PARIS — The pre-game forecast said the skies were to open and showers would fall, but it was Sulphur Springs which rained down points on Paris.
The visiting Wildcats, the ones wearing the all white road uniforms, throttled the Paris Cats 43-9 thanks to an explosive third period which netted 28 points for the Class 4A visitors. Sulphur Springs scored four times on drives which totaled 17 plays.
Junior quarterback Larry Pryor had a 10-yard per carry on the ground. He finished the game with 161 yards rushing and one touchdown. He also threw 22 times, completing 14 for 129 yards and two scores through the air.
Willy Ivery scored three times, the scatback had 140 yards rushing from a 22-tote workload.
Dillon Carpenter and Alex Burney caught touchdown passes.
Sulphur Springs rolled up 459 yards of total offense. Their 43 points was the best of the year. The Sulphur Springs defense also had a stellar night, the nine points allowed are the fewest of the season. They allowed only 2.9 yards per play. Dedric Smith had eight tackles two sacks. Derick Ingram and B.J. Stribling picked off passes. Ingram, Javaron Ross and Jaylon Hawkins had fumble recoveries.
To show how the game went for Sulphur Springs, the squad had 160 yards in penalties, but allowed just 135 total yards to Paris.
Several times it looked like Paris was in a dance routine with the one, two, three, kick offense. Paris averaged 1.1 yard per rush.
Paris sophomore quarterback Quez Allen ran for 46 yards and completed nine passes for 67 yards, throwing two interceptions.
The Wildcats had a 15-3 lead at the half, but still did not feel in control of the game. The hometown Wildcats were still hanging around within striking range.
"In the first half we were going OK, but with out much emotion. In the third period, we got rolling. Got a couple of turnovers and took over the game," said Greg Owens, Sulphur Springs head football coach. "I challenged them at the half to take control of the game. We got some big plays off the kicking game. We got the mojo going and pushed the ball to the end zone. Our defense was playing very well."
Then the Wildcats started their 28-0 scoring run in the quarter. Sulphur Springs had three drives of less than a minute. One drive of 2:49. When the smoke cleared after the sizzling third frame, Sulphur Springs was up 43-3.
The first drive of the third quarter did not go the way of Sulphur Springs, when they had to punt after just three plays.
Sulphur Springs just took three plays to score after they had a defensive stand of their own.
Taking over their 47-yard line with 10:16 left in the third period, Sulphur Springs went to work. Pryor completed a pass to C.J. Stephens for eight quick yards. Ivery had a run for a first down. The 11-yard gain had 15 yards tacked on the end of the run when Paris was called for a deadball personal foul. Ivery's next run was a determined 18-yard dash for the goal line, the senior speedster breaking tackles behind nice blocks. Ryan Watson's extra point gave the visitors a 22-3 lead with 9:53 left in the third period.
Sulphur Springs pulled an onside kick out of their bag of tricks. The Hopkins County squad recovering the loose pigskin at the 40 of Paris to begin their next drive.
Sulphur Springs got production from the ground and the air. Pryor ran for seven yards, then Ivery added four more on the ground for a first down at 22 of Paris. After an incomplete pass, Pryor ran for 17 on the next play. The drive was capped through the September sky with Pryor throwing to Dillon Carpenter over the middle for a slick 14-yard scoring connection. Watson's boot split the upright and Sulphur Springs had padded the lead to 29-3 halfway through the third frame.
Paris again had disaster strike through the kicking game.
Sulphur Springs held Paris to four yards in three plays forcing a punt. Punter Blake Beshirs dropped to a knee to field a low snap from center. The ball was ruled down, Sulphur Springs given possession at the 32 of Paris.
Sulphur Springs decided to strike while Pryor's arm was hot. The junior signal-caller stepped back and threw a strike to Burney for a 32-yards scoring pass.
Pryor smiled and said, "It was easy, the line did a good job and I had all the time I needed to pass."
The extra point put Sulphur Springs up 36-3 with 5:30 remaining in the fast-paced third quarter.
Once again, special teams were truly special for Sulphur Springs. A fumble by Paris on the ensuing kickoff gave the visitors another chance to score.
Sulphur Springs was slowed down temporarily by a holding call. But two plays later Pryor let his feet do the walking for 50 yards darting and cutting through the line and turning on his speed in the secondary. He took a deep breath and on the next play, Pryor finished off the drive with a 10-yard run up the middle of the field, slicing open the Paris defense. Watson's kick was the final point of the third period. The damage was done and Paris was reeling, now trailing by 30 points.
The teams both got in a defensive mood and traded punts as action shifted to the final quarter.
Sulphur Springs had their defense in high gear and limiting Paris on every possession to very few yards.
Paris put a later scoring drive together for their only points of the second half. The squad drove in for the score with Dren Rollerson doing the honors on a 1-yard plunge. The try for an extra point failed due to a bad snap. Paris was now down 43-9 with 7:37 left on the clock.
Both teams went to reserves on offense and defense. Sulphur Springs left town with a 2-2 record and the 43-9 win.
In the opening half, little sprinkles of rain greeted the players to open the game on the fake green grass of Wildcats Stadium. But the rain stayed away and the turf never got slick or wet.
It was defense for Sulphur Springs flexing their muscles early. Tackles came from Ingram, Smith and others.
Paris lost a yard on their first possession, beginning the drive at the 30 and punting later from the 29.
Sulphur Springs did not get rolling on their first drive, but soon got another chance on offense, thanks to the Wildcat defense. Stribling flew through mid air and snatched the pigskin out of the sky.
The Sulphur Springs drive stalled despite a 25-yard run pass from Pryor to Lacy. It was Watson's turn to punt, the senior kick fielded the low snap, avoided the rush and got off a punt to avoid disaster.
Sulphur Springs got another opportunity to score when Ingram gave the offense the ball back on a fumble recovery.
Six plays later the visitingWildcats were in the end zone. Ivery scored his first TD of the game on a spirited, hard-fought 14-yard rumble around and through the Paris squad. The point after by Watson was good and the visitors were up 7-0 with 3:45 remaining in the opening frame.
Paris got on the scoreboard in the first half on their next possession. The hometown Cats used passing from Allen to Kenny Mason for 12 yards. Allen threw to Cordarius Hill to pick up 29 yards. Beshirs connected on the 38-yard field to make it a 7-3 game with 3:09 left in the first period.
Pryor put together a scoring drive, fueled by runs by Ivery and a timely reception by Lacy. Ivery ran for five yards, then Pryor took off on back-to-back runs for six and seven yards. Ivery was stopped at the line. But Pryor called his own number and rambled 13 yards near the shadow of the goal line. From the two-yard line, Ivery got going and dug deep to score on the short scoring burst. The Wildcats took the lead at 15-3 and would carry the score into the half.
In the second half, it was almost all Sulphur Springs. The visitors bolted for 28 points, turning a close game into a rout, winning by the final of 43-9.
"Our execution was better and we started getting the tempo where we like it in the third period. Paris was tired so I told the kids, 'let go and get it done,'" Owens said. "We had too many penalties, but the kids were playing hard. We still have things to fix. It's good to be 2-2, this is better than 1-3."
The Wildcats (2-2_ play at Corsicana (2-2), Friday Sept. 27.
The Tigers are 2-2, coming off a 20-14 win at Waxahachie.
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