Students received their three-weeks academic progress reports on Tuesday during their second-period classes. The current grading cycle concludes with semester exams scheduled this Friday, Monday, and Tuesday.
All PISD campuses will be closed for the Christmas holidays beginning Wednesday, Dec. 20. School resumes with the second semester on Thursday, Jan. 4.
Paris ISD uses School Messenger to provide timely communications. If you have a child attending PISD, you are automatically in the database and will receive phone notifications. To enhance our ability to accurately deliver information on activities and emergencies, we kindly request that you create your own contact preference profile.
If you would like to have notifications sent to you cell phone, you can opt in to the PISD text messaging service. Learn more.
Students from Jeremy Beshirs’ art classes entered the recent Mythology, Fantasy and Folklore contest for area high schools sponsored by the Plaza Art Guild. Makayla Sexton (middle) took first place and won a $50 gift card. Sydney Jetton (left) was the third-place winner and won art supplies. Mackenzie Taylor (second from left) received honorable mention. Other top entries were submitted by Jackson Gibo and Jocelyn Ting.
The Paris Wildcats swept both sub-varsity football games vs. Anna Thursday night at Wildcat Stadium. The freshmen won, 40-6, and the JV defeated the Coyotes, 20-6.
The Paris freshmen remained perfect in District 7-4A-1 action with a 4-0 mark and are 7-1 for the season. The Cats broke open a scoreless game in the second quarter thanks to an interception return and a pair of electrifying punt returns by KD Washington.
A 42-yard interception return by Washington to the Anna 33 set up Zy’kius Jackson for the first of his three rushing touchdowns. Washington then returned a punt 70 yards to extend the Paris lead to 16-0 with 3:44 remaining until halftime.
After the Paris defense held Anna on the Coyotes’ next series, Washington duplicated the 70-yard punt return but that score was negated by a blocking penalty. Instead, the Cats drove to the Anna 2 where Jackson picked up another TD run on the final play of the first half with the Cats holding a 24-0 advantage.
In the third quarter Jackson collected his third TD on a 47-yard run. Anna then scored, but Santwan Gray intercepted the Coyotes’ conversion attempt and returned it for a rare 2-point defensive score.
Washington finished the scoring with an 18-yard run with 2:30 left in the third quarter. Paris was 4 of 5 on two-point conversion attempts, scoring on 2 Jackson runs, a Washington run, and a Javin Cary pass to Gray.
Jermaine Williams intercepted a tipped pass in the fourth quarter to turn back the final Anna scoring attempt.
The JV game was a defensive contest with the Cats protecting a 13-6 halftime lead until a Fred Sanders interception set up a 16-yard TD run by Dyvarious Douglas with 1:13 left in the game to seal the win. Sanders had a second interception with 14 seconds left at the Paris 1.
Paris (5-4, 2-2) built a 13-0 lead on a 1-yard run by Jadarias Dillard and a 52-yard scoring run by Montrel McCarty before Anna scored just before halftime. Bryan Ramirez kicked 2 extra points for Paris, and Dillard snared an interception in the first half.
The Paris teams close out their seasons next Thursday with crosstown trips to R. L. Maddox Stadium to face North Lamar.
Peaches Jackson (6) and Zanesha Dangerfield block Melanie Sullivan’s spike attempt (photo by Joe Watson)
The Paris Ladycats went 7 long years between district volleyball championships, but they could not end a 6-year drought in playoff wins Monday night in a 25-17, 18-25, 25-17, 21-25, 10-15 loss to Wills Point in a bi-district match at Sulphur Springs.
The Lady Tigers’ 6-0 middle blocker Claire Hiler notched an impressive 27 kills to lead the come-from-behind win by the District 13-4A No. 4 seed. Still, Paris might be enjoying its first playoff victory since Andi Bawcum’s senior season in 2011 had it not been for Hiler’s teammate Melanie Sullivan.
The Ladycats held a 2-1 match lead and were threatening to close out the night with a 13-6 advantage in Game 4 when WP head coach Chris Williams called timeout. When play resumed the Ladycats gifted the Lady Tigers with 9 unforced errors and Sullivan knocked down 5 of her 13 total winners to complete the Game 4 comeback win and force a decisive fifth set.
Hiler had 6 winners and Sullivan 3 in the Game 5 win, as the Lady Tigers took control early and never allowed the Lady Cats to recover.
It was a bittersweet ending to the 25-14 season for the Ladycats, who went 8-2 in District 13 to take their first title since 2010. They were able to overcome a frontline height disadvantage through superior defense and court coverage. Those attributes failed them once the playoffs began.
The evening started well for Paris, which broke away from a 10-10 tie in Game 1 to take a 1-0 match lead. Senior Zanesha Dangerfield had 5 of her 8 kills in the first set, while junior Peaches Jackson had 4 of her 12 kills and 1 of her 7 blocks, and sophomore Grace Woodby had 4 of her 10 kills.
Quiniya Savage (5) and Grace Woodby guard the net for Paris. (photo by Joe Watson)
WP bounced back in Game 2, thanks to 13 unforced errors by the Ladycats, but Paris got a big spark from freshman middle blocker Quiniya Savage to win Game 3. A winner by Sunny Scruggs followed by back-to-back blocks by Deagan Dingman and Savage sent the Ladycats to an 11-7 lead.
Savage had two more winners and Jackson added a drop kill to move Paris to 16-11 before consecutive kills by Hiler pulled the Lady Tigers within 16-14. Three WP errors and aces by Riley Bills and Scruggs pushed the lead to 21-16, and kills by Savage and Woodby, a Savage block, and another Bills ace gave Paris the 2-1 match edge.
It looked like a happy, short bus ride home for the Ladycats after Savage’s fifth, and final, kill shot and a WP misplay sent Game 4 into that fateful timeout call by Williams with his team on the brink of collapse staring at a 6-13 deficit.
The Lady Tigers turned to their 2-headed monster of Hiler and Sullivan to re-energize and leave the Ladycats wondering about what might have been. It was also an abrupt end to the careers of Paris seniors Dangerfield, Deagan, libero Katy Hall, and Scruggs.
However, there is hope on the near horizon for Ladycat volleyball, a program that went 13-24 the season before head coach Britney Humphrey arrived two years ago to take over the reins. Five sophomores on the playoff roster return for Humphrey, and there is some much-needed height among the JV ranks to help Jackson and Savage on key frontline battles plus a talented 8th-grade group poised to make their high school debuts.
The Paris High golf team completed the fall portion of its schedule by participating in a tournament Monday at Mount Pleasant Country Club.
A dinosaur roams during the PHS Band Halloween halftime at Quinlan Ford
The Paris Blue Blazes Band dressed in various costumes and performed a special Halloween halftime show at Friday’s District 7-4A-1 game between the Wildcats and Ford Panthers at Quinlan Hobart Lytle Memorial Stadium. It featured a dinosaur running a circle around the group as they played the classic Thriller.
Meanwhile, the football contest also featured an offensive dinosaur that used to roam the gridiron but has become virtually extinct in these days of the spread attack. The Panthers deploy a multiple-look wing-T offense that relies on mis-direction and low-firing linemen tying up defensive pursuit in the free blocking zone at the line of scrimmage.
It’s an offense that requires monotonous repetition to perfect and one that opponents can not duplicate in the week’s practice leading up to game time.
Ford (5-3) relied on do-it-all senior quarterback Linus Beierschmitt (30 carries for 106 yards, 4 of 9 passing for 100 yards) to grind out a 14-14 halftime tie with Paris (5-3) before the Cats pulled away in the second half to a 41-20 win.
Most theories point to an asteroid or climate change as the reason for the dinosaurs’ extinction. A big climate change Friday, in the form of a cold front that dropped temperatures in the 40s with a brisk north wind, may have also contributed to the Panthers’ offensive extinction after halftime. The extreme chill made ball handling more difficult, and a pair of fumbled Ford handoffs gift-wrapped scoring drives that the Paris offense only had to cover 19 and 5 yards to take control of the game.
After Paris went up, 35-14, on Donovan Williams’ third TD of the evening, Ford got some help from an inadvertent whistle that nullified a third fumble recovery on a kickoff, which was then rekicked. The Panthers then drove for a touchdown that narrowed the gap to 35-20, but the Paris defense shut down the Ford offense the rest of the way, and the Cats added to the lead on Kobe Savage’s second rushing TD.
Williams was again the Cats’ workhorse with 33 carries for a career high 239 yards. He moved past Jesse Henderson, 2001-03, into third place in PHS career rushing yardage (3,585) behind only Quez Allen, 2012-15, (4,599) and Deon Hill, 1996-98, (3,812).
Luke Kyle waits for Kobe Savage’s 29-yard TD pass on 4th-and-22
Savage, meanwhile, carried 6 times for 24 yards and completed 7 of 9 passes for 68 yards and a TD throw to Luke Kyle. He was victimized for an interception on what should have been a free play after a Ford defensive lineman jumped offside prior to the snap, but no flag was thrown.
Wesley Gage caught 4 passes for 22 yards, while Montavius McCarty rushed 2 times for 29 yards. Junior transfer Rino Moore was 5 of 6 on extra point kicks in his first varsity action since gaining eligibility.
Paris outgained Ford, 338-291. Middle linebacker TJ Williams was busy with 14 total tackles, while outside LB Gerald Palmer had 8 tackles, including a pair of sacks and a fumble recovery. Michael Godwin and safety Jordan Furtch also had 8 stops apiece. DE Vershaud Richardson has a fumble recovery and 7 tackles. Jameon Mitchell had an interception to end Ford’s final series.
Paris visits Anna (6-2, 2-1) next Friday to continue district action. Paris, Anna, and Liberty-Eylau are tied for second behind Princeton (3-0) in district standings. Ford and North Lamar are still searching for their first district wins at 0-3.
How Wildcats’ Opponents Fared:
Vershaud Richardson picks up a Panther fumble and returns it to the Ford 5.
Coach Britney Humphrey and Ladycat seniors (from left) Sunny Scruggs, Katy Hall, Deagan Dingman, and Zanesha Dangerfield have brought championship volleyball back to Paris High (photo by Joe Watson)
Before Tuesday’s district-clinching win over Liberty-Eylau, 25-20, 25-23, 25-26, the Paris Ladycats honored four key volleyball players on Senior Night in the Wildcat Gym.
Three of those players have been in the program since arriving on campus as freshmen: Outside hitter Zanesha Dangerfield, setter Deagan Dingman, and libero Katy Hall. But the addition this year of the fourth senior, transfer student Sunny Scruggs, may have served as the catalyst in the Ladycats’ improbable drive to their first district title in seven years.
Scruggs has been instrumental in helping head coach Britney Humphrey implement a double-setter rotation that has overcome the height disadvantage the Ladycats regularly experience. Instead, Paris relies on its defense to keep volleys alive until opponents make mistakes or one of the twin setters can find an opening to exploit.
Tuesday’s regular-season finale was a case in point. L-E, with a frontline that stands 5-8, 5-8, 5-10, 5-11, and 6-0 plus a 5-10 setter, easily brought superior firepower to the net. Still, the Ladycats were able to overcome the height deficit through patience and perseverance and will move on to next week’s playoffs as the district’s top seed.
Paris, 25-13 overall, and Pleasant Grove each finished with 8-2 district marks, but the Ladycats take the top spot by virtue of their series sweep over the Lady Hawks. North Lamar finished in third place at 6-4, while Liberty-Eylau is fourth at 5-5.
Paris will play the Wills Point, the No. 4 seed from District 13, in the opening bi-district round Monday, 6:30 p.m., at Sulphur Springs.
The Ladycats have traditionally used a single-setter rotation, and they had a good all-district setter in Dingman to quarterback the offense the past two seasons, Dingman continues to lead the team in assists for the season, and she logged 23 assists along with 7 digs in Tuesday’s match.
Scruggs, meanwhile, had 13 assists and 17 digs. She also managed a couple of well-placed push kills in the opening set win.
“She’s aggressive at the net and has a great ability to see the whole court,” Humphrey said of Scruggs, a senior-year move-in from Wichita Falls.
The liability of the 2-setter approach is that both setters must rotate to the front line and are relied upon for net coverage (block assists plus an occasional outside spike or drop shot). Both Scruggs and Dingman have filled that bill this season.
Junior Peaches Jackson, sophomore Grace Woodby, and the senior Dangerfield were the beneficiaries of those twin setters with 12, 10, and 10 kills, respectively. Jackson used her athleticism for 6 blocks against L-E’s taller front line.
Defensively, Hall led the way, as usual, with 32 digs, while Woodby added 22, sophomore Riley Bills had 12, and Dangerfield 5.
Paris broke away from an 11-all tie to gain momentum in Game 1 on a Hall push kill, Bills’ service ace, and Woodby winner. The Ladycats closed out the game on back-to-back winners from Jackson and a Woodby spike down the line at game point.
Paris kept the heat on with a 4-0 start in Game 2, but the Lady Leopards stayed within reach and closed the gap to 8-7 before a service error, two Jackson kills, and an errant L-E kill pushed the Paris advantage to 12-7. L-E rallied to tie, 22-22, on consecutive Paris kill mistakes, but a Dangerfield winner broke serve in time for Jackson to rotate back to the front line to get a Lady Leopard net infraction and kill error to close out the game.
The Ladycats never trailed in Game 3 and took the lead for good at 4-3 on a Jackson winner. A 4-0 run off spikes by Jackson and Dangerfield, a Jackson block and L-E long kill extended the lead from 10-7 to 14-7. Another 4-0 run on kills by Dingman, freshman Quiniya Savage, and 2 Hall aces made it a 19-9 game.
The 7-year title drought ended moments later on a Dingman short serve and L-E long kill.
Paris also won the JV match over L-E, 2-0.
Sunny Scruggs sets Peaches Jackson (6) for a crosscourt spike vs. Liberty-Eylau
Javin Cary launches TD pass to KD Washington behind protection in freshman game
The Paris Wildcats swept the sub-varsity games with Quinlan Ford Thursday night at Wildcat Stadium, winning the freshmen game, 36-20, and the JV match, 26-0.
A strong south wind played a big part in the evening’s game strategy, but it didn’t prevent Rashad Wilson from opening the freshman contest with a 70-yard kickoff return to give the Cats a quick 6-0 lead. The Panthers, operating with the win at their backs in the first quarter, were able to tie the score, 6-6, on a 2-yard run.
Paris, with the win at the Cats’ backs in the second quarter, was able to score 22 unanswered points to take a 28-6 halftime lead. Zy’kius Jackson gave the Cats the lead for good on a 28-yard run on a motion sweep from a slot position. That score was set up by a 40-yard gain on a reverse by KD Washington.
The Cats then used the airways to score two more times before halftime on passes of 10 and 25 yards from Javin Cary to Washington. Jackson and Washington added conversion runs after the touchdowns.
The Panthers cut the lead to 28-14 on a 23-yard run in the third quarter with the wind at their backs once again, but the Cats put the game away on the first play of the final quarter with a 68-yard catch-and-run from Cary to Santwan Gray. Jackson ran for the two-point conversion to increase the lead to 36-14.
QF scored on the game’s final play from 2 yards out.
A pair of botched punt attempts gave the Paris JV great field position deep in Panther territory early in their game. The first Wildcat drive was halted at the QF 1, but the next possession ended with an 11-yard TD run by Montrel McCarty on the first play of the second quarter to take a 6-0 lead.
A 29-yard pass from Jadarius Dillard to Zantavious Braxton set up the next score on a 12-yard run by Dyvarious Douglas. A fumble recovery by Howard Browner in the final minute of the first half allowed the Cats to take a 19-0 halftime lead when Dillard found Braxton on a 55-yard post pattern.
The third quarter was scoreless but saw the Panthers convert a fourth-and-51 on a roughing the punter penalty. Fred Sanders also had an interception in the period.
McCarty scored again with 7:35 left in the game on a 15-yard run. Bryan Ramirez tacked on a couple of extra point kicks.
The Paris sub-varsity teams host Anna next Thursday at Wildcat Stadium.
Kobe Savage dives to score game’s first touchdown
The 2017 Paris Wildcats played in three spoiled Homecoming games this season. Unfortunately, the latest spoiler was their own as they allowed the Princeton Panthers to escape Wildcat Stadium Friday with a 21-16 win that has thrown a wrench into the District 7-4A-1 title chase.
After road wins last month during Homecomings at Sulphur Springs and Pittsburg, the Cats faced a similar fate themselves when Princeton (3-4) took a 21-10 lead into the fourth quarter. The Paris offense turned to its sparsely-used passing game to draw within 21-16 and was primed to save the evening when it began a potential game-winning drive at its own 21-yard line with 2:36 remaining and 1 timeout left. A 40-yard pass catch and run from Kobe Savage to backup running back James Neal moved the ball to the Princeton 39.
On the next play Savage rolled right and found tight end Demetric Glover at the Panther 29. Just a split-second before the ball reached Glover’s hands, Princeton defensive back Dillon Moncier made contact with Glover. The ball popped out of Glover’s grasp, and Panther DB Elishah Harrison alertly snagged Savage’s first interception of the year. (See “Late Interception” picture montage below)
The Wildcat coaching staff’s pleas for a pass interference call went unheeded and Paris never saw the ball again.
To be sure, the game should never have come down to an official’s ruling or lack thereof. The game started with a muffed kickoff return and recovery by Gerald Palmer at the Princeton 12. Paris scored on the turnover to take a 7-0 lead just 1:27 into the contest. However, the Cats’ normally dominant rushing game ground to a virtual halt by an aggressive Princeton defense as Paris failed to pad the lead despite the following opportunities to do so:
In fact, the game’s unsung MVP was Princeton punter Tristan Gee, who averaged 47.6 yards on 6 punts compared to 5 Paris kicks for a 34.2 average. The Panthers needed to go just 43, 30, and 54 yards to score their touchdowns thanks to positive field position.
After halftime, Paris turned into gracious hosts. The second-half kickoff was muffed by the Cats at the 30, and Princeton soon had the lead, 14-7, on a Brendon Strickland pass to Kole Massey. When Princeton stretched the lead to 21-10, Paris responded with a drive to the Panther 9 before a fumble was recovered by Lucas Delgado.
Paris outgained Princeton, 339 to 201, but the Panthers held Wildcat running back Donovan Williams to 106 yards on 25 tough carries and never allowed the Paris offense to get into rhythm.
With the win Princeton and Anna are the two remaining unbeaten teams in district play and control their own destinies. Paris and Liberty-Eylau are tied for second at 1-1, while North Lamar and Quinlan Ford are 0-2.
Paris (4-3 overall) will need help to repeat as district champions, but they try to keep in striking range with a trip Friday to Quinlan Ford (5-2).
How Wildcats’ Opponents Fared:
Late Interception Seals Homecoming Loss for Paris
Princeton defensive back Dillon Moncier contacts Demetric Glover before ball arrives
Ball pops free as Princeton’s Elisah Harrison enters the frame
Harrison secures the ball before it hits the ground for game-ending interception
Sunny Scruggs (4) and Peaches Jackson (6) form a wall to block Emma Stewart’s shot (photo by Joe Watson)
Seven years of crosstown misery ended for the Paris Ladycats varsity volleyball team Friday when a North Lamar Pantherette spike sailed beyond the end line. With it went a 13-match losing streak to the county rivals as Paris inched one step closer to an improbable district championship in a 22-25, 25-15, 25-18, 22-25, 15-11 victory.
The year was 2010, and Paris High fielded perhaps its best team in school history. That 2010 squad finished fourth ranked in the state with a 37-5 overall record and perfect 10-0 district mark that included a 3-match sweep over the Pantherettes. The last win by the Ladycats was on Nov. 6, 2017, in a regional quarterfinal pairing in the Prairiland gym.
That 2010 Paris High team had high expectations. The same could not be said for this current group of undersized overachievers who can claim the District 14-4A No. 1 playoff seed with a win Tuesday over Liberty-Eylau on Senior Night in the Wildcat Gym.
Paris and Pleasant Grove remain tied atop district standings with 7-2 records heading into their regular season finales, but the Ladycats hold the tiebreaker due to their series sweep over the Lady Hawks. PG closes district with a match against 1-8 Pittsburg. NL and L-E are tied for third with 5-4 marks.
“It was a great overall team effort,” an emotionally exhausted Paris head coach Britney Humphrey said afterwards. “In each set there would be a different player step up and take a leadership role.”
It didn’t seem possible after NL jumped out to a 1-0 start after prevailing in a close Game 1 that saw 9 ties and 3 lead changes. Paris had a shaky Game 1 with 12 unforced errors, including 4 missed serves.
Grace Woodby (left) and Katy Hall celebrate a winning point for Paris (photo by Joe Watson)
Senior libero Katy Hall, one of the Homecoming Queen finalists, attended the downtown parade and arrived just in time to get in some warmup serves. “We didn’t think she’d be back in time so I had to turn in different rotation and that messed us up in the first set,” Humphrey said.
Still, Paris held a 22-21 lead after a Peaches Jackson block before a Jacie McFatridge kill and block plus kills by Amber White and Macie Pointer gave NL a 4-0 finish to the set.
Senior Zanesha Dangerfield stepped up big in Game 2 with 7 of her 11 total kills. She sparked a 6-1 run that gave Paris control of the set with a 13-6 lead and eventually evened the match with the game winner.
Match momentum stayed with the Ladycats in Game 3 as they stormed out to a 6-0 advantage thanks to 5 of the Pantherettes’ 14 unforced errors in the set. Although NL rallied to tie the game at 9-9 and 11-11, the visitors could never push ahead.
NL closed to within 19-18 before committing a net serve and net violation followed by a lollypop kill by freshman Quiniya Savage off a Hall short serve that sent the Pantherettes into a timeout huddle down, 22-18. When play resumed, sophomore Grace Woodby kept the Paris scoring streak going, and Hall served an ace. At game point, Savage had a key block then got the winner by batting the ball into the left corner.
NL took a quick lead in Game 4, 3-2, and stretched it out to 18-9 before Paris staged a big comeback. Woodby logged 7 of her match-high 17 kills in the set including a winner to pull Paris within 23-22. However, the Pantherettes finished the game with a Mackenzie Mitchell kill off the block, and the Ladycat net violation evened the match and forced a decisive Game 5.
A pair of errors and a McFatridge block put Paris in a 0-3 hole in the final set, but consecutive winners by Jackson righted the ship. The next point exhibited the kind of defensive tenacity that has enabled the Ladycats to the top of the district against taller opponents. Sliding digs by Jackson, senior setters Sunny Scruggs and Deagan Dingman plus an alert bump save at the net by Woodby led to a 2-handed push kill by Hall.
A dig-kill by Hall into the far corner gave Paris its first lead in the game, 4-3. Another block by Savage and a Woodby 1-handed swat into the unguarded middle of the NL defense had Paris up, 8-4, but NL rallied with a 4-0 run to tie the score at 8-all.
A Woodby winner and two NL errors was followed by a Woodby saving dig and rare backline kill by sophomore Riley Bills. A service ace by Scruggs that skimmed and dropped over the net gave Paris 4 match points at 14-9, and the final errant Pantherette kill closed the book on 7 frustrating years of futility.
Jackson finished with 8 kills and 4 blocks, while Savage had 2 kills and 5 blocks. Still, the Ladycats’ success is centered through defense, and in that often overlooked category, Hall had 55 digs, Woodby 21, Scruggs 18, Bills 13, Dingman 11, and sophomore Quanterria Jenkins 6.
McFatridge topped NL with 10 kills, 8 blocks, and 3 aces. Pointer added 9 kills and White had 6 kills and 2 blocks.
On Tuesday, Paris and L-E will play JV matches starting at 4:30. Dangerfield, Dingman, Hall, and Scruggs will be honored in Senior Night ceremonies before the varsity match, which should began about 6.
After their series sweep of the Pleasant Grove Lady Hawks in District 14-4A volleyball Friday, the Paris Ladycats enjoyed some wiggle room in their championship quest. That comfort zone evaporated Tuesday in a 5-game setback in Atlanta to the Lady Rabbs, 16-25, 25-10, 10-25, 25-22, 15-11.
The Ladycats now must win their final two matches to reign as this year’s district champions. It starts Friday when Paris shoehorns a Crosstown Showdown rematch with the North Lamar Pantherettes into a busy Homecoming schedule.
The Paris-NL varsity rematch starts at 4:30 p.m. in the Wildcat Gym just after the 3 p.m. pep rally and 4 p.m. downtown parade. Homecoming Queen coronation is 7 p.m. followed by the district football game vs. Princeton at Wildcat Stadium. Paris senior libero Katy Hall is among this year’s queen finalists.
The Ladycats held a 2-1 lead over Atlanta, which Paris swept in a match two weeks ago, before dropping the final two sets. It was just the second district win by the Lady Rabbs. Peaches Jackson topped the Ladycats’ offensive stat line with 16 kills and 5 blocks.
Paris, 23-14 overall, drops into a first-place tie with PG with 6-2 marks. NL is in third at 5-3 followed by Liberty-Eylau at 4-4. The Pantherettes won this season’s first meeting at NL, 17-25, 15-25, 19-25, in one of the Ladycats’ worst showings of the season.
Paris defenders James Neal (right), Demetric Glover, Jalen Easter (45), and Michael Godwin (7) swarm L-E’s Ralph Crabtree for a loss
The T-shirt slogan for the 2017 Paris Wildcats is “Find a Way.”
The “Way” Friday night in the crucial District 7-4A-1 football opener at Texarkana Harris Field followed a curved line from Kobe Savage’s right arm into the waiting hands of Demetric Glover, just missing by milliseconds a tip attempt from the outstretched fingers of Liberty-Eylau defender Dominique Williams. Glover secured the catch at the L-E 5 and scored what proved to be the winning touchdown with just 2:05 left in a 28-24 Paris win.
“I’m not gonna lie to you,” Glover would say afterwards. “I thought he (Williams) was going to get his hands on it.”
The offense had found a way; now it was the defense’s turn.
The Wildcat D had stifled the explosive Leopard offense in the first half, limiting L-E to 70 total yards, but the hosts came alive after halftime to score on 3 of 4 offensive possessions. The Leopards used a pass interference call to set up a new set of downs at the Paris 44, but sure open-field tackles by Anqurrus Harris and Jaylen Henderson plus a dropped Leopard pass led to a 4th-and-9. Quarterback Decorian Phillips’ sideline lob to 6-3 receiver Dazawion Cooper was on target when Henderson leaped to contest the ball, which fell unclaimed to the ground.
The defense had found a way.
Earlier in the third quarter, special teams had found a way, too, via Montana Payne’s 46-yard punt which pinned the Leopards at their own 6-yard line. After a defensive stop and subsequent punt by L-E netted just 24 yards, Wildcat running back Donovan Williams scored his third touchdown of the night to help regain the lead, 21-14.
Also the Wildcat coaching staff found a way. They devised an unbalanced line formation on offense, shifting 6-7 left tackle Elijah Ellis to the right side to pair with 6-8 Ashton Savage to help pave the way for Williams TD runs of 5, 52, and 13 yards.
Williams amassed 166 yards on 24 carries, and in the process passed Frank Jackson (1954-56) into fifth place on the PHS career rushing list. Williams now has 3,240 career yards and trails only Quez Allen (2012-15, 4,599), Deon Hill (1996-98, 3,812), Jesse Henderson (2001-03, 3,381), and Marcus Henderson (1988-90, 3,284)
Meanwhile, QB Savage added 81 yards on 12 carries, often on counters to the weakside while L-E’s defense focused on stopping Williams. The junior signal-caller also passed for a season-high 114 yards on 6 of 10 completions.
Demetric Glover waits for Kobe Savage’s winning throw that just misses the reach of L-E’s Dominique Williams
The TD catch by Glover was just the second of the senior’s career. Glover’s only other score came in the 2015 playoff loss to Kaufman in Allen’s final PHS game.
Defensively, the Paris staff knew it had to limit the Leopards’ ability to stretch the field, which put extra responsibility on the Cats’ defensive line to provide stops. The unit came through in a big way, as Michael Godwin, playing much of the game as a down lineman, led the way with 9 tackles. End Vershaud Richardson had 8 stops, and tackle Jalen Easter had 7.
Oddly enough, the Cats might not have needed the late-game heroics had it not been for a wild double turnover with Paris holding a 14-0 lead.
Henderson intercepted a Phillips pass and picked up blockers and steam heading upfield when he was blindsided by L-E’s El-amin Greer (see photo below). The big hit popped the ball free and into the grasp of L-E lineman Conner Green. It was a huge momentum changer in the game, as the Leopards eventually turned favorable field position into their first points to make it a 14-6 halftime score.
With the win, the Cats have taken a big first step towards defense of their district championship. Paris (now 4-2) and L-E (1-5) have won the past 6 district titles.
The next obstacle arrives Friday, Oct. 20, in the form of Homecoming 2017 guests Princeton, who withstood a challenge from Quinlan Ford, 28-24, to win their district opener. Anna beat North Lamar, 44-12, in other district action.
The last time Princeton visited Wildcat Stadium was 2014 on the heels of a similar big Paris win over L-E. The Panthers edged the Cats in a wild, 65-64 marathon that sent Paris into a tailspin and destroyed hopes of a district title defense.
The 2017 Cats will try to find a way to avoid deja vu.
How Wildcats’ Opponents Fared:
Ball is jarred loose after Jaylen Henderson interception by El-amin Greer’s blindside hit
Grace Woodby (front) and Katy Hall anchor the Paris defense with a combined 72 digs in win over Pleasant Grove (photo by Joe Watson)
Playing their best match of the season, the Paris Ladycats took control of the District 14-4A volleyball chase Friday afternoon in the Wildcat Gym with a 25-21, 26-24, 28-26 win over the Pleasant Grove Lady Hawks.
The Ladycats, a team that looked totally lost just 10 days ago in their only district setback at the hands of crosstown rival North Lamar, now finds itself all alone atop the league standings with just three matches remaining. Paris holds a virtual 2-match lead over the field with a 6-1 record after the season sweep of PG, which falls to 5-2.
North Lamar and Liberty-Eylau are tied for third at 4-3. Paris travels to Atlanta on Tuesday before closing out the regular season at home vs. NL and L-E.
“It was weird how well we flowed on the court and played together as a team,” Paris head coach Britney Humphrey said. “We shut down their best hitters. It was our best game of the year.”
Defense continues to hold the key to the Ladycats’ recent success. Senior libero Katy Hall recorded 43 digs. Hall, averaging 5 digs per set for the season, is averaging 12.5 digs per set in the three matches since the NL debacle.
Sophomore Grace Woodby also contributed 29 digs to go with her 5 kills. Sophomore Riley Bills had 13 digs, senior setter Deagan Dingman 13 digs, senior setter Sunny Scruggs 9 digs, and sophomore Quanterria Jenkins 7 digs.
Meanwhile, junior middle blocker Peaches Jackson continues to dominate the frontcourt with 13 kills and 4 blocks. Dingman and Scruggs helped feed a rapidly improving offense with 12 assists each.
Paris (23-12) has won 9 of its last 10 matches as the Ladycats try to clinch their first district title since 2010.
Peaches Jackson knocks down another spike against PG’s Georgia Cobb (photo by Joe Watson)
The Paris Wildcats freshmen held off the Liberty-Eylau Leopards, 20-12, in a District 14-4A matchup Thursday at Wildcat Stadium before the Leopards’ JV dominated the second game, 40-7.
Zy’kius Jackson gave the Paris freshmen an early lead on a 10-yard scoring run, but the Leopards went on top, 12-8, with three minutes remaining in the half. Wildcat quarterback Javin Cary then found Santwan Gray for a 48-yard completion to put Paris in position to regain the lead, 14-12, on a 2-yard run by Jackson.
That same Cary-to-Gray combination worked for a 28-yard TD pass in the third quarter to extend the lead to 20-12, and the Paris defense held L-E at bay the rest of the night.
The JV game was a simple matter of too much Leopard speed. L-E scored on a 68-yard sprint on the first play from scrimmage, and the Leopards scored again on their second possession to take a quick 14-0 lead just 2:11 into the game.
The only Paris score was the result of Jay Bell’s 25-yard fumble return for a touchdown. Bryan Ramirez added the extra point.
But the Leopards scored 4 more times, including a pick-6 interception return, to take a commanding 40-7 halftime lead. The second half was scoreless with a running clock and L-E taking a knee at the Paris 1-yard line in the game’s final minute.
The Paris freshmen (4-1) and JV (3-3) travel to Princeton next Thursday to continue district play.
Paris High teams will be involved in two big battles with district championship implications Friday. While the varsity football team and large contingent of Wildcat fans and support groups make the 100-mile journey east to face District 7-4A-1 co-favorite Liberty-Eylau, a much smaller entourage of close family and friends will gather in the Wildcat Gym to watch the surprising Ladycats host Pleasant Grove with the District 14-4A volleyball lead on the line.
That unusual scenario was set up by Tuesday’s district volleyball results. Paris swept the Pittsburg Lady Pirates, 25-18, 25-16, 25-22, in the Wildcat Gym to improve the Ladycats’ district mark to 5-1. Meanwhile, PG also improved to 5-1 with a tough 5-set win in the Hawk Gym over defending district champion North Lamar (3-3). L-E is in third place in volleyball at 4-2, while Pitt (1-5) and Atlanta (0-6) are on the brink of playoff elimination.
Friday’s varsity-only match starts at 4:30 p.m. Kickoff for the football game is 7:30. Unless they have access to a fast-moving helicopter or time machine, Wildcat fans will have a tough choice to make.
Friday’s first-place volleyball battle seemed an impossibility early in the Ladycats’ 2017 season, even to their head coach Britney Humphrey.
“After the way we played at home against Prairiland and Leonard (in Aug. 15 and 22 losses), it didn’t look like we’d even make the playoffs this year,” Humphrey said prior to sending her team out to start the second half of district play.
Instead, the Ladycats have punched their postseason ticket early with Tuesday’s playoff-clinching victory. They’ve won 8 of their last 9 matches to improve to 22-12 for the season including tough, 5-set road wins at Pitt, PG, and L-E. The lone exception was last week’s flat performance in an embarrassing loss at crosstown rival NL.
Anyone who witnessed the Paris-NL match would have a hard time believing this was the same Ladycats team.
With an undersized frontcourt, Humphrey continues to make rotation adjustments to search for winning combinations. Since the loss at NL, she has inserted 5-8 sophomore Quanterria Jenkins (shown right in photo by Joe Watson) into the lineup. Jenkins paired up with 5-10 junior Peaches Jackson to make a solid 1-2 attack punch in the sweep over Pitt.
Jackson dominated play in Game 1 with 9 kills, a block, and the final 3 service points. She finished with a match-high 14 kills and 3 blocks.
After Humphrey called a timeout with her team down, 10-14, the Ladycats responded with an 8-0 run with senior Deagan Dingman at the service line. The key stretch was punctuated by 3 kills and a block by Jackson plus a pair of Jenkins winners. When Pitt closed to within 18-16, Jackson reeled off 3 straight winners to regain command at 21-16.
Paris never trailed in Game 2, but the Lady Pirates pulled within 10-9 when an alert dig save by Jenkins led to a crucial point. The Ladycats then pulled away, and Game 2 ended on a big block by freshman Quiniya Savage.
Game 3 saw 3 lead changes and 5 ties before Paris took the lead for good at 21-20. A pair of kills by sophomore Grace Woodby set up match point which ended on an errant Pitt kill shot.
Woodby, the team leader this season in kill shots, finished with 8, while Jenkins had 7.
Backcourt support by senior libero Katy Hall and sophomore defensive specialist Riley Bills along with Woodby and senior setters Dingman and Sunny Scruggs was solid and has been a key ingredient in the Ladycats’ district success.
Still, the maturation of Jackson, a star on the basketball court, as a volleyball standout has been a big reason for Paris’ recent upswing.
“She played on varsity as a freshman, but mostly sat on the bench,” Humphrey remembers. “Last year (Humphrey’s first year as Paris head coach) Peaches asked to be on JV so she could get more playing time.”
Humphrey, who lost both 2016 middle blockers to graduation, needed Jackson to become a dominant force up front in 2017. “She’s one of the hardest workers I have,” Humphrey said.
Assistant coach Matt Dickinson said the team has made adjustments to Jackson’s unique skill set. “Peaches has vertical explosion we weren’t taking advantage of because of our tall sets that were giving teams time to set their blocks,” he said. “We’re using quicker sets now that’s allowing Peaches to use her athleticism.
“There were a couple of times tonight when she was able to reach out for balls and bat them behind her back for winners.”
Even when she wasn’t slamming down winners, Jackson was able to draw attention at the net with fake sets to allow Jenkins some clear shots.
Both Paris JV squads managed wins Tuesday vs. Pitt. The Blue squad won, 2-0, while the White squad won, 2-1.
There’s something about long bus rides that seem to bring the beast out of the Paris Ladycats, who won another 5-set marathon Friday in Texarkana to remain atop the District 14-4A volleyball standings at the halfway point.
Paris survived another district road test with a 25-14, 23-25, 25-21, 17-25, 15-12 win over the Liberty-Eylau Lady Leopards. Despite playing 4 of their first 5 district matches on the road, the Ladycats are tied with Pleasant Grove at the district midpoint with 4-1 records. With the loss, L-E falls into a second-place tie with North Lamar at 3-2 followed by Pittsburg (1-4) and Atlanta (0-5).
It was the third 5-set district win for Paris, which previously won matches at PG and Pittsburg.
Facing another opponent with a considerable height advantage, the Ladycats managed to play determined defense, paced by senior libero Katy Hall’s 53 recorded digs. Sophomore Grace Woodby also logged 27 digs along with 21 kills. Junior Peaches Jackson added 18 kills and 6 blocks.
Paris starts the second half of district play Tuesday by hosting Pitt in the Wildcat Gym.
|All-Region Choir: (from left) Rowan Burns, Nicholas Reed, Nick Leija, Molly Burns, Jake Freelen, Jared Posey, Rhea Tabora, Brian Wright, Javian Dabbs, Yessy Ramirez|
Paris High Chorale students earned eight chairs in the Region IV Small School Choir following auditions held Saturday at North Lamar. Also, two PHS students were named alternates.
These students will perform at the All-Region Choir Clinic & Concert at Mount Pleasant on Nov. 11 and will participate in Pre-Area auditions in Gilmer on Nov. 28. Students who earn a top 4 chair in his/her section at Pre-Area will advance to Area auditions at Texas A&M-Commerce on Jan. 13 for a chance for a seat in the Texas Small School All State Choir.
The PHS Choir Director is Jan Blize assisted by Melody Logan, accompanist Dottie Billman and vocal coach Grant Taylor.
For the third straight year a Paris High Wildcat is the top runner in the district cross country meet as junior JP Rojas led the boys team to a third-place team finish at Saturday’s District 14-4A Championships in Atlanta.
Rojas (pictured left) finished first overall with a time of 18:00.2, nearly one minute ahead of second place, to follow in the footsteps of the graduated Matt Cochran, who won individual boys titles in 2016 and 2015. Rojas was third last year.
The third-place team finish, behind Atlanta and Pittsburg, qualifies the Wildcat boys for the Region 2-4A Championships on Monday, Oct. 23, at Grand Prairie Lynn Creek Park. Other Paris finishers were Justin Medina (10th), sophomore Gavyn Hollje (17th), Alexis Luna (18th), and junior Kyler Beshirs (24th).
The Ladycats placed fourth overall, but senior Lilly Lewis qualified for regionals with a 10th-place showing. Other Paris finishers were Elizabeth Cervantez (12th), Madison Toland (22nd), Evelyn Brown (25th), and Alex Perez (28th).
The Paris girls finished first overall in JV boys competition, while the Paris boys were runnerup.
NL’s Mackenzie Mitchell gets a hit over freshman Quiniya Savage (photo by Joe Watson)
After watching her Paris Ladycats drop the first set of Tuesday’s district volleyball match at North Lamar, head coach Britney Humphrey called a timeout when the Pantherettes jumped out to an 8-0 lead in Game 2.
“Don’t let them get in your head,” Humphrey pleaded in the huddle.
It was too late. The Pantherettes had already camped out in the Ladycats’ collective cerebrum, pitched their tent, started a fire, and were roasting marshmallows en route to a dominant, 25-17, 25-15, 25-19 win in the Panther Gym to create chaos atop the District 14-4A standings.
The result dropped Paris (20-12 overall) into a 3-way tie for first place with Liberty-Eylau and Pleasant Grove with matching 3-1 district marks. Defending champion North Lamar, after a rocky 0-2 start, is now just one match back at 2-2 followed by Pittsburg (1-3) and Atlanta (0-4).
Tuesday’s latest win was the Pantherettes’ 13th straight over the Ladycats. NL has outscored Paris, 39-4, in sets over that timespan. The last Paris victory in the crosstown series occurred during the 2010 season when the Ladycats swept all three meetings including a win in the regional quarterfinals.
How one-sided was Tuesday’s match? Paris held set leads on just 4 occasions: 3-2, 4-3, and 5-4 in Game 1 and 1-0 in Game 3. Pantherettes coach Misty Ford had to call just one timeout with her team leading, 21-16, in Game 3 after 5 Pantherettes unforced errors created a 6-0 Paris run.
Otherwise, it was clear sailing for the hosts who used their superior frontline height to keep the smaller Ladycats on their heels. Senior 6-0 middle blocker Jacie McFatridge led the way with 11 kills, 4 blocks, and 4 service aces.
A trio of 5-8 hitters played big supporting roles. Junior Mackenzie Mitchell dropped in 6 kills and 2 blocks, sophomore Macie Pointer had 4 kills and 2 blocks, and senior Amber White produced a pair of kills and 3 aces.
For Paris, sophomore Grace Woodby notched 7 kills, while 5-10 junior Peaches Jackson had 4 kills and 4 blocks, and senior Zanesha Dangerfield finished with 4 kills. Still, the Ladycats were their own worst enemy, committing 33 total unforced errors in the match, including 6 on service and a couple of offensive sets they let fall untouched to the floor.
NL also dominated play in the JV matches Tuesday, winning both by 2-0 counts, although the Ladycats’ JV Blue squad managed a big comeback in Game 2 before falling.
Next up for Paris will be a trip Friday to the Texarkana Rader Dome to face L-E and close out the first half of the district round-robin. Fortunately, the Ladycats will get a break in the schedule with 4 of their last 5 district matches on their home court including an Oct. 20 rematch with NL on Paris Homecoming in the Wildcat Gym.
The Paris Wildcats boys golf team placed fourth among eight schools Monday at the Stinger Invitational hosted by Denison at Tanglewood Resort. Blaine Hill was fourth among boys medalists with a round of 80.
Vershaud Richardson has a double takedown of Argyle RB Don Williams (left) and QB Jon Copeland (photo by Joe Watson)
Coaches don’t like to talk about moral victories, but the Paris Wildcats held the state powerhouse Argyle Eagles to a season low in points and total yardage and sacked standout quarterback Jon Copeland 5 times in a 27-7 loss Friday night at Wildcat Stadium that raised heads across the Texas football landscape.
The Cats played host to a team that many were lauding as the best in Argyle’s short but storied history, a squad that had averaged scoring 40 points in the first half alone entering Friday’s final pre-district test. Copeland was averaging 314 yards passing and 4 touchdowns per game despite seeing little action beyond halftime in those previous games.
Prognosticators said the underdog Cats could play well and still lose by 4 or 5 touchdowns. Still, the Wildcat coaching staff prepared a game plan that they thought would give the home team a chance at a shocking upset. So, what was that plan and why, ultimately, did it fall short of its goal?
The magic number: 8
Paris coaches hoped to limit the number of Argyle’s offensive possessions for the game to 8. The Eagles had 10 (not counting the final-minute, kneel down series). They believed the Wildcat defense could stop half those drives, the Eagles would score on two possessions, and a couple of series would end in turnovers. Of the 10 Eagle possessions, 2 ended in field goals, 2 in touchdowns, 2 on downs, and 4 on punts. It was a yeoman-like effort for the Paris defense, although the one series they wished they had back was the final Argyle drive of the first half when the Eagles went 72 yards, aided by a personal foul penalty, in the last 3 minutes to score their first touchdown and get some breathing room at halftime, 10-0.
No big plays
The defensive scheme was to pressure Copeland, particularly from outside rushers Vershaud Richardson and Perry Franklin, and not let the Eagles’ explosive air attack get untracked. Copeland was held to 105 yards passing, 209 yards under his previous average, and was sacked 5 times (4 by Richardson and 1 by Perry). The only blimp in that plan again came on that fateful final drive of the first half when Copeland found Cale Nanny open for a 35-yard catch-and-run for the TD. Leading Eagles’ receiver Wes McCollum, who had averaged 136 receiving yards per game with 7 TDs, was shut out.
Win the turnover battle
The Cats needed to play an error-free game and force the Eagles into a couple of turnovers. Instead of finishing a plus-2 in turnovers, Paris was minus-2, and those two mistakes were fatal to the Cats’ upset design. A fumbled option pitch on Paris’ third play of the second half led to an Eagle field goal that increased their lead to 13-0, and a fumbled handoff on the Cats’ third series of the second half was scooped up and returned for a defensive score that made it a 20-0 game and essentially ended the game plan.
Reason for optimism
So, while Paris (3-2) will receive congratulations statewide for its “moral victory” over 5-0 Argyle, Wildcat coaches and players will be back at work trying to fix deficiencies that separate them from perennial state contenders like the Eagles. They have an open week ahead before beginning defense of their District 7-4A-1 title on Oct. 13 at Liberty-Eylau.
There is much reason for an optimistic district chase and extended playoff run, perhaps even a rematch with Argyle in the state semifinals.
If defenses win championships, then Paris appears primed for the battles ahead. Richardson, the 6-3 junior defensive end, had the type of dominant game that attracts D1 recruiting interest with 10 total tackles, the 4 sacks, 7 tackles for loss, and a pass breakup.
Senior safety Jordan Furtch also had 10 tackles and a pass breakup, while senior inside linebacker Michael Godwin had 8 tackles and junior ILB TD Williams had 7 solo tackles. Paris limited Argyle to a season-low 272 total yards.
Although the first-team offense was shut out, the unit was able to limit Argyle possessions with a bruising ground game. Senior RB Donovan Williams carried 18 times for 86 yards. He became the seventh player in PHS history to rush for 3,000 yards on his first carry of the night. Williams now has 3,081 career yards and has a good chance of moving up to the No. 2 spot behind Quez Allen’s school record of 4,599.
How Wildcats’ Opponents Fared:
Grace Woodby knocks down a crosscourt kill shot vs. Atlanta (photo by Joe Watson)
The Paris Ladycats swept the Atlanta Lady Rabbits Friday, while Pleasant Grove knocked off previously unbeaten Liberty-Eylau, 3-1, to leave the Ladycats alone atop District 14-4A volleyball standings with a 3-0 record.
Now the challenge that awaits Paris (20-11 overall) is keeping that perch. The Ladycats face a pair of tough away matches in the upcoming week starting with the crosstown trip to face defending district champion North Lamar (1-2) on Tuesday followed by a long road ride Friday to Texarkana to play L-E (2-1) and close out the first round of district action.
Paris struggled at times but easily disposed of the 0-3 Lady Rabbits, 25-19, 25-19, 25-13. The Ladycats broke away from a 5-5 tie in Game 1 to pull out to a 23-13 advantage. Paris coach Britney Humphrey began subbing freely and Atlanta took advantage with a 6-0 run to come within 4 points before a couple of unforced errors ended the set.
The Ladycats had an easier time in Game 2, jumping out to a 13-5 lead. Although they couldn’t completely shake the Lady Rabs, Paris eventually took a 2-0 match lead on a crosscourt winner by sophomore Grace Woodby.
Game 3 was all-Ladycats following an early 3-3 tie.
In addition to hitting the 20-win mark for the season, the Ladycats notched their sixth straight victory.
The Pleasant Grove Lady Hawks outscored the Paris Ladycats, 112-107, Tuesday night in the Hawk Gym, but the Ladycats won enough key points in crunch time to leave Texarkana with a huge District 14-4A varsity volleyball win, 31-29, 24-26, 25-21, 12-25, 15-11.
The results leave the surging Ladycats tied with Liberty-Eylau at 2-0 each atop the early district standings. L-E knocked off North Lamar, 3-2, Tuesday at the Texarkana Rader Dome to drop the defending district champion Pantherettes to 0-2. Paris, 18-12 overall and riding a 6-match win streak, returns home to the Wildcat Gym Friday for a 4:30 p.m. varsity-only match vs. Atlanta.
Paris and PG split JV matches Tuesday. The Ladycats’ Blue squad fell, 24-26, 16-25, while the White squad won, 23-25, 25-21, 25-15.
Libero Katy Hall anchors the Ladycats defense but also delivered a big backline kill in win over PG (file photo by Joe Watson)
The Ladycats faced a brutal league schedule with 4 of their first 5 matches all on the road in what appears to be a wide-open district chase. They appear to have caught big breaks in their first two district road matches. Paris beat Pittsburg in 5 sets Friday when a pair of key Lady Pirate starters missed the final two games to attend the Pitt Homecoming coronation. On Tuesday, PG was playing without a couple of injured players.
To the Ladycats’ credit, they capitalized on both occasions, rallying from an 0-2 defict at Pitt to sweep the final 3 games. At PG Tuesday they jumped out to an early lead when senior libero Katy Hall’s backline kill ended a marathon Game 1 and they kept the pressure on by pulling away from the hosts in Game 3.
After PG forced a decisive fifth set, Paris stormed to a 10-4 lead in Game 5 and ended the match on a kill shot by junior middle blocker Peaches Jackson, who notched 16 kills and 14 block assists in the match. Sophomore Grace Woodby had 20 kills and 29 digs, while Hall had 41 digs.
Senior Deagan Dingman logged 30 assists, senior Sunny Scrugs had 14 assists and 17 digs, and senior Zanesha Dangerfield added 6 kills. Sophomore Riley Bills had 17 digs.
Paris defensive front clamps down to stop Pitt quarterback Jaylon Jimmerson (photo by Melanie Meredith)
Football coaches, including Paris head coach Steven Hohenberger, preach the importance of maintaining focus in preparation for, and execution of, game plans. Hohenberger couldn’t have asked for better focus than his team’s first-half showing Friday as the Wildcats tried to foil Pittsburg’s Homecoming at re-designed Pirate Stadium.
The Wildcat offense scored on 4 of its 5 first-half possessions and the defense shut out an explosive Pitt offense to take a 28-0 lead to the locker room.
Then the lights went out, literally, and the Cats’ keen focus went dark, too.
In a planned, theatrical stunt, Pittsburg officials turned off the field lights as the hometown team prepared to run onto the field to start the second half. With the eerie siren from the movie The Purge blasting over the PA system, the Pirates re-emerged ready to overcome a 4-score deficit on a humid, breezeless first fall night and save Homecoming from disaster.
Pirate Keithlen Griffin returned the second half kickoff 94 yards, and the Pitt offense scored twice more in a 12-second timespan, aided by an onside kick recovery, to make it a win-able 31-20 deficit with 8 minutes left to play.
Fortunately for Paris the Cats recovered a second onside kick attempt and the offense chewed up much of the remaining time to score on a 9-play, 51-yard drive that dimmed the Pirates comeback rally, 38-20.
The Cats outgained the Pirates in total yardage, 372-276. They hammered the Pitt defense with a steady dose of senior running back Donovan Williams (30 carries for 197 yards and the first two Paris scores). They also unleashed the “Beast”, aka senior tight end Tre Perry, who caught a pair of TD throws from junior quarterback Kobe Savage.
Savage completed 7 of 11 pass attempts for 106 yards and added 78 yards rushing including the 11-yard TD run that closed out the scoring with 4:40 left in the game. Senior place kicker Antonio Saavedra had a perfect night converting all five extra point kicks and hitting a key 29-yard field goal.
The Wildcat defensive strategy focused on stopping dual threat Pitt quarterback Jaylon Jimmerson, tough running back Jordan Turner, and 6-3 two-way star Keontae Burns. Turner was held to 78 yards rushing, Burns caught just 1 pass for 12 yards, and Jimmerson was under extreme pressure from the Cats’ defensive front all night.
Junior end Vershaud Richardson amassed 11 tackles including a pair of sacks plus he blocked an extra point try. Other sacks were registered by senior lineman Demetric Glover and senior linebacker Perry Franklin. Collectively, the Cats had 14 stops behind the line of scrimmage.
Paris moves to 3-1 with the win while Pitt drops to 2-2. The Cats will need to refocus quickly because they host state powerhouse Argyle on Friday, Sept. 29, at Wildcat Stadium. The Eagles have won all previous seven matchups vs. Paris by lopsided scores and this year’s Argyle team is considered by many to be their best ever.
That’s something to keep in focus.
How Wildcats’ Opponents Fared:
Time to stop running: Paris junior JP Rojas checks his course time before he crosses the finish line at the North Lamar cross country meet Saturday. Rojas won his second meet of the season. The Wildcats compete in two more invitational meets before the District 14-4A Championships on Oct. 11 in Atlanta.
At the stroke of midnight the Pittsburg Lady Pirates’ district volleyball carriage turned into a big, juicy pumpkin that the Paris Ladycats eagerly carved with an important “W.”
With 5-11 junior middle blockers Malaysia Burns and Marlisha Swain dominating the net, Pitt was rolling toward a 3-set sweep of Paris Friday afternoon in the District 14-4A opener in the Pirate Gym. The Lady Pirates took a 2-0 lead, 25-19, 25-20, and were leading in Game 3 before a Katy Hall service run that included a pair of aces and a big Peaches Jackson spike pushed Paris ahead, 17-15.
From that point, there were 5 ties and Pitt briefly regained the lead before the Ladycats won the final two points on Lady Pirate errors. Pitt still led the match, 2-1, but suddenly two Lady Pirate starters were whisked away to participate in the Pitt Homecoming queen ceremonies at nearby Pirate Stadium.
Minus their setter and libero, there would be no Cinderella ending for the Lady Pirates, who faced a Grimm Brothers outcome with their top two playmakers out of the lineup. Paris stormed to a 10-2 start in Game 4 and by Pitt’s second called timeout the Ladycats were in cruise control at 15-3.
They won the set, 25-11, to even the match at 2-2 and set up a decisive fifth set.
If the Lady Pirates were looking for sympathy, they wouldn’t find it from Paris head coach Britney Humphrey.
“Let’s shut ‘em down and keep ‘em down,” Humphrey told her squad as they began Game 5.
Riley Bills at service line in earlier match this season (photo by Joe Watson)
The Ladycats complied. Sophomore Riley Bills, promoted from JV for service help, had a 4-0 run at the line which quickly put Paris up by 6-1. The Ladycats maintained at least a comfortable 3-point edge throughout Game 5, and back-to-back kill shots by Deagan Dingman and Zanesha Dangerfield put the match away, 15-8.
The win was the fourth straight for Paris, now 17-12, With the district chase expected to be a wide-open affair this season, a road win is a treasured commodity.
The Ladycats will aim for another strong road showing Tuesday with a trip to Pleasant Grove, who beat the defending district champion North Lamar Pantherettes, 3-1, in district play Friday.
Paris returns home to the Wildcat Gym Friday, Sept. 29, for a 4:30 p.m. varsity match vs. Atlanta.
Each month Paris High staff recognizes a student who goes above and beyond the norm of student expectations to help make the school a better place for learning. The November winner is sophomore Skyler Bryan. See monthly winners on our Students of the Month page.
A group of 13 Paris High students qualified for the state finals of various contests for the Texas Association of Future Eductors during regionals held recently in Pittsburg. Read more.
Paris High students (from left) Jake Freelen, Nick Leija, Nicholas Reed, Rhea Tabora, and Rowan Burns will advance to Area Choir auditions on Jan. 13 at A&M-Commerce as the result of pre-area auditions held recently. Read more.
Wildcats Come Home. After spending the first three weeks of the 2017-18 boys basketball season on the road, the Paris Wildcats continue a long homestand Monday when they host the Greenville Lions for three games in the Wildcat Gym. The freshmen game tips off at 5 p.m. followed by JV (about 6:30) and varsity (8). The Cats will host Mount Pleasant Thursday, Dec. 21, before taking time off for the Christmas holidays.