Before They Played for Pay . . . Dominique Curry

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  This story appeared in the Daily News in the fall of 2004. Dominique played his college
ball at Cheyney and California (Pa.) and began the 2010 season on the St. Louis Rams'
active roster. He then suffered a knee injury, requiring surgery. We wish Dom the best!


Washington's Curry in no hurry for football season to end

By TED SILARY silaryt@phillynews.com

  The sport that made his family famous needs to show patience.

  Yes, Dominique Curry will still play basketball this winter for George Washington High. There's no telling when he'll first report for practice, though, and it's possible hoops will someday, maybe even soon, get pushed aside.

  That's because Curry, a 6-3, 210-pound wideout and defensive end/outside linebacker, is rather impressive in football, and he's primed to help the Eagles make a run for a PIAA Class AAAA (large enrollment) state championship.

  "I don't mind being late for basketball," Curry said, smiling. "We still have work to do. "

  Curry was talking Saturday on the field at Charlie Martin Memorial Stadium after helping - more than a little, too - Washington down Northeast, 30-12, for the Public League championship. It was No. 8 for 20-year coach Ron Cohen.

  As the District 12 rep, the Eagles will meet Easton at 7 p.m. Saturday, also at Northeast, in a state quarterfinal. (First, on Wednesday at 7 p.m. under portable lights at Washington will come the holiday bash with Archbishop Ryan. And, yes, that means three games in 8 days. )

  Curry's father, Dominique Stephens, was a little-used frontcourt sub for Murrell Dobbins Tech. Then, as a classic late-bloomer, he helped North Carolina Central win the 1989 Division II national title and even earned all-tournament honors.

  His aunt, Marilyn Stephens, starred at Simon Gratz (class of 1980), then merely collected 2,194 points and 1,519 rebounds in a Hall of Fame, jersey-retired career at Temple.

  "My situation sometimes makes for pressure because there's a lot to live up to," Curry said. "People who know [about his family ties] expect me to be better than they were.

  "But it also helps me because they know the game and give me great advice. I can count on them for support any time I need it. "

  Pause. Smile. "And if I do decide to go with football, they won't even mind. They won't disown me. "

  Curry's contributions included two touchdowns and three tackles (of six total) that went for 19 yards in losses.

  His first score came on a 34-yard fumble return as Jelani Washington knocked the ball free from punter Chris Mountney, who decided to run after bobbling a snap, and Curry scooped it up on the fly.

  "When we practice for special teams, the coaches always say, 'Make sure the ball is kicked before you release,' " he said. "I saw the ball rolling on the ground and when the punter tried to run, Jelani made a nice tackle from behind. The ball bounced right into my arms. Like a dream. "

  On offense, he made three catches for 76 yards, and one went for a 47-yard touchdown. Chuck Hughes (8-for-14, 153 yards) also fired a 47-yard scoring bomb to 225-pound fullback Jerome Lewis, who got downfield surprisingly fast.

  The Eagles' first score, a 77-yard run by Jerry Butler (15 carries, 115 yards), restored order after Jeremiah Pitt had enabled Northeast to strike first with a 36-yard interception return.

  After Washington reeled off 30 consecutive points, Northeast scored a little-comfort TD in the waning moments on a pass from Cordia "Chops" Mosley (14-for-28, 120 yards) to star junior wideout Rockeed McCarter (nine catches, 89 yards).

  In all, the Vikings' rushers and receivers 12 times suffered losses. Lineman Dave Gonser made four stops worth 22 yards.

  Curry is hearing from Rutgers, Hofstra and Morgan State. He boasts a 3.1 grade-point average and has scored 830 on the SAT.

  "My dad would never let me mess up. Nor my mom [Belinda Curry]," Dominique said. "Their thing is for me to get a good education. Sports just goes along with it.

  "They give me such great support. My mom has seen every game I've played, in both sports, since JV on up. And today was the first game my dad missed all season. He was on the road [as a basketball assistant] with Cheyney.

  "He gives me good pointers on football. And then, if we're still in the car, he gives me good pointers on basketball. "

  To a degree, Curry said he's still trying to decide which sport to pursue in college.

  "I like football the best. Because you can hit people," he said, smiling. "In basketball, you have to walk away. Not in football. You can punish people. Legally."