Cats, Lady Cats Hold Bonham Scoreless

phighlogoOn a frigid, humid night with wind chills in the 20s, the Paris High girls and boys soccer teams hosted a District 19-4A doubleheader with the fledgling and currently homeless Bonham Purple Warriors.  The varsity girls played to a scoreless tie after 100 unproductive minutes, while the Wildcats varsity peppered the Warrior defense in an 11-0 rout.

While the results were in stark contrast, both Paris varsities were held by a common thread: both teams’ goalkeepers could have taken the night off without being missed.  The Bonham soccer program, in its first full year of UIL district affiliation, is still searching for its first district win in a season where goals are rare.

They’ve also had to be road warriors, with their home field currently out of use due to turf reconstruction.  Tuesday’s matches were originally scheduled to be played in Bonham but were shifted to Paris as a result.

It was an encore evening for the Paris boys, now 20-3-1 overall with a district-leading 7-1 record.  The Cats celebrated Senior Night on Saturday which normally coincides with the final home match.

It was a mismatch played almost entirely in the Warriors’ end of the field.  Although the Bonham defense and some Wildcat misfires kept Paris off the board for the first 12:17 of play, once the inevitable dam burst, the Cats flooded the Warrior net with goals.  By the 11:05 mark before halftime Paris held a 6-0 lead and coach Jeremy Beshirs began substituting freely.

The Cats didn’t score again until 21:20 remained in the match, but Paris was able to take advantage of an exhausted Bonham defense to add 5 more goals to the total.  The individual count:

  • A 3-goal hat trick by leading scorer Michael Cade.  The 6-2 senior now has 25 for the year and 54 for his career.
  • A pair of goals by senior Josh Kirby.  The Ouachita Baptist signee (along with Cade and Blake Beshirs)  now has 11 goals for the season.
  • Single goals by senior Ben Whitaker (his 10th), Beshirs (his 18th and career No. 51), senior Dylan Kresen (his eighth), senior Diego Torres (his first),  junior Edgar Alvarez (his third), and junior Jesus Ruiz (his sixth).

The Cats are on the verge of securing their second district title over the past three seasons if they can defeat defending champion Sulphur Springs Friday at Gerald Prim Stadium.  They close out district play two weeks later (after a Spring Break layoff) with a match on March 20 at Princeton.

Meanwhile, the girls’ match was mostly a slugfest in midfield with the Lady Cats occasionally mounting a foray deep in Lady Warrior territory.  Paris didn’t tally its first shot on goal until 11 minutes were left in the first half, and it was a harmless, mild strike.

A much better opportunity came just before halftime on a free kick by Julianna Clipson from 22 yards out that drifted 3 feet wide of the far post.  Clipson had three more excellent scoring chances in the second half off set pieces including a shot from 23 yards away that the Bonham goalie was able to poke over the goalpost.

The teams played a pair of 10-minute overtime periods with no serious threats to dent the scoreboard.

The Lady Cats, now 3-3-2 in district, close out the regular season at home vs. Sulphur Springs Friday and on March 20 vs. Princeton.

Wildcat Football Pigskin Pig-Out

– Tickets still available for PHS Football Fundraising Dinner, Auction and Unofficial Awards

Paris_High_phigh_Wildcats_tshirt_artThe Paris High School Football Program would like to invite everyone to attend the first annual Wildcat Football Pigskin Pig-out on Saturday, March 22, 2014. All money raised will be used for equipment and supplies not funded by the school district.

The highlight of the evening is the live and silent auction featuring a variety of sports memorabilia and catered dinners. A complete list of auction items will be published soon. In addition, the intrigue surrounding the first Unofficial Awards will be a source of humor, surprise, nostalgia and honor.

Tickets are $10 per person and are available for purchase from Athletics Secretary Nancy Morgan in the Athletics Office of the field house at Wildcat Stadium.  The menu includes Pittsburg Hot Links, Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Baked Beans, Cole Slaw, Peach Cobbler or Banana Pudding and Iced Tea.

Monday, March 17, is the last day to purchase tickets in the Athletic Office from 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. All offices are currently closed for Spring Break so if you need to secure your ticket before March 17, contact Jeanne Kraft at jkraft@parisisd.net.

Wildcat Football sponsors are:

Coach’s Circle

Guaranty Bond Bank

Healthline Medical

The Paris News

RB Sporting Goods

Simwick Contractors

Sandra & Bert Strom

R. Wesley Tidwell, Attorney at Law

J. Stephen Walker, Attorney at Law

Woodby Insurance

Wildcat Partners

Coaches Outreach

Hiring Partners, Inc.

ORR Honda of Paris

Paris Snax Sales, Inc.

Pittsburg Hot Links

Tijerina Urology Clinic

Wildcat Backers

Century 21 Executive Realty/Sherrie White

Liberty National Bank

Sonic Drive In

Toyota of Paris

Pig-Out Dinner Sponsors

First Federal Community Bank

Jeanne & Wally Kraft

Platinum Palliative & Hospice Care, Inc.

The Sabin Warrick Company

Wildcat Boosters

Elaine Ballard

Dr. Richard Bercher

K & S Rentals

Sikes Posts 200th Career Coaching Win

phighlogoVeteran Paris High baseball coach Bill Sikes knew the 2014 season would test his patience, and so far his young team has lived up to preseason expectations.

The Wildcat varsity started last weekend’s Bonham Tournament with its worst outing of the year in a 6-0 loss to Sanger on Thursday, but rebounded nicely on Friday with an 8-0 shutout of Krum in a win that marked Sikes’ 200th coaching victory in 11 seasons.  The Cats then used a 4-run, last-inning rally to tie Frisco Lone Star, 9-9, in a game that was called due to the tournament time limit.

Saturday’s tournament action was wiped out due to inclement weather that rolled through northeast Texas.  Paris is back in action Monday with a game vs. Hugo at PJC’s Hub Hollis Field.  First pitch is set for 4:30 p.m.

Tournament summaries:

  • Sanger 6, Paris 0.  The Cats didn’t answer the wake-up call in this 9 a.m. tournament opener on Thursday as their 7 errors and just 2 hits (by Phillip Sikes and Drew Helberg) will attest.  Sanger jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first at-bat, and the Indians tacked on single tallies in the third, fourth, fifth, and seventh innings.  Senior Jake Clark (2-1) took the loss on the mound.
  • Paris 8, Krum 0.  Junior Kaden Callihan pitched a 3-hit shutout and Clark blasted a 2-run homer as the Wildcats presented head coach Bill Sikes his 200th career win.  The game was called after 5 innings due to a tournament run rule.  The Cats pounded out 9 hits and scored in each inning except the second.  Clark also had an RBI double to go 2-for-3 with 3 RBI.  Freshman Sikes also had a pair of hits.  Jordan Williams, Philip Nance, Jack Kraft, and Helberg collected RBI.
  • Paris 9, Lone Star 9.  Paris rallied to score 4 runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to tie the score before time expired to end the game.  The first two Cats reached via walks to precede an RBI single by Casey Reavis and a 2-run triple by Sikes.  Williams then brought Sikes across with the game-tying run on a single.  The Cats loaded the bases with 1 out, but a strikeout and groundout ended the threat.  Williams went 3-for-4 with 3 RBI including a 2-run single in a 4-run third frame.  Nance also plated a pair of runs in the third on a single.  Nance and Conor Henry had 2 hits each.  Sikes started and pitched the first 2 innings, while Nance relieved and finished up on the mound.

Gates’ 2 Goals Spark Lady Cats to Soccer Win

phighlogo1With senior Kendall Vogt lost for the season with a knee injury, the Paris Lady Cats have to look elsewhere for offense with their leading scorer sidelined.  Saturday, they discovered a spark in freshman Tieran Gates who scored both goals in a 2-1 win over Greenville at T. A. “Cotton” Ford Stadium.

It was a critical win for the Lady Cats as they jockey for one of the four playoff berths from District 19-4A.  Paris is now 3-3-1 in district, while the defending district champion Lady Lions fall to 1-6.  The Lady Cats are scheduled to host Bonham Monday, weather permitting, at Wildcat Stadium as part of a varsity doubleheader.  The girls play at 5:30 p.m. with the boys following at 7.

Gates, a budding 4-sport standout at Paris (she also excels in volleyball, basketball, and track) scored her first goal just 7:18 into the match to give Paris a 1-0 lead.  The Lady Cats took that lead into halftime, but the Lady Lions tied the match, 1-1, with a goal at the start of the second half.  It remained tied until 2:52 remaining when Gates found the net again from 20 yards out.

Kresen Hat Trick, Cade’s 50th Highlight Senior Night Win

phighlogo1Pop sports quiz: Which Paris High team sport has posted the best winning percentage over the past four years?

Boys basketball?  Good guess, but wrong.  The Cats have enjoyed seven straight 20-win seasons under head coach Billy Mack Steed with an impressive .742 winning percentage (95-33) over the past four seasons.

Baseball?  Another reasonable, but also wrong, answer.  Paris High was 71-31 (.696 percentage) entering the current baseball season.  With a challenging rebuilding year facing long-time head coach Bill Sikes, the baseball Cats probably won’t improve on that mark by season’s end.

Football.  Not even close.  The Cats will carry a 17-game district win streak into the 2014 football campaign, but they’re just 27-17 (.614 percentage) overall.

The correct answer is boys soccer, which is currently sitting on a 72-15-8 mark (.792 percentage) following Friday night’s 6-0 whipping of Greenville in a District 19-4A match at Wildcat Stadium.  Boys soccer?  That outdoor sport played in the dead of winter under bizarre weather conditions by crazy kids running around in their shorts?  And if you answered correctly, chances are good that you might be one of those handful of hearty family and friends who bundle up and drag your portable propane heaters into the mostly deserted stands to support those crazy kids.

If you were one of those hundred or so diehard spectators who witnessed the Wildcats’ 19th shutout of an outstanding 19-3-1 season, then you know the match was highlighted by three notable accomplishments:

  1. First, there was the 5oth career goal by senior Michael Cade.  It came just 11 minutes into the match on a play started by a through ball from midfielder Jesus Ruiz that Ben Whitaker settled near the goal line in time for a cross to a trailing Josh Kirby.  Two Greenville defenders converged on Kirby to disrupt his shot on goal, but Cade cleaned up the rebound to give Paris a 1-0 lead.  Cade would later get his 51st career and team-leading 22nd season goal to finish off the evening’s scoring.
  2. Senior Dylan Kresen scored a natural hat trick with goals at 19:38 and 6:55 of the first half and the first goal of the second half with 35:43 remaining.  It broke a 5-week personal scoring drought stretching over the course of 13 games for Kresen, who has been working his way back from injury problems.  Kresen scored 4 goals in the Cats’ first 10 games this season.
  3. A rare goal scored by a Cat defender and the first career goal by standout junior Leonel Gutierrez, who picked the pocket of a Lion midfielder and made a skillful 40-yard run to get off a shot that found the net.

It all added up to a memorable Senior Night for the 17 members of the Class of 2014 who have been a big part of that nearly 80% success rate achieved during their tenure at Paris High.  Cade’s milestone goal follows on the heals of that same 50-goal plateau achieved by classmate and close friend Blake Beshirs in Tuesday’s storm-shortened, 2-0 victory over crosstown rival North Lamar.  Had Mother Nature not interceded, chances are good that both 4-year starters would have notched their 50th in the same match.

The hat trick by Kresen was an encouraging sign for a Cat offense that suddenly went MIA the previous week.  Paris produced just a single goal in regulation play and was forced into shootouts in back-to-back matches with main district rivals Sulphur Springs and Princeton.  The Cats won the shootout vs. SSHS, but lost to Princeton.  Although the Cats still lead the district at 6-1 with 18 points, their recent inability to finish off attacks on goal gave district opponents some optimism that Paris is not a lock for this year’s title.

If Paris coach Jeremy Beshirs can get renewed production from Kresen (7 season goals) and seniors Whitaker and Kirby (9 goals each), then the Cats might be headed for their second district title in three years and a prolonged playoff run.  In the meantime, he has made a change in offensive philosophy in the last two matches, alternating son Blake and Cade in forward attacking roles in an attempt to stretch opposing defenses who were clogging the midfield area by marking both Beshirs and Cade..

It worked Tuesday with Beshirs getting both goals in the 2-0 win over NL, and Cade got the Cats off to a fast start Friday with his first goal with 29:02 remaining in the first half.

Then Kresen took over the finisher’s role.  His first goal came with 19:38 until halftime on a penalty kick awarded when he was taken down inside the 18-yard box.  He easily beat the Greenville goalkeeper with a shot to the goalie’s right.  Kresen goal No. 2 came with 6:55 before intermission.  Beshirs attacked the right flank by passing to a streaking Kirby deep in the corner.  Kirby fired a cross toward the net where both Kresen and Cade were waiting.  Kresen flicked the ball into the net from 8 yards out.

That made it a 3-0 halftime lead for Paris although the score could have been much higher.  The porous Greenville defense gave away numerous turnovers which led to excellent scoring chances.

Kresen almost had the hat trick before halftime, but it took just 4:17 after the break to notch goal No. 3.  Beshirs, this time operating on the left wing, sent a cross into the middle that Kresen caught up to in stride to strike into the net behind the goalie, who guessed wrong on his dive.  It was now a 4-0 lead.

Another subtle recent change in offensive philsophy by the Cats has been the green light Beshirs, the coach, is giving his stellar defensive line to become involved in the offense.  Specifically, two of his more skilled players, sophomore Alfredo Medina and the speedy Gutierrez have been allowed to make long runs whenever they’re in position for a counter-attack.  Gutierrez, as the Paris center back, normally acts as a free safety choking off any opposing breakaways and funneling the ball out of harm’s way, but his quickness and ball-handling skills can be an unexpected weapon for any team focused on stopping the Beshirs-Cade tandem.

Gutierrez stole the ball at midfield and left six Lions flat-footed in his wake on a remarkable 40-yard sustained run before sending the ball across the goalmouth inside the far post with 23:36 left in the match.  His first career goal extended the Paris lead to 5-0.

Beshirs was the catalyst for the final goal.  He ran down a long through ball in front of the net, joustled for position on the right wing with a Lion defender, then turned and sent a cross toward the far post.  Kirby back-headed the cross with two defenders on his back, and Cade was perfectly positioned for the scoring volley off the bounce with 2:55 remaining.  It was goal No. 22 this season and 51 for his career.

Paris senior goalies Angel Rocha and Jesus Herrera each took a half in goal, but neither was forced to make a save.  Coach Beshirs substituted freely, especially in the second half, giving his seniors playing time on their special night.  The senior class also includes Zane Young, Whitaker, Kresen, Jackson Reeves, Christian Gil, Beshirs, Cade, Cody Redus, Alfredo Gonzales, Gustavo Luna, Victor Guzman, Lee Leija, Diego Torres, Alfredo Gonzales, and Kirby.

So a rejuvenated Wildcats soccer team heads into the final three district games with renewed scoring confidence.  They get a encore home match Monday in a varsity doubleheader appearance with the Lady Cats vs. Bonham at Wildcat Stadium.  The matches were originally scheduled to be played in Bonham, but the Purple Warriors’ home turf is under reconstruction and unavailable.  The girls match begins at 5:30 with the the boys getting underway around 7.

In a side note, the UIL is expected to announce realignment for soccer in the coming days, creating a third conference classification for that sport.  It will enable Paris and other current Class 3A schools to compete on a more level playing field, but it will come a year too late for the current crop of seniors.

There was no JV match Friday because Greenville fields only a varsity team this season.