State-Ranked Liberty-Eylau Hosts Paris In Crucial District 7-4A Division I Opener
DISTRICT 7-4A DIVISION I
Paris Wildcats (4-1, 0-0)
No. 10 Liberty-Eylau Leopards (4-1, 0-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Harris Field, Texarkana
- Paris: Steven Hohenberger
- Liberty-Eylau: Steve Wells
- Paris: idle
- Liberty-Eylau: idle
- Paris: at Princeton, Oct. 16
- Liberty-Eylau: at Pittsburg, Oct. 16
- QB Quez Allen, Sr., 6-3, 212
- RB Dren Rollerson, Sr., 5-8, 190
- RB Donovan Williams, Soph.
- WR Jakerion Brown, Jr., 5-6, 147
- WR/DB Diarva Brown, Sr., 5-10, 156
- DL Ty Gray, Sr., 5-10, 162
- OL Dakota Helm, Sr., 6-0, 246
- RB Tre Perry, Soph., 5-7, 165
- QB Ke'Mon Freeman, Sr., 6-0, 205 (90 of 148, 1,670 yards, 13 TDs, 1 INT; 69 carries, 518 yards, 9 TDs)
- DE Lagaryonn Carson, Jr., 6-5, 255
- WR Thurman Morbley, Sr., 6-0, 165 (27 catches, 654 yards, 7 TDs)
- RB Lamont Byrd, Sr., 5-9, 180 (69 carries, 450 yards, 9 TDs; 6 catches, 101 yards)
- LB/DB Andre Wiley, Sr., 5-10, 185
- LB DeMarcus Pegue, Sr., 5-10, 217
- WR Decorian Meadows, Sr., 5-11, 150 (23 catches, 367 yards, 3 TDs)
- RB Kameron Levingston, Jr., 5-8, 175 (25 carries, 175 yards, 2 TDs; 5 catches, 40 yards)
Just the facts
- Paris has not won more than nine games in a season since its 1988 state championship campaign.
- Liberty-Eylau is shooting for its double-digit win season since it won the 2006 state title.
- Paris averages 48.2 points per game, while allowing 22.
- The Wildcats defeated Liberty-Eylau, 24-7, in last year's meeting.
- The cumulative record of Paris' non-district opponents -- Mount Pleasant, Melissa, Chapel Hill, Palestine, and Argyle -- is 8-17.
- Liberty-Eylau averages 50.8 points and 595 yards per game -- 251.2 rushing and 343.8 passing.
- The Leopards have won 11 of their last 13 games.
- The cumulative record of Liberty-Eylau's non-district opponents -- Gilmer, Mount Pleasant, Arkansas High, Tatum, and Atlanta -- is 9-16.
Key matchup: Liberty-Eylau passing attack vs. Paris secondary. For most of L-E's existence as a football program, the Leopards have prided themselves as a run-first team. While L-E can still run the football, the Leopards have been getting it done all season long with their passing game. Senior quarterback Ke'Mon Freeman is among the top quarterbacks in all of East Texas. He's averaging 334 passing yards per game and has thrown only one interception in 148 attempts. What makes Freeman so difficult as a passer is not only his vision to see the entire field and superior arm strength, but his ability to extend plays in the pocket. His rush awareness is advanced at the high school level, and a result, he takes very few sacks. Instead, he'll buy himself enough time for his talented collection of receivers to get open, and demoralize defenses that do everything right, except get to Freeman.
As mentioned above, Freeman has an exceptional group of receivers at his disposal. Senior Thurman Morbley is his favorite target, entering Friday's District 7-4A Division I opener with team-highs in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. But Morbley is certainly not alone. Decorian Meadows and Garyco Witcher have combined for 43 receptions and five touchdown catches on the year. It's Freeman's patience in the pocket and his willingness to go through his progressions that allows for multiple receivers to get involved on a weekly basis.
Paris must be ready for L-E's big-play potential in the passing game. While the Wildcats may pay for backing off the line of scrimmage by allowing a few big gains on the ground, Paris would be wise to prevent the Leopards from having their way against the Wildcats' secondary. Paris has a few above-average athletes at defensive back, and their ball-hawking and coverage skills will most definitely be put to the test on Friday night.
Don't be surprised if: A shootout develops between these two teams. Both Paris and Liberty-Eylau possess explosive offenses averaging around 50 points per game. And each team will go as far as their quarterback will take them. While Freeman has been responsible for most of L-E's offensive success on the year, the same can be said about Paris' star senior quarterback Quez Allen. Like Freeman, Allen is a dual-threat type behind center who's being recruited heavily by FBS college programs. Currently, the Paris signal-caller has offers on the table from both SMU and Louisiana-Monroe. While each defense has plenty of firepower, the offenses of both Paris and Liberty-Eylau may ultimately take over in this one.