The Paris varsity football team didn't start their offseason training with a deep roster, so the injuries they've sustained have been rather meaningful.
Even though the Coyotes don't have large participation numbers, they do have heart and tenacity and it showed on Saturday when they hosted Knox County, Westran and South Shelby for a jamboree.
In their first scrimmage Paris played Knox County and was held on downs in its initial attempt to get a first down. The squad then came back and scored on a short run after quarterback Breck Hancock rumbled up the middle for a substantial gain. The defense then came out and found ways to create a strong pass rush despite allowing a touchdown.
"We gave great effort and executed well. We made some plays and we made some mistakes, but they were correctable mistakes," said head coach Gary Crusha. "I saw a lot of good things out there tonight."
Against Westran in their second scrimmage the Coyotes opened up the playbook even further to score on a long pass down the right sideline against man coverage. Westran then answered back with a very similar score of their own because Paris was bringing so many guys to rush the quarterback the defensive backs were left without much help.
"We wanted to work on some weaknesses and passing seemed a little weak in practice, so we thought we'd come out here, throw the ball and see what happened," Crusha said.
The third and final scrimmage was slightly different because South Shelby belongs to the Clarence Cannon Conference while the other three schools are members of the Lewis and Clark conference. While the approach allowed both sides to test their defensive depth, it also led to a long scoring pass by Paris that South Shelby countered with a lengthy touchdown run by their signal caller early in its possession.
"On that play we had a breakdown on the back side. It was a quarterback fake to the cutback side," Crusha said. "We overplayed it and were out of position, so no one was in position to make the tackle. You can't have those kind of mistakes in a game."
Paris is now preparing for its season opener on Friday against Harrisburg, which competed at the Fayette Jamboree on Aug. 11 at Central Methodist University. Also in attendance were North Callaway, Slater and Fayette.
"We scouted Harrisburg a little bit last night (Friday). They've got some good athletes," said Crusha. "They're well coached and we're both going to be competing for success this year. It's going to be a good game for us to start off this season."