OLNEY – The Paris Tigers overcame a determined East Richland High School football team to slip above the .500 mark with a thrilling 20-7 victory Friday evening.
The Tigers have two games left in the season, Friday, October 14 at Robinson and the following week at home against a formidable Casey-Westfield team that went toe-to-toe with Mt. Carmel Friday before falling 23-20.
Two wins would give the Tigers a 5-4 record and make them playoff-eligible. Olney remains winless on the season while Robinson, Marshall and Newton have each won a game. Casey and Mt. Carmel are each now 6-1 while Lawrenceville is 5-1.
“We warned them all week don’t look at the record, look at the matchup,” Paris head coach Jeremy Clodfelder said.
Clodfelder made it clear in his post-game interview his Tigers are in control of their own destiny as far as the playoffs are concerned.
“We said our goal was to come down here and play as efficiently as we could and get out of here still in control of our own destiny,” he said. “That’s what we are. We are still very much alive.”
Clodfelder said the Tigers were flagged for holding penalties that took away some explosive plays for the Paris offense.
“I thought we made plays when we needed to make plays,” the Paris coach said.
Paris never trailed in the game. The two teams traded possessions for most of the first half. The first Tiger score came after Robert Wells blocked the Olney punt, finally giving Paris decent field position. On the next play from scrimmage, senior co-captain Kalvin Rigdon ripped off a 43-yard touchdown run. The point-after kick by Ty King was good, giving Paris a 7-0 lead at halftime.
Paris got on the board for the second time when quarterback Drew Rogers took it in from one yard out with 3:12 left in the third quarter. King’s kick was good and Paris led 14-0.
Olney finally scored with 9:43 left in the game, taking advantage of a Paris fumble. The point after was good and suddenly it was a one-possession game.
The Tigers played ball control in the rest of the quarter but a fumbled snap from center, forcing Paris to punt with 48 seconds remaining. Paris’ shrewd time management forced Olney to burn its two remaining timeouts.
Olney’s quarterback was hot and had completed 10 straight passes so Paris went into a prevent defense. The Paris rush brought down the quarterback who was flushed from the pocket by a three-man Tiger rush. Olney attempted to hurry up but could not get everyone set and the home team was flagged for illegal motion, putting the ball on the 14-yard line. Beard threw his first incomplete downfield pass in 11 attempts, leaving 9.5 seconds remaining on the clock. Beard completed a pass in the next play, and Olney ran the hook and ladder, fumbling the toss. Paris Tiger Mason Byrnes picked up the fumble and rumbled 22 yards for the score as time expired.
The Tigers rushed for 201 yards on 34 carries for an average of 5.9 yards per carry. Paris signal caller Drew Rogers had his best rushing game of the season, picking up 96 yards in 14 attempts. Kalvin Rigdon had 45 yards in two carries while Byrnes rushed for 34 yards in 10 carries. Ethan Curl rushed 10 times for 26 yards.
Rogers was six of 10 passing for 105 yards. Ty King was the top receiver with 64 yards in two receptions. Curl caught the ball twice for 29 yards while tight end Karic Mason-Vitale grabbed one catch for seven yards. Robert Wells caught one pass for 5 yards.
Paris’ total offense for the night was 306 yards.