The Paris High School football team had their season-opening against Perryville at home Friday night. It was the first time for the community to see the team under first-year head coach Tyler Clark.
A year ago, Paris could not find a way to stop the Perryville attack, and early on it looked like the pattern would repeat.
Perryville took the opening possession in on a 68-yard pass, and scored again to take a 13-0 lead in the first period.
With the ball again in their hands, Paris got a break as Tyler Gierke blindsided the quarterback, knocking the ball free. Landen Forbis would jump on the loose ball for the first score of the season, putting the game at 13-6.
In the second quarter, the teams exchanged scores, with the Eagles striking from distance on a 42-yard pass from George Poole to Julius Byrd. Paris trailed 20-13 at the half.
In the third, Blaise Woods took the ball through the defense for 9 yards for a score, putting the Eagles down only a point heading to the fourth quarter.
In the fourth, Paris would have numerous opportunities to take the game into their own hands, but each time came up short. Perryville took an interception in for their only score in the second half, but it was enough to secure the 27-19 win for the Mustangs.
The passing game needs work, with numerous errant passes, dropped balls, and missed opportunities. The final passing stats define the game, going 8 of 24 for 94 yards, one touchdown, and 3 interceptions. The air attack never took the pressure off for the run game to succeed, with Woods leading with 57 yards of the team total of 110.
The defense played much better than a year ago, though Perryville did not have the playmaker under center the Eagles faced last year. Perryville had 183 passing yards but found it tough going on the ground, seeing several miscues eat away at their total yardage, totaling 98 yards on 48 attempts. Defensively, Paris was led by Skylar Ellington with 7 tackles and an assist, followed by Woods going both ways, adding 6 tackles and 4 assists. Sophomore Anthony Potts added 6 more tackles and 3 assists.
Paris will take the field again at home this week when they host 5A Clarksville for another non-conference matchup. Clarksville is coming off of a 30-0 loss to Booneville. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Eagles Stadium.