Charleston looked every bit the No. 1-ranked team in 3A on Friday. And then some.
The Tigers (5-0, 2-0 3A-4) came out firing on all cylinders and routed previously unbeaten No. 14 Paris 35-0. Charleston scored on a 70-yard touchdown on its third play and led 35-0 halfway through the second quarter. The 35-point margin invoked the Arkansas Activities Association mercy rule to start the third quarter.
“Paris had our attention from Sunday when we first met to talk about them,” Charleston coach Greg Kendrick said. “They had been playing very well and we were expecting a tough football game. Our guys came out and executed at a very high level both offensively and defensively.”
Charleston quarterback Ty Storey, a University of Arkansas commitment, was 7-of-7 passing for 177 yards and three touchdowns. Storey, who was also 7-for-7 last week, sat down with the team leading 35-0 midway through the second quarter and did not return.
“We are stressing efficiency and perfection,” Kendrick said. “Ty has played almost a perfect ballgame the past two weeks. People look as his stats and think he is not playing as well as last year but we are a lot better all-around as a team.”
Austin Pittman also had his second big week in a row for Charleston. In addition to taking the short screen pass for a 70-yard touchdown, Pittman led the rushing attack with 72 yards on 10 carries, including a 13-yard touchdown run.
“Paris was taking away the deep routes and making us run the ball,” Kendrick said. “Austin has given us the ability to run the ball consistently and we can take that.”
Paris (3-1-1, 1-1) managed to move the ball a little bit early for a few first downs, but came unglued after a few turnovers which Charleston immediately turned into points.
“We had some good moments where we were moving the ball a little bit, but you aren’t going to beat anyone with five turnovers in the first half,” Paris coach Bryan Hutson said. “They are very, very good. They aren’t just good in one phase or with one player, they are good in all phases and with a lot of good players.”
Wade Gerlick recovered a fumble at the Paris 37 then Storey hit Colton Ward for a touchdown on the next play. Ward got open at the 10, ducked a defender and dove into the end zone. Christian Taggert toed the PAT to put Charleston up 14-0 with 3:78 remaining in the first quarter.
While Paris kept the score respectable in the first quarter, the floodgates came open in the second as Charleston scored three touchdowns in seven minutes of clock time.
Pittman ran in from 13 yards out with 11:01 to play in the second to make it 21-0 and Chance Shelby scooped up a fumble and scored a touchdown on a 50-yard return to push the lead to 28-0. Shelby also caught a 13-yard touchdown pass to make it 35-0 with 7:03 to play before halftime.
Charleston started sending in reserves at that point on offense and substituted liberally in the second half with the clock running.