Wildcats’ historic run ends in Regional Final against Argyle
The Paris Wildcats football team made history on the gridiron with their most recent accomplishment. For the first time since Paris’ 1988 State Championship season under legendary coach Allen Wilson, the Silver Crush marched all the way back to the Regional Final. On Saturday, the Wildcats faced a mighty and familiar foe in the top-ranked Argyle Eagles. The Region II finalists squared off at 6 p.m. at McKinney ISD Stadium and, in the end, the Eagles emerged from the contest with a 41-13 victory.
Argyle kept the pressure on Paris early and often, using its size in the trenches and its bruising running game to build a 13-0 lead at the half. However, the Wildcats were not done. Argyle scored on its opening third-quarter drive, but junior quarterback Luke Hohenberger tossed a 16-yard touchdown pass to Dycurian Douglas to cut into the Eagles lead. After Joe Ramirez split the uprights on his point after attempt, Paris trailed Argyle 19-7 with 5:46 left in the third quarter. The game was well within reach, but the Eagles came back with a big answer.
Argyle’s signal-caller C.J. Rodgers found paydirt from three yards out through the use of his legs with 1:54 left in the quarter. After running in the touchdown, Rodgers ran in the ensuing two-point conversion to extend the lead to 27-7 with 1:54 left before the start of the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Eagles put two more touchdowns on the board on offense while the defense stymied Paris’ potent rushing attack. The Wildcats lit up the scoreboard last after Hohenberger found speedy junior Jakovi Dabbs for a 43-yard catch-and-run touchdown strike to trim the deficit to 41-13 with just under two minutes left in the game. However, the PAT missed and the Eagles ran the clock out on their ensuing drive to secure the victory and their first trip to the State Tournament since the 2015-16 season.
Overall, the Eagles outgained the Wildcats 477-310 in total yards. Hohenberger performed well as a dual-threat for Paris. He completed 6 of his 9 pass attempts for 74 yards and 2 touchdowns to go with 10 carries for 97 yards. Wildcat running backs GiTaeus Young and Zy’kius Jackson combined for 100 rushing yards on 22 carries, while Dabbs had two offensive touches for 66 yards and 1 touchdown.
The Paris Wildcats’ highly successful season came to a close while the Argyle Eagles will march onward to face the Region I Champion Canyon Eagles (12-1) in an all-Eagles State Semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Friday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The dominant Eagles (14-0) have won each of their games by double figures with an average margin of victory of 34.1 points per game. For more sports coverage, click here.