SPORTS >>Cabot triumphant over Red Devils
Cabot’s seniors won’t graduate without a win over Jacksonville. They made sure of that Friday night with a 35-19 victory at Jan Crow Stadium that featured some of the best and worst from both teams.
Cabot’s best came on its first and last drives, and several places in between.
The Panthers took the opening kickoff 80 yards in four plays. And get this, they were all passes.
First was three straight passes from senior quarterback Cory Wade to senior halfback Colin Fuller. They went for 8, 14, and 35 yards respectively. The last one was a 23-yard strike to senior halfback Brandon Davis for the score with 10:28 left in the first quarter.
Jacksonville’s worst came on its opening drive. It started with quarterback Daniel Hubbard being sacked by sophomores Blake Carter and Cody Myers. It ended on the next play when Hubbard was picked off by Raul Gault after again being pressured by Cabot’s defense.
Cabot went 35 yards in five plays, but only one pass for the score to take a 14-0 lead with 7:37 left in the fist period of play.
“We wanted to jump out on them and get them down so I thought I’d try something different,” Cabot coach Mike Malham said of the uncharacteristic passing on the first drive. “I thought it’d give us a lift and put some pressure on them, and it seemed to work for us.”
Jacksonville was much better on its second drive. Starting at their own 23-yard line, the Red Devils completed three passes for 27 yards, Akins carried once for five and Cabot was called off sides once to put the ball on the Panther 39.
After an illegal procedure penalty, Jacksonville hit a big play, and ran into some luck.
Hubbard hit Marcus King along the left sideline; he got to the 3-yard line before fumbling. The ball rolled into the end zone, but a heads-up play by a hustling Blake Mattison, who chased the play down the field and covered the ball in the end zone, gave the Red Devils a touchdown with 5:19 on the clock.
The next several drives were a series of turnovers and stalls. Cabot fumbled on the Jacksonville 30, and Jacksonville punted on fourth and 25 after picking up one first down. Cabot went 32 yards in three plays, but fumbled again to give Jacksonville the ball on its own 37.
Jacksonville gave it back when Cabot’s Josh Clem intercepted a pass that was tipped up into the air by junior Red Devil Tirrell L’Hrisse.
That gave Cabot the ball at its own 35 with 10:53 left in the half. The Panthers went 34 yards in 11 plays, and stalled when they failed to convert on fourth and three.
Jacksonville then drove to the Cabot 7-yard line where it faced fourth and two. A quarterback sneak yielded only one yard and Cabot took possession at its 6-yard line.
Cabot turned around and drove 88 yards to the Jacks-onville 4, but also failed to convert fourth down. Jacksonville started at the 4, and lost one yard on each of its three plays before punting out of the end zone.
Hubbard’s punt from the back of the end zone was fielded by Fuller at the 35 and Fuller returned it 27 yards to the Jacksonville 8. Sophomore fullback Vince Aguilar did the rest on the next snap, rumbling up the gut for the score with 17 seconds remaining in the half.
Jacksonville got a lift to open the second half. Senior Justin Akins took the kickoff 89 yards before stepping on the out-of-bounds line at the Cabot 3. The play didn’t stand though. Jacksonville was called for a personal foul, which pulled the ball out to the Cabot 45. It didn’t matter much. Hubbard hit L’Hrisse for 11 yards, then found King again for the final 34 and the score. King made a tremendous catch. Hubbard scrambled left and threw into traffic and right to a Cabot defender. King came back for the ball, leaped, caught the ball over the Panther defender’s shoulder, and lifted it up over his head before turning upfield for the last 20 yards of the play. The two-point conversion failed and Cabot led 21-12 with 11:25 left in the third.
Cabot wasted no time answering. Gault took the ensuing kickoff at the 15, and ran it back 65 yards to the Jacksonville 20.
The Panthers needed just four plays to score again, a 5-yard run by Fuller, to take a 28-12 lead less than two minutes after Jacks-onville’s score.
The rest of the half was one missed opportunity after another for Jacksonville.
The Red Devils got inside Cabot’s 5-yard line on each of their next two drives, and came away empty both times.
On second and goal from the 4, Mattison caught a 2-yard pass, but was called for offensive pass interference, which moved the ball back to the 19 and cost a down.
Cabot’s Brian Frey then tipped the third-down pass, and Jacksonville’s Lee Robinson picked up four yards on a reception on fourth and 19 after Hubbard was again flushed and forced to scramble.
Cabot gave it right back. Aguilar carried once for 10 yards to move the ball to the 25. Jacksonville’s Norvel Gabriel then broke up a pitch-out, and junior Cameron Hood covered the loose ball on the Cabot 12.
Again, Jacksonville failed to take advantage of the opportunity. Two plays picked up eight yards, but a bad snap that rolled out from under center was covered by Hubbard for a 4-yard loss. The fourth-down pass was incomplete and Cabot took possession at its own 8.
The Panthers got it out of the shadow of their end zone, but punted from the 22.
Jacksonville got one first down, but gave it back at the Cabot 30. Cabot got to midfield and tried a fake punt, but Aguilar mishandled the short snap.
The Red Devils took over at the Cabot 42, but their hopes were dashed when Frey intercepted a Hubbard pass and returned it 30 yards to set up Cabot’s final scoring drive.
The Panthers, back to their old form, went 45 yards in nine plays, taking 5:17 off the clock by feeding the ball to the fullback over and over.
Aguilar capped the drive by rumbling four yards with 2:17 remaining in the game.
While the Panthers’ opening drive was impressive, the final drive was what Cabot football is all about.
“There’s nothing like what we did on that last drive,” Malham said.
Jacksonville scored with 39 seconds remaining when Hubb-ard hit Mattison cutting across the middle. Mattison caught the ball about 15 yards from the line of scrimmage, and ran it for the remainder of the 46-yard play.
Cabot finished with 461 total yards while Jacksonville piled up 372. Aguilar carried 23 times for 123 yards and three touchdowns. Fuller carried 10 times for 82 yards and a score, and had five receptions for 66 yards.
Brandon Davis also had over 100 total yards.
He carried six times for 69 yards, and caught two passes for 36 yards and a touchdown. All of Davis’ stats came in the first half.
Hubbard completed 26 of 46 pass attempts for 344 yards. He had two receivers over the 100-yard mark. Marcus King led the way with eight catches for 158 yards and one score. Blake Mattison caught seven passes for 109 yards and scored twice.
The Panthers will be at home next week hosting Sylvan Hills, while Jacksonville travels to Lake Hamilton.