The 2022 regular season will come to a close for the Paris Eagles on Friday when they host conference opponent Magnet Cove at Eagles Stadium. Friday will be Senior Night to honor a very special group of players, band members, and cheerleaders. Due to the cancellation of the season by Danville, the home season schedule will come to a premature end on October 28 with the November 4 home cancellation of the Danville game.
At deadline time for this story, Paris was traveling to Amity, Arkansas to play the Centerpoint Knights. The game was expected to be a tough challenge for the Eagles, as the Knights were entering the game with Paris undefeated on the season. Magnet Cove was about to host Jessieville. Now, as we look forward to this Friday, both Paris and Magnet Cove may be entering the game with one conference win each and in contention for the fifth and final playoff seed from the 3A-4 conference to advance to the state playoffs.
Playoffs? Yes, playoffs. With the Eagles’ homecoming win over Two Rivers, both Magnet Cove and Paris will enter the game Friday with one conference win each. A victory by either school will give the winner their second conference win and a head-to-head victory over the other. Paris’s regular season will end with the Magnet Cove game, so the Eagles would finish the regular season as the number five seed. The bottom half of the 3A-4 standings would include Danville as the eighth place finisher, Two Rivers as the seventh place finisher, and Magnet Cove as the sixth place finisher. Paris would have Week Ten of the regular season off due to the Danville cancellation, and would likely travel to Northeast Arkansas to play a #1 seed from that part of the state on November 11. Paris would potentially end the regular season as 2-7, or, with the Danville cancellation, 3-7, and would be playoff bound.
I will withhold my opinion on a two conference win team going to the playoffs. The Arkansas Activities Association (AAA) has gradually increased the number of playoff spots over the years to the format we have today. You may recall one year recently when due to COVID cancellations during the season, sixth place and lower teams were also allowed to elect to participate in the playoffs. Only two teams in the state chose to do so. In the River Valley, the Hackett Hornets were one of two teams statewide who chose to go the playoffs as a number six seed. In a normal year, the Hornets would have been ineligible for the playoffs that year.
On a positive note, the fact that we are having this conversation is a testament to the hard work and the “never say die” attitude of the seniors and the younger players on the Eagles’ roster. They have faced adversity all season, but each week, they have played hard. Their true character has shown through the bumps and bruises that they have endured throughout the year.
The Senior Night opponent for Paris will be the Magnet Cove Panthers. The Panthers are new to Class 3A this season. They have had great success in Class 2A including an 8-4 record a year ago. They won the 2A-5 conference in 2021 went two rounds deep into the state playoffs. The Panthers defeated Marked Tree in the first round by the score of 34-16 before losing narrowly to Fordyce, 30-29.
Magnet Cove returns seven starters on offense and five on defense. The Panthers are coached by Caleb Carmikle and are multiple in their formations on both offense and defense. According to Hooten’s Arkansas Football magazine, the Panthers have good play-makers returning this year but are a little suspect with their linebacker corps. Offensively, the Panthers will be led by All-State running back Brett Williams, and on defense, the Panthers will bring a pair of tall, book end defensive ends in Bronson Coolis and Preston Sawyer.
Magnet Cove High School is located in Hot Springs County, approximately two hours and twenty-one minutes from Paris. Panthers fans will be making the 115 miles trip on Friday to see their team battle for their second conference win and a spot in the 3A state playoffs.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. with the Senior Night ceremony to be held during the pregame activities. Fans should be in their seats by 6:15 p.m. to see the Eagles football program honor this year’s very special senior class.
And as we have been all season, RNN Sports will be there to capture the night in photos and to provide a recap of the game on Saturday morning. Come out and support the Eagles in their final home game of the year.