The undefeated Paris Tigers will hit the road in the second round of the IHSA Class 4A playoffs today as they head to Effingham to face an old Apollo Conference foe.
None of the members of the current team were members of the Tiger football team the last time these two schools squared off.
Effingham enters play today with a record of 8-2 and earned the right to host based on their “upset” of Breese (Mater Dei) last week by the score of 20-6.
The Hearts are seeded 10th in the southern bracket of the playoffs.
Paris (10-0) is the second seed, advancing to the second round after a 42-14 trouncing of Salem last Saturday (Oct. 27) at Tiger Stadium.
Several fans have wondered whyParis as the higher seeded team is forced to travel for this week’s game.
PHS athletic director Creighton Tarr explained the IHSA sets forth the rules as they apply to hosting games in the post-season.
In the first round, Tarr said, the higher seed hosts the game. In subsequent rounds, the school that has hosted fewer times during the current playoff series hosts the game. If both teams have hosted an equal number of times, the higher seed hosts.
Effingham finished runner-up to top-seeded Taylorville in the Apollo Conference this year, with a 5-1 mark in conference play.
After the Flaming Hearts dropped their first two games of the season to Breese (Mater Dei) and Taylorville, the Hearts are on an eight game winning streak.
Effingham has scored 398 points on the season and have allowed 238 to their opponents.
Paris Tiger Coach Jeremy Clodfelder acknowledges that Effingham is a nice football team that has improved over the course of the season.
“After dropping their first two games of the year, they are on a bit of a roll,” the Tiger coach said. “They have a couple of receivers that are a little faster than what we have dealt with all year. They also have a tailback who likes to run the ball downhill and is very similar to Drew Moore of Red Hill.”
On the defensive side of the ball, “They play a lot of different coverages, and they like to play coverage by formation and are very fast,” Clodfelder explained.
Clodfelder hopes to have the services of senior quarterback Caleb Gates back today — but feels comfortable with Hunter Newlin under center as well.
“The trainers have been shaving down the cast on Caleb’s throwing hand and he has been throwing it for the last couple of days in practice. I think that with the confidence that Hunter gained last week, we will have the option to go with the hot hand.”
Paris has scored 458 points this season and has allowed just 108 on defense.
The 2018 Tigers have established a school record number of wins — 10 — with last week’s victory over Salem.
Paris fans continue to be excited about this historic team.
The team members particiated in a Tiger Team Tour Friday afternoon, visiting every Paris school. The tour included a trip around the Paris square where fans in the Edgar County Courthouse, courthouse annex, the Prospect Bank and downtown business held signs and cheered them.
Today was orange and black day in Paris.
The tour ended with a pep rally at the high school for students, parents and fans.
A fan bus, paid for by White Sheet Metal and the Paris Sports Network, will allow PHS students to attend the game free of charge.
The PHS band will also be traveling to Effingham in support of the Tigers. North American Lighting (NAL) also sponsored a chartered bus for the team to travel to Effingham.
The football team enjoyed its pre-meal game Friday evening at St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
A breakfast is expected to be served by the team mothers this morning.
Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. today at Effingham High School.
The school is located at 1301 West Grove on the west side of town.
Fans may park directly behind the visiting bleachers.
Admission to the game is $5 per person, with no passes allowed.
For those who cannot attend, the game will be shown live on the Paris Sports Network.
To watch the game, go to livestream.com/parissportsnetwork. If you wish to listen-only, go to mixlr.com/parissportsnetwork.