Welcome Back to School
The 2017-18 school year officially kicks off Monday, Aug. 21, with the 8:35 a.m. tardy bell. For more information about first-day procedures, check our daily announcements (link above) or visit our FAQ page. We hope you have a super year.
2017 Football Tickets
Varsity football season tickets can be picked up by 2016 season ticket holders in the Wildcat Stadium athletic office Aug. 7-18. Remaining season tickets will be released to the general public Aug. 21-25. The 2017 PHS schedule has four home varsity games with Homecoming Oct. 20 vs. Princeton. The season opener is Sept. 1 vs. Terrell. Download schedule.
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Wildcat defense swarms to stop a Celina ball carrier in their preseason scrimmage at Wildcat Stadium (Photo by Joe Watson)
The Paris Wildcats held the first of two scheduled preseason football scrimmages Friday night when they hosted state powerhouse Celina for freshmen, JV, and varsity sessions at Wildcat Stadium.
The Cats dominated the early part of the varsity scrimmage, which consisted of 30 offensive snaps by each school. Paris outscored Celina, 3-0, during this part of the controlled scrimmage.
The teams then participated in a timed quarter that included punting but no live rushes and no returns. The Bobcats outscored Paris, 2-0, during the period on a 60-yard run and a 42-yard pass.
The Paris No. 1 offense was impressive in its first 15 plays against the Bobcats’ No. 1 defense. Senior running back Donovan Williams broke free for a 70-yard TD run off right tackle on the sixth play of the night. On the next series, the Cats quickly rediscovered the end zone when a long run by junior James Neal and Kobe Savage to Tray Johnson pass set up a 5-yard Williams scoring run. Savage then connected with a wide-open Montavius McCarty over the middle for a 65-yard TD pass to complete the opening display.
The No. 1 defense then held Celina’s No. 1 offene scoreless during their allotted 15 plays aided by fumble recoveries by middle linebackers Michael Godwin and T.J. Williams along with a quarterback sack and fumble on a pass rush by defensive end Vershaud Richardson.
Celina dominated time of possession during the timed quarter. Although the Cats couldn’t generated any offense during the quarter of play, the defense technically scored on a 20-yard fumble return by sophomore cornerback Jameon Mitchell. Under mutually agreed scrimmage rules, play was whistled dead on turnovers, so the Paris offense took the field at the Celina 20 but the possession went nowhere.
Mitchell also had an interception near the end of the quarter that was negated by offsetting penalties. Celina then scored on a long pass to complete the night.
The Cats have their final scrimmage scheduled for Thursday at Denison. The varsity season opener will be Friday, Sept. 1, when they host Terrell at Wildcat Stadium.
Remaining season tickets go on sale to the general public Aug. 21-25 at the fieldhouse athletic office.
Katy Hall’s kick-save can’t curtail Prairiland’s momentum
Paris High head volleyball coach Britney Humphrey tried everything to kick-start her team in Tuesday’s home opener match vs. county neighbor Prairiland. Ladycats senior libero Katy Hall literally tried to kick-start her teammates with an unusual, but legal, kick-save at the midpoint of Game 3.
Although Hall’s foot-dig (see photo above) kept a rally alive, the Lady Pats eventually won the point, and they went on to sweep the match, 26-24, 25-14, 25-19. The loss drops the Ladycats to 6-3 for the young season. They try to regroup this weekend by participating in the Wills Point Tournament.
It was a lackluster and disappointing loss for the Ladycats, who were coming off a 5-1 showing at the Van Tournament last weekend which earned them the consolation championship of the Gold Bracket. Paris won its pool with a perfect 3-0 record against Marshall, Arp, and Gladewater on Friday. The Ladycats lost their first match Saturday against host Van before rebounding with wins over Brownsboro and John Tyler.
The Ladycats looked primed to continue that success in Tuesday’s match in the Wlidcat Gym as they rolled to a 7-0 start in Game 1 before a double-hit error. The Lady Pats took advantage of the sideout to steady the ship and climb back into a 15-all tie. Paris held a game point at 24-23 following a Peaches Jackson winner, but an errant kill shot produced the final tie at 24-24. A Caitlyn Fosse spike and Audrey Gray ace closed out the first game for the Lady Pats.
Prairiland broke away from a 10-10 tie in Game 2 to steamroll to a 2-0 match lead behind kills from Gray, T. J. Fosse, and Brook Tuck plus a service ace by libero Kayla Spray. A crosscourt spike from diminuitive hitter Trynity Chapman ended the game as Humphrey huddled with her team in the hallway to try to shake their malaise.
Grace Woodby gets a crosscourt spike over the block of Caitlyn Fosse (Photo by Joe Watson)
Instead, the visitors continued to hold the upper hand as the third game got underway. A Grace Woodby spike found the far line and pushed Paris in front, 7-6. Then came the kick-save by Hall, also a standout on the soccer field. It seemed to energize the Paris crowd and the Ladycats. Zanesha Dangerfield earned a point with a kill shot off a block, and Deagan Dingman got a well-placed kill to regain the lead at 12-11.
When an unforced error made the score 13-11 in Paris’ favor, the Lady Pats called a timeout. They emerged from the break in play with a 4-0 run aided by kills from T. J. Fosse and Madison Clark plus another Spray ace. They had 7 match points, and while Paris fought off 2 of those match clinchers, T. J. Fosse provided the final point.
Paris won the schools’ JV match in a 2-0 sweep.
The Paris Ladycats opened the 2017 varsity volleyball season by splitting double-dual matches Tuesday at Mount Pleasant. They easily dispatched Maud, 25-11, 25-13, 25-5, but fell to their Class 5A hosts, 25-21, 23-25, 23-25, 18-25.
Senior libero Katy Hall notched a combined 49 digs, while senior setter Deagan Dingman collected 39 total assists. Junior Peaches Jackson was credited with 11 kills in the win vs. Maud, while sophomore Grace Woodby had 8 kills vs. Mount Pleasant.
Paris participates in the Van Tournament starting Thursday, then returns to the Wildcat Gym for the home opener Tuesday against Prairiland.
Paris High students earned 3 gold and 8 silver medals for their performances at the UIL Choir State Solo & Ensemble Contest over the Memorial Day weekend in Pfugerville.
A total of 19 PHS choir students had qualified for the state contest.
Seniors Tieren Gates and Deja Sikes along with junior Molly Law received superior ratings on their solos to earn gold medal awards.
Earning silver medals for excellent ratings on solos were seniors Tierra Ellis and Malcolm McCarty; juniors Javian Dabbs, Jake Freelen, and AveriMcFadden; and sophomores Akeirria Garvin, Rino Moore, and Nicholas Reed.
Freshman pitcher Saya Swain was selected as Newcomer of the Year by District 14-4A softball coaches, while eight teammates were chosen to the All-District Second Team.
Swain was a big reason for the Paris Ladycats’ competitive resurgence in 2017. Paris broke a 50-game district losing streak that dated back to 2012. The Ladycats were eliminated from the postseason by a 1-0, extra-inning loss in the season finale.
Named to the All-District Second Team were sophomore catcher Taylor Looney, junior first baseman Kammie Franklin, freshman second baseman Taylor White, senior shortstop Makayla Brown, sophomore third baseman Akerria Garvin, senior outfielder Codi Clark, junior outfielder Alexis Muse, and sophomore utility player Evelyn Brown.
The Paris Wildcats and Gilmer Buckeyes Area Round baseball playoff was delayed 42 hours due to heavy rains that rolled through East Texas this week. Once first pitch finally arrived Saturday afternoon at Northeast Texas Community College Eagle Field, it took just 92 minutes to end the Cats’ 2017 season.
In a fast-paced and error-free pitchers’ duel, the Buckeyes (16-14) advanced to next week’s Region 2-4A quarterfinal against Kilgore with a 1-0 victory that sealed the Paris season at 19-12.
Paris shortstop Zach Norris lands on his back after snaring a first-inning blooper while avoiding a collision with teammates X’Tavous Young (hands up) and Corey Allen
The game was eerily reminiscent of last week’s 2-0 win by Brownsboro in Game 1 of the bi-district series where the Bears’ only hit off Cats’ senior pitcher Phillip Sikes drove in the winning runs. This time Sikes surrendered just 4 hits to Gilmer, but the Buckeyes bunched 2 of them in the third inning to eke out the game’s only tally.
The winning rally started with a 2-out infield single by leadoff hitter Jayden Hall. Sikes struck out 11 batters in the game, but his inability to control his curveball proved his undoing. One curve broke into the dirt one foot in front and wide of the plate and bounced past catcher Zach Nation allowing Hall to advance to second base. Sikes then hung a curve ball that Jeremy Kelly blooped off the end of his bat into shallow right-centerfield to drive Hall home.
It was all the run support that Gilmer pitcher Nathan Mize needed. The lefthander allowed just 2 hits (a single by Corey Allen in the second and a bloop single by Chandler Aynes in the fourth), while striking out 5 and walking 2.
A double-play grounder ended the Cats’ second inning. In the fourth, Paris managed to combine Aynes’ hit with a walk to Sikes and a double steal to advance runners to second and third with just 1 out. But Mize fielded a bouncer to the mound to prevent the Cats from scoring and a flyout ended the threat.
The only Paris batter to reach base in the final three innings (on a walk) was eliminated by a Mize pickoff move to first.
Paris had similar lack of success in the bi-district series opener against Brownsboro lefty Jake Conner, but the Cats were able to overcome the loss by sweeping Games 2 and 3 of that series. Heavy rains this week forced cancellation of scheduled Thursday and Friday playoff action which reduced the area round to a single winner-take-all game.
Paris did manage a defensive gem when shortstop Zach Norris snared a first-inning blooper while tumbling backwards and avoiding a collision with outfielders X’Tavous Young and Allen (see picture above).
It was the final game of their careers for seniors Sikes, Aynes, Young, and Allen.
2017 Class 4A Bi-District Champion Paris Wildcats
On the brink of playoff elimination, the Paris Wildcats rediscovered their early-season mojo which had catapulted a young team with 6 new starters to a pair of tournament titles and a No. 20 state ranking. Relying on shutdown pitching and scoring runs by any means necessary, the Cats rebounded from a 2-0 series opening loss at Brownsboro Friday to maul the Bears in a Saturday doubleheader at Chisum, 10-1 and 14-2.
Paris (19-11) won the Class 4A bi-district series, 2 games to 1, and advances to this week’s Area Round against the Gilmer Buckeyes (15-14). Due to heavy rains on Thursday that forced cancellation of a scheduled doubleheader on Friday, it becomes a one-game, winner-take-all playoff on Saturday, 1 p.m., at Northeast Texas Community College (Mount Pleasant).
The Cats and Buckeyes are familiar playoff foes. Paris swept last season’s bi-district round against Gilmer in a pair of shutouts. Gilmer won an area round matchup in 2013, 2 games to 1, and Paris won a 2012 bi-district series, 2-1. The Buckeyes beat the Cats, 3-2, this season in a pre-district game at PJC’s Hub Hollis Field.
Brownsboro, the District 13 runnerup which ends its season at 14-15, won a bonafide pitchers’ duel on Friday as lanky lefthander Jake Conner shut down the Paris bats on a 2-hitter. Conner allowed a 2-out double in the first inning to pitching rival Phillip Sikes, an infield single to X’Tavous Young in the sixth, and 2-out, back-to-back walks to Zach Norris and Daniel Blackmon in the fourth. Otherwise, he was flawless, striking out 11 Wildcats.
Sikes (6-4) was the hard-luck loser. He struck out 13, walked 4, and hit a batter. The only hit he surrendered was the ultimate game-winner, a 2-out single by Braydon Ballard in the hole between shortstop and third in the fourth inning to drive home both Bear runs.
The inning started with a brilliant diving catch by rightfielder Walker Preston on a sinking liner. The next two Bears reached base on a hit by pitch and a walk. Ironically, Sikes might have escaped the damage except for a foul popup that was lost in the lights and gave the Brownsboro walker a second life. Sikes followed with a strikeout that should have ended the inning before Ballard stepped to the plate.
It was a tough loss for the Cats, but they immediately went to work preparing for a long afternoon on a sunny Saturday on Chisum’s artificial turf field. Paris coach Bill Sikes had all of his remaining pitchers participate in bullpen work before boarding the bus home in case they were needed the following day.
Baseball karma had suddenly changed uniforms. The first sign came in the second inning of Game 2 when the Cats scored their first run on an infield popup off the bat of Young that was lost in the sun. As an infielder lunged at the last second, the ball bounced 3 feet beyond his glove and allowed Preston to motor home from second base.
Karma continued its onslaught in the Paris third when the Cats scored two more runs on infield singles by sophomores Daniel Blackmon and Walker to extend the lead to 3-0.
Meanwhile, junior Zach Norris (7-1), who pitched the Cats into the playoffs with a clutch win in the regular season finale at Pittsburg, was sailing along until 3 straight infield errors in the fourth produced a Bear run. A double then put the tying runners in scoring position with just 1 out. Norris ended the theat with back-to-back strikeouts.
The Paris bats went back on the offensive with a 7-run outburst in the bottom of the fourth that put the game away. Freshman catcher Zach Nation led off the frame with a single and he ended the scoring spree with a 3-run double down the leftfield line. Corey Allen and Blackmon also had RBI in the inning, and the other 2 runs scored on an error.
Brownsboro starter Bryce Smith had reached his pitch limit and left the game as Ballard came on in relief. While the Cats couldn’t push across another run to force the 10-run rule to end the game prematurely, Sikes had the luxury to pull Norris off the mound and save his remaining 35 allowed pitches for Game 3, if needed.
Norris gave up just the 1 hit and 1 run while walking 2 and striking out 7. Blackmon pitched 2 innings and Chandler Aynes got the final 3 outs. Both Blackmon and Aynes gave up 1 hit each with pairs of strikeouts.
Senior lefthander Corey Allen (left) closes out the bi-district series by pitching Paris to a Game 3 win
Sikes sent Allen (4-1) to the mound to start Game 3. The senior had impressive wins over a pair of state-ranked teams in Godley and Farmersville along with a victory over playoff-bound Henderson, but he hadn’t seen regular duty since district began and was shaking off the effects of a week-long illness.
Still, he limited the Bears to just 2 runs and 5 hits while walking 1 and striking out 3. The game ended after 5 innings due to the 10-run rule.
Paris jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third on a 2-out single by Young followed by RBI triples by Sikes and Allen that sandwiched a Brownsboro error. It was obvious that the Bears had exhausted their pitching in the Paris fourth when the Cats sent 15 players to the plate, scoring 9 and leaving the bases loaded.
The Bears contributed 3 errors to the Paris cause, while Walker had an RBI single and Norris had a 2-run single. Paris also got RBI walks from Sikes, sophomore Jack Davison, and Walker plus an RBI hit-by-pitch by Aynes.
The final 2 Paris runs came in the fifth inning on a 2-out double down the leftfield line by pinch-hitter Canyon Parker making his first varsity plate appearance.
Afterwards, an elated Paris coach Sikes was thrilled with his team’s comeback effort.
“Who would have believed this bunch could be bi-district champions?” he said. “This is fun. Let’s keep this going.”
Paris High continues to receive recognition as a top performing public high school. PHS recently was named a Silver Award winner in the U.S. News’ Best High Schools study.
The magazine ranked high schools throughout the nation based on four criteria: student performance compared to state averages, performances by disadvantaged students, graduation rates, and college readiness.
PHS was ranked 194 among all Texas high schools (including magnet and college preparatory schools) and No. 2,287 nationally. The top 500 schools nationally (top 2.4%) in the rankings received Gold Awards, while the next 10.3% received Silver Awards, and the next 16.8% were awarded Bronze Awards. Approximately 70% of all schools were unranked.
Among Texas high schools, 17 received Gold Awards and 118 received Silver. PHS was the only high school in Region 8 (northeast Texas) to receive a Gold or Silver Award. For more information on the rankings visit the U.S. News website.
Last fall, Paris High was the only high school in Region 8 to earn a perfect 7 of a possible 7 distinctions on 2016 campus accountability ratings by the Texas Education Agency.
PHS was 1 of 77 high schools statewide to gather a perfect 7 of 7 distinctions, which places the school in the top 6% of high school campuses statewide. Also, 38 of those 77 high schools are either magnet or early college high schools, which further distinguishes PHS as 1 of 39 traditional public high schools in Texas to achieve the feat.
The Paris Wildcats (18-10) face the Brownsboro Bears (13-13) in a best-of-3, bi-district baseball series. The Cats finished third in District 14-4A, while the Bears were runnersup in District 13.
Game 1 is scheduled for Friday, May 5, at Brownsboro’s home field, located south of the high school campus off Texas Highway 31 and behind Brownsboro Intermediate School. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.
Game 2 will be Saturday, 1 p.m., at Chisum High School’s new artificial turf field. Game 3, if necessary, will follow completion of Game 2.
The winner advances to the Area Round vs. the winner of the Carthage vs. Gilmer first round series.
by Amy Burrows
PHS Theater Teacher
Help the Paris High Theater Department earn funds for next year’s musical by solving a totally radical ‘80s Murder Mystery!
You’re invited to participate in our ‘80s Murder Mystery Dinner Theater on Thursday, May 18, 6:30 p.m., in the PHS cafeteria. The cost is $10 for students and $15 for adults.
Feel free to dress in ‘80s attire or come as you are! There will be plenty of ‘80s accessories for you to wear and plenty of ‘80s music.
Enjoy a spaghetti supper while listening to our talented students perform musical numbers and then the murder mystery fun begins. There will be prizes for best detective’s table and best costumes. You may even find you are the murder victim!
Contact email@example.com to reserve your seat or table or purchase your tickes from any PHS theater student. Reservations must be made by Monday, May 8.
These 74 Paris High seniors were named as Texas Scholars and recognized by the Lamar County Coalition of Education, Business, and Industry during a recent luncheon. Students were honored for completing a more rigorous schedule of courses and receiving high academic marks.
The list includes Corey Allen, Sonia Azcue, Megan Barton, Rashad Black, Brandon Cade Blackmon, Claire Brown, Grace Brown, Makayla Brown, Samuel Cannon, Codi Clark, Mollie Clement, Benton Cobb, Matthew Cochran, Mitchell Cole, Jessica Driggers, Alexandra Duncan, Tierra Ellis, Jacob Ensey,
Also, Ashlyn Fleming, Kelsey Frazier, William Gaffney, Tieren Gates, Keyton Gilbert, Alexandra Gottshalk, Dixon Grossnickle, Keith Hall, Lindi Hamner, Muchien Hang, Colin Harris, Samuel Hawkes, Brendan Henry, Kyson Hogue, Seth Hudgins, Bonnie Jackson, Dalton Kee, Jorden Kimble, Zachery Lamb, Destiny Lambert, Angelica Lopez, Ana Luna, Tazmia Mason, Josephina Mata, MaKayla McCullen, Adryan McGuire, Anahdian Mitchell, Brakeisha Mitchell, Alexis Morrison, Austin Jack Nichols, Joshua Nieto.
Also, Dextiny Patrick, Daylon Patterson, Dakoata Payne, Raden Phillips, Anthony Pierotti, Alexis Pitcock, Ashley Rodriguez, Harlen Rodriguez, Elayah Runnels, Maria Sanchez, Chelsea Savage, Brekeil Simmons, Jaylen Smith, Kelcey Smith, Isaiah Snowton, Haley Spradlin, Jacob Stripland, Soyla Torres, Nicholas Vasilakopoulos, Kiersten Ward, Arleigh White, Shelby Wilson, Malaree Wise, Sharvionna Yates, and Rachel Young.
Freshman Tatiana Washington finished fifth in the girls’ 200 meters, and sophomore Kobe Savage placed sixth in the boys’ 300 meter hurdles Saturday at the Region 2-4A Track and Field Championships at Texas A&M-Commerce.
Savage had a shot at finishing on the medal stand. He was in third place down the home stretch until he clipped a hurdle.
Dallas Carter won both boys and girls team divisions.
Paris High qualified 1 relay and 3 individuals for Saturday’s running finals at the Region 2-4A Track and Field Championships at Texas A&M-Commerce. Running prelims were held Friday afternoon. Finals have been moved up to a 9:30 a.m. start to avoid expected storms in the area later Saturday.
The Ladycats’ 4x200 meter relay team of Courtasia Dowdy, Cap Johnson, Amagane Hamilton, and Tatiana Washington posted its season-best time of 1:44.76 to qualify seventh in that event.
Individual qualifers were Montavius Mccarty in the boys 100 meters (8th), Kobe Savage in the boys 300 meter hurdles (8th), and Washington in the girls 200 meter dash (5th).
Zach Norris gets his eighth strikeout to finish off the Pirates, 5-1, and send the Cats into the postseason
There’s no place like home, except, perhaps, for that place that makes you feel at home.
It proved to be a perfect elixir for the Paris Wildcats Tuesday as they faced a must-win situation in their District 14-4A finale at Pittsburg’s venerable baseball stadium, a covered bandshell design that harkens memories of the mid-1900s when minor league baseball flourished throughout rural east Texas.
“We always seem to play well here,” an ecstatic Paris coach Bill Sikes said following his team’s 5-1 playoff-clinching win over the Pirates. “The boys were fired up about playing on this field. They love this place, and I do, too.”
The Cats, 18-10 overall, clinched the district’s No. 3 playoff seed with the win. They finished district at an even 5-5 behind Pleasant Grove (9-1) and North Lamar (6-4). Pittsburg and Atlanta are tied at 4-6 for the fourth and final playoff berth and will have a play-in game to break the tie.
In a side note, Liberty-Eylau finished at 2-8 but had an encouraging sight in their season finale Tuesday. Darian Walker, the centerfielder who was badly injured with a broken rib and collapsed lung following a collision in the outfield with a teammate in Friday’s loss to Paris, was released from the hospital in time to make an appearance at L-E’s Senior Night activities.
The game was an exact polar opposite of Pitt’s 2-1 win over the Cats three weeks ago when seven Paris errors fueled enough offense by the Pirates to overcome a no-hitter tossed by Phillip Sikes. The Pirate defense was flawless in that game.
This time the Pitt defense betrayed them, coupled with some timely Paris hitting and aggressive base running. Junior Zach Norris (6-1) wasn’t perfect, but he scattered 6 Pirate hits, walked no one, and struck out 8 batters to get the win. The Paris defense produced just 1 error that proved harmless.
The same couldn’t be said for Pitt. Paris scored its first run in the second without benefit of a hit. Jack Davidson walked and advanced to second on Daniel Blackmon’s sacrifice bunt. He raced home on Zach Nation’s 2-out grounder that was misplayed by an infielder. The same infielder took the cutoff throw from the outfield or Davidson might have been tagged out at the plate.
The Cats expanded their lead to 3-0 in the third with the help of two Pirate errors. X’Tavous Young reached on a bouncer beyond the second-base bag that was fielded cleanly, but the infielder rushed his throw wide of first base. Young then swiped second and ended up at third when the catcher’s throw sailed into centerfielder because no one was covering the bag.
Sikes, who led the Paris offense with 3 hits in the game, delivered a solid single to drive home Young. A chopper by Norris on a hit-and-run play advanced Sikes to third, and he scored on Davidson’s shallow fly just 5 feet beyond the infield dirt when the outfielder hesitated then double-clutched his throw to the plate.
Pitt scored its only run in the fourth on a two singles and a stolen base, but a pair of groundouts to Blackmon at third along with good scoop catches by first baseman Chandler Aynes got the Cats out of the inning still holding a 3-1 lead.
Paris extended the lead to 5-1 with 2 more runs in the fifth. With 1 out, Young walked and Sikes was hit by a pitch. Norris followed with an RBI single that the leftfielder dove but missed. Sikes then scored the final run on Corey Allen’s groundout to the right side of the infield.
The Pirates had one more opportunity to score against Norris and the Cats in the sixth when they notched two more hits. The freshman catcher Nation got a fortuitous return bounce off the wall on a wild pitch and caught a Pirate trying to steal second. Two more infield groundouts to Blackmon and Davidson closed off the rally.
The Paris High Social Studies entry placed first in team competition at the recent Region 2-4A UIL Spring Meet held at Texas A&M-Commerce. They advanced to the state meet where they finished fifth. Members are (from left) sponsor Tracey Roden, Matt Cochran, Alexis Muse, and (front) Rachel Young. Muse placed second among individual entries.
Wildcats baseball team shares a somber moment after an injured Leopard is treated by paramedics following an outfield collision
Before the District 14-4A baseball season began, Paris coach Bill Sikes figured that four wins might be enough to make the playoffs in what looked to be a very competitive race.
Four district wins, for Paris, won’t be enough. The Wildcats will need to add a fifth win Tuesday to ensure that their regular season finale at Pittsburg won’t close the curtain on the 2017 season.
The Cats shut out Liberty-Eylau, 4-0, Friday in a game moved to Chisum’s new turf field after recent rains made their Hub Hollis home field unplayable. The win raised Paris’ season record to 16-10 and ties the Cats with Atlanta and Pittsburg for third place with 4-5 district marks.
Pleasant Grove (8-1) dropped its first district game Friday to North Lamar (5-4), which clinched one of the district’s four playoff berths. Paris still controls its own playoff destiny, but the Cats must win at Pitt on Tuesday or stow their gear away for another season.
Paris turned to senior ace Phillip Sikes Friday to stop a two-game losing skid. Sikes gave up a leadoff hit to L-E catcher Triston Brooks to start the game, and an errant pickoff throw had a Leopard on third base with no outs in the first.
He then struck out the side to keep L-E off the scoreboard and proceeded to retire 15 straight Leopards before a walk and a single ended the streak in the top of the sixth inning. A Sikes strikeout and grounder to shortstop Zach Norris, who turned a double play, ended that threat.
With Sikes approaching his pitch count limit, his uncle-coach sent sophomore Daniel Blackmon to the mound to protect the 4-0 lead in the seventh. Blackmon hit a batter and gave up a single, so Sikes was brought back to pitch and save the win.
“Phil had about 7 or 8 pitches left (on his mandatory pitch count limit),” the Paris coach said. “Luckily he got the first two outs real quick.”
Sikes (6-3) struck out the first batter he faced on 4 pitches and got a 1-pitch popup for the second out. He finished the game with his 11th strikeout.
It was the seventh straight loss for the snakebit Leopards, who won their first two district games. Leopard starting pitcher Rory Baugus allowed 9 Paris hits including a 3-run, inside-the-park home run by Norris in the third.
The two-out rally started on an infield single by X’Tavous Young. Sikes was then intentionally walked to bring Norris to bat.
Norris, who was 3-for-3 at the plate, sent a sinking drive into left-centerfield. There was a violent collision by two Leopard outfielders converging on the ball. One outfielder collapsed to the turf, the other flipped and landed on his back. By the time he recovered, retrieved the ball that had rolled to the fence, and threw to his cutoff, both runners had scored and Norris joined them by beating the relay throw to the plate.
The game was stopped for 30 minutes while officials tended to the injured player and paramedics were called to render aid. The player’s mother was in attendance and accompanied her son to the hospital.
The emotional scene cast a pall on the remainder of the game.
Paris was able to add a run in the fifth, with Sikes and Norris again at the epicenter of the offense. Sikes opened with a leadoff single and moved to third on a well-executed hit-and-run single by Norris. Baugus then got a strikeout on a dropped third strike. Norris attempted a delayed steal and was caught in a rundown but not before allowing Sikes to race home to score the run.
Paris High qualified 4 relays and 7 individuals for the Region 2-4A Track and Field Championships Thursday at the Area 13-14 track meet in Atlanta. The top 4 finishers in each event advance to regionals which will be April 28-29 at Texas A&M-Commerce.
District 14 champion Atlanta easily won the varsity boys divisions at the area meet, but Liberty-Eylau edged the Atlanta girls by a half-point. Paris finished 6th in both divisions.
Junior Montavius McCarty (pictured left) posted the top Paris finish with a second place in the varsity boys 100-meter dash. McCarty also ran legs on both Wildcat sprint relays that finished third in the 4x100 and 4x200 meter relays.
Paris results (regional qualifiers in italics):
To paraphrase the comedian W. C. Fields, “First prize is a school bus trip to Atlanta, TX . . . second prize is school bus trips on consecutive nights to Atlanta, TX.”
Nothing derogatory meant to the lovely town of Atlanta nestled deep in the East Texas piney woods, but the drive from Paris is circuitous and desolate. Native Atlantans feel likewise when they have to make the trek to Paris.
The Paris Wildcats baseball team had to make round trips on back-to-back school nights after Tuesday’s regularly scheduled District 14-4A game was rained out by a thunderstorm which popped up a hour prior to first pitch. When they returned on Wednesday, the result was one of the Cats’ worst outings of the season as they fell to the Rabbits, 7-1.
Whether the extra travel time extracted a price on their performance is debatable, but it certainly didn’t help, plus the result leaves Paris on the brink of postseason elimination. Pleasant Grove is the district champion at 8-0, while Atlanta and North Lamar share second with 4-4 records, and Paris and Pittsburg are tied for the fourth and final playoff berth at 3-5.
The Cats try to regroup on Friday by hosting Liberty-Eylau (2-6). That game has been moved to Chisum’s new turf field and will begin at 4 p.m. to avoid storms which are forecast for northeast Texas. Senior Night ceremonies are scheduled afterwards.
The game started well for Paris, which took a 1-0 first-inning lead on a 2-out Corey Allen RBI single to right. It brought home pinch-runner Javian Dabbs, who had stolen second base after Zach Nation’s single.
The Cats had scoring opportunities against Rabbit pitcher Jake Thompson in the second and third innings, but pop-ups ended those threats.
“We had our chances early in the game,” Paris coach Bill Sikes said, “but after the third inning (Thompson) was nearly un-hittable.”
The same couldn’t be said for Cats’ starter Phillip Sikes (5-3). He walked the Atlanta leadoff hitter in the first on 4 pitches, then gave up a double. He escaped that jam with back-to-back strikeouts and a flyout, but surrendered the lead in the second when Atlanta scored twice.
It started with a line drive screamer off an infielder’s glove then an RBI double by Thompson that skipped past an outfielder to the wall. A Kade Wood single to right drove in the second run to give Atlanta the lead for good at 2-1.
Coach Sikes sent Zach Norris to the mound to start the third inning.
“Something wasn’t right with Phillip,” he said, “so we went to Zach to try to keep us in the game.”
The strategy worked for a couple of innings before Norris lost control in the fifth. He hit the first two batters in the inning before an errant pickoff throw and wild pitch added to the Atlanta lead, 3-1.
After a walk and single to start the Rabbit sixth, Sikes made another pitching change and brought in the lefty Allen. The Rabbs tacked on 4 more runs before a fourth pitching change (to Daniel Blackmon) and double play ended the nightmare. The big blow came on a 2-run double into the rightfield corner by Jose Arrendondo.
Meanwhile, Thompson limited the Paris offense to a pair of infield singles over the final 4 innings. Centerfielder X-Tavious Young had one of those singles along with a solid shot up the middle in the second.
“We’ve got to beat L-E,” said Sikes, whose team is 15-10 and trying to avoid a season-high 3-game losing skid.
Victoria Bergt’s 8th-inning bunt brings home the winning run for Atlanta and closes the door on Paris’ postseason dreams
Before the 2017 season began, few District 14-4A softball fans and coaches would have thought it possible for the Paris Ladycats to take any postseason dreams into their final game. The Ladycats had been the perennial district doormat and hadn’t won a league game since 2012.
But not only did Paris make the long journey to Atlanta Wednesday with a chance to tie the Lady Rabbits for the fourth and final playoff berth, the Ladycats extended Atlanta an extra inning before coming up on the short end of a 1-0 score.
The Ladycats, who broke a 50-game district winless streak this season, finish with a 2-8 district mark while Atlanta is the district’s No. 4 playoff seed at 4-6.
The game was a scoreless duel between Atlanta’s Kadee Kelly and Paris freshman Saya Swain until the Lady Rabbs switched strategies in the extra frame. Swain, a strong contender for district newcomer of the year, mowed down 16 Lady Rabbs on strikeouts in the game, so Atlanta tried to bunt its way around the bases.
It started, innocently enough, with a leadoff bunt that popped up and over the pitcher’s circle for an infield single. Two outs later, Victoria Bergt dropped a bunt 10 feet down the third-base line that third baseman Akierria Garvin fielded cleanly, but her throw to first couldn’t catch the speedy left-handed batter.
Gracie Smith scored from third on the play. The dream was over.
Three eighth-inning bunts were the only hits Atlanta managed off the hard-throwing freshman. The Lady Rabbs advanced runners to second and/or third base via walks or errors in the first and third innings, but Swain escaped damage with strikeouts each time.
The Ladycats managed 4 hits for the night. Kammie Franklin had an infield single in the second, and Alexis Muse ripped a 2-out double in the fourth but was thrown out trying to advance to third on the play.
The Ladycats’ best opportunity to score came in the third when they loaded the bases with 2 outs on singles by Taylor Looney and Garvin around a walk issued to Swain. Codi Clark blooped a potential Texas Leaguer over second that the Atlanta centerfielder ran down.
“I couldn’t believe she got to that ball,” Clark said. “She made a great play.”
Clark, along with shortstop MiKayla Brown, were the only two seniors on an otherwise young Paris team.
“I thanked the team afterwards for the season we had,” Clark added. “I’ve seen so many girls quit because they were tired of getting beat 20 to nothing every game. It was great to be a part of a program that’s on the rise.”
The Ladycats’ head coach this season was Kara Crawford, the former North Lamar catcher.
Corey Allen drives a triple down the first base line to score the Cats’ second run against NL
Paris High baseball coach Bill Sikes turned riverboat gambler Wednesday when he threw down his two aces in an attempt to win a key hand in the District 14-4A baseball stakes.
It proved a winning strategy as the Wildcats held on for a 4-2 win over North Lamar and a sweep of their season series in a game moved to Chisum High’s new artificial turf field due to rain earlier in the week. However, the go-for-broke strategy left him with a short hand for Friday’s home game against 4th-ranked Pleasant Grove, as the Hawks flew in and out of town with an 11-0 win shortened to 6 innings by the run-rule.
While PG (7-0) is just one victory away from clinching another district title, Paris (3-4) remains in the thick of a 5-team rumble for the three remaining district playoff berths. NL (4-3) survived a marathon, 9-8 battle with Atlanta (3-4) to move into the second spot. Pittsburg and Liberty-Eylau are both 2-5 but still very much alive for the postseason battle.
Paris and Pitt each hold a trump card: They both have PG in their rear-view mirrors, while the other three playoff contenders still have a date with the Hawks on their schedules.
The Cats started junior righthander Zach Norris (5-1) against their crosstown rivals on Wednesday. They staked Norris to a 3-0 lead after three innings before the Panthers began chipping away.
When NL trimmed the deficit to 3-2 with 2 outs in the fifth, Sikes summoned his nephew Phillip to the mound to hold the lead. The senior righthander hit a batter with his first pitch, then chalked up his first strikeout to end the inning.
Paris added an insurance run in the seventh that was welcome, but not needed. Sikes, the winning pitching in the Cats’ 9-0 victory over NL in the district opener, closed out the victory with 6 strikeouts in the final 7 outs. His mastery over the Panthers this season now reads 9.1 innings pitched, 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks, 1 hit batter, and 25 strikeouts. That’s 25 strikeouts in 28 outs.
Sikes also played a pivotal role with his bat. He was moved up to the leadoff position in the batting order to boost a suddenly anemic offense that has produced just 2 runs in the Cats’ 4 district losses.
The move paid dividends agains the Panthers. Sikes took a 4-pitch walk to open the game, stole second, moved to third on a Zach Nation sacrifice bunt, and scored the first run on Norris’ RBI grounder.
Norris was safe at first on an errant throw. He also stole second and came home on Corey Allen’s triple down the first base line. Although Allen was stranded when Panther starter Zeke Wood responded with consecutive strikeouts, Paris had taken a 2-0 lead.
Wood silenced the Cats’ bats with 5 straight Ks until Sikes came back to the plate in the third. He was hit by a pitch, stole second and third base, and came home when the throw to third skipped into the outfield.
Norris lost command of the strike zone in the bottom of the fourth protecting a 3-0 lead. After 3 walks, he hit Sam Cowling with a pitch on a 3-2 pitch to force in the Panthers’ first run and make it a 3-1 game. A groundout to Norris ended the threat with the bases loaded.
With 2 outs in the NL fifth, Wood reached on an infield single, stole second, and was driven home by a Tyler Biard RBI single to left. That brought the pitching change, and Sikes took care of the rest by getting the final 7 outs plus driving in the last Paris run on an RBI single in the seventh.
“I liked the way we started out the game and the way we ended the game,” coach Sikes said of the restructured batting order, “but not so much the middle.”
Wood and reliever Jake Roberts held 10 straight Paris batters without a hit until Daniel Blackmon’s 2-out infield single in the sixth.
“It was a win,” the Paris coach said afterwards, “and wins aren’t easy to come by in this district.”
Unless you’re PG, that is.
Friday’s outing at Hub Hollis Field was expected to be a marquee matchup of the district’s top two senior pitchers, but with Sikes making an extended outing to close out the NL win, Paris turned to lefthander Corey Allen to face the Hawks’ All-State pitcher Caleb Bolden.
Allen notched tournament wins earlier this season over a pair of state-ranked opponents: Godley and Farmersville, but the potent PG offense jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first on a sacrifice fly and added 2 more runs in the second on a Texas League bloop single.
Two more bloop singles set the plate for a 3-run outburst in the fourth that gave PG a comfortable 6-0 advantage.
Sophomore Daniel Blackmon saw his first action on the mound since March 14 when he pitched the last 2 innings. The Hawks scored twice in the fifth and 3 more in the sixth.
The Paris defense committed a pair of errors in the sixth but also notched 2 double plays in the game. The Cats’ offense could get nothing going against Bolden, who struck out 8 while walking none and limiting Paris to 4 hits.
The season comes down to three more games starting with the long road trip Tuesday to Atlanta, which beat Paris, 6-1, two weeks ago.
Taylor Looney drives in Ladycats’ first run with a single to rightfield
Few could have predicted that the Paris Ladycats softball team would be facing a regular season finale with postseason implications, but that’s exactly what the 2017 season comes down to Tuesday when the Ladycats journey to Atlanta to face the Lady Rabbits.
Just 17 days ago, Paris shocked the District 14-4A softball universe by beating Pleasant Grove, 6-0, to put to rest a 50-game district losing streak that stretched back to 2012. Friday night, lightning struck again as the Ladycats swept their series against the Lady Hawks with a 7-6 victory on Senior Night. It was the first home win in the careers of seniors Makayla Brown and Codi Clark.
The win leaves Paris (2-7) one game behind Atlanta (3-6) for the fourth and final district playoff berth. An upset Tuesday at Atlanta could force a tiebreaker game.
The Ladycats, 6-14 overall, fell behind, 0-2, before an RBI single by Taylor Looney trimmed the lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the second. Paris exploded for 5 runs in the fourth keyed by a bases-loaded triple from Clark to take a 6-2 advantage.
PG battled back to tie the game, 6-6, before a 2-out rally in the sixth regained the lead for the Ladycats. Freshman Taylor White was hit by a pitch, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a double by Kami Franklin.
Freshman Saya Swain made the 7-6 lead hold up with her 15th strikeout to end the game. She allowed 8 hits, walked 3, and hit a batter.
Members of the Wildcats’ JV track and field district champions
The lead paragraph in the Texarkana Gazette on last week’s District 14-4A Track and Field Championships read, simply: “It was Atlanta’s night.”
The Atlanta Rabbits, perennial track powerhouse, easily won the varsity boys division and were helped by a false start by chief rival Liberty-Eylau to eke out a team championship in varsity girls. But tomorrow may belong to the Paris Wildcats, judging by their team title in JV boys plus results from the recent district middle school meet where Paris won the 8th-grade boys division and was barely edged from doing likewise in 7th-grade boys.
The Wildcats’ JV boys track team had three winners in Wednesday’s field events to take an early division lead heading into Thursday’s running finals at Atlanta’s Rabbit Stadium. Elijah Ellis won the shot put, Anqurrus Harris the triple jump, and Kentraevious Johnson the high jump.
The JV Cats maintained control of the team race throughout Thursday’s finals over runnerup Atlanta, although the Rabbits shaved the lead to a slim 139-135 after a 1-2-6 finish in the 400 meters.
Paris quickly rebounded when Kellen Floyd dropped his prelim time of 46.42 to 45.19 to finish second in the grueling 300-meter hurdles, and Za’Kivion Blake and Jalen Nelson finished 2-4 in the 200 meters to provide some breathing room.
Paris only needed to finished third in the meet’s final event, the 4x400 meter relay. The Cats challenged the Rabbits from start-to-finish in that event before settling for second and clinching their meet championship.
Other Thursday event winners for the JV boys were Johnson in the 110-meter hurdles and the 4x200 relay team of Wesley Gage, Zantavious Braxton, Blake, and Nelson.
It was the first district track title at any level for Paris High since 2012 when the Ladycats won the varsity girls division. The Wildcat boys program seemed to be on the rise when they set a conference record in winning the 4x200 meter relay at the 2013 Class 4A state championships, but the past three seasons have resulted in district finishes of fifth, fourth, and now fifth again.
The Cats hope to continue the momentum from the 2017 season at the lower levels in upcoming years.
Of course, the primary focus was on the varsity divisions, where the top four finishers in each event advance to Thursday’s Area 13-14 track meet at A&M-Commerce. Paris placed fifth in both varsity divisions. The boys qualified in all three relays and six individual events. The Ladycats qualified in two relays and five individual events.
Paris sophomore JP Rojas (pictured left) won the varsity boys 3200-meter run on the meet’s first day.
The Ladycats’ JV relay squad of Zaniyah Adamson, Essence Gray, Casia Johnson, and Quanteria Jenkins won both sprint relays to key a fourth overall finish by Paris in that division.
Paris High Results:
Varsity Boys (Area Qualifiers in italics)
Varsity Girls (Area Qualifiers in italics)
The Paris Wildcats, who have dominated boys soccer by posting four straight district championships, also dominated this year’s All-District Team as chosen by league coaches.
The list is topped by senior forward Christian Mitchell, who was named District 11-4A MVP. Mitchell scored 26 goals in leading the Cats to an overall record of 17-5-3. He posted 14 of those goals in 8 district games.
Senior Dakoata Payne was selected as Defensive MVP, and senior Cade Blackmon was the Goalkeeper of the Year. Paris posted 4 shutouts during district play. Also, Jeremy Beshirs was named Coach of the Year.
First team selections were seniors Seth Hudgins (MF), Colin Haris (F), Zach Lamb (MF), junior Montana Payne (D), and sophomore Kyler Beshirs (MF). Second team notice went to seniors Jose Resendez (MF), Stanley Watkins (MF), junior Cole Miller (F), and sophomores Isaac Vasquez (D) and Alan Garcia (MF). Seniors Rafael Moreno (D) and Jared Gibo (D), as well as juniors Aaron Araujo (MF), Felix Vasquez (F), and Javian Dabbs (F) received honorable mention.
This one hurt.
The Paris Wildcats had a golden opportunity to close out the first half of a competitive District 14-4A campaign with a win over the previously 12th-ranked Pittsburg Pirates. They out-hit the Pirates. Arguably, their ace Phillip Sikes out-pitched his Pitt counterpart Brett McGee.
But the Cats, when they needed it, could convert just 1 one of their 7 hits with a runner in scoring position (.125 batting average). Plus, their defense betrayed them with 7 errors while the Pirates had a flawless game in the field.
Four of those errors resulted in both Pitt runs in the top of the first inning. Three errant throws that short-hopped past their target bases were the main culprit.
Sikes (5-2) was credited with a no-hitter by the home team scorebook although a couple of the Cats’ errors off Pirate bats could have been scored as hits. Paris infielders were in position to make plays, but didn’t. The senior righthander struck out 11 and walked 2.
By contrast, the Pirates were perfect in the field, especially the pitcher McGee and shortstop Derrick McCellon. Paris scored its lone run in the third inning on a Sikes RBI double, but the Cats were in line for a bigger inning if it weren’t for excellent plays in the field turned in by the duo.
The Nos. 8-9 hitters, Walker Preston and Zach Nation, led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Leadoff hitter Chandler Aynes followed with a hard grounder headed for the left infield hole until McCellon made a diving stop to his right. He tossed to second for the forceout while still on his back.
X’Tavious Young then bunted towards the mound. McGee quickly fielded the bunt and caught the Cats’ lead runner in no-man’s land between third and home for the second out. Sikes plated Aynes with a shot to left-centerfield to trim the Pitt lead to 2-1 before McGee got one of his 6 strikeouts to end the threat.
McGee started a 1-6-3 double play in the fifth inning, and he ended the Cats’ final scoring gasp in the sixth with a strikeout after Corey Allen ripped a 2-out double down the rightfield line.
The loss dropped Paris into a three-way tie for third place in the district. Pleasant Grove sits atop the standings at 5-0, while North Lamar is 3-2. Paris, Atlanta, and Liberty-Eylau all sport 2-3 district marks, and Pitt is 1-4. Paris is 14-8 overall.
The Cats will try to refocus Tuesday when they make the short trip across town to face North Lamar, weather permitting.
Paris High Automotive Technology Teacher Michael Rhodes has been selected as the Secondary Teacher of the Year for Region 8 (Northeast Texas). He advances to statewide competition facilitated by the Texas Association of School Administrators. Read more.
Paris High educators and local business partners were recognized by the Career and Technical Association of Texas for their contributions to Career and Technical Education (CTE) at the summer Area 3 Conference in San Antonio. Read more.
Recent PHS graduate Josh Rodgers placed third at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, KY, this summer in the Marine Service Technology contest. His sponsor was PHS Teacher of the Year Michael Rhodes. Read more.
Ladycats Home Volleyball. The Ladycats volleyball teams host Leonard for a trio of matches Tuesday, Aug. 22, in the Wildcat Gym. Freshmen action starts at 5 p.m. followed by JV and varsity.