After last week’s victory over Lavaca, Paris head football coach Tyler Clark was happy to get a win, but was very concerned over the mistakes and the effort of his team, particularly in the second half. Coach Clark challenged his team this week saying that the JC Westside offensive and defensive lines looked more physical than his team’s to that point. The Eagles must have taken the challenge to heart, because last evening’s game against Westside was over in about ten seconds. Senior Paris tailback Ely Fore took a short opening game kickoff and returned it all the way for a touchdown. Paris never trailed, and the Eagles were off and running toward a crushing win over the Rebels. The win improved the Eagles record to 2-0 on the season.
Paris capitalized on several Westside fumbles and seemingly scored at will against Westside. Paris showed their coach that they can be a physical team on both sides of the ball. And all though the Eagles did not roll up big chunks of yards for massive total offense numbers, the offense took advantage of breaks created by their defense. By midway through the second quarter, the game was far out of reach, and Coach Clark began to empty the bench. Reserves played for Paris from approximately six minutes to go in the first half and finished the game in the continuous clock format in the second half.
After the game, Coach Clark said he felt much better about his team than he did a week ago and was very pleased with his team’s effort. He gave a lot of credit to the JC Westside team for continuing to play hard. But perhaps most of all, he was grateful to end the game without any injuries to the team. In fact, Jude Simmons, who left the game early last week with an injury, started and played the entire game last night.
Late Friday night, or if you will, early Saturday morning, Coach Clark, like a lot of other high school football coaches, was up late. No doubt, he and his staff had probably just finished watching last night’s game film. But early Saturday morning (1:15 a.m.) the Paris coach took to Twitter and posted the following message for his team and their fans.
So the Eagles appear to be in good shape as they now turn their attention toward their first road game of the season when they travel to Northwest Arkansas to play the West Fork Tigers.
The victory capped a memorable senior night ceremony that was held before the game. Approximately 26 seniors were honored. Paris senior football players, bandsmen, cheerleaders, golf, and tennis players were honored with their families. Senior night is traditionally held on the last home game of the season, but in this time of uncertainty due to the pandemic, Paris held their ceremony in week two of the season to insure that each senior participant would have the opportunity to be publicly recognized.
Paris will play at West Fork next week and then will have a bye week the following week on September 18. The Eagles open conference play on Friday, September 25 at home against Mayflower. Paris would like nothing more than to complete the non-conference portion of their schedule at 3-0 with a win next week, and have a week off to rest players and make adjustments before returning to play on September 25. The Eagles are starting to show glimpses of the team that everyone anticipated going into the season, but it also has to keep its focus as the quality of opponents will gradually increase starting next week at West Fork and in its first conference game with Mayflower. If Paris remains healthy and continues to improve with each week, the Eagles could make some noise in conference play and position themselves to return to the state playoffs for the first time since 2017. But it is one game at a time for Paris, and a big win over a Class 2A school that has not had a lot of success over the past few years is not enough alone to get the Eagles where they want to be. If the Eagles will take Coach Clark’s challenge to heart each week, they can be as good as anyone on their schedule.
Look for more on this game on Sunday afternoon in Resident Press along with a preview of the Eagles next game against West Fork. Resident Press will be here all season to bring Eagles fans the latest and most complete coverage of Paris football.
Senior night photos, along with additional game photos taken from the Eagles game with Johnson County Westside can be found later this weekend on Facebook at Paris Eagles Sports.
And from Resident Press, congratulations to all of the Paris seniors who were recognized last night on Senior Night!