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Sophomore quarterback Quez Allen threw a 70-yard touchdown pass to Joe Wallace and broke several tackles on a 12-yard scoring run of his own as the Paris Wildcats won their second scrimmage in as many weeks Friday night, beating Longview Spring Hill 34-0.
But, the night belonged to the defense, actually.
Paris scored on Kenny Mason’s 61-yard return with an interception and Devin Smith’s 20-yard return of a fumble, and Dren Rollerson ran 22 yards for a touchdown on the second play after Roy’d Jones intercepted a pass at the Spring Hill 26.
The format was three “live” 15-minute quarters with a running clock, followed by a simulated “overtime” period in which each team got the ball on the other team’s 25.
Paris led 27-0 after the three quarters of play, then the Wildcats needed just two plays to score during the simulated overtime period. Paris got 13 yards on the first play, and Allen got the final 12 yards on the next play.
Wallace, a member of Paris’ state championship 4×200 meter relay team last spring, brought Wildcat fans to their feet midway through the second of the three quarters.
Wallace “caught a little curl route” from Allen and “made a few guys miss,” Paris Head Coach Steven Hohenberger noted. The last 50 yards of the touchdown play was Wallace pulling away from everybody else down the left sideline.
“That’s what we’re living on right now,” Hohenberger said. The rest of the scores were primarily thanks to the defense.
Even Wallace’s 70-yard highlight play came courtesy of a Spring Hill mistake. A dropped pass on third-and-15 from the Paris 15 meant the Wildcats would have to punt. But after the play was whistled dead, a Spring Hill player shoved a Paris player to the ground from behind, and the referees walked off a 15-yard penalty on the personal foul, giving the Wildcats a first down at the 30.
Wallace’s 70-yard scamper with Allen’s pass came on the next play.
“Against good teams, that’s not going to happen,” Hohenberger said.
The Wildcats had a similar penalty on Allen’s touchdown run during the simulated overtime. After the play was over, “we had a player that was selfish,” Hohenberger said.
“Thinking about himself, he got a personal foul. You know, one of the things we encourage them to do is block through the whistle, and I’ve got to watch the film on it, whether at the end of the day that’s what he was doing,” Hohenberger said.
“Hopefully that’s what he did. But, he might have gone a little too long. Like I told him, whether he did or didn’t, the official thought he did and we got a 15-yard penalty.”
That resulted in an extra point try from the 18-yard line instead of from the 3-yard line, which made Blake Beshir’s extra-point kick from the 25 — the equivalent of a 35-yard field goal.
Not to worry, Beshir’s kick sailed through the uprights with plenty of room to spare.
Hohenberger was pleased with both his kicking specialists – place kicker/punter Beshirs and place kicker Victor Guzman.
“You know, Blake missed his first extra point, which put us behind the 8-ball. I wasn’t pleased with that. I didn’t think we directionally kicked very well. But, both our kids had good distance on their kicks.”
Before Wallace had a chance to excite Wildcat fans, Mason brought them to their feet about two-thirds of the way through the first quarter. He intercepted a pass at the Paris 39 and left Spring Hill defenders in his wake, sprinting 61 yards for the first score of the game.
In its first scrimmage, Paris defeated Henderson last week – with the praise going to the offense.
“As encouraged as I was last week with our effort against Henderson, offensively I was discouraged tonight,” Hohenberger said after the contest Friday night’s outing in Wildcat Stadium.
“Against Henderson, we did some things well, sustained some things and moved the ball. I thought tonight, we had no consistency offensively,” Hohenberger said.
“Defensively, I don’t think we tackled as well. I’ve got to get these guys focused on it’s not WHO we play, it’s HOW we do. That’s the only thing you can control. I want take-aways, not turnovers. A turnover is something they did, and I’m pretty certain that three or four of those tonight were turnovers, not takeaways,” he said.
“Now, at the end of the day, we finished. We scored. We picked off a pass and ran it back. But even on the pass we ran back, we blocked behind the ball. You know …”
Spring Hill’s possessions went this way:
First: three-and-out, punt from the SH 27..
Second: one first down, followed by Mason’s interception at the Paris 39 and 61-yard return.
Third: fumble on the second play, recovered by Paris at the SH 32.
Fourth: interception on second down at the SH 26, resulting in Rollerson’s 22-yard TD run two plays later.
Fourth: three and out, punt from the SH 38.
Fifth: three and out, punt from the SH 31.
Sixth: one first down, fumble at the SH 31 on the sixth play, picked up by Smith at the SH 20 and run in for the TD.
Overtime (from the Paris 25): three incomplete passes followed by a 1-yard gain.
Asked if he had any laurels to hand out, Hohenberger singled out Mason and linebackers Brickey Reed and Jordan Williams.
“They’re the captains, and they’re leaders on our team. Brickey and Kenny are seniors, and Jordan is a junior, and they play the way they practice. You know, Kenny is a do-it-all. He’s like the Energizer Bunny – offense, defense, kicking game. Those three — but we’re not going to be the team we can be if it’s just those three doing it during the week, because it takes all 11 players functioning together.”
The thing his team is still lacking, as it begins preparations for its season opener at Mount Pleasant next Friday, is passion, Hohenberger said.
“I don’t know how you play this game without energy and desire. You cannot, not to the level you should. Regardless of the outcome, I want 11 bodies, when they take to that field, playing with a great amount of passion. You play until you can’t play any more, and then we’ve got to put somebody else in there. We played with no passion tonight, I thought, and that’s coaching. I’m the one that has to inspire them and motivate them and get them to do that. I didn’t do that this week.”
PARIS – Kenny Mason 61 interception return (Blake Beshirs kick failed), 6-0 (4:38 1Q)
PARIS – Dren Rollerson 22 run (Victor Guzman kick), 13-0 (12:50 2Q)
PARIS – Joe Wallace 70 pass from Quez Allen (Beshirs kick), 20-0 (6:08 2Q)
PARIS – Devin Smith 20 fumble return (Guzman kick), 27-0 (4:03 3Q)
PARIS – Allen 12 run (Beshirs kick), 34-0 (Simulated overtime)
By Charles Richards, eParisExtra