In a game that could determine 3A-4 playoff spots, Paris defeated Lavaca 21-14 on Friday.
Despite returning only two of 22 starters this year, Paris (4-1-1, 2-1) has kept right on winning. Lavaca (3-3, 1-2) is now facing an uphill climb to make a return to the postseason.
Lavaca scored early to take a 7-0 lead and physically dominated the first quarter. But the Golden Arrows couldn’t overcome two turnovers late in the second quarter that led to a 21-7 lead for Paris at the break.
Lavaca methodically marched 11 plays and 65 yards with a lot of power running to take the early lead. Anthony Todaro slammed in from the 3 to put the Arrows up with 4:26 in the first after having worked much of the clock off.
“They came out and ran it right at us and we couldn’t do anything about it,” Paris coach Bryan Hutson said. “With all these new kids I thought, ‘Uh oh.’ I was a afraid we might just quit. But they battled and battled and made something happen.”
Paris answered with a score on a fourth-and-long when quarterback David Buchanan scrambled out of a tackle and completed a pass to Trenton Moeller, who turned it into a 17-yard score that knotted the game at 7 with 10:16 remaining in the second.
Lavaca moved effectively again when the Arrows got the ball, but the biggest play of the game came when sophomore David Parham picked off a pass and returned it 50 yards to the Arrow 1. That set up an easy score that gave Paris a 14-7 lead with 2:18 to play before the break.
To make matters worse for Lavaca, the Arrows muffed the ensuing kickoff and gave Paris a chance at another easy score. Taking over at the Arrow 30, Buchanan fired a strike to a wide-open Devin Ellingburg as Paris took a 21-7 lead into the break against a shell-shocked Lavaca team.
“We just made too many turnovers and too many mistakes,” Lavaca coach Mark Headley said. “We moved the ball but we hurt ourselves.”
Lavaca scored early in the third to cut the lead to 21-14 and had chances to tie it but a holding penalty pushed them back.
“Lavaca questioned our manhood with a couple of those scores,” Hutson said. “They came right at us and were very physical. This team has continued to surprise me, this was a big win for us and they are all big for us.”
Lavaca outrushed Paris 201 yards to 76 and had more first downs. But along with the turnovers, Paris hit a few big plays in the passing game that kept drives alive. Buchanan completed passes for 38 yards to Kaleb Owens and 25 yards to Charlie Conklin.