MANSFIELD — With only two starters back on defense and none on offense, the expectations weren’t high in Paris this year. But the Eagles are still unbeaten after opening 3A-4 play with a 26-7 win against Mansfield.
Paris (3-0-1, 1-0) generated little offense in the first half, but overcame a 7-0 deficit at the break by dominating the second half, 26-0. Paris quarterback David Buchanan tossed three touchdown passes and ran in another one for the Eagles.
"We couldn’t get anything going at all in the first half," Paris coach Bryan Hutson said. "I think we had three or four three-and-outs and barely had positive yards at the break. We made a few adjustments and the kids just hung in there and kept playing hard."
Mansfield (2-1-1, 0-1) dominated with its ground game early, putting together a 16-play drive that moved 69 yards and converted on fourth down twice. But Paris held at the 1 on the third fourth-down try.
Mansfield used the good field position to score on a short field on its next possession with Calvin Saygnaphay jumping in from the 3.
Mansfield held that 7-0 lead at the half but the Tigers did not generate anything on the Eagles defense after the break.
In the third quarter, Paris put together a 65-yard drive that tied the score. A 37-yard pass to Kaleb Owens set up 1-yard plunge from Buchanan.
Later in the third, Buchanan hit a short pass to Trenton Moeller, who took it 70 yards on a tightrope down the sideline.
"That broke it open a little bit for us," Hutson said. "We weren’t doing much and we hit a few key passes and that seemed to loosen things up."
Paris put the game away in the fourth with another drive that ended with a 6-yard scoring pass to Devin Ellignburg. Ellingburg had a fumble recovery and a pass interception that killed two Mansfield drives.
"It was a frustrating loss," Mansfield coach Brandon Elmore said. "We just fell apart in the second half. We knew they were going to stack the box to stop our run and we worked on the passing game all week, but we just couldn’t execute it."