PARIS (KFSM) - After a winless 2018, Paris enters its pre-conference play bye week at 2-1.
"Everything’s good about this team but we are still low on numbers and a little banged up, a little beat up," reflected head coach Tyler Clark. "So it’s nice to take a week off and let kids rest up and get healed."
The biggest difference from last fall to this current season became evident to both coaches and players over the summer.
"There’s a whole different attitude change, we’ve got a lot of negativity out," senior Ethan Needham explained. "It’s all positive and we’re just focused on getting better."
"Teamwork," agreed classmate Patrick Richardson. "We all come out here and we practice everyday and try to make everybody else better."
The eagles have already overcome some adversity, trailing at halftime in both wins including the season opener against Perryville.
"He said just keep fighting, you know, don’t stop here," Needham recalled. "And it don’t matter how many numbers we have. If our 11 is better than their 11, we’re gonna get the win."
"It’s a credit to these kids, they will not stop," Clark said. "They’re flying around playing football. Doesn’t matter if we’re up 20 or down 20, they’re just gonna keep going."
Of course heading into conference play in a deep 3A-1, it won't be sustainable for Paris to have to mount second half comebacks every week.
"We need to come out firing out the gates," said Richardson. "We started out slow in the two games we won and if we just come out firing I think we’ll be way better."
The Eagles beat Perryville 20-13, fell to unbeaten Clarksville 63-0 and took down Waldron 28-24 in teh home opener. Both of the wins avenged losses from last fall (Waldron mercy ruled Paris), and seeing those early results has been invaluable for coach Clark.
"You know it’s been huge for our kids to see that if we keep responding in the right way, we’re gonna be successful."
"We knew we wanted to be a good team, we didn’t want to be 0-10 again," said Richardson. "We knew we had the talent to be a good team and we just wanted to work at it."
Coming off its bye week, Paris faces three of the best teams in the 3A-1 conference: at defending state champion Booneville, a home game against Lamar and a road matchup at Cedarville.