The Marquis Curtis is remembered for overcoming obstacles – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentry
The story of Marquis “Bin Laden” Curtis is one of resilience and triumph. His talents as a quarterback made the Crenshaw Cougars football team a competitive force in the mid-2000s. Curtis led the Cougars to their first Division I City Section title in school history .
Marquis started football at an early age. His cousin and father figure Chris Reese noticed his football affinity while watching Curtis play in a Pap Warner football game. As a coach, Reese knew Curtis would go to any high school he coached. By the time Curtis was old enough to attend ninth grade, Reese was coaching at Crenshaw High School.
“He was there with me and with the help of several others,” Reese said. “Devin Hollis… he trained him, taught him how to really play and Eric Scott took him under his wing.”
Even though he had the skills to play basketball, he lacked the size and speed to play football. It was a struggle to find him a position in the football team, until one day he threw a football 70 meters. Curtis became a starting quarterback by his 10e school year.
“I don’t know how he did it,” Scott said. “We had a big tail. Often he couldn’t see past the line, but he knew how to throw it at the right guy.
A charismatic, rebellious and mischievous teenager had found his place; Curtis’ personality and skills complemented the Cougars and the players bought into his leadership. His second season was the same year that Crenshaw installed lights in the football stadium and played his first match in prime time.
Reese mentioned how he put in a strong second year performance.
“He didn’t really have his downhill spiral pact, but he did pretty well in the 10e“, he said,” Then after that he got a lot better. “
Many players during this time inherited nicknames and Curtis was nicknamed “Bin Laden”, in honor of the late founder of the Islamic organization al-Qaeda Osama bin Laden.
During his junior year, Curtis broke his femur and was out for the season. Victor Pulido PhD, then Crenshaw’s football coach, ATC helped Curtis rehabilitate. Curtis has recovered from what could have been a career-ending injury to play in his senior year.
“It meant everything to us,” Reese said. “We got our quarterback back; we wouldn’t have done it without him.
Curtis had a way of threading the needle when passing and he could make big plays. His leadership has also played a crucial role in their success.
“It’s the perfect definition of practice made perfect,” Scott said. “He asked a lot of questions, very curious… he wanted to be the best. “
With Curtis at the helm, the Cougars were 11-3 overall in the 2005-06 season and played against Taft in the I City Section Division Championship game. An 85-yard touchdown pass on a fourth down helped Crenshaw secure the victory.
“He’s rolling to his left and the guys are chasing him and (Darian) Hagan is running through,” Scott said. “[Curtis] throw the ball from left side to right… it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
This was a watershed moment for Crenshaw’s football, Scott noted how this game shifted the momentum in Crenshaw’s favor.
“For [Curtis] to see how he went from ‘Bin Laden’ to this awesome quarterback… that’s what we’re doing it for, ”Scott said. “That’s why a lot of us coach football, that’s why a lot of us give of our time.”
Curtis will be remembered for his ability to persevere and be a leader.