Buckeyes get win over Paris, 43-40

By Phillip Williams

PARIS–And it came to pass that the Big Bopper for the previous winless Gilmer Buckeyes’ truncated 43-40 plastering of the Paris Wildcats here Friday night was Mother Nature, whose display of lightning triggered the spellbinding homecoming contest to be called with 6:07 left in the final quarter.

White flashes had appeared in the distance for much of the game, but finally got close enough that officials chased the squads from the field after nearly 42 minutes of playing time had elapsed off the clock. After a more than 30-minute delay to determine whether play could safely resume, the elements were worsening, and word was sent to the Paris ISD superintendent in the press box that the refs were calling it a night.

And that they would not be back to finish the game the next day. The two towns, after all, are roughly 70-odd miles apart, which may have played a factor in that decision. 

Buckeye backers, meantime, endured a rugged ride home in a fierce lightning and rain storm. At least, however, offbeat circumstances and all, the Gilmer constituency had beheld its team advance to 1-2 while Paris plummeted to that same mark.

The Paris fans were likely especially disheatened that the last play before the early end of this Overture of Offenses was a short Gilmer punt that would have given the Wildcats possession somewhere between the Buckeye 16 and 35-yard-lines. 

The spottting of the ball was apparently being determined when the lightning sent the squads scurrying for their locker rooms.

It will never be know what the final 6:07 would have brought. Up to then, it had been a riveting ride in which Gilmer led 7-0, fell behind 20-7 and rebounded to lead 36-26 and 43-33 before triumphing by three.

The Buckeyes, beset by a tidal wave of at least eight first-half penalties, sanitized their act after Twirling Time, when Paris led 26-23. The tight count led the public address announcer at intermission to comment, “We got a homecoming fight on our hands.”

The visitors took the opening kickoff and rumbled right downfield 71 yards, tallying on QB Cadon Tennison’s 11-yard fling to Brendan Webb with 8:21 left in period one. Brayden Pate airlifted the first of his five successful PATs, missing only the one after Gilmer’s fourth TD.

Paris promptly counter-punched, taking the kickoff and steaming 75 yards to reach Beulah Land on a long offensive concluded by Morcove’us Washington’s 6-yard hop. Paul Torres’ PAT kick was blocked, though, leaving Gilmer up 7-6 with 4:14 remaining in Act I.

The Wildcats, though, skipped ahead on Toydrick Dowson’s 6-yard flight with 38 seconds left in the opening quadrant and Torres’ kick made it 13-7.

Then came a Buckeye blunder which appeared might clear the roadway for a Paris rout. Wildcat Corday Cooper purloined a pass from Tennison and returned it 63 yards to score with 10:59 left to Band Time. Torres’ whammed another PAT.

The Buckeyes, however, heroically climbed off the canvas on Will Henderson’s 8-yard scoring sortee with 4:48 left to the break. Only to see speedy Paris QB Trevin Hohenberger launch a 13-yard TD throw to Dycurion Douglas with 1:10 left to the musical interlude.

But just when things looked grim for Gilmer, the Buckeyes sprang a show-stopper. Torres suffered another blocked PAT kick, and this time, Gilmer’s Aron Bell returned it for two points to make it 26-16.

Then Gilmer pulled off another breathtaker on the half’s final play as Tennison fired to Geramiah Noble from the Paris 25. It appeared Noble would be stopped by one or more defenders just two or three yards short of the goal, but he simply kept muscling his way into the end zone.

Down three points, Gilmer came out energized after the rest period and tallied on Henderson’s 16-yard flight before Pate’s kick failed. Now Gilmer led 29-26 with 8:00 left in the third, and reached TD Territory again on a 4-yard, fourth-down pass from Tennison to Webb with 1:06 left in the third.

Paris, though, again retaliated on Chris Houston’s 3-yard TD trip with 10:41 left in the game and Torres’ kick cut Gilmer’s lead to 36-33 before Buckeye Alec Sims whipped four yards for the last Buckeye touchdown with 8:19 left.

Paris’ last hurrah was Hohenberger’s stupefying 65-yard scramble down the left sideline to tally with 7:52 left, and Torres’ kick. Then after the visitors got one first down, the hosts forced the lackluster Buckeye punt from the Gilmer 44.

That, however, is when lightning literally struck Paris. And Coach Alan Metzel’s Buckeyes, who had started 0-2 for the first time in 24 years, got the benefit of the electrocution.


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