Leader Blues

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

SPORTS >> Injury bug biting Cabot hard

Leader sports writer

IN SHORT: Eight players, including several key contributors, are injured and sitting out Panther practices.

The Cabot Panthers scrimmaged heavily Monday, but did so with several key players missing from the lineup. Eight Panthers were injured by the time scrimmaging closed practice, five will be counted on to play significantly this season, while one is out for the year with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Clayton Goshien, a two-year starter at guard who has converted to fullback, will miss his senior year of football. Goshien, 5-11, 210, started summer practice as an experiment to give the fullback position some size. He proved to run well and was difficult to tackle, but what was thought to be a minor tweak of the knee during light scrimmaging last Friday, turned out to be serious.

“There goes that,” Cabot coach Mike Malham said. “He’s out. We’re going to have regroup, start over.”

On the bright side, Richard Williams has run the ball well from the fullback position as well during two-a-days. Malham said Williams looks much better now than he did during spring, but his switch back to fullback leaves a void on defense.

“I still feel alright at fullback, but we’re going to have to find someone else on defense,” Malham said. “Williams gave us some speed on defense that we’re not going to have now. You can’t play a guy both ways at that position, especially at 4:30 in the afternoon in August, on artificial turf at War Memorial Stadium (the start time for the season opener against Conway).

Alex Trammell has a back injury, Matt Voegele hurt his shoulder, Sullivan tweaked his knee, Baker sat out with pain in his back and Reid Martin is having problems with his big toe.

Despite the problems, offensive lineman Colton Roberts and Joe Schotts were optimistic about the team’s prospects.

“We’re getting better and better every day,” Schotts said. “There was a lot more focus our there today (Monday).

“We’re actually getting plays done correctly,” Roberts added. “Some guys have had to step in and learn some things, but we’re improving quite a bit.”

Nick Melar, Jason Bays and Scott Baker shined as a ninth grader, but missed his sophomore year with the injury. Everyone is looking forward to seeing him in the Falcon backfield on the varsity squad.

Rod and Charles are going to do their thing,” Uptergrove said. “They’re solid back there, we’re not worried about that.”

Linebacker Talaferrio Parker practiced in pads for the first time Monday as well. He shores up that position if he stays healthy.

The two seniors agreed that the defense is ahead of the offense right now. That’s to be expected this time of year, especially with the offense learning a new system. The good news is that the offense showed signs of progress Monday.

“The offensive line looked the best it has all summer,” Bolen said. “Zach James and Jacob Phillips are doing a great job on that left side. Everyone is getting better and we’re going to be pretty good on the line. We don’t have much size, but the guys know what they’re doing.”

Bolen has separated himself from a large contingent of potential quarterbacks, and emerged as the starter if the season were to start tomorrow. He’s on track to being just the second quarterback to take snaps for the varsity Falcons since head coach Tony Bohannon’s arrival four seasons ago.

Bolen says the pressure to perform isn’t from being a brand new face under center. It’s more simple than that.

“I don’t feel pressure to step in and replace Regnas,” Bolen said. “I do feel pressure to step up and take the job and lead this team. I want to do a great job for my teammates.”