The Paris Eagles entered their final game of the 2018 season Friday night hoping to send the senior class out with a win. It has been a tough year for the Eagles. Mansfield, in contrast, has had a better than projected season, but recently riding a losing streak. Paris would need to play strong in the secondary to contain the passing attack the Tigers would throw their way.
Mansfield put up three long touchdowns in the first quarter, and Paris got a score from the bruising rushing style of Blaise Woods. In the second quarter, Woods again found the end zone, and Paris had opportunities to make it a one-score game, but the defense could not hold, and Mansfield took a 42-13 lead into the locker room at half.
In the second half, Paris moved the ball, and Mansfield kept their starters in, even with the wet conditions and a playoff game waiting next week. Though they padded their overall stats, Mansfield only added seven more points to their total for a 49-13 final. The Eagles finish the season without a win but played with fight till the final horn sounded.
Following the game, first-year Head Coach Tyler Clark encouraged the team, recognizing the leadership of the senior class and all they had come through. “I will never forget this senior class.” were the words that resonated with the players and family members gathered on the field.
Clark was hired very late in the process and was the third coach in three years for the Eagles. He worked to install an offensive system that was drastically different than what had previously been run at Paris. This group of seniors had a different head coach each of their years in the varsity program, a tough task for any group. They worked hard to adapt to change and mentor the underclassmen along the way, showing school spirit and camaraderie along the journey.
Paris has talent moving up, with a talented group of junior high athletes that will see the field as freshmen. Paris should see significant improvement in the future under the leadership of Clark and the athletes that are growing under his tutelage. The team started the year with a motto, “Respond or Pout.” When the lights turned off Friday night, the Eagles responded with all they had. This team did not take the time to pout, though a tough season gave them plenty of opportunities. Even when they knew the outcome was bleak, they chose to respond with their best.