The Paris Tigers needed to win their final game of the regular season Saturday to become eligible for the Illinois high school football playoffs and faced a good 6-2 Trenton Wesclin team in the afternoon contest at John P. Allen Field.

That challenge was met in cool, autumlike weather before a good crowd as the Tigers bested the Warriors 35-17, scoring the last 22 points to do it.

Paris started the season 0-2 and won four of its last five games to become eligible for the playoffs for the first time in school history under the current system, finishing 5-4 for the season.

“Enjoy the moment … don’t do anything stupid. The real season begins Monday afternoon,” coach Mike Brouwer told his team in the postgame remarks.

The Tigers had some good drives negated by penalties in the first half and trailed the Warriors at intermission 14-7. Zach Haselhorst was the workhorse for TW and scored both of the touchdowns.

Paris actually took a short-lived lead and got on the scoreboard midway through the second period, facing a fourth-and-long situation at the TW 35.

The Tigers did it with senior quarterback Avery Mason faking a handoff on the apparent punting situation, then basically running untouched the 35 yards for the touchdown and Robert Morris kicked the extra point to put Paris up 7-6.

Paris pulled within a point after recovering a TW fumble early in the second half to gain good field position at the TW 30 after a penalty was assessed the Warriors. Mason hit Levi Eslinger with a 30-yard pass for the Tigers’ second touchdown but was unable to convert the 2-point conversion.

The Warriors increased their lead to 17-13 on a 36-yard field goal by Jason Cronk but that turned out to be the last score for the visiting team.

Paris seemed headed for a go-ahead score on its next possession, having a first down at the 4-yard line. The Warriors held but then were held by Paris on the ensuing possession and were forced to punt.

The Tigers had possession at the TW 30 and it took the Tigers one play to score and take the lead for good with Eslinger going the 30 yards for the score and Mason hooking up with Chase Brinkley for a succcessful 2-point conversion.

It was 21-17 Paris but not for long. David Hamilton intercepted a Luke Gruender pass on the Warriors second play of their next possession. Eslinger scored again on a three-yard run to cap a three-play 31-yard drive.

Mason completed a 27-yard pass to Zach Walls for the key play in the drive.

The Warriors gambled on fourth down and lost on their next possession and Paris got its last touchdown — the fourth of the day for Eslinger — on another 31-yard drive that took six plays.

Coach Brouwer said the keys to victory were the offensive line and the running backs stepping up in the second half. “We carried out our assignments and made the plays,” he said.

Trenton Wescelin 6 8 3 0 — 17

Paris 0 7 6 22 — 35

TW — Haselhorst 1 run (Run failed) 3:01 1

P — Mason 35 run (Morris kick) 7:32 2

TW — Haselhorst 1 run (Haselhorst run) 2:34 7

P — Eslinger 30 pass from Mason (Kick failed) 10:24 3

TW — Cronk 36 FG 5:50 3

P — Esliinger 30 run (Brinkley, pass from Mason) 11:46

P — Eslinger 3 run (Morris kick) 9:46 4

P — Eslinger 1 run (Morris kick) 5:44 4

Next — Paris (5-4) and Trenton Wesclin (6-3) are both eligible for the Illinois playoffs.

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