Summer Office Hours
The PHS office will be open Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. during summer. Limited services will be available so visitors are advised to call ahead (903-737-7400).
Final Report Cards
Final academic reports for students in grades 9-11 have been mailed home. Transcripts for seniors have been mailed to designated colleges. Additional requests for transcripts must be made in writing and signed by the graduate.
Students have an opportunity to improve their STAAR test scores during the next round of STAAR retesting June 25-28.
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A combination of lethal outside shooting in the fourth quarter plus a distinct advantage at the foul line enabled the Kaufman Lions to catch the Paris Wildcats and extend Tuesday’s varsity boys basketball game into overtime where the hosts prevailed, 71-67.
The Cats (0-2) have opened their young season with two losses, the first time that’s happened during coach Billy Mack Steed’s 11 seasons at Paris High. They try to get untracked Thursday at the Van Farmers Invitational, where they are the 3-time defending tournament champions.
Paris led Kaufman at each break and held a 47-37 advantage heading into the fourth quarter before the Lions drained six 3-pointers to tie the game at the end of regulation, 62-all. Kaufman outscored Paris, 9-5, in the overtime period.
The difference in the outcome came at the foul line where Kaufman was 12 of 19, while Paris made 5 of 8.
Trevon Dennis led the Cats in scoring with 15 points, including a trio of 3s, while Jordan Mitchell added 13 and Cameron Jones 12. Kaufman also had three players in double figures: Andrew Rocha 19, Dylan Gunter 18, and Jamar McCray 15.
Paris swept both freshman and JV games.
An ill-advised backcourt foul with 1.6 seconds left sent the Mount Pleasant Lady Tigers to the foul line where the visitors made the first free throw to send the Paris Ladycats to a 47-46 defeat Tuesday in the Wildcat Gym.
Peaches Jackson works the paint for a game-high 28 points to lead the Ladycats (photo by Joe Watson)
Paris (5-4) trailed most of the game but rallied to take a 45-43 lead with 33.9 remaining when Peaches Jackson beat a triple team with a 3-point play. Jackson led all scorers with 28 points including 11 in the fourth quarter.
A 3-point bucket by the Lady Tigers sent MP back in front, 46-45, but a foul sent Paris guard Carol Croom to the line with 5.4 seconds on the clock where she made the second of two foul shots to tie the score at 46-all.
Paris then committed a reach-in foul in the backcourt with regulation time about to expire, and the Lady Tigers took advantage of the mistake to exit with the win.
MP held a 27-18 halftime lead, but the Ladycats started their comeback with a 6-0 run on a pair of Jackson field goals plus a steal and assist by Quiniya Savage for a Serenity Sanders layup to pull Paris within 27-24 midway through the third period.
A steal by Sanders and Jackson follow shot again trimmed the lead to a point, 41-40, with 2:52 left in the game. With 1:21 to go, a 12-footer by Jackson had the Ladycats back within 1, 43-42.
Paris coach Deanne Dial called her final timeout with 33.9 left, and when play resumed, the Ladycats put the ball into Jackson’s hands for a strong layup and 1 for the brief lead.
Sanders ended up with 6 points and Tori Jones scored 5 for Paris, which enters the Royse City tournament starting Thursday.
Mount Pleasant also won the JV game, 36-29. Tatiana Washington scored 13 and Tiy McGee 8 for the Ladycats.
Senior libero Katy Hall was named co-Most Valuable Player on the 2017 All-Red River Valley volleyball team as selected by The Paris News. The three-year varsity starter was credited with 667 digs and 55 backcourt kills in helping to lead the Paris Ladycats to a 25-15 record and the school’s first district championship since 2010.
Three other Ladycats landed spots on the All-RRV First Team: senior setter Deagan Dingman, junior middle blocker Peaches Jackson, and sophomore outside hitter Grace Woodby. Named to the Second Team were seniors Zanesha Dangerfield and Sunny Scruggs along with sophomore Riley Bills.
Receiving honorable mention were sophomores Quiniya Savage and Quanteria Jenkins.
by Amy Burrows
PHS Theater Sponsor
Set in 1960s Baltimore, this dynamic show tells the story of dance-loving teen Tracy Turnblad who auditions for a spot on the “The Corny Collins Show” and wins. Tracy becomes an overnight sensation and using her new-found fame, Tracy advocates to bring racial integration to the show. Winner of eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Hairspray continues to be one of the most widely-produced musicals today.
Paris High students are excited to bring this dynamic show to the PJHS Weger Auditorium stage. This year’s show includes a large cast and crew of students, several PISD teachers and one local talent.
Council members Garrett Wilson and Skylar Brian get ready to perform in the Corny Collin’s Show in PHS’s production of “Hairspray”
Cast and crew members include Hannah England, Reagan Stone, Alec Finch, Robbie Turner, Lilly Lewis, TK Marshall, Akeirria Garvin, Allyssa Standifer, Javian Dabbs, Jared Posey, Jake Freelen, Kaia Claypool, Jessica Martinez, Morgan Dudley, Ava Hutchings, Carol Anne Starnes, Garrett Wilson.
Also, Kaitlynn Hutchins, Hunter Moore, Molly Law, Skyler Bryan, Cynthia DeHoyos, Patrick Baird, Tate Lewis, Quinn Andrews, Axeel Rodriquez, Yessica Ramirez, Rafael Sanchez, Kadaisha Hopkins, Courtney Scales, Will Elliot, Laney Madding, local talent Josh Maxwell, and instructors Jared Cronk, Jill Stone, Cheri Lewis, Angie Black and Angela Calvin.
It’s been a great experience for Paris to bring this play about the importance of inclusiveness to the stage. The kids have dedicated three months to making the show a hilarious, energetic musical experience that promotes the importance of acceptance. Their enthusiasm for this show has made it worth all the work and time it has required.
Additionally, it’s been a wonderful learning opportunity for our students to work with other gifted PISD instructors like Jill Stone, Cheri Lewis, Angie Black, and Angela Calvin as fellow performers on stage. The show is directed by Amy Burrows, choreographed by Jeff Cochran, Amy Burrows, Britney Drake, and Jared Cronk, musically directed by Melody Logan and Tim Woods, set designed by Jayna Shull and lighting designed by Josh Maxwell who brings much to the show with his interpretation of Spritzer, the uptight Ultra Clutch Hairspray sponsor.
Hairspray opens Thursday, Nov. 30, at 7:30 p.m, and is repeated Friday, Dec. 1 at 7:30 pm, with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m. Adult admission is $10, children $5. PISD students may view the Thursday and Sunday performances for the discounted price of $2. Reserved seats are $15 and may be purchased by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, tickets may be purchased at the door.
The Paris Ladycats fell to a tall, fast, and unbeaten Class 5A Sulphur Springs team, 71-41, Tuesday afternoon in the Wildcat Gym. The Ladycats will take off for the remainder of the Thanksgiving holidays before hosting Mount Pleasant next Tuesday, Nov. 28.
SSHS (4-0) raced out to a 21-8 lead after one quarter and held a 35-18 halftime advantage. Senior 6-0 forward Kaylee Jefferson topped the scoring with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Junior point guard Sadavia Porter scored 19 points, and junior 6-0 post Autumn Tanton added 14.
Junior Peaches Jackson led Paris (5-3) with 17 points, while freshmen Quiniya Savage and Bailee Brown scored 8 and 6, respectively.
SSHS also won the JV game, 32-17.
Perry Franklin skies to steal an in-bounds pass as fellow football players Jameon Mitchell (10), Jaylen Henderson (4), Jalen Easter (20), and Trea Johnson (14) spark a Wildcat comeback
Day 1 of the post-Jalon Pipkins era was a rough one for the Paris Wildcats boys basketball team as they dropped their season opener Saturday at 18th-ranked Class 3A Van Alstyne, 74-52.
Pipkins, the all-state guard who led the Cats to a 105-12 record and back-to-back regional tournament appearances during his four seasons on varsity, is now playing collegiately at Cal State-Northridge. The problem for Paris head coach Billy Mack Steed is that Pipkins took his 21-point scoring average with him.
To compound Steed’s rebuilding task, Pipkins’ all-state backcourt mate Josh Robinson moved prior to starting his senior year. Robinson’s 28-point scoring average crossed the Red River into Oklahoma residency.
The search to replace the pair’s offense, rebounding, ball-handling, and defense will be a tenuous one, if Saturday’s game was any indicator. Van Alstyne jumped out to an 11-2 lead by the midpoint of the first quarter and never looked back. The Panthers held a 39-19 halftime lead before the Cats showed some resilience in the second half.
Buoyed by a group of players not 48 hours removed from the 2017 football season, Paris whittled the Van Alstyne lead to 13, 62-49, following a 3-pointer from Jameon Mitchell. In the final three minutes the Panthers used free throw shooting to finish on a 12-3 run and extend the final margin of victory.
Jaylen Henderson topped the Cats’ scoring with 10 points, while Perry Franklin added 9, Jalen Easter 8, Trea Johnson 6, and Mitchell 6. The Panthers shot nine 3-pointers in the game.
The Wildcat JV powered past the Panthers, 77-37, in the early game, with a group of freshmen making impressive debuts.
Paris has a 10-day wait before its next outing on Nov. 28 at Kaufman.
The Paris Ladycats won the consolation bracket of the Saltillo Tournament Saturday with wins over county neighbors North Lamar and Chisum. The Ladycats finished third in their pool after splitting their four games on Thursday and Friday.
Paris, now 5-2, hosts Sulphur Springs Tuesday in the Wildcat Gym for a pair of games starting at 1 p.m.
Donovan Williams picks up some tough yardage against the Crandall defense (photo by Joe Watson)
On the way to Thursday’s bi-district football playoff game, a Paris ISD van transporting junior high coaches was stuck in construction traffic on I-30 less than two miles from Rockwall’s Wilkerson-Sanders Memorial Stadium. Helpless, the driver looked into his rear-view mirror as he watched the fast-approaching vehicle slam into the van’s rear-end and pinball the car and its occupants into stopped traffic ahead.
The accident resulted in a 10-mile backup to Royse City and caused many fans to miss the 7 p.m. kickoff of the Paris-Crandall game. Fortunately, the PISD staff members survived the accident with bumps, bruises, and relatively minor injuries. The same could not be said for the 2017 Wildcat football team which saw its season come to a crashing halt by a score of 28-7.
Crandall (7-4), the third-place team from District 8-4A-1, moves on to an Area Round matchup against unbeaten Midlothian Heritage, while Paris (7-4) begins the long road back to next season.
In the final analysis, the Cats had too many turnovers (a fumble and 3 interceptions), too many key penalties (8-75), wasted a golden opportunity to keep the Pirates from taking a halftime lead, and couldn’t stop Crandall from making enough big plays to seize the momentum.
Pirate running back Tyson Gatewood rushed for 196 yards on 24 carries including a 49-yard TD sprint, while quarterback Josh Redding completed 7 of 8 passes for 80 yards and a pair of scores. The Pirate defense finished the scoring act with a pick-6 interception return by Bobby Myers.
Paris was able to tie the score, 7-7, on Donovan Williams’ 3-yard burst with 8:45 left in the first half, but the Cats’ offense would not cross midfield again until the game’s final minutes with the outcome already settled.
Williams rushed for 124 yards on 24 carries to end his PHS career as the school’s No. 2 rusher just shy of the 4,000-yard mark. He also fell just 1 TD and 6 points shy of school records held by Frank Jackson (1954-56).
Junior quarterback Kobe Savage passed for 88 yards but left the game in the fourth quarter with a severe ankle sprain as the result of a vicious hit. As a defender corralled his legs from behind, Savage’s upper torso was snapped backwards from the waist by a tackler in front.
Just like the coaches in the PISD van, he could see the impact coming but was helpless to avoid it.
Peaches Jackson leads Paris scoring with 30 despite foul troubles (photo by Joe Watson)
Senior point guard Serenity Sanders’ pull-up jumper in the lane with 15 seconds remaining lifted the Paris Ladycats to a 52-50 win over Whitewright Tuesday in the basketball season opener in the Wildcat Gym.
The Lady Tigers had tied the score, 50-all, with 28 seconds left on a baseline drive by Kayela Willis. Instead of calling timeout, the Ladycats quickly inbounded the ball and Sanders drove the length of the court to put up the runner and regain the lead. Whitewright then called timeout to set up a final play, but a 3-point attempt rimmed out and Sanders escaped with the rebound.
Junior Peaches Jackson led the Ladycats with 30 points, but she spent considerable time on the bench in foul trouble and picked up her fifth personal with 1:31 left in the game.
Paris was whistled for 32 fouls, and 4 of the 9 varsity players fouled out of the game. The Ladycats never trailed but was offensively challenged with Jackson out of the lineup for long spells.
Sanders finished with 8 points, while freshman Quiniya Savage scored 7, sophomore Courtasia Dowdy 5, and freshman Bailee Brown 2. Willis topped Whitewright with 16, and Hannah Brown scored 10.
The Ladycats were 10 of 16 at the foul line. Whitewright was 17 of 44.
The 1-0 start gives the Ladycats their first winning record since the 2014-15 season.
In the JV game, Tatiana Washington scored 17, including 11 in the fourth quarter, to lead Paris to a 35-24 victory. Yaszmia Browner was also in double figures with 11.
The varsity enters the Saltillo Tournament starting Thursday, while the JV plays in the Prairiland Tournament Saturday.
The Paris Ladycats, who won their first district volleyball championship in seven years, received the lion’s share of District 14-4A superlative awards as voted on by league coaches.
Junior Peaches Jackson was named Blocker of the Year, senior Deagan Dingman was co-Setter of the Year, senior Katy Hall Libero of the Year, and Britney Humphrey was Coach of the Year.
First team all-district honors went to sophomore Grace Woodby and senior Sunny Scruggs. Named to the second team were freshman Quiniya Savage and senior Zanesha Dangerfield. Earning honorable mention were sophomores Riley Bills, Tori Weatherford, Courtasia Dowdy, and Quanteria Jenkins
The Academic All-District Team included Scruggs, Hall, Woodby, Savage, Bills, and Dowdy.
Paris finished with an overall record of 25-14, losing to Wills Point in bi-district. The Ladycats were 8-2 in district play.
Trae Johnson skies to bring down his third touchdown catch (photo by Joe Watson)
Two-sport Paris High standout Jalon Pipkins made his collegiate basketball debut Friday night at Cal State-Northridge. He had, for him, an inauspicious evening, scoring just 2 points on free throws with 2 rebounds and 2 turnovers in 12 minutes of court time in the Matadors’ 76-50 win over Life Pacific.
Sophomore Wildcat wide receiver Trae Johnson can commiserate. Johnson was tagged as Pipkins’ heir apparent for the 2017 season, a tall target who could help stretch defenses focused on stopping the Cats’ running game. Instead, Johnson operated in virtual obscurity with just 5 catches for 37 yards and no touchdowns though Paris’ first 9 games.
All that anonymity disappeared Friday in the Cats’ 55-6 romp over North Lamar at Wildcat Stadium. As the Panthers concentrated on stopping senior running back Donovan Williams, junior quarterback Kobe Savage used Johnson’s height superiority to connect on TD passes of 21, 5, and 23 yards to close out the Cats’ first three offensive series.
The win gives Paris a 7-3 season mark and tri-championship of District 7-4A-1 along with Liberty-Eylau and Princeton with identical 4-1 league marks. Due to point differential among common games, the Cats will enter the playoffs as the district’s No. 2 seed and face Crandall in a bi-district game Thursday, 7 p.m., at Rockwall’s Wilkerson-Sanders Memorial Stadium.
Paris beat Crandall, 21-0, in a first-round playoff last season at Allen Eagle Stadium.
Coupled with a lightning quick score on a mishandled opening kickoff, the three Savage-to-Johnson strikes helped Paris to a 27-6 halftime lead The Wildcat offense returned to its run-oriented strength in the second half to tack on pairs of rushing TDs by both Williams and junior James Neal.
Neal (shown left in photo by Joe Watson) started the onslaught by recovering Antonio Saavedra’s towering kickoff which was muffed and knocked into the end zone. The outside linebacker saw extended duty at running back and responded with 81 yards on 11 carries.
Sophomore H-back Jadarias Dillard also showed some flash as a ball carrier with 101 rushing yards on just 4 attempts. Williams finished with 19 carries for 119 yards, giving the Cats two 100-yard rushers for the first time this season and first since last year’s North Lamar game.
Savage, meanwhile, carried 9 times for 44 yards and completed 12 of 17 for 111 yards and the 3 TDs. Savage might have had his fourth TD pass just before halftime when he was on target to hit Johnson at the goal line on a post route, but a soft toss gave Seybian Holt enough time to close on the route and make an interception.
It was the only empty Paris possession on the Cats’ first eight offensive series as Paris rolled to a season-high 352 total yards and 55 points. It was the highest point production since a 63-13 win over Palestine in 2015.
The Wildcat defense might have pitched its second straight shutout except for the Panthers’ lone score on a swinging gate catch and run of 72 yards by Austin Allison which gave NL brief hope and narrowed the deficit to 20-6. Video replay showed that the ball hit the turf and should have been ruled incomplete.
As usual, it was an “11 men to the ball” approach which governed the Cats’ defensive prowess, forcing eight 3-and-outs and holding NL to a combined 167 yards. Junior linebacker Gerald Palmer collected 11 total tackles, while sophomore nose tackle Quin Dangerfield had 7 solo stops and junior end Vershaud Richardson notched 6 solo tackles.
Special teams were opportunistic, too. In addition to the opening kickoff, the Cats recovered a muffed punt to set up the final score of the evening.
How Wildcats’ Opponents Fared:
Jaylen Henderson breaks up a pass with a hard hit on Josh Dangerfield as James Neal (24) and Jeffrey Norlin-Blair (48) close in
Rashad Wilson gets blocking help from KD Washington (2) and Santwan Gray (10) on his 75-yard kickoff return
The freshmen Paris Wildcats finished a perfect 5-0 run through District 7-4A-1 Thursday with a 52-32 win over North Lamar. The Cats’ JV then turned back the Panthers, 34-22, as the schools wore out the R. L. Maddox Stadium scoreboard with a combined 140 points during the two games.
The freshmen game set the torrid scoring pace early with a 22-16 opening quarter. Paris never trailed and led, 36-24, at halftime.
Running back Zy’kius Jackson scored on runs of 16, 1, 42, and 64 yards and added a pair of 2-point conversion runs. Rashad Wilson scored on a 20-yard fumble return on NL’s first play from scrimmage and returned a kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown.
Keylan Fields scored on a pick-6 interception return on a pass tipped by Javin Cary at the NL 5-yard line. Cary completed a pair of conversion passes to KD Washington to finish the Cats’ score sheet.
The Paris freshmen finished their season with an 8-1 record, losing only to Argyle. The Cats JV, meanwhile, finished 6-4 overall and 3-2 in district.
Woody McCarty breaks loose on 98-yard TD run for Wildcat JV
The Cats’ superior speed proved the difference in the JV game as Woody McCarthy scored on runs of 64, 3, and 98 yards and Bobie Douglas sprinted 82 yards for a score.
Quarterback Jadarius Dillard’s 27-yard TD run with 33 seconds left until halftime gave Paris a 22-16 lead it would not surrender. Bryan Ramirez tacked on 4 extra point kicks.
Despite the offensive showcase, it was a couple of red zone stops by the Paris defense which kept the Cats in control in the second half. The Cats staged a goal-line stand after NL had a 1st-and-goal at the Paris 2 at the end of the third quarter. McCarthy then broke free for his 98-yard TD romp to give Paris a 34-16 cushion.
After NL pulled within 34-22 and were threatening to make it a one-possession game, the Paris defense stopped a Panther drive at the Paris 7 with two minutes left in the game. McCarthy then sprinted free for an apparent 82-yard scoring jaunt, but it was negated by a flag thrown at midfield 30 yards behind the play.
Paris defense smothers Anna running back Aaron Lee at line of scrimmage
Moments after administering a 25-0 whipping of the Anna Coyotes Friday night at Coyote Stadium, the Paris Wildcats sought out their hosts for a post-game combined huddle, as is their normal practice of sportsmanship. They’ll need their new-found best friends to help them secure the coveted No. 1 playoff berth from District 7-4A-1.
Almost 200 miles east, Liberty-Eylau outlasted Princeton, 55-44, creating a 3-way tie for the top among L-E, Princeton, and Paris, all with 3-1 records heading into next week’s regular season finales. While Paris hosts county neighbor North Lamar (1-3) at Wildcat Stadium, Anna (2-2) travels to Princeton, and L-E visits Quinlan Ford (0-4).
If Paris, L-E, and Princeton finish tied, as expected, then L-E grabs the No. 1 seed by virtue of a +7 point differential in common games (Paris beat L-E, 28-24, but lost to Princeton, 21-16). Paris is a -1, while Princeton is -6. However, if Anna can upset Princeton, a Paris win over NL would ensure the No 1 berth.
Why is the No. 1 seed so important? It means a favorable first-round matchup against the District 8 No. 4 seed and avoiding potential area round games against state top 10 powers Kennedale and Midlothian Heritage.
Friday’s showing at Anna was the perfect merger by Paris of all three phases of the game: Shutdown defense, sparking special teams, and just enough big plays on offense to create comfortable separation.
It started from the opening kickoff and Cameron Jones’ 31-yard return to the Anna 46. Field position played a huge component in the outcome. The Cats averaged starting their offensive possessions at the Paris 48, while the Coyotes faced a longer field at their own 25 and that included one drive that started at the Paris 15 following a fumble recovery.
Montana Payne manages to elude a fierce rush to get his first punt airborne
When the offense stalled on its first possession, punter Montana Payne was able to scoop up a short snap and avoid a big rush to get off a clean punt. He drew a roughing-the-punter penalty which extended the drive, and his next punt pinned the Coyotes at their own 3-yard line. Payne delivered 3 punts for a 43.3-yard average that traveled to the Anna 3, 16, and 6 yard lines.
After the Paris defense stuffed the first Anna offensive effort, a Coyote punt snap sailed over the punter’s head out of the end zone for a safety and 2-0 Wildcat lead. Junior Rhino Moore picked up his first varsity field goal shortly after the free kick to give Paris a 5-0 start.
Antonio Saavedra booms another kickoff for Wildcats
Meanwhile, senior Antonio Saavedra’s booming kickoffs and excellent downfield coverage continued to keep the Coyotes pinned up in the shadow of their own goal line. Eventually, a muffed kickoff was recovered by the speedy unit to set up the game’s final score.
But this game belonged to the Wildcat defense, who held the Anna attack to a paltry 93 yards (62 rushing, 31 passing). It was the first shutout since the 21-0 playoff win over Crandall last season and the best statistically showing since the 2014 season opener at Mount Pleasant when the Cats held the Tigers to just 63 yards.
The Coyotes managed just 1 first down in the opening half and 4 for the game as Anna was suffocated by the Paris defensive stone wall. Outside linebacker Palmer was in on 13 tackles, while TJ Williams, Michael Godwin (7 solo tackles), and Vershaud Richardson were credited with 9 apiece.
The Paris offense sputtered most of the night (just 8 first downs), as Anna focused on stopping the Cats’ running game. Senior RB Donovan Williams rushed for 145 yards and 2 TDs on 23 carries, but take away his 84-yard scoring sprint in the third quarter and he netted just 2.7 yards per carry.
Junior quarterback Kobe Savage rushed for 57 yards and found Wesley Gage on a 21-yard strike to give the senior his first varsity score. However, mishanded snaps, an interception, and breakdowns in execution made it a much closer game than it should have been.
Even with the loss, Anna clinched the district’s fourth and final playoff berth. It was a bittersweet Senior Night for the Coyotes, who held an elongated 35-minute ceremony prior to kickoff. Anna seniors never saw the Paris end zone in their careers, having lost a 41-0 decision in 2016.
Tickets to Friday’s Paris-NL clash will be on sale all week in the athletic office. Advance student tickets are $3 and adult general admission $5. Reserved tickets are $10. All tickets at the gate are $6.
How Wildcats’ Opponents Fared:
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)
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. At the end of the year, the name of one of the monthly winners is drawn to receive a $100 Applebee’s gift card. The 2017-18 winner is Michael Godwin. See monthly winners on our Students of the Month page.
Paris High students were recognized for their athletic accomplishments at the recent Athletic Awards Banquet. Read more.
Summer Athletic Camps. PHS athletic staff will be offering summer camps for multiple age groups this summer. Click on each sport for more information.