Leader Blues

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

SPORTS >> Blue Devils coming strong

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

Cabot and West Memphis meet up this Friday at Panther Stadium. While Cabot’s overall record isn’t as impressive as it usually is this time of year, this battle between the two perennial AAAAA-East heavyweights is no less huge as any other year.

The Panthers enter Friday’s game 1-3, while West Memphis is 4-0, but don’t tell West Memphis coach Lanny Dauksch that his team is a big favorite.

“I just don’t see that,” Dauksch said. “This Cabot team is outstanding. It’s just as good as any Cabot team I’ve ever seen. They’ve had some injuries and some bad breaks and their record’s not that good, but we’re not going to be looking at that. We see what this team is capable of, and to me, it’s capable of anything any other Cabot team has ever done.”

Dauksch knows first hand that a 1-3 start doesn’t mean the end of the season. His own Blue Devils started 1-3 last year before getting a big win over Cabot that healed a lot of wounds and kick started a run to the state championship game.

“We know what it’s like to have a ton of bad things happen to you right out of the gate,” Dauksch said. “This is still a very good team. We have a new coach on our staff this year, and when we were watching film, he said he couldn’t believe this team was 1-3. I said that’s what we’re all thinking.”

West Memphis suffered some bad luck two weeks ago when starting running back Marquette Williams went down with a strained quadricep muscle during a hard-fought win over Helena-West Helena Cen-tral.
Williams was forced to sit out last week’s game against Sylvan Hills, but backup Corrian Hall went wild, carrying just 13 times for 221 yards.

Dauksch said Williams will not play unless it’s certain that he’s 100 percent, but that he’s very comfortable with Hall in the backfield.

“He has played well all year filling in in spots,” Dauksch said. “We weren’t really expecting that kind of game from him, but we know he can handle the job.”

The Blue Devils have played well defensively this year, but the head coach believes this week presents a test his team has not taken as of yet.

“We haven’t played anyone like Cabot, and probably won’t all year,” Dauksch said.
“They run that T and there’s no surprises. But nobody has really stopped ‘em much. One thing we’ll have to do better than in the past is not give up the big plays. They’ve always broken big ones on us.
“They’re going to drive the ball, there’s no question about that. When they’re driving it and popping big ones on you, you’ve got trouble. We’re going to try to keep some back and keep that from happening this year.”