Paris held a much-anticipated pre-season scrimmage Thursday night at Eagle Stadium. Subiaco would be making the trip, along with Johnson County Westside. A year ago, the game was postponed and then moved, eventually played on the turfgrass in Clarksville. This year, the stands were full as fans from the region poured in to see the local rivals who were conference foes for many years.
The night opened with Subiaco taking on Westside. They were the first to put the ball in the end zone, grinding out a long drive. Westside drove inside the Subiaco five hardlines before failing to convert on fourth down and giving the ball back to Subiaco. That would be how the opening session would end, with Subiaco adding one score and holding Westside off of the scoreboard.
Paris took the field against Westside for the second session. Paris held on defense to open and when they got the ball, all eyes were on sophomore quarterback Chase Watts. He is a solid passer and looked good in the spring game. This would be his first varsity snap against another team. Paris took only four plays to go 70 yards, scoring on a pass to Blake Martinez. The next score would come from the defense as Cayden McDaniel picked off the Westside pass and carried in back 35 yards for the score. After the Eagles held again on defense, Watts went to work picking apart the defense. The Eagles only ran a hand full of plays and most out of one offensive set to not show their hand to opposing teams that were scouting the game. It didn’t matter, as Paris moved at will before Watts took a bad snap and picked it up to scamper for the touchdown from around 25 yards out. Tyler Gierke was perfect on three PAT attempts on the evening.
The final session of the evening was to feature the two local teams head to head, as Subiaco waited for their chance with the Eagles. As was the case a year ago, mother nature was not going to let this game happen. What started as a brutally hot and humid night quickly turned into strong winds, pouring rain and cloud to ground lightning. The game was called before either team could muster much offense in the downpour. The MVP of the late game was the Paris student section, who dressed in all white and were the lone people in either set of bleachers when the game was finally called in blinding rain.
Both the teams will both open play Friday night. Subiaco will open at home against Lavaca, while Paris will go on the road to Perryville. The home opener for the Eagles will not be until September 13 when they host Waldron. The key takeaway from the evening may have been more of what happened around the field, as friends and families filled the stadium to see these two face each other. Rivalry is healthy and people want to see these teams playing again during the regular season. There was certainly a feeling of progress being made as both schools enjoyed the full community support.