Leader Blues

Friday, August 11, 2006

SPORTS >> Sophomores standing out for Panthers

IN SHORT: Cabots 10th-grade class has stepped up this summer to fill holes left by small junior and senior classes.

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

The Cabot Panther preseason two-a-days have had no shortage of bright spots, but the brightest is that of the sophomore class. Though not all will start, several 10th graders have stepped up and will fill important roles for the Panthers this season.

As of this week, the 36 sophomores outnumber the senior and junior classes combined. There were 15 seniors and 16 juniors still going through workouts this week.

Its been a pretty hard-working group overall, especially the sophomores, Cabot coach Mike Malham said. We go more than most other teams do, and theres still 36 left out of 41 that started two-a-days with us. I dont know how many teams even do two-a-days anymore, and most of them only do it one week. Were in our second week plus Saturday mornings. And were going to go twice a day through next Wednesday too. This group has made it through that with fewer dropping out than recently. So thats good. I think this group is going to stick with it.

Senior Colin Fuller has moved to halfback for most of the repetitions, but still takes some of the snaps at fullback. His move was made possible by a strong surge from sophomore Sheridan transfer Vince Aguilar. Aguilar, 5-foot-8, 200 pounds, taking over at fullback takes some load off Fuller, who will also start at safety on defense.

If he (Aguilar) keeps coming along, and I think he will, hes going to help out a lot, Malham said. Hes a big kid that can run a little bit, and hes tough to bring down.

Two sophomores are looking like starters, or at least prominent backups, on the defensive line. Blake Carter, 201 pounds, and Kyle DeBlock, 196, have performed well and will see playing time.

Hunter Hess, who was the fullback for CJHNs undefeated team a year ago, will help out in the secondary. Matt Jackson, 283, is one of several offensive linemen with good size in the sophomore class that Malham believes will play this year. The head Panther is especially excited about the future potential of such a large and athletic group.

You get those big guys up front that can move a little bit and that helps you out, Malham said.