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Watts electric for high-flying Eagles

Buck Ringgold
bringgold@swtimes.com
Paris quarterback Chase Watts directs players during a game earlier this season.

Chase Watts' first taste of playoff football was indeed quite memorable.

A junior quarterback for Paris, Watts generated more than 400 yards of total offense and accounted for three total touchdowns to help the Eagles win their playoff opener. Paris outlasted Salem, 40-32, in the second round of the 3A playoffs on the Eagles’ home field.

"This was my first playoff game in high school and I have to tell you, it was so hype," Watts, named the Times Record's Athlete of the Week, said. "Everyone was going crazy, the fans were being amazing and everyone was just hyped.

"I loved it, and that was the type of atmosphere that you want in football and it's what you look forward to, so that was kind of nice."

And Watts most certainly did his part in that charged playoff atmosphere.

He had a career-high 219 rushing yards on 27 carries with two touchdowns.

"I didn't even realize I had that many, but that's great, that's cool," Watts said.

"Their defense was playing off, very far and their defensive ends were squeezing where we (normally) run, so we just took advantage of the read option. Then when there was a pass and everyone was covered, I knew I could just extend a play with my legs, so I just did what I could."

Watts also got things done with his arm.

He completed 7-of-12 passes for 186 yards, including a screen pass to Duke Walker who turned it into a 70-yard TD in the second half.

"I was backing up pretty far and once I threw it to Duke, the guy who was about to tackle me said I was lucky," Watts said. "And I was like, 'Well, I'm pretty lucky, too,' and Duke ran down and scored.

"I knew as soon as the ball was in his hands he was going to score."

Watts and the Eagles were able to get things going after falling behind early, 13-0.

"We knew that we had to step it up and we knew we were making little mistakes," Watts said. "So a lot of our players (came through) in the second half and we just did our thing that we've been doing all season."

The win also continued what has been a dream season for the Eagles.

Two seasons ago, they went 0-10. Last season, they won three ballgames before finally breaking through this year with 10 wins, including a postseason win.

"That was a good win for us and our program," Watts said regarding last week’s win. "Our seniors were really happy that they didn't have to go home too early.

"I'm a junior, I know I still have a year left, but I feel like I'm playing for them because I don't want them to go home; they love the game too much."

Paris (10-1) wants to keep it going this Friday as the Eagles are at home again, taking on Greenland in a third-round 3A playoff match-up.