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Steve Hohenberger collected his first victory as coach of the Paris Wildcats on Friday night as his team jumped out to a 20-0 lead after two-and-a-half quarters and held on for a 22-13 victory over the Denison Yellow Jackets.
Paris evened its 2013 record at 1-1, and Denison fell to 0-2.
Paris’s three touchdowns came on a 1-yard run by quarterback Quez Allen, a 21-yard run by Dren Rollerson and a 24-yard run by Shun Woodson.
Paris had kept Denison in check, and junior defensive back Tre Barry stepped in front of a pass at midfield with nothing in front of him but the green artificial field of Wildcat Stadium. Barry ran untouched to the end zone with the interception, and it appeared the Wildcats had broken this game open.
But Paris was flagged for roughing the passer on the play, wiping out the touchdown. Denison went 50 yards in seven plays to score with nine seconds left in the first half on a 9-yard pass to Jaleel Dade.
Barry ended up with two other interceptions that counted. He picked off a pass that bounced off Dade’s hands at the Paris 24 late in the third quarter, and he went high for an interception at midfield with 1:12 play that put Denison out of its misery.
“I kind of faked and their quarterback threw to the opposite receiver) and I had time to get back,” Barry said.
“I was really trying to get five of them (interceptions). I don’t know what the record is but I was going for five. I was trying to get in the record books, trying to make a name for myself,” he said, smiling ear to ear. “It felt great to get the win.”
Another long Paris touchdown was rubbed out with 2:15 remaining in the third quarter when Allen completed a pass over the middle to Za King for 72 yards. As the runner was running by himself and pulling away, Paris was called for an illegal block.
Denison quarterback Chance Rogers completed passes of 29 and 9 yards to Dade in the fourth quarter as Denison went 50 yard in seven plays to get to within 20-13 on Dade’s 14-yard TD pass.
Wildcats linebacker Kendrick Wallace then brought Paris fans to their feet with a rare 2-point conversion after a Denison touchdown.
The Yellow Jackets lined up for the point-after kick, “but they fumbled the snap. Kendrick picked up the ball and ran with it to the other end zone for the two points,” Barry said.
That was worth a rare two points to Paris, giving the Wildcats a much more comfortable nine-point lead at 22-13 with under three minutes left in the game.
Allen had 212 yards of total offense, gaining 77 yards on 18 carries and completing 13-of-17 passes for 135 yards. Rollerson rushed 17 times for 67 yards, and Woodson 9 times for 27 yards.
Kenny Mason caught six of Allen’s passes for 68 yards, Cordarrius Hill caught three passes, and Za King (42 yards), Leonel Gutierrez (14 yards), Brickey Reed (11 yards) and Joe Wallace caught one each.
Paris was penalized three times for 35 yards and turned the ball over once, on a fumble deep in Denison territory.
Defensive back Devin Smith led the Wildcats in tackles with 10 (5 solo), followed by Kendrick Wallace, Reed and Williams with 6 each. Paris got to Rogers twice behind the line of scrimmage, with Kendrick Wallace and Reynolds each getting a sack. King was credited with forcing a fumble.
Mason, Smith and Roy’D Jones each broke up a pass.
Paris was impressive from the start.
The Wildcats took the opening kickoff, and Allen took his team 67-yards in a six-play drive in less than two minutes. Quez got the touchdown one play after Mason took a pass and scampered 22 yards for a first and goal at the one yard line.
Denison’s Denard Whitfield returned the ensuing kickoff 34 yards to the Yellow Jacket 44, but the Wildcat defense — led by linebackers Bricky Reed and Jordan Williams – allowed the visitors only two yards in three plays.
Mason took a punt at his 20, bobbled it, then made his way out six yards to the Paris 26. From there, the Wildcats picked up five first downs in a 10-play, 74-yard touchdown drive that increased the lead to 13-0 with 4:58 left in the first quarter.
Rollerson carried four times for 33 yards on the drive, including a 21-yard TD run in which he broke several tackles.
Denison’s punter shanked a punt, giving Paris great position at the Yellow Jacket 40 midway through the second quarter. The Wildcats took only five plays to find the end zone again.
Allen gained 15 yards in three plays and running back Woods went untouched up the middle for 24 yards for the touchdown that made it 20-0 with 6:12 to play in the first half.
DENISON – 0 7 0 6—13
PARIS –13 7 0 2—22
PARIS—Quez Allen 1 run (kick blocked)
PARIS – Dren Rollerson 21 run (Blake Beshirs kick)
PARIS – Shun Woodson 24 run (Blake Beshirs kick)
DENISON – Jaleel Dade 9 pass from Chance Rogers (Wade Walker kidk)
DENISON – Dade 14 pass from Rogers (kick failed)
PARIS – Kendrick Wallace 90 yard run with fumbled extra point snap
By Charles Richards, eParisExtra