Leader Blues

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

SPORTS >> Cabot fighting for first win

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

The Cabot Panthers suffered one of the most surprisng losses in school history last week when they lost to Mills 35-28.

Cabot collapsed in the fourth quarter like no Panthers team in recent memory, and as a result, could start the season 0-3 for the first time since 1978.
In order to avoid starting 0-3, the Panthers must beat a Little Rock Central team that is also surprisingly winless this season.

Central suffered a big loss to West Memphis in week one, 27-10, then fell 14-9 to a Pine Bluff team that was embarrassed in its opener against Fort Smith Northside.
Cabot coach Mike Malham isn’t worried about Central’s troubles right now though. He is only concerned with how to make the Panthers better.

It starts with getting all the youngsters who have been forced into duty up to speed on playing the right way.
The defensive backfield is particularly young, and injuries have made that area even more problematic than it already was to start the season.

“We’ve got a lot of young guys playing right now, and we’re going to have to get them ready to play,” Malham said. “We had a couple mistakes back there where they just ran right by us, and that comes mostly from inexperience. The kids are just not in the right spot and not making good decisions. We’re trying to piece it together.”

This year’s Panthers are also one of the slowest, as far as team speed, in a while. Lack of speed can be overcome, but it takes playing smart, Malham said.

“We’re not real fast and Central’s got good athletes,” Malham said. “We knew going into last week that if we let their speed guys get outside and get loose we were going to be in trouble. Well, that happened and we’ve got to find a way to keep it from happening again.”
Central has a more balanced attack than Mills, but Malham doesn’t believe the style of his opponent is the major concern right now.

“Well, Conway beat us with the pass and Mills beat us with the run, so take your pick (on what Central will do).

The injury report continues to get worse for Cabot as well. Only one new player was added to that list this week, but it was a big one.

Starting halfback Alec Tripp has a shoulder injury and probably won’t play Friday. Tripp has been the Panthers’ most productive back so far this season.

Malham didn’t say who would likely fill in for Tripp against Central.