike (middle linebacker). I think I have probably played the best I could play.”
Curry isn’t sure exactly how many tackles he has this season. “I think it is somewhere around 120 to 125.”
Offensively, he splits time between tailback and fullback. “Where I play depends on what formation we are in,” he says.
Jessel Curry has played in just one game in high school that his team did not win.
Friday’s championship game will kick off at 4:30 p.m. EST at the Georgia Dome against a Calhoun team that features one of the nation’s top wide receiver prospects, Da'Rick Rogers, who is committed to play at Georgia. Keeping him under control will be a huge priority for the Buford defense, Curry says.
“We know he is going to make plays,” the linebacker says. “We have to get him down or don’t let him break a big one. That is what everybody is focused on doing. If he makes a play, he makes a play and then we will concentrate on the next one.”
Curry says another state title would be special for several reasons. “It would be a three-peat and your senior year all you really want is that championship ring,” he says. “That is what we are all fighting for. The sophomores and juniors are playing for the seniors to get a ring. This is an unselfish team. That is why were are playing so well.”
After his game on Friday, Curry is headed to Auburn for an official visit. He plans to graduate early from high school and enroll for classes at Auburn in January. “I am going to drive down for my official visit after the game on Friday or early on Saturday morning,” says the high school senior who adds he feels great about his decision to play college football for Coach Gene Chizik’s Tigers. “I am 100 percent Auburn,” he says.
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