If you have been around second-year Head Coach Tyler Clark, you will often hear him address two things, body language and to "respond." Friday night, fans got to see a glimpse of what the future of Eagle football should look like. Paris was host to 4A Waldron Friday night in a game that many expected to be lopsided. Waldron had played Mansfield to the wire a week before, and Mansfield was picked by many to contend for the conference title.
Paris started as they have in each game thus far. Mistakes caused them to lose opportunities and to allow their opponent a more accessible opportunity to score. Waldron took advantage in the opening quarter and took an 8-0 lead. In the second quarter, Paris was backed up and failed to get the ball out of the endzone, allowing Waldron to extend the lead to 10-0 and receive a kick on a short field. Waldron got a 1-yard touchdown on the ground and went for the two-point conversion, opening up an 18-0 lead early in the second period. Paris had to pick themselves up and respond, or the game could get out of hand early.
Blaise Woods decided enough was enough. He pummeled the Waldron defense getting the ball over the line to open the scoring for Paris. The conversion was no good, but Paris had put together a couple of droves on offense and went to the locker room at halftime trailing 18-6.
In the third quarter, Paris took the kickoff and drove the ball with authority. Blaise Woods again punched it in, the two-point conversion failed, but Paris pulled to within a score, trailing 18-12. Waldron put together a drive to extend their lead to 24-12 and again, Clark implored his team to respond. They did just that.
Quarterback Chase Watts punched the ball into the endzone and then retook it himself for the conversion to put Paris within four, trailing 24-20 in the early minutes of the fourth quarter. The Eagle defense was exceptional all evening. They got the ball back and the offense marched methodically down the field. Watts hit Patrick Richardson in the southeast corner of the endzone where they tapped his toe inbound before the defender knocked him out. Watts caught the Waldron defense off guard and pushed the conversion across himself, extending over the goal line. At 28-24, Paris had to make another stand. Richardson jumped up to pull away from a Waldron pass, with just over a minute to go to seal the deal. It was the second interception for the Paris defense, as Alec Highfield picked off a pass in the end zone early to keep Paris in the game.
Blaise Woods had 165 yards on the ground, accounting for two touchdowns and over 6.5 yards per carry. Watts finished with 187 yards through the air and touchdown passing and rushing. Skyler Ellington had nine tackles, including a brutal stop late in the game that broke the will of the Bulldogs offense.
Paris has a week off before traveling to Booneville to open conference play on September 27.