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Monday, July 22, 2024

Eagles Host West Fork in Final Non-conference Game & First Test of the Season

Arkansas River Valley Business Directory

The Paris Eagles are now 2-0 on the high school football season. After opening the season on the road for their first two games, the Eagles finally return home to the friendly confines of Eagles Stadium on Friday. The good news is that Paris is 2-0 and will be playing at home. The not-so-good news is that the West Fork Tigers are coming to town and will bring an experienced and talented team that has a lot of motivation to win at Paris.

West Fork will test the physicality of the Eagles in Friday’s contest. Specifically, the Tigers’ flex bone offense will want to run a physical, ball-control game that will take time from the Eagles offense and will test the new Paris defensive line and linebackers. In their first two contests, Paris has looked good on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, but, the teams they have played do not resemble the big and physical Tigers.

Eagles defensive line will be tested against the physical, Tigers flex bone offense (Resident Press File Photo / Jim Best)

Last week’s Eagles win at Johnson County Westside was just that; it was a win. But due to the fact that the “mercy rule” was implemented at Westside’s request just five minutes into the game, Paris coach Jeff Weaver pulled his starters for the remainder of the game. It was a good move to protect the starters from potential injury, and it showed good sportsmanship on behalf of Weaver and the Eagles. But the downside is that the Paris starters did not get a lot of reps in the game, and that could have an effect in week two against West Fork. Coach Weaver commented, “That was the first time I’ve ever seen a team ask to start the sportsmanship rule with five minutes to go in the first quarter.”

The Eagles offensive line will have to provide protection for their quarterback, Chase Watts (2) to find his talented receiver corps (Resident Press File Photo / Jim Best)

Coach Weaver praised his team for the week of preparation the team had in the week leading up to the Westside game. “I was proud of the week our guys had in preparation for the game. We came out and took care of business.”

This Friday against West Fork, it will be up to the Eagles offensive and defensive lines to “take care of business.” Last year’s Tigers team may have surprised some fans by making the state playoffs from the 3A-1 conference, but this year’s edition of the Tigers will be no surprise. Weaver spoke of West Fork by saying, “West Fork is big and physical. We have to play good disciplined football. The team that controls the tempo will probably win the game.”

And that is the challenge for a team that wants to control the clock (West Fork) and another team that wants to score quickly (Paris). West Fork is not built to score quickly, and some would argue that Paris is not built to stand up to a big and physical running attack. So, this is an intriguing match-up that could give Paris fans some insight as to how the Eagles may play, for example, Booneville, and their physical rushing attack.

Aside from the obvious fact that Paris wants to win the game and improve to 3-0 on the season, the Eagles have a bye week next week before they open conference play on September 24 at Mayflower. An Eagles win that is free of injuries would be just what the doctor ordered before the off week. It would be a chance to enter conference play undefeated, get some rest before conference play, and be ready to once again go on the road for that all important first conference game at Mayflower.

But, first things first. The West Fork Tigers come to Paris this Friday, and kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Eagles Stadium. Resident Press will be there to photograph the game and bring you all of the action in its Saturday morning recap. Photos from the game will be posted on Facebook at Paris Eagles Sports on Sunday afternoon.

So, the stage is set for a great football game on Friday, and the Eagles need their fans to pack the stadium! I look forward to seeing you there, and GO EAGLES!

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