After going 2-8 overall in 2016 and ending the year with a 58-14 first round playoff loss at Monroe City, the Paris varsity football team wrapped up 2017 at 2-8 overall and a 43-0 defeat at South Shelby in the opening game of the postseason.
That begs the question, having also gone 2-7 in Lewis and Clark Conference competition the past two seasons, did this team improve from one year to the next?
"I think our record is better than some people might have thought," said coach Gary Crusha. "We will start training soon. We want our players to have a short break. Some are playing other sports. I think it is very important in small schools like ours that all high school athletes should play other sports. It really makes a difference."
Because the focus is on helping boys become men as opposed to anything else, the intentions of this program begin to ring true fairly quickly. In the course of learning these lessons, the Coyotes efforts resulted, on offense, into 17 touchdowns and an average of 181.3 yards per game according to maxpreps.com. This included 56.8 receiving yards and 124.5 rushing yards per contest. On defense the teams bounty was just as plentiful and was highlighted by 70 tackle, seven interceptions and five sacks.
"Breck Hancock had to learn to play quarterback, so basically we took an offensive lineman and made him into a pretty good signal caller," Crusha said. "He was coachable and picked and learned things quickly.Defensively he stood out because he was the best defensive player on the field period."
While Crusha and his staff have changed a lot of these players lives for the better, the one thing they can't change is the losses to graduation they're suffering. This includes Hancock, Trent Morgan, Brandon Williams, Tyler Staples and Zack Rentschler.
"These guys will be hard to replace," said Crusha. "They have been a big part of our program."
Breck Hancock, 50-for-128, 538 yds, 3 TD, 12 int.
Brandon Williams, 2-for-7, 17 yds, 1 int.
Breck Hancock, 122 car., 489 yds, 4 TD
Kaison Berrey, 126 car., 453 yds, 6 TD
Brandon Williams, 61 car., 270 yds, 1 TD
Brandon Williams, 33 rec., 329 yds, 2 TD
Kaison Berrey, 9 rec., 78 yds
Andrew Young, 3 rec., 20 yds, 1 TD
Trenton Morgan, 88 tac., 1 fumble caused
Breck Hancock, 133 tac., 9 TFL, 1 sack
Brandon Williams, 69 tac., 4 TFL, 3 int.
Breck Hancock, 26 kickoffs, 643 yds; 42 punts, 1,447 yds; 3-for-4 PAT
Brandon Williams, 15 kickoff returns, 265 yds; 4 punt returns, 49 yds
Kaison Berrey, 17 kickoff returns, 351 yds