Heartbreak at John Curtis High School after former player killed

RIVER RIDGE, La. (WGNO) -- Hearts are breaking at John Curtis High School, where Joe McKnight's football career soared.

"It just becomes almost unfathomable that a life could be snuffed out that quickly over getting cut off in a lane or a bumper getting bumped -- and people would lose it to that degree," said J.T. Curtis, head football coach at John Curtis High School.

Curtis coached McKnight during his years playing high school football. McKnight graduated from John Curtis in 2007.

"He was a household name. He was a guy that a lot of young players, not just at J.T. Curtis but all over the region, wanted to be like."

Curtis says Joe was among the best he has coached during his 47-year career at John Curtis.

"Joe was just a regular kid who was blessed with unbelievable ability," says Curtis, who notes that the entire McKnight family has a legacy and link to John Curtis High School. Joe's sister and brother both played various sports with great success.

Joe's ability that helped his high school team win three state championships. He was a running back, wide receiver and cornerback. As one headline reads, he was "Not your average Joe."

"He was such a fierce competitor and was such a pleasure to coach and watch perform."

Athletic accomplishments aside, it’s his character that Coach Curtis is reflecting on now.

"In many of these games we would be up and he would say, 'Let the other guys carry the ball.' That was him. That was his demeanor."