After a 2-0 start last fall, Paint Branch melted down with seven losses in its next eight games. It was perhaps the toughest stretch of wide receiver Javonn Curry’s high school career, even though he was providing more production than almost any other player on the roster. Curry finished the season with 25 catches and over 500 yards receiving and six touchdowns to boot; he also entered the spring before his senior year, the critical time to grow as a college prospect, with the ambition to improve his 40-yard dash time. And he did — pushing his number to 4.5 seconds, a nice complement to his 6-foot-3 frame.
Curry’s speed, and ability to separate from defensive backs, was on full display in the Panther’s season opening 21-13 win over Springbrook on Friday. He scored the key touchdown in the fourth quarter, taking an end-around nine yards for a Panthers’ score, pushing the score to 21-6 late. He made a few highlight worthy catches, finishing with five for 47 yards.
“I think I’ve been pretty good. My route running has gotten better,” Curry said. “I feel like my hands are way better than last year.”
Because of his close relationship with quarterback Gaston Cooper, who finished with 153 yards passing, 87 yards rushing and one touchdown, Curry has been afforded at times the luxury to innovate and freelance in his route running. The chemistry between the two seniors, who are both three-year starters, has led to big plays; especially when the mobile Cooper extends plays with his feet and Curry breaks off.
“That’s one of my good friends,” Curry said of Cooper.
But that didn’t happen Friday night. Curry was more focused on finding holes in the defense and staying within the offense — he is one of the few skill players on the team to not play both ways, giving him an opportunity to focus solely on playing receiver and making plays in the open field when needed (he also received two carries). In that sense, he is similar to former Panthers star Thomas Lucas, who graduated last year and now plays at Connecticut. Curry has been receiving moderate interest from recruiters. He has interest from Pittsburgh and Towson, to name a few. He is still fighting to gain attention.
“I’m just waiting, until more of the season progresses,” Curry said. “I’m guessing more and more will come later on.”