The Paris Tigers return to the IHSA State Football Playoffs this weekend, traveling 161 miles to Roxana, Ill. to face the undefeated Roxana High School Shells.
Paris returns to the playoffs for the first time since the 2021-2022 season when they were placed in Class 4A, defeating Mt. Zion in the first round before losing to Rochester at home.
The PHS football program boasts eight playoff appearances, first assigned to Class 4A in 2008-2009, followed by 3A in 2010-2011. In every playoff appearance since that time, Paris has been assigned to Class 4A, often as the school with the least enrollment in the division.
This year, things are different. Paris is part of the Class 3A bracket, seeded 14th in the southern bracket against the Shells.
Roxana has a long playoff history, making their first appearance in 76-77 when they were in 3A and finished 10-2. Like Paris, they are most often assigned to the 4A class. For the last two years, Roxanna has been assigned to Class 3A.
Roxana is part of the Cahokia Conference’s Mississippi Division with Breese Central, Columbia, East Alton-Wood River, Freeburg and Salem. The Shells are undefeated on the season and seeded second overall in Class 3A. They own victories over Jersey (27-0), Red Bud (42-7), Bethalto (49-6), Columbia (37-0), Salem (57-27) and Freeburg 55-21. This past Friday, they defeated Marquette Catholic 52-14 to cap off their regular season.
The two schools are nearly identical in enrollment with Paris having a slight edge at 521.5 compared to 520. Roxana relies heavily on its running game, averaging 351.2 yards per game on the ground while passing for an average of 67.8 yards per game.
Kickoff for the Class 3A showdown is set for 3 p.m. at Roxana, located in Madison County not far from the Mississippi River and across from St. Louis. There are two entrances to the Roxana football field and parking around the school. There is a designated tailgate area in the parking lot on the west side of the field.
As per the IHSA, no passes are allowed. Tickets are $5 each. For those unable to attend the game, a live stream is available at fan.hudl.com for those with a Hudl subscription. WBGZ radio in Alton is also broadcasting the game at 107.3 FM. Fans can listen on the station’s website.
Update: The Paris Sports Network has received permission to stream the game. That broadcast will be available on the Paris Sports Network YouTube channel.