ROCKWALL — The No. 7 Van Vandals were eyeing a long run in the playoffs, but on a bitterly cold night the Paris Wildcats dashed those hopes.
Van committed six turnovers, four in the first half, and fell to Paris 30-23 in a Class 4A Division I playoff game Thursday at Wilkerson-Sanders Stadium.
Paris (7-4) advances to play either Springtown (7-3) vs. Sanger (8-2) next week in arena action.
The Vandals ended their stellar season at 10-1.
Van fell behind 22-6 at halftime before rallying to take a 23-22 lead in the fourth quarter when Matt Savis scored on a 7-yard run, his third TD of the game. Jozef Ruiz’s extra point pushed the Vandals ahead with 5:54 left in the contest.
However, the Wildcats answered back with an eight-play, 76-yard drive for the final answer.
Paris quarterback Quez Allen dashed into the end zone from 6 yards to put the Wildcats ahead 28-23 with 2:18 to go in the game. He then tossed to K.D. Scott for the two-point conversion and the 30-23 advantage.
The Vandals attempted another comeback, but Diarva Brown snagged his third interception of the game to seal the deal.
Van took a 6-0 lead in the first quarter after a nine-play, 74-yard drive. Savis scored a 1-yard run. However, the point-after attempt was wide.
The Wildcats then scored the next 22 points.
Paris struck back quickly as Allen hit Scott with a 63-yard TD pass. Leonel Gutierrez booted the PAT and the Wildcats led 7-6.
After denying the Vandals with an interception in the end zone, Paris then drove 80 yards for another TD as Allen hit Dren Rollerson for a 17-yard TD pass. Gutierrez’s PAT made it 14-6.
Dontorius Ridley then recovered a fumble at the Van 49.
Allen made a big 25-yard run to the Van two. On the next play, Allen bulled his way into the end zone.
After a bad snap on the PAT, Scott picked up the ball and ran into the end zone for the two-point conversion and a 22-6 advantage with 3:13 left until halftime.
In the third quarter, Savis scored on a 17-yard run, followed by Ruiz’s PAT. Later, Ruiz booted a 33-yard field goal as the Vandals were within 22-16 heading into the fourth quarter.