The Paris JFL football teams kick off their regular season at Allen Field today and both the fifth and sixth and seventh and eighth grade squads have their eyes on the league championships.
The junior high team, coached by Jeff Arp and Matt Wright, are defending champions of the league, having rolled through last year’s playoffs with a convincing win over Casey-Westfield in the title game.
“We just peaked at the right time,” Arp said following a practice this week. “Everything came together in the fourth quarter of the Palestine-Hutsonville game.”
The young Tigers rolled through the playoffs, outscoring their opponents 66-6.
After practice Wednesday, Aug. 7, the junior high team gathered in the locker room for a special Tiger Award ceremony.
Arp reminded the players the Tiger Award winners are chosen on the basis of five criteria — attitude, leadership, effort, camaraderie and performance.
Beginning with last year’s winners, Arp announced a team helmet will be hung on a hook in the locker room with the names for the Tom Tuttle Award winners and the Tiger Award winners.
Previous Tuttle Award winners were present for the ceremony as well as practice to encourage the JFL players as they prepared for today’s game.
Casey-Westfield will visit Allen Field today. The gates open at 4 p.m. with the fourth and fifth grade team playing at 4:30 p.m. followed by the fifth and sixth grade team at 5:30 p.m. The fifth and sixth grade team is coached by Chip Keys.
The seventh and eighth grade game will immediately follow the fifth and sixth grade contest, Arp said.
Tickets will be sold and a concession stand will be open for fans.
Arp said the Paris teams are looking strong as they enter their first contests. Both teams participated in last weekend’s conference jamboree and made a good showing, he said.
“These kids work hard and we hope local fans will come out and cheer them on.”
The JFL teams play on Saturdays and practice at Allen Field. Many of the players also participate in other sports at their school including baseball and golf.