Paris was well acquainted with their first opponent after meeting them in the 7-on-7 camp this summer. That day, the Eagles won, but certainly heard the comments being said afterward. They just filed that away and went back to work. Everyone wanted to see this new Eagles lineup after a year in Tyler Clark’s offensive system. This season they are also approaching with a different defensive scheme and adding a ton of freshman to the starting lineup. While others may think that is a recipe for a long season, the Eagles embraced the challenge and took the field with confidence.
Early on, the defense was getting pressure on the senior quarterback from Perryville, but he escaped and hit a couple of deep passes beyond the secondary on broken plays. Paris was down 13-0 early and would have to find out if they could do something the team from a year go could not come from behind to win a game.
In the second quarter, sophomore quarterback Chase Watts hit Blake Martines on a 59 yards deep strike, and the game was on. Blaise Woods pounded the middle of the Perryville defense all evening, along with Tyler Gierke, Nate Henderson, and Skyler Ellington. Blaise Woods got Paris on the board in the 3rd quarter with a 5-yard run, capped with a two-point conversion to take the lead.
The Paris defense kept Perryville on their heels the rest of the night. The secondary covered up receivers while the quarterback looked unsuccessfully downfield. They punished receivers going for the ball and the crowd erupted as Jude Simmons clobbered the quarterback for a 9-yard loss. Paris added another score on the ground and took the 20-13 win on opening night. Watts threw for 242 yards and a score in his varsity premiere. Offensive lineman Adam Chandler was the offensive player of the game, recording 23 pancake blocks in a single game. Ellington and Henderson led the way with nine tackles each on a defense that hit hard and did not surrender any second-half points.
For the Eagles, it was the first win since October 9, 2017. Clark and the Eagles had everything stacked against them when he arrived, including a short roster as a late hire. The young men put in the work in the off-season and the underclassmen have had to grow up fast in the system. The schedule will do Paris no favors this season, but next year Perryville will be a conference game with a rivalry growing. Friday night, the Eagles will travel to 5A Clarksville for a non-conference match-up.