After traveling to 4A Dardanelle last year and facing a lopsided loss, the Eagles were looking to show they could hold their own at home this time.
Dardanelle is big up front and has a lot of depth while also sporting the top kicking prospect in the state. For the Eagles to compete last Friday nigth, they had to limit error and use their speed to their advantage. They could not have found a worse way to open a contest, much less against a larger opponent. The end result was a 49-7 loss that leaves Paris 1-1 this season.
The opening kickoff was fumbled away, and after less than a minute the Sand Lizards had taken the lead. On their first offensive play, another lost fumble gave Dardanelle a quick score, and with just over a minute into the contest, the Eagles trailed 14-0. Dardanelle would add another score on a short field in the first period, and after one-quarter, the Eagles were down 21-0.
The Paris offense never found momentum and Dardanelle drove down the field again. Kris Graham, the starting quarterback who also plays at the defensive back position came up for a pounding blow on the receiver right at the goal line to save the Eagles momentarily from being down four scores.
Dardanelle opened the second quarter with an authoritative drive, putting the goal line stand out of their mind, and a long run and a short drive put them up 28-0 early in the second. Dardanelle then drove down the field, completing a questionable pass to the 3-yard line before punching in for a 35-0 lead. Sloppy play began to ensue at a higher rate, and the Eagles let the Sand Lizards run through multiple tackles to extend the lead to 42-0.
Paris put together their only meaningful drive of the second half when back up quarterback Matthew Ezell led the team down the field, but an interception at the 8-yard line was returned to the 35 where Dardanelle would kneel to end the half.
The second half saw a running clock the entire time. Underclassmen filled in many roles and the Sand Lizards did the same. George Poole punched in a touchdown to open the fourth period, and Dardanelle would tack on one of their own for a 49-7 final.
Defensively, the Eagles were led by Kevin Stafford and Matthew Ezell who each had 9 tackles. Paris gave up 245 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns. Offensively, Paris had no passing yards and 166 on the ground, led by Sophomore Blaise Woods with 72 yards, primarily tough runs between the tackles.
Paris must right the ship before traveling to Hector next week for a game against an opponent they lost to in a questionable manner a year ago. Look for the Eagles to heal up this week and prepare for an improved performance in the upcoming week.