Curie’s Damarius Johns, Lazerick Hill connect to take down Hubbard

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Curie celebrates. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

Sometimes one play can change an entire season. That may be what happened for Curie on Thursday at Gately.

It was quarterback Damarius Johns and wide receiver Lazerick Hill that created the magic. The pair connected for a 43-yard touchdown pass with 3:42 to play that gave the Condors a 13-6 win over unbeaten Hubbard.

“We knew the team had to come together and make a play and that’s what we did,” Hill said. “[Johns] is my guy. He put it there and I had to go get it. I knew I had a chance. I saw the open field and it was over.”

Curie started the season 1-3 under new coach Arthur Ray Jr.

“Where we are in the season this win is huge,” Ray said. “[Hubbard’s Elton Harris] is a legendary coach known all around Chicago. We are gaining momentum. We battled today.”

The Condors (2-3, 2-0 Illini Red Bird) only managed three plays with gains of ten yards or more, including the touchdown.

“The offense struggled a little bit,” Hill said. “The first half of the season has been rough. We are putting the pieces together as a team though. We know we have to get better.”

Ray and the players acknowledge that the building stage has been tough. The Condors have an entirely new program, from schemes to uniforms.

“Anytime you want to create a new culture it is going to be challenging,” Ray said. “I think I was ready for a lot of the challenges and some of them I wasn’t.”

Despite the early losses, the Curie players have clearly bonded with Ray.

“He is everything we have been missing,” Hill said. “He’s a father off the field, he’s a father on the field. He’s everything you can imagine. I look up to him as a dad. If it wasn’t for him I’d be off somewhere else now.”

Johnell Harvey gave the Condors a huge lift. He had two interceptions in his first game of the season. He missed the first four games waiting to be cleared by Chicago Public Schools.

“That was huge for him,” Ray said. “He was excited about tonight and I’m excited for him.”

Johns was 5 for 12 passing for 80 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Bruising running back AJ Sanya had 11 carries for 43 yards and one touchdown.

“It’s been a rocky start to the season,” Johns said. “People have been doubting us ever since we lost the first two games. Now is time to shut them up. We have to win every game. This win was big. [Hubbard] was talking on social media a bunch.”

Sanya’s four-yard touchdown run opened the scoring. The Greyhounds (4-1, 1-1) tied the game in the second quarter on a ten-yard touchdown run by AJ Harris.

Hubbard lineman Kenny Givens is one of the city’s most dominant players. He averaged five sacks a game last year and has several college scholarship offers. The 6-4, 257-pound senior is a force. He had three sacks and multiple tackles for a loss.

Johns grimaced when asked about Givens.

“That is big time, Division I talent right there,” Johns said. “It was good to see that because it is what I will see when I get to college.”

“[Givens] is a ballplayer,” Ray said. “I’m proud of the kid. He has a bright future. I told him after the game that he’s going to be playing a lot more football after this, don’t hold your head down.”

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