PARIS — The job isn’t done for Jeremy Clodfelder but the Paris football program has made massive strides in his two seasons as the Tigers’ head coach.
“I think there’s a lot of fun in going into a place that’s fallen on hard times and trying to recultivate the culture,” Clodfelder said. “And try to give people a program they can be proud of in the community and in the school.”
Before Clodfelder took over the program in 2016, the Tigers were 0-9. In his first season, the team won two games. Last year, Paris earned the program’s first-ever outright playoff berth, finishing the season 6-4.
“Everybody’s like, ‘Man, we’re just another person on the schedule,'” Paris senior lineman Jacob Gates said. “But now, whenever they see our names, it’s, ‘Wow. We have to prepare for them now.'”
“The football IQ that was a big deal,” Clodfelder said about the biggest change he’s made. “We had to really kind of train them from a football knowledge standpoint.”
“He expects us to work hard every single play,” Paris senior tight end Cooper Block said. “We’ve always been taught that, but Coach Clod he’ll get on us about things and get us to be better football players.”
It’s not Clodfelder’s first time turning around a program. During his nine seasons at Benton, he coached the Rangers to their first playoff appearance in nearly a decade, just five years into his tenure.
“I don’t think that process ever goes away,” Clodfelder added. “You constantly want to educate your guys about the game and have them play smart.”
For all Clodfelder and his team have already accomplished, it’s not just about getting to the postseason. The Tigers say their aiming even higher this year.
“Our goal this year is to win our conference and get a home playoff game,” said Block. “And go as far as we can into the playoffs.”
Paris opens the season with a trip to Newton on Aug. 24th.