Tigers power past Maroons, make playoff case


ROBINSON – Playoff eligible! The Paris High School football team has a shot at the postseason following a 26-6 victory in Robinson on Friday, Oct. 13.
Paris improved their record to 5-3 overall and 4-2 in the Little Illini Conference, while the Maroons fell to 2-6, 2-4 in the LIC.
Winning five games in a season makes a team eligible for the postseason, but does not guarantee a berth. However, the Tigers have amassed enough playoff points based on the number of wins of their opponents that a game in week 10 seems to be imminent.
The fifth win of the season required some gritty work on a sloppy field that was continually pounded with rain throughout the game. Robinson started the party on their second possession of the game with a 61-yard touchdown pass from Reese Johnson to AJ Knoblett. The two-point conversion attempt failed and the Maroons led 6-0 at the 6:13 mark of the first quarter.
Paris could not muster any sort of offense for the remainder of the first quarter and a pair of turnovers aided in keeping the home team on top.
Things changed in the second period as Drew Rogers found Ethan Curl out of the backfield to convert a huge third-and-12 play near the Tiger 40-yard line. On the very next play, Rogers called his own number, scrambling for 21 yards down to the Robinson 22-yard line. Three plays later, facing a fourth-and-6, Rogers stood in the face of the Maroon pass rush and found Kalvin Rigdon in the right flat. The junior halfback split a pair of Robinson defenders and danced his way into the endzone from 17 yards out to tie the game at 6-6 with 4:45 left in the first half. Robinson moved the ball inside the Tiger 30-yard line, but Evan Ramsey came through with a huge sack on fourth down to give the ball back to Paris. With less than a minute left in the half, the Tigers moved the ball to the Robinson 35 but could not add any points ahead of intermission.
Paris received the ball to start the second half and began their drive at their own 42-yard line. Facing third-and-12, Rogers found Curl out of the backfield for a 24-yard catch and run from the senior tailback. Two plays later, Rogers was sacked for a 14-yard loss and the Tigers were forced to punt. The Tiger defense stiffened and forced a Robinson punt.
Rogers ran the read-option to perfection on the third drive of the half for the Tigers, rushing for 38 yards and setting up a first-and-goal at the Robinson five-yard line. Mason Byrnes took the handoff straight up the middle for the score. Ty King added the extra point and the Tigers led it 13-6 with 2:10 remaining in the third period.
On their first possession of the fourth quarter, the Tigers were backed up to their own nine-yard line to start the drive. The Tigers’ first play was a jet sweep to Ty King who reeled off a 59-yard run to set up a first down at the Robinson 33-yard line. Three plays later, Rigdon dashed in from 22 yards away to give the Tigers a 19-6 lead with 8:40 left in the game. One possession later, Rogers found Robert Wells deep down the left sideline for a 44-yard touchdown. The extra point was good to make it 26-6 with 3:40 remaining.
The Tiger offense had five different runners gain at least 30 yards in the game. King led the way with 59 yards on his only carry of the game. Rogers had 38, Curl added 36, Byrnes gained 35 on six carries, and Rigdon had 30 including a touchdown. Rogers completed 10 of 19 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns. Curl led the way with 73 yards on three grabs, Rigdon caught four passes for 57 yards and a score, Wells caught one for 44, Byrnes added one catch for seven yards and King caught one ball for four yards.
Paris will celebrate Senior Night on Friday, October 20 as they host the Casey-Westfield Warriors with kickoff set for 7 p.m.

Paris Tigers, football, Robinson, playoffs