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Dre McKinney (9) closes in to deliver another big hit on RB Blake Henderson
Friday’s Area Round football game at Longview Lobo Stadium had the antique feel of a classic 15-round heavyweight boxing match. While the Paris defense kept a powerful Alvarado offense off-stride with body blow upon body blow, the Wildcat offense finally delivered a couple of fourth quarter haymakers that knocked the Indians out of this year’s state playoffs by a 14-10 unanimous decision.
For the second time in Steven Hohenberger’s three-year tenure as head coach, the Cats (9-3) have advanced three rounds deep into the Class 4A Division I bracket. Their next opponent will be a familiar one, the 11-1 Van Vandals, in a Friday, 1 p.m., Region 2 Semifinal to be played back at Allen’s Eagle Stadium.
Advance tickets to the game will be on sale Monday thru Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily, at the Wildcat Stadium fieldhouse athletic office and on Friday, 8 to 9:30 a.m. Advance tickets are $4 student and $6 adult. All tickets at the gate are $7, and parking is $5.
The 2014 Wildcats upset an unbeaten and state-ranked Vandals team in Hohenberger’s first season, 30-23, en route to a regional semifinals appearance. A repeat win over Van would advance Paris to the Region 2 finals against the winner of Kennedale vs. Midlothian Heritage.
None of which seemed likely at halftime to the casual fan at Lobo. After all, they had seen Alvarado (9-3) roll up big chunks of yardage on the ground to outgain Paris in total offense and time of possession by a 2-to-1 margin. The Wildcat offense, meanwhile, was hamstrung by 4 fumbles (although none lost), blocking breakdowns, and errant passing.
To make matters worse, the Cats’ best first half drive was stopped on downs at the Alvarado 3. When Paris was gifted new life on a fumbled snap recovered by Tyrel McCalester at the Alvarado 10, the Cats had 6 snaps to dent the goalline before settling on a field goal attempt.
The 27-yard try by normally dead-solid-perfect kicker Zach Lamb was pushed wide right by the swirling winds in the south end zone.
The Indians still had 2:35 left on the second quarter clock, and they assembled a 14-play march to pad their halftime lead to 10-0 with a 36-yard Trevor Stovall field goal. Momentum seemed to favor Alvarado, but in the Paris locker room under the massive concrete bowl, Wildcat coaches convinced their players they had the Indians right where they wanted them: Against the ropes.
“We told the team they (the Indians) weren’t going to score again,” said defensive coordinator Larry McFarlin, “and that our offense was going to turn it around and score twice.
“Just keep boxing, just keep punching away.”
McFarlin wasn’t advocating fisticuffs but was talking metaphorically about the cumulative effects of continual hard hits by the Wildcat defense, led by senior middle linebacker Dre McKinney, who inflicted 16 jarring solo tackles along with 10 assists.
Starting Indian RB Alonzo Shaw did not return to the field following a collision with safety Jordan Furtch on Shaw’s third carry of the night.
“That was a big break for us,” Hohenberger would say later.
Backup Blake Henderson, a 1,000-yard rusher, took over and led Alvarado with 27 carries for 124 yards, but after a series of big hits by McKinney and Friends, he only had one rush in the final three Alvarado series. By the end of the night, the Indians were down to their third and fourth options at tailback.
McKinney had plenty of help from defensive teammates. Most notably, linebackers Tyrel McCalester and Michael Godwin along with safety Furtch were in on 12 tackles each. Paris forced three key turnovers in the second half. On one play (see photo left), Furtch (No. 5) hurdled blockers and wound up kicking the ball out of the runner’s grasp into the hands of teammate Jaylen Smith. Senior safety TD Williams had a more convention ball strip on another play that was good for McCalester’s second fumble recovery of the game.
While the defense was pitching the second half shutout, the offense came alive in the fourth quarter, keyed by, undoubtedly, the play of the year. Needing a kickstart, the Cats got one in the form of an acrobatic, one-handed grab by 6-3 Jalon Pipkins, despite tight coverage by 5-5 defender Blake Boyd. Pipkins hauled in Ja’Kerion Brown’s pass at the Indians’ 15, landed on one leg, kept his balance, and cruised the rest of the way for a 47-yard score to make it a 10-7 game.
Pipkins, Brown, & Co. weren’t through. The Wildcat offense got the ball back at the Paris 39 with 3:08 left in the game. It took them just 5 plays to go 61 yards for the winning score.
Brown picked up 37 of his 61 rushing yards on an option keeper to the Alvarado 19. Two plays later, the diminutive Paris quarterback, who couldn’t hit the proverbial broadside of a barn passing in a frustrating first half, was right on target in connecting with Pipkins again on a 14-yard out pattern to beat standout cornerback Antwain Bates in the right end zone.
The home sidelines and stands erupted as Lamb added his second extra point to give Paris its first lead, 14-10, with just 1:34 left to play.
Fittingly, there was one remaining challenge for the Cat defense. Hearts sank as 48-yard kickoff return by Bates plus a personal foul penalty had Alvarado perched on the Paris doorstep at the Cats’ 16.
However, with the Indian backfield riddled by repeated shots from the Wildcat defense, Alvarado QB Brayden Ramsey was the last best hope. He scrambled on fourth-and-4 to move the chains to the Paris 5.
Out of timeouts, Alvarado rushed to save the final few seconds on the clock. Instead, the Indians drew two false starts in the process. Ramsey was called for intentional grounding at the Paris 18 while trying to avoid a game-ending sack by McCalester.
The final gasp came on a “Hail, Mary” lob to the end zone that saw Williams outjump the pile for his seventh interception of the year, all coming in the Cats’ current 7-game winning streak.
It was over.
As pandemonium ensued among Wildcat players, coaches, and entourage with victory dog-piles scattered across the field, a water-drenched Hohenberger and McFarlin met, hugged, and playfully sparred. (see photo right) As Hohenberger walked away to greet the next well-wisher, he yelled, “Let’s keep boxing!”
In workmanlike, if unspectacular, manner, the Paris Wildcats overwhelmed an outmanned Crandall Pirates team Thursday night at a Class 4A-I bi-district game played at Allen Eagle Stadium, 21-0.
The Cats, who won their sixth straight game, move to 8-3 for the season and will play the 9-2 Alvarado Indians in next week’s Area Round. That game will be played Friday, Nov. 18, 7:30 p.m., at Longview Lobo Stadium.
The Pirates finished their season at 4-7.
While comparisons to the 1988 state championship football run would be very premature at this point, the 2016 Cats accomplished something no PHS team has done since the 1988 title holders: They posted a rare playoff shutout, the first since a 40-0 win over Cleburne in the state semifinals. It was also the second shutout in three games for Paris, who also blanked Anna, 41-0, two weeks ago.
The Pirates limped into the matchup as the District 8 No. 4 seed missing their top offensive threat: Senior quarterback Michael Dearman, who stood on crutches on the Crandall sidelines. Dearman was injured in last week’s regular season finale.
In Dearman’s absence, the Pirates turned to sophomore Josh Redding and a heavy reliance on a “Wildcat” formation ground game with running back Tyson Gatewood taking a direct snap from center. Crandall gained just 132 total yards against the Paris defense and a paltry 1.5 yards per rush.
The Pirates were also restricted by field position. Paris place kicker Zach Lamb, punter Montana Payne, and the Cats’ special teams pinned Crandall to an average start at the Pirate 28 compared the Cats average start at the Paris 40.
The Crandall offense crossed midfield just twice. A 14-play march on the Pirates’ second series reached the Paris 9 before an errant pass by Redding was picked off by senior TD Williams in the end zone (see photo left). It was Williams’ sixth interception of the season, all coming in the past six games.
In the second half a promising Crandall drive engineered by Doneric Rivers running the Wildcat was stopped on downs at the Paris 35 when, on fourth-and-2, KJ Tyler blew up the play in the backfield and linebackers Dre McKinney and Perry Franklin combined to stop Gatewood for a loss.
Offensively, the Cats scored easily on the initial drive of the game to take a 7-0 lead, then tried, without success, to get the passing game in gear. They finished with just 23 yards on 2 of 14 attempts.
That contributed to four wasted opportunities to finish out the first half and keep it a 7-0 game at halftime. The Cats returned to the running attack in the second half to score on a typical Ja’Kerion Brown jukefest scramble of 44 yards on their first series after halftime to make it a more secure 14-0 lead (see photo right).
Then, three series later, they pounded a fatigued Crandall defense with 8 straight helpings of Donovan Williams on a 70-yard march to virtually put the game on ice, 21-0, with 8:24 remaining on the clock. Williams finished with a hard-earned 189 yards rushing on 29 carries and 2 TDs.
Brown added 58 rushing yards on 7 carries, and Tre Perry rushed 4 times for 32 yards as Paris rolled up 289 yards on the ground among its 312 total yards offense.
The Paris defense held Crandall to 131 total yards. McKinney was credited with 13 solo tackles among his 18 total. Outside LB Tyrel McCalester had 8 solo and 13 total. Linemen Vershaud Richardson (9 tackles) and Jawun Sims (7 solo, 8 total) were also active.
Donovan Williams out-sprints the Panther defense for a 64-yard score that gives Paris a 35-21 lead
The 2016 Crosstown Showdown had something that had been missing in recent years: Drama. Lots of it.
After watching his team march for the winning score in Friday’s final two minutes and exchanging pleasantries with an endless array of players, coaches, family and friends and nameless hangers-on, an emotionally spent Paris head coach Steven Hohenberger inspected the rivalry trophy in the driveway behind the R. L. Maddox Stadium visiting bleachers.
“I wonder how long it’s been,” he said, then started silently reading off recent scores, all Paris wins.
2015: 48-10, 2014: 51-23, 2013: 41-7, 2012: 49-7.
He looked up after finding his answer. “2011: 42-35.”
He seemed a bit stunned at the measure of deja vu.
The 2016 version had become an instant classic in this rivalry series, as the Paris Wildcats put the wraps on their sixth straight win over the North Lamar Panthers by that identical score of 42-35.
Although he didn’t say so and while Hohenberger, the Paris coach, might prefer the more comfortable margins of victory, Hohenberger, the North Lamar graduate and Lamar County native, had to be pleased by the series’ resurgence on display in this year’s regular season finale.
It had everything a high school rivalry should have: Two well-prepared squads giving top efforts on the field before a packed house in a hard-hitting, but cleanly played game. It had some incredible individual efforts, especially on offense.
North Lamar did something no other District 7-4A-I opponent could manage. The Panthers made the Paris defense look vulnerable. Behind a running attack that featured pulling linemen on almost every play, NL backs consistently found gaps and cutback lanes to counteract the Cats’ speedy pursuit.
Quarterback Sam Cowling darted his way to 173 yards on 25 carries and 3 TDs. Running back Javon Franklin managed 24 carries for 76 yards and a score, and backup RB Tyler Hill added 8 runs for 37 yards.
The Panthers controlled time of possession, but the Paris offense made up for lost time with some big plays. Junior RB Donovan Williams broke his week-old career rushing mark with 244 yards on just 15 rushes (a whopping 16.3 yards per carry) He scored on breakaways of 74 and 64 yards.
Quarterback Ja’Kerion Brown almost gave the Cats a pair of 200-yard rushers. He ran for 181 on 16 carries (11.3 average) with scoring runs of 27 and 14. He also passed for 42 yards on just 3 completions and 1 TD, all to favorite receiver Jalon Pipkins.
Senior RB Tre Perry had 5 rushes for 27 yards and a touchdown.
Although the defenses took a backseat to the offensive display, each team’s D had their moment in the spotlight.
Just when it looked like Paris was about to score before halftime and take a two-possession lead to the locker room, the Panthers’ Menderez Gray intercepted a Brown pass for a 97-yard pick-6 that left the score deadlocked at 21-21 at the half.
The pace slowed in a scoreless third quarter, but a furious finish was still in store for the sellout crowd which decided to remain in their seats after watching both state-band bands perform at halftime.
The fourth quarter would see an explosion of 35 points as Paris would take a 14-point lead only to have NL charge back thanks to a successful onside kick, the Panthers’ second in two weeks.
After Cowling scored for the third time and Travis Coston tied the game at 35-all, the Cats showed their district championship mettle by driving 58 yards on 5 running plays for the winning points in the final two minutes. Zach Lamb completed a perfect night for the kickers with his sixth point-after.
Just one more dramatic encore remained. Cowling rolled out to his left but was chased down by sophomore end Vershaud Richardson (see photo left). The sack dislodged the ball and nose tackle Zanderius Hearn fell on the fumble to ensure the victory.
The win completed a perfect 5-0 run for the district champion Wildcats, who take their 7-3 season record into a bi-district playoff match vs. the Crandall Pirates (4-6) Thursday at Allen’s Eagle Stadium. Paris will be hoping to avoid some bad karma from three seasons ago when the 2013 Cats also took a 5-0 district into a first-round pairing against a 4-5 Crandall team. The Pirates administered a 22-7 whipping in Hohenberger’s first season at the helm of the Cats.
The Panthers, meanwhile, finish the regular season at 5-5 and are the No. 3 district seed. They face the Terrell Tigers (8-2) on Friday at Terrell’s Memorial Stadium.
More drama awaits both Lamar County schools.
How Wildcat Opponents Fared:
PHS Student Congress Team (from left) Codi Clark, Shelby Wilson, Reagan Stone, sponsor Tracy Roden, Brendan Henry, Graham Bain, Anthony Pierotti
Paris High finished as runnersup to North Lamar at the recent UIL Region 8 Student Congress in Pittsburg, and senior Shelby Wilson was named an alternate to Class 4A State Congress to be held in Janary 2017.
Congress is an individual contest modeled after the U.S. Congress. Students research bills and resolutions, prepare speeches, caucus in committees, debate legislation, and vote on measures they have examined. Parliamentary procedure is followed.
Zantavious Braxton finds a seam in the NL defense to score the second of his three touchdowns for Paris freshmen
The Paris Wildcats freshman football team scored 20 points in the final five minutes to take a 36-16 win over North Lamar, while the Paris JV pitched a 19-0 shutout of the Panthers to sweep a sub-varsity doubleheader Thursday night at Wildcat Stadium.
The schools’ varsity squads take center stage Friday night in the annual Crosstown Showdown at R. L. Maddox Stadium.
The freshman game was a roller-coaster of momentum changes. After a scoreless opening quarter, the Cats broke through on a 65-yard drive finished off by an 18-yard TD pass from Jameon Mitchell to Zantavious Braxton. On the next Paris possession Braxton also scored on a 38-yard run.
The Wildcats gambled on the conversion when they lined up for an extra point kick, but ran a fake. The play backfired, however, when NL’s Cade Conway intercepted an errant lateral and ran it back for a rare defensive conversion to cut the Paris lead to 13-2.
Paris tacked on a 31-yard field goal by Bryan Ramirez 10 seconds before halftime to pad the lead to 16-2, but the Panthers stormed back after halftime to tie the game, 16-16, on short TD runs by Trenton Smith and Cameron Clark plus a 2-point conversion run by Kobey Emmeyabbi.
The Cats immediately responded with a 65-yard run by Do’Rian Williams (see photo on the left) to regain the lead, 23-16, with 5:10 left to play. After holding the Panthers on downs at midfield, Williams scored again from 10 yards out to make it 29-16 with 1:16 remaining.
Paris then recovered a fumble on the kickoff return, and Braxton added his third TD of the evening on a 7-yard run to complete the scoring.
The Cats freshmen finished the season with a 3-7 mark and were 2-3 in district games.
The Paris JV evened its record to 5-5 overall, 3-2 in district, with the win in a game that featured defense and special teams. Anqurrus Harris started the scoring with a 20-yard interception return, and Alan Garcia added the extra point for a 7-0 lead with 3:02 left in the first quarter.
After forcing a Panther punt on NL’s next possession, Cameron Jones fielded a bizarre line-drive kick at the line of scrimmage and returned it 50 yards to increase the lead to 13-0 with still 1:02 remaining in the first quarter.
The only offensive scoring drive of the night occurred on the next Paris possession when Kobe Savage capped a 70-yard march with a 25-yard run midway through the second quarter.
The Paris Ladycats needed all hands on deck to have a chance to break a five-year drought of playoff wins, but their fate in Tuesday’s bi-district match was realistically decided on a soccer field Sunday.
That’s when senior middle blocker Lindi Hamner, a three-year starter in volleyball and all-district goalie on the Paris soccer team, turned an ankle playing soccer in a club match. The injury kept Hamner off the court for all but three points of Mabank’s 25-19, 25-19, 25-27, 25-17 win at Greenville High School.
The Panthers (one of a few girls teams that don’t use the term “Lady” in their mascot name), take their 22-15 season record into the Class 4A Area Round against seventh-ranked Carthage. The Ladycats finish their first season under head coach Britney Humphrey with a 20-19 mark. They’ll have to wait another year to notch the first Paris playoff victory since 2011, all-state middle blocker Andi Bawcum’s senior season.
Hamner’s absence put Paris on the defensive most of the night. Mabank’s 5-10 junior outside hitter Kailey Currington took advantage with 20 kills that kept the Panthers in front most of the way.
The Ladycats never led in Game 1 as the Panthers broke out from a 4-4 tie to stretch their lead to 20-12. Paris then produced a 7-1 run capped by an Emily Williams ace to trim the deficit to 21-19, but following a Mabank timeout the Panthers took the final 4 points for a 1-0 match lead.
Game 2 was nearly a carbon copy. Mabank broke from a 2-2 tie, led by as many as 5 points, but saw Paris rally to within 18-20. Three unforced Ladycats errors contributed to a 5-1 Panther scoring streak to finish the game and lead the match, 2-0.
Mabank was on the way to a sweep in Game 3 as the Panthers had Paris down by a 12-7 count when 4 straight Mabank errors closed the gap to 11-12. The Panthers then rebuilt a 18-13 advantage when Paris enjoyed its best streak of the evening.
With senior Dextiny Patrick at the service line, the Ladycats soared to a 9-0 rally keyed by 3 Grace Woodby kills, blocks by Peaches Jackson and Anahdian Mitchell, and a Patrick ace. Paris had 3 game points at 24-21 following a kill by Zanesha Dangerfield, but Mabank fought off 2 of those points before Humphrey sent Hamner into the frontline for an emotional, if not physical, stabilizing presence.
Instead, Hamner’s first spike attempt was blocked by 5-11 Dannielle Sinclair to knot the score at 24-all. A net violation on Paris when a Ladycat barely slid under the cords during a dig suddenly gave the Panthers match point at 25-24. However, Hamner had another spike that was mishandled by the Mabank back line to even the score at 25-25.
Hamner then limped off the court and was a spectator as an errant Mabank kill set up a game win off a Jackson spike.
Unfortunately, the momentum didn’t carry over into Game 4 for Paris, whose 7 straight errors gave Mabank a 13-8 lead. The Ladycats pulled within 13-15 thanks to 3 Patrick kills and a block, but the Panthers finished off the match in quick order with a 10-4 flurry.
Patrick (pictured with one of her spikes in the match) had 15 kills, 3 blocks, and 3 aces in her final volleyball appearance for Paris. Mitchell, who had 2 kills and a block, and Drea Jenkins also closed out their senior seasons.
Freshman Woodby notched 8 kills, while sophomore Jackson had 5 kills and 4 blocks, and junior Zanesha Dangerfield had 3 kills. They could return for next year’s attempt to break through the bi-district hurdle along with junior hitter Atajeni Barry, junior setter Deagan Dingman, junior libero Katy Hall, and junior defensive specialists Emily Williams and Sarah Bloodworth.
For the first time in the school’s history, the Paris High Blue Blazes Band has earned a trip to the state marching band finals to perform their award-winning halftime show “Shiver.”
The PHS band placed fourth at the Area C contest Saturday at Nacogdoches Homer Bryce Stadium to punch a ticket to the Class 4A State Marching Band Contest on Monday, Nov. 7, at the San Antonio Alamodome. North Lamar finished first at area with 7 points (combined placement from a panel of 5 judges), followed by Spring Hill 15, Little Cypress-Mauriceville 16, Paris 19, and Atlanta 28. The top five bands at Area C qualified for state finals this year.
The state marching band contest has been in existence since 1984. It is held biennially among the various state classifications. This year’s event is being contested at the Class 6A level in addition to 4A. Class 6A bands will perform on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Paris just missed a berth to the state finals at the previous area competition in 2014. That PHS band and their halftime show “Stained Glass” finished 2 points out of the fourth and final state berth from Area C. NL, Spring Hill, Atlanta, and LCM also qualified for the state finals in 2014.
“It was nerve-racking, especially after just missing out two years ago,” PHS band director Charles Grissom said about waiting for this year’s area results to be posted. “Our show was built for the state finals,” he added.
“If we can make it to the finals, I really feel like we’ve got a good chance.”
But first the PHS ensemble, approximately 120 strong, will have to survive state prelims and a tough draw with an early 9:15 a.m. performance time. It means that Paris students will get a 5 a.m. wakeup call, eat, dress out, and warm up for the show in the Alamodome then sweat out the rest of the day as 23 bands compete for a chance to make the 6 p.m. finals where the top 10 bands perform their shows one last time before an entirely different set of judges.
North Lamar, which finished second to Argyle at the 2014 state finals, drew a 1:45 p.m. start time.
Meanwhile, Grissom and the other PHS band directors face a busy week ahead making arrangements for the traveling entourage of about 160. Paris and NL fans can see both schools’ halftime shows Friday night at the Crosstown Showdown at R. L. Maddox Stadium before both groups load up for San Antonio.
Paris running back Donovan Williams makes a sharp cutback to avoid an Anna tackler and pick up a long gainer of 53 yards. Williams topped the 200-yard rushing mark and scored 4 times in the 41-0 win. Meanwhile (below), TD Williams (15) celebrates another stop of Anna’s workhorse runner Daunte Rose by he and his defensive teammates.
It was a tale of two 25s.
The Anna Coyotes’ No. 25 is powerful 6-1, 205-pound senior running back Daunte Rose, who brought an impressive stat sheet into Friday’s game vs. the Paris Wildcats. He had averaged 135.6 yards rushing per game and 5.5 yards per carry with 11 touchdowns.
No. 25 on the Cats’ roster is 6-0, 176-pound speedy junior Donovan Williams, whose stat line of 92.4 yards rushing per game with 3 TDs was respectable but paled by comparison.
Rose had been a big reason Anna experienced the best of times with a perfect 6-0 record following a 35-19, district-opening win over North Lamar three weeks ago. But these are now the worst of times for once-hopeful Coyote fans who made the 90-minute trip to Wildcat Stadium only to see their team lose its third straight game, 41-0, to the Cats.
The Paris defense again stepped up to stone-wall a District 7-4A-1 adversary. The gang-tackling unit held Rose to 90 yards on 23 bruising carries. It was enough to advance the Coyotes past midfield on three occasions, but it couldn’t overcome four Anna turnovers (two interceptions, a punt block, and a fumble) to allow the visitors access to the Paris end zone.
It was the first shutout posted by Paris since a 35-0 blanking of Pleasant Grove during the 2013 season, 37 games ago. Ironically, 2013 marked the last time the Cats reigned as district football champions, and the Paris defense is a big reason the school will advance into the playoffs this year as the district’s No. 1 seed.
Paris is now 4-0 in district play and 6-3 overall. The Cats close out the regular season next Friday, Nov. 4, with the annual Crosstown Showdown at North Lamar (5-4, 2-2). Liberty-Eylau (3-1) can claim a share of the district title with a win vs. Quinlan Ford (1-3) and a Paris loss at R. L. Maddox Stadium, but the Cats own the tiebreaker by virtue of their 16-8 victory over L-E.
Anna (6-3, 1-3), meanwhile, will need a win at home vs. Princeton (1-3) to have a chance to extend its once-upon-a-time dream season.
Anna pinned its hopes on Rose controlling time of possession for an upset against the Cats. Instead, the Paris defense held the Coyotes to a paltry 129 total yards, 116 on the ground, and 13 through the air. All three categories were season lows for a Paris opponent.
Linebackers Dre McKinney, Tyrel McCalester, and Perry Franklin all registered double digits in tackles with 14, 11, and 11, respectively, but the Cats needed, and got, multiple tacklers on each carry to subdue the powerful Rose.
They also picked off a pair of Anna passes to give safeties TD Williams and Jordan Furtch their fifth pick each for the season. Williams has recorded an interception in each district game.
Senior lineman Juwan Sims added a punt block, and McKinney forced the fumble recovered by Jalen Easter to thwart the Coyotes’ final drive and preserve the shutout.
But our story is not complete without focusing on the Paris offense and its No. 25, Donovan Williams. Head coach Steven Hohenberger and his offensive staff had to be beaming over the consistency of the Paris unit.
There were no major penalties or turnovers to stop the Paris offense on this night. The Cats got points on every offensive series except for their last when they were running out the clock. Twice when Paris bogged down in the red zone, the Cats were able to salvage points off a pair of Zach Lamb field goals. The senior kicker remains a model of consistency that quietly goes unnoticed.
It was impossible not to notice No. 25 in home blue, who rushed for a career-high 227 yards on 31 carries and 4 TDs. It was the most individual rushing yardage for a Paris back since Quez Allen amassed 236 in the 2014 playoff win over an unbeaten Van team. As a team, the Cats accumulated a season-high 326 yards rushing
Donovan Williams averaged 7.3 yards per carry, including a sensational 53-yard breakaway accented by a severe downfield juke to avoid a Coyote defender. It set up a Ja’Kerion Brown TD run which accounted for the Cats’ other points.
Most of Williams’ damage was inflicted over the right side of the Paris offensive line, which has picked up steam-rolling momentum during the district title run. Paris has rushed for 287, 248, 257, and now 326 in its four district wins.
Sophomore tackles Elijah Ellis and Ashton Savage, senior guards Mitchell Cole and Breshaun Stewart, junior center Gunner Vest plus junior tight end Demetric Glover and junior fullback Zaccheus Ellis have created some monster holes over right tackle. Throw in junior Jalen Easter in the Cats’ heavy package look, and you have the makings of Devastation Inc. which is causing district defensive coordinators some sleepless nights.
The combination of sturdy defense and steady offensive production is making for a Dickensian season for the 2016 Wildcats who have bounced back from a 2-3 predistrict start to stand on the cusp of a perfect 5-0 district finish.
How Wildcat Opponents Fared:
Former Paris High student Elijah Mackey, son for former head girls basketball coach Ted Mackey, finished first overall at Saturday’s Region 2-4A Cross Country Championships to lead Melissa High to the overall boys title in the race held at Grand Prairiie’s Lynn Creek Park.
The Paris High boys team, this years’ District 14 champions, finished 15th. Senior Matt Cochran had the top PHS finish at 47th with a time of 17:56.09 over the 5,000-meter boys course.
Junior Lilly Lewis was the lone qualifier for the PHS girls. She finished 84th with a time of 13:22.20 over the 2-mile girls course. Kaufman won the girls team title and Kylie Purifoy of Crandall was the individual medalist.
Region Choir selections: (front, from left) Tierra Ellis, Tieren Gates; (back) Rhea Tabora, Jake Freelen, Nick Leija II, Averi McFadden, Nicholas Reed, Deja Sikes
The Paris High choir program placed eight students in this year’s High School Region Choir as the result of auditions held Oct. 15 in Mount Pleasant. They return to Mount Pleasant on Nov. 12 to participate in a clinic/concert.
They also qualify for pre-area auditions on Nov. 29, the next step in a progression of tryouts leading to potential selection in an all-state choir. Senior Deja Sikes entered the large school track and is eligible for selection in the All-State Mixed Choir or the All-State Treble Choir, while the remaining seven students, who entered the small school track, will be competing for chairs in the Small School All-State Choir.
That group is comprised of seniors Tieren Gates and Tierra Ellis, juniors Jake Freelen and Averi McFadden, and sophomores Rhea Tabora, Nicholas Reed, and Nick Leija II.
The Paris Ladycats notched their 20th win of the season Tuesday as they swept the Liberty-Eylau Lady Leopards, 25-22, 25-20, 25-12, in the District 14-4A finale at Texarkana’s Rader Gym.
The Ladycats open the Class 4A playoffs next week against Mabank, the second-place finisher from District 13. Paris brings a 20-18 overall season record and 6-4 district mark into the bi-district match, which will be held Tuesday at Greenville High School. The match begins at 6 p.m. and is the first of a doubleheader that evening. North Lamar plays Wills Point in the 8 p.m. nitecap.
Mabank finished the regular season with a 21-15 record and went 6-4 in its district.
The Paris JV also won its match at Liberty-Eylau, 25-21, 25-19.
Ja’Kerion Brown uses Breshaun Steward’s 2-for-1 kickout block (right) to clear the way for the second of his three TD runs
The Paris Wildcats have surged to the top of the District 7-4A-1 football standings because the defense is prepared to face each next opponent’s challenge. But what if that opponent’s offense is so unique you can’t be adequately prepared in one week’s time?
The result can be an anxious and frustrating Friday night, the home fans discovered, as they watched the Cats separate from the pesky Quinlan Ford Panthers (4-4, 1-2) at Wildcat Stadium, 28-14. The win raised Paris’ season record to 5-3. The Cats remain atop the district standings at 3-0 and need just one more win to clinch their first district football championship since 2013.
They get their title opportunity next Friday back at Wildcat Stadium when they host the Anna Coyotes (6-2, 1-2), who were overpowered by Liberty-Eylau (3-5, 2-1) Friday, 44-17. Paris closes the regular season on Nov. 4 at North Lamar (4-4, 1-2), a 27-7 winner over Princeton (4-4, 1-2).
In these days of high-powered spread offenses, Ford brings an old-fashioned, run-oriented, wing-T offense to the table. With quick motions and mis-directions, the offense is difficult to duplicate in practice and difficult to defend once kickoff arrives.
The Panthers controlled time of possession with a nearly 2-to-1 margin in offensive snaps, 67-38. Paris held a slight advantage in total yards, 291-257, but scoring chances were at a premium with each team managing just 8 offensive possessions for the evening.
The Cats never trailed, but they couldn’t shake free from Ford in the first half. The Panthers used 7:36 of the second quarter on a 15-play drive that was kept alive by a successful fake punt on 4th-and-22 from the Ford 12 to tie the score, 14-14, at halftime.
The Ford offensive line uses an aggressive, low-charging style of attack that was whistled for 8 illegal blocks on the night (chop blocks, blocking below the waist, holds). Still, the relentless rushing game engineered by junior quarterback Linus Beierschmitt was able to overcome those negative obstacles until the second half when the Panthers’ fortunes changed.
A fumbled snap on the 4th-and-1 ninth play of the Panthers’ opening third quarter drive brought the Paris offense on the field. Eight plays later, junior running back Donovan Williams went untouched the final yard of a 56-yard drive that put the Cats back in front, 21-14.
On the next Ford series, the Panthers advanced to the Paris 13 before a fumbled handoff was recovered by junior safety Jordan Furtch. Two plays later, Paris quarterback Ja’Kerion Brown was sprinting 70 yards untouched through the Panther secondary for his third TD of the evening and a somewhat comfortable, 28-14 Paris lead.
The Cats’ defense took over in the fourth quarter to force a 3 & out punt and a takeover on downs for the final two Panther possessions.
Brown rushed for 160 yards on just 15 carries for Paris to score his 3 TDs. He completed 5 of just 7 pass attempts for 34 yards. Williams, meanwhile, gained 85 yards on 13 rushes.
Once again, turnovers were a key in Paris’ third district win. A TD Williams interception, his fourth in league play, set up the first Paris score on a short, 30-yard drive. The two second-half Panther fumbles both resulted in Paris TDs.
Inside linebackers Dre McKinney and Michael Godwin had busy nights. The senior McKinney was in on 19 total tackles, while the junior Godwin logged 16. Senior outside linebacker Tyrell McCalester had 13 and junior LB Perry Franklin had 12. Furtch topped the secondary with 12 tackles.
The Paris defense was missing its top defensive lineman, sophomore Vershaud Richardson, due to concussion protocol.
How Wildcat Opponents Fared:
Zanesha Dangerfield gets the kill shot over the block of Bailey Foy (14) and Erin Scholl (16)
The North Lamar Pantherettes have not lost a district volleyball match since 2012 and haven’t lost to Paris since the Ladycats’ 2010 regional semifinalist season. NL kept the streak going against Paris Friday in the Wildcat Gym with a 25-11, 25-15, 25-19 sweep. On Tuesday the Pantherettes try to extend the unbeaten district streak one more year by defeating Pleasant Grove, the last district team to notch a rare victory over NL.
A win over PG would complete a perfect 10-0 run in District 14-4A for the Pantherettes. The Lady Hawks are currently in second place at 8-1. Paris has clinched the No. 3 playoff berth with a 5-4 district mark. The Ladycats, 19-18 overall, visit Liberty-Eylau Tuesday to close out the regular season. The playoffs start the week of Oct. 31.
The Pantherttes jumped out to a 9-0 lead in Game 1 before Paris finally averted the shutout. They also raced out to a 15-6 advantage en route to an easy win in Game 2.
Game 3 was the only contested set. Although NL led, 4-1, the Ladycats rallied for their first tie at 8-8. A Dextiny Patrick block and NL kill error gave Paris its last lead and point, 19-18. NL then reeled off the final 7 points to close out the match.
Patrick led the Ladycats with 8 kills, while junior libero Katy Hall had 17 digs and junior setter 13 assists.
Seniors Bailee Nickerson and Bailey Foy notched 9 and 8 kills, respectively, for the Pantherettes. Senior Karlie Ewell had 10 digs, and senior Haley Porter 19 assists.
Vershaud Richardson (left) and Michael Godwin make the double-team stop of Princeton RB Alex Flores
For the second straight week, the Paris defense showed up ready to face a challenge from a district nemesis.
Last week, in the District 7-4A-1 opener against Liberty-Eylau, the Wildcats held the defending district champions 28 points below their scoring average in a 16-8 win. Friday at Princeton’s Jackie Hendricks Stadium, the Cats held the Panthers 18 points under their average night to escalate Paris (4-3 overall) to a death grip hold on this year’s title with a convincing, 35-18 victory.
Paris fans and opponents may not know what to make of the Cats’ recent defensive resurgence, but defensive coordinator Larry McFarlin saw it coming.
“Last week (before the L-E game) we made some changes in personnel and had three of the best practices we’ve had this year,” he said on the eve of the Princeton game. “This week we had three practices that were even better.
Indeed they were, although it might not have seemed that way to fans who watched the Paris team buses finally roll in just 15 minutes prior to kickoff. They had stopped at a nearby park on Lake Lavon for pre-game warmups, a psychological tactic that head coach Steven Hohenberger has used before, including the past two Crosstown Showdown trips to North Lamar.
Princeton, also 4-3, entered the evening as a two-touchdown favorite by most high school prognosticators, having scorched the Paris defense the past two seasons with 65- and 49-point offensive showings.
This time, however, the Cats defense stone-walled the Panthers with four 3&outs and three interceptions while the offense converted enough big plays to take a 28-3 halftime lead.
Although the Paris offense sputtered in the second half with a trio of fumbles, the defense shut down the Princeton running game (2.8 yards per carry) and forced freshman quarterback Brendon Strickland to beat them. He couldn’t.
The Paris defense picked up 4 turnovers in the L-E victory and added 5 more (including 4 interceptions) to leave Princeton with another key win.
In other district games Friday, L-E romped past North Lamar, 38-14, while Quinlan Ford handed Anna its first loss of the season, 35-28. The results left Paris (2-0) atop district standings, while L-E, Princeton, Ford, and Anna are tied with 1-1 marks and NL is 0-2.
The only troubling aspect to Friday’s showing were the 4 fumbles that ended Paris drives and gave the home crowd some degree of hope. Princeton’s defensive strategy was focused on stopping the running ability of quarterback Ja’Kerion Brown. While Brown was held to 53 yards on 14 carries, the senior QB torched the Panthers for 215 yards and 4 TD passes.
Princeton tried to handle 6-3 senior receiver Jalon Pipkins with single coverage. Although Pipkins let a sure TD pass slip through his hands on his first opportunity, he recovered to snag 6 catches for 131 yards and 2 TDs.
Junior running back Donovan Williams snared 2 of Brown’s tosses for 73 yards and the other 2 TD throws. He also rushed 25 times for 181 yards as the Cats pounded the right side in the fourth quarter behind big offensive linemen Mitchell Cole and Ashton Savage.
But make no mistake. This was another defensive headliner. While the revamped defensive line, led by sophomore Vershaud Richardson’s 13 combined tackles, clogged the gaps up front, it freed a bevy of quick and sure-tackling linebackers to make stops, and an improved secondary to make big plays.
Senior linebacker Tyrel McAlester turned in 20 total tackles (11 solo), senior LB Dre McKinney had 14 tackles and one of the pass picks, junior LB Perry Franklin had 12 tackles and an end zone fumble recovery, and junior LB Michael Godwin recorded 11 tackles..
Meanwhile, senior safety TD Williams had a pair of interceptions and a key goal-line strip of a Panther while the Cats were protecting a 28-10 lead in the fourth quarter. Senior DB Jaylen Smith had the other INT.
The Cats play their final three regular season games within Paris city limits, starting with back-to-back home games at Wildcat Stadium against Quinlan Ford and Anna before taking the short trip across town to North Lamar.
If Paris can continue to practice what the coaching staff is preaching during the week, it should make for a memorable finish to the 2016 season under Friday night lights.
How Wildcat Opponents Fared:
District Varsity Boys Champions: (from left) Matt Cochran, JP Rojas, Kyler Beshirs, Seth Hudgins, Gavyn Hollje, Christian Mitchell, Jose Resendiz
Paris senior Matt Cochran defended his individual district championship and led the Paris Wildcats to a first-place finish overall at Saturday’s District 14-4A Cross Country Championships held at North Lamar.
Junior Lilly Lewis had the top finish for the Ladycats with a fourth-place showing.
The top three teams and top 10 individuals qualify for the Region 2-4A Championships on Saturday, Oct. 29, at Lynn Creek Park in Grand Prairie.
Cochran took the lead at the midpoint of the 3-mile race and had a cushion of more than 100 yards at the finish line over second place. PHS sophomore JP Rojas finished third, sophomore Kyler Beshirs was fifth, senior Seth Hudgins sixth and freshman Gavyn Hollje seventh. Other members of the district champion boys team were senior Christian Mitchell (17th) and senior Jose Resendiz (21st).
The PHS cross country coach is Clint Cobb.
The Paris Ladycats were swept by the Pleasant Grove Lady Hawks in a District 14-4A volleyball match Tuesday in Texarkana, but in the process they clinched the district’s No. 3 playoff berth.
North Lamar, ranked 14th in the latest state coaches poll, continues to lead the district pack with a perfect 8-0 record with just two matches remaining. PG, ranked 22nd, remains in second place at 7-1. Those two squads meet next Tuesday, Oct. 25, in the regular season finale at North Lamar to settle the district championship.
Meanwhile, Paris sits alone in third place at 5-3. Liberty-Eylau lost to Pittsburg Tuesday to drop to 2-6 and out of contention for third place. That’s important to Paris’ playoff position because the district’s fourth-place finisher will draw Emory Rains, the state’s No. 4-ranked team, in the first round.
Paris lost Tuesday to the Lady Hawks, 23-25, 12-25, 24-26, in a match that was competitve except for the second game.
The Ladycats will host North Lamar Friday in the Wildcat Gym before closing district play next Tuesday at L-E.
Friday’s match will be preceded by Senior Night ceremonies that will begin at 4 p.m. The two schools’ varsities play at 4:30 followed by JV matches around 6. Fans are urged to wear pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The Paris Ladycats swept the Pittsburg Lady Pirates in varsity volleyball Friday in the Wildcat Gym, 25-17, 25-13, 25-17, to clinch a playoff berth from District 14-4A. Now, they finish out the regular season with hopes of improving their playoff seeding.
The Ladycats, 19-16 for the season, are currently in third place with a 5-2 mark. They travel to Texarkana on Tuesday to take on second-place Pleasant Grove (6-1), then host the North Lamar Pantherettes (7-0) on Friday in the Wildcat Gym.
Senior Lindi Hamner led the way against Pittsburg with 14 kills, while Zanesha Dangerfield collected 7 and Peaches Jackson 6. Setter Deagan Dingman served up 5 aces.
Lindi Hamner (13), Emily Williams (6), and Grace Woodby (2) react to a block by Dextiny Patrick (9) that gives Paris an 18-17 lead in Game 4 that it would not surrender
Ten days ago, the Paris Ladycats were challenging state-ranked Pleasant Grove for a share of the District 14-4A lead. Tuesday night in the Wildcat Gym they were fighting off the last-place Atlanta Lady Rabbits who were seeking their first district win.
The roller-coaster ride continued for Paris and its fans as the Ladycats (4-2) managed to rally back from deficits of 7 and 6 points, respectively, to win the final two games and finally close out a tougher-than-expected 25-18, 23-25, 25-22, 25-21 match over Atlanta (0-6). The win raised the Ladycats’ season mark to 18-16 overall and maintain their No. 3 position in district standings behind North Lamar (6-0) and Pleasant Grove (5-1).
Paris hosts Pittsburg (1-5) Friday in a 4:30 p.m. varsity only match in the Wildcat Gym.
Senior Dextiny Patrick collected 6 of her team-high 16 kills to take the opening game before match momentum suddenly changed. The Ladycats had major problems coping with the Lady Rabbs’ short serves which enabled Atlanta to control the net behind the play of middle blocker Teshuna Sheppard and setter Avery Trotter.
Paris committed 15 unforced errors in Game 2 as Atlanta evened the match. The Lady Rabbs raced out to a 14-7 advantage in Game 3 before Paris coach Britney Humphrey inserted junior Atajeni Barry into the frontcourt. The move seemed to stabilize the Ladycats, who used 3 points off Barry kills and aces by Katy Hall and Deagan Dingman to trim the deficit to 14-16.
A kill by freshman Grace Woodby, seeing her first varsity action, tied the score at 19-all and a Woodby ace gave Paris a key 23-21 lead. Another ace by Hall closed out the game and gave Paris a 2-1 lead in the match.
Still, Paris faced an uphill battle against the Lady Rabbs to finish off the victory. Three straight errors (Paris had 49 in the match) elevated Atlanta to an 8-2 start in Game 4. The Ladycats rallied to tie the game at 15 on a Lindi Hamner kill, but Atlanta reclaimed the lead at 17-16 before another Hamner kill and emphatic Patrick block (see picture above) staked Paris to a lead it would not relinquish.
A Hamner kill and block closed out the game and match. The Paris senior notched 13 kills overall, while Zanesha Dangerfield collected 6 and Woodby 4.
Safety TD Williams fights off a block to corral Kevin Florence as help arrives in the form of Dre McKinney and teammates
If the adage “defense wins championships” is true, and if Friday night’s 16-8 win over 2-time defending district champion Liberty-Eylau is any indicator, there just might be another title banner in the future for the Paris Wildcats football team.
The Wildcats (3-3), who averaged surrendering 36 points per game during pre-district, held the Leopards (1-5), who came into the game scoring an average 36 points against some rugged competition, completely off the scoreboard until just 1:29 remained in the District 7-4A-1 opener at Wildcat Stadium.
While the Paris defense protected an early 3-0 lead, they also set up the Paris offense for short scoring drives of 46 and 36 yards that extended the margin to 16-0 with 5:04 left in the evening.
The Cats held the dangerous L-E running attack to a manageable 166 yards, showing excellent pursuit on the perimeter. Eight of the Leopards’ 14 offensive series went 4 plays or less. L-E possessions ended with 5 punts, 3 fumbles (2 on stripped balls), an interception, 4 on downs, and the 1 lone TD.
With an open date last week, district teams had two weeks to prepare for league play. Paris coaches made some tweaks on both sides of the ball, but the defensive changes were especially noticeable.
They also welcomed back a pair of starters to the defensive secondary from the injured list: senior cornerback Jaylen Smith and senior safety TD Williams. It provided stability to the unit with increased run support, while virtually shutting down the Leopards’ passing attack.
Williams had a fumble strip in the first half, was in on 12 tackles, and his interception on a desperation heave into a strong north wind preceded the Cats’ game-clinching drive. Junior safety Jordan Furtch was in on 11 tackles and recovered an L-E fumble.
The linebacker corps was active, too. Senior Tyrel McCalester had a team-high 15 tackles and a fumble strip. Senior Dre McKinney totaled 14 tackles, and junior Perry Franklin had 12, including a key stop on a fourth quarter fake punt try to set up the first Paris TD. Franklin had logged just 2 tackles in limited duty prior to Friday’s game.
Sophomore Vershaud Richardson, moved from linebacker to defensive end, responded with 10 tackles, while senior lineman Jawun Sims managed 8 tackles and a fumble recovery.
To be honest, the Leopards’ offense contributed to their own demise with those 4 turnovers and several drive-altering penalties, but the ability of the Paris defense to negate L-E’s big play capabilities was clutch.
Clutch could also be used to describe the Paris offense, held in check by L-E’s defense to six 3&outs along with a pair of lost fumbles.
The Cats, however, converted a 54-yard run by junior Donovan Williams into points on a Zach Lamb 23-yarder to take the 3-0 lead. That held up through three quarters of play until Paris managed to push across a pair of game-clinching scores.
They drove 46 yards in 8 plays to score on a 12-yard pass from Ja’Kerion Brown to a wide-open Montavius McCarty. Then, after the Williams interception, Brown followed some outstanding lead blocking to add a 28-yard TD run on a fourth-and-2.
That pushed the lead to 16-0 with 5:04 left. While L-E avoided the shutout, their chances for a comeback quickly ended when Demetric Glover swallowed up a tame onside kick attempt.
Brown and Williams were both able to use their speed to inflict damage on the L-E defense. Brown rushed 18 times for 128 yards while completing just 5 passes for 14 yards. Williams carried a heavy workload with 26 carries for 154 yards.
In other district games Friday, Anna remained unbeaten for the season with a 35-19 win over North Lamar, while Princeton beat Quinlan Ford, 37-15.
The newly-imaged Paris defense gets another test next Friday when the Cats journey to Princeton (4-2), a team that has averaged scoring 57 points against the Cats in their prior two meetings.
How Wildcat Opponents Fared:
The Paris Ladycats captured sole possession of third place at the halfway mark of the District 14-4A volleyball chase with a 25-17, 23-25, 25-23, 25-18 win Friday over the Liberty-Eylau Lady Leopards in the Wildcat Gym.
The win raises Paris’ record to 17-16 overall and 3-2 in district. North Lamar (5-0) beat Pleasant Grove (4-1) Friday to take over the top spot, while L-E’s loss drops the Lady Leopards into fourth at 2-3.
It was one week ago that Paris came within a point of upsetting the 14th-ranked PG Lady Hawks in the same gym. But the Ladycats who took the court this past week in a 3-game loss at NL and Friday’s match vs. L-E did not resemble the same team that almost upset PG. Paris committed 31 unforced errors in the loss at NL and had another 41 on Friday.
The Paris passing game was completely out of synch and the Ladycats’ defense had trouble with L-E’s dinks and soft kills down the line.
The Ladycats started strong, getting out to a 12-2 lead in Game 1 before allowing L-E back within 3 points at 18-15. Five L-E errors helped Paris close out the opening game win.
Paris had a 17-12 lead in Game 2, but 7 Ladycat errors set up L-E to tie the match at 1-1. Game 3 was another struggle until a 6-0 run on a Dextiny Patrick sideout kill and Ahahdian Mitchell service stint pushed Paris to a 21-15 advantage. The Lady Leopards fought off a pair of game points, but a 2-hand lift off a Lindi Hamner kill ended the game.
L-E took a short lead in Game 4, but a Hamner ace and Patrick kill put Paris in front to stay. A pair of L-E errors ended the match.
Patrick topped Paris with 12 kills, while Hamner had 11.
Paris starts round 2 of district play Tuesday by hosting Atlanta in the Wildcat Gym. JV squads play at 4:30 followed by varsity around 6.
Prior to Tuesday night’s Crosstown Showdown volleyball match with the Paris Ladycats, a dry erase marker board was set up in front of the North Lamar student section and labeled “Kill Board.” With two of District 14-4A’s better hitting clubs on the Panther Gym court it seemed like a natural thing to do: Keep up with the Pantherettes’ spike or “kill” statistics as they tried to remain tied with Pleasant Grove atop the district standings.
North Lamar, ranked 24th in the latest state coaches poll, managed to keep their unblemished district mark intact at 4-0 heading into Friday’s showdown at district co-leader Pleasant Grove. But the main offensive stats of the night belonged squarely in the category that good teams don’t like to see: Unforced errors.
The Pantherettes committed an uncharacteristic 29 mistakes (bad serves, kill shots gone awry, poor passes, etc.) in the 25-15, 25-20, 25-20 sweep over Paris. That total included a gaudy 16 errors in Game 3 alone.
Still, the match outcome was never seriously in doubt. The Ladycats, who came within a point of knocking off 16th-ranked PG on Friday, logged 31 unforced errors. That number included 13 free points for NL in Game 1 and set the stage for a sluggish match.
Perhaps the lack of rivalry intensity on this night with a less than capacity crowd and well-behaved student bodies helped contribute to the evening’s malaise. Tuesday’s matchup never had the characteristic feel of Paris-NL recent history.
Still, Game 2 was closely contested with 10 ties. Pantherette seniors Karlie Ewell and Bailey Foy fueled a 6-1 finish with a pair of open court slams each including a nice crossover spike by Foy at game point. Ewell led NL with 12 kills, while Foy recorded 10.
The Pantherettes (24-6) broke away from a 4-4 tie in Game 3 to ease to the match win despite the 16 team errors in that set.
Senior Lindi Hamner led Paris with 10 kills, while junior Zaneshia Dangerfield chipped in 7. The loss squared both season (16-16) and district (2-2) marks for the Ladycats, who host Liberty-Eylau Friday, 4:30 p.m., for sole possession of third place in district at the halfway point.
Ladycats celebrate a Deagan Dingman ace which ends Game 2 in Paris’ favor
Pleasant Grove outside hitter Natalie Hale had just 2 kills in Friday’s District 14-4A volleyball match vs. Paris in the Wildcat Gym, but one of those kills negated a Ladycat match point and enabled the 15th-ranked Lady Hawks (25-5) to leave town with co-possession of the district lead in a 5-game win over the upset-minded Ladycats, 25-18, 19-25, 26-24, 21-25, 16-14.
PG and 18th-ranked North Lamar each have 3-0 district marks, while Paris (16-15) fell into second place with a 2-1 district record. Paris makes the short trip across town Tuesday to face the Pantherettes.
The Ladycats showed grit and determination to battle from behind midway through the second and fourth games to even the match and force a Game 5. They found themselves in a 7-10 hole in the decisive game before rallying to tie, 13-13, on a block by Lindi Hamner and ace from setter Deagan Dingman.
Another block from Hamner, who led Paris with 16 kills and 6 blocks, had the Ladycats perched one point away from the match win at 14-13. However, a long set put Hale in position to make a one-handed stuff over the block to give PG a second life.
The Lady Hawks quickly took advantage of the situation to close out the match on kills by Britton Anderson and Nakina Levingston. Anderson, the versatile 5-8 PG junior, knocked down a match-high 25 kills, 9 in the first game alone.
Dextiny Patrick collected 12 kills, 3 blocks, and a big ace that helped close out a Game 4 win for Paris. Zanesha Dangerfield had 7 kills. Dingman, occasionally using a jump serve, had 3 aces, while the Ladycat backcourt (Katy Hall, Emily Williams, Javouseya Sims, Anahdian Mitchchell, Sarah Bloodworth) did an outstanding job keeping rallies alive.
PG steadily pulled away from a 13-all tie in Game 1 to take a 1-0 match lead. The Lady Hawks had a 12-10 advantage in Game 2 before the combination of Dingman at the service line and Hamner up front paced Paris on a 7-0 run to take control of the second set.
Paris limped out to a 1-6 start in Game 3 but rallied with the aid of some PG errors to take a 23-22 lead. A block by Patrick gave Paris a game point at 24-23, but the Ladycat senior got a bit overanxious and mis-hit a setup into the net. The Lady Hawks won the game 2 points later on an ace serve by Madeline Haak that skimmed and dropped over the net.
Paris was down, 3-8, to begin Game 4, but again battled back as the teams exchanged leads. PG was up, 20-18, when Patrick turned into a one-woman wrecking crew with 2 big kills and a block. She then rotated back to the service line and had a big dig that led to game point, and Hamner won the final point with a spike that evened the match at 2-2.
The schools split the JV matches. PG beat Paris JV 1, 2-0, while Paris JV 2 edged the PG freshmen, 2-1.
After two matches, the Paris Ladycats find themselves lodged in a 3-way tie for first in District 14-4A volleyball. Paris won at Pittsburg Tuesday, 25-20, 25-16, 20-25, 25-16, to join North Lamar and Pleasant Grove with 2-0 district marks.
The road gets much tougher in the week ahead, starting with Friday’s match in the Wildcat Gym vs. the PG Lady Hawks, ranked 15th in the latest Class 4A state ratings. The varsity match is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. Then, next Tuesday, the Ladycats take the short trip across town to face the No. 18 NL Pantherettes.
Paris, now 16-14 for the season, was led in Tuesday’s match vs. Pittsburg by senior middle blocker Dextiny Patrick who totaled 17 kills. Senior Lindi Hamner and junior Zanesha Dangerfield each notched 9 kills.
Junior setter Deagan Dingman logged 26 assists, and junior libero Katy Hall topped the backcourt with 16 digs.
Wildcat QB Ja’Kerion Brown butts helmets with Argyle’s Pierce Davies along the Paris sidelines
Paris Wildcats head football coach Steven Hohenberger took his team on a 140-mile field trip west Friday night to get a lesson in high school football. The result was a 47-10 whipping administered by the state powerhouse Argyle Eagles.
Afterwards, a frustrated Hohenberger pointed towards the now-vacated Eagle Stadium home side to say, “It’s the things they do (in practice) on Monday, the things they do on Tuesday, the things they do on Wednesday that puts them in position to win on Friday.”
True to form, the second-ranked Eagles (4-0) showed their Homecoming crowd they’re prepared for another serious state title run by executing their game plan to near-perfection as the two schools closed out the pre-district portions of their schedules. Using a variety of mis-direction runs and a lethal short passing game, the Eagles out-gained the Cats in total yards by a 2-to-1 margin (433-214).
Although the Eagles were missing an injured Tulane QB commit Dane Ledford, Argyle scored on all five possessions in the first half to take an unsurmountable 31-7 lead into a halftime prolonged an extra 15 minutes by Homecoming coronations. The Eagles were celebrating the 10-year anniversary of their Class of 2006 back when the school was a new dot on the Texas Class 2A landscape.
In barely more than a decade, Argyle head coach Todd Rodgers and his staff has consistently fielded a championship contender (state finalists 4 of the past 5 years). Paris fans have seen the Argyle legacy first hand, as the Eagles have owned this series, 7-0, all by double-digit margins.
By contrast, the only consistency the 2016 Wildcats have shown is their inconsistency, punctuated by turnovers, drive-altering penalties, and other mistakes. The Cats (2-3) managed one touchdown drive to score on a 15-yard scramble by quarterback Ja’Kerion Brown and get within 21-7 of the Eagles. They added a 33-yard field goal by Zach Lamb in the third quarter after a rare Argyle mistake on a muffed punt.
Otherwise, the only other positive outcome for Paris was the apparent lack of additional injuries as they boarded the buses for the long drive home. Running back Donovan Williams managed to stay healthy for an entire game and produced 107 rushing yards on 15 carries including a trio of promising bursts of 20-plus yards each.
Defensively, middle linebacker Dre McKinney was in on 13 tackles, and safety Jordan Furtch had a busy night with 10 stops. The Cats, missing an injured senior TD Williams in the secondary, used a conservative approach to prevent the big plays.
Williams is expected back in time for the District 7-4A-1 opener on Friday, Oct. 7, at Wildcat Stadium against the Liberty-Eylau Leopards (1-4).
Meanwhile, Hohenberger and his team will use a bye week to take lessons learned from the Argyle trip and prepare for what appears to be a win-able district chase.
How Wildcat Opponents Fared:
Making her first varsity appearance of the season, sophomore Peaches Jackson provided 14 kills as the Paris Ladycats opened District 14-4A with a close 4-game win at Atlanta, 23-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-20.
The win moves Paris above the .500 mark for the season with a 15-14 record. The Ladycats travel to Pittsburg Tuesday before returning to the Wildcat Gym Friday to host Pleasant Grove. In other district openers, North Lamar swept Pittsburg and PG swept Liberty-Eylau.
Senior Dextiny Patrick had 12 kills and junior Zanesha Dangerfield added 8. Junior setter Deagan Dingman was credited with 36 assists. In the backcourt, junior libero Katy Hall managed 19 digs, junior Javouseya Sims had 18, junior Emily Williams 15, and senior Anahdian Mitchell 10.
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 February winner is Payne Couts. See monthly winners on our Students of the Month page.
Paris High juniors (from left) Jeremy Seals, Evelyn Brown, Ansley Downs, and Alyssa Tacuyan have been selected to attend the Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) camp. Read more.
Deon Minor Relays. Wildcat Stadium will be the site of the annual Deon Minor Relays Thursday, March 22, as the Wildcats and Ladycats track teams welcome other regional schools to this big pre-district warmup meet. Field events will start about 3 p.m. with running finals around 5:30.
District Soccer. The Paris Ladycats and Wildcats varsity soccer teams host Bonham for a District 11-4A doubleheader Tuesday at Wildcat Stadium. The girls game starts at 5:30 p.m. followed by the boys at 7:15.