Leader Blues

Saturday, October 21, 2006

SPORTS >>Bryant defense stuffs Cabot, earns shutout

IN SHORT: Cabot was called for nine penalties and failed to score in a 7A-Central loss to Bryant Friday.

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

The Cabot defense turned in one of its best performances of the season Friday night at Pan-ther Stadium, but the offense turned in its worst as Cabot fell 7-0 to the potent Bryant Hornets to fall to 4-4 overall and 1-4 in conference play.

Bryant, which had been averaging almost 40 points per game, was held to one score and just 243 total yards by the Cabot defense, but the offense was abysmal.

If the offense didnít commit a penalty right off the bat, it would commit one at a different crucial juncture. In all, Cabot finished with just 140 total yards, but netted only 90 when factoring in the nine penalties for 50 yards. Cabot was called for false starts five times, most of the time at very critical moments.

The Panther defense was solid. It gave up one long drive and a score after a controversial call benefited the visitors to the tune of about 13 yards.

The defense sacked elusive Hornet quarterback Matt Schrader four times, and stuffed the Hornets eight times for losses.

With the Cabot offense sputtering, all Bryant needed was one score, and it got it with 2:12 left in the first quarter.

The Hornet drive started at their own 26 took 10 plays to go the 74 yards.

The key play was on first down at the Cabot 16. Cabot sophomore Ben Ford got to Schrader and was dragging him down for a 13-yard loss. Schrader flung the ball forward as he was going down, and it landed about four yards downfield at a Bryant linemanís feet.

When no flag for grounding came, Cabot coach Mike Malham vehemently protested, but the Hornets still got the ball back at the 16-yard line for second and 10.

On the next play, Schrader hit receiver Jake Jackson on a little short pattern over the middle. One Cabot defender whiffed as Jackson caught the ball, the junior wideout broke another tackle and scampered the rest of the way into the end zone for the go-ahead, and ultimately, winning score. Cabot only ventured into Bryant territory once the entire game. That was on its first drive of the second half, and even it only got to the Hornet 42 before a false-start penalty and a four- yard loss left the Panthers with third and 19.

Panther quarterback Cory Wade hit Colin Fuller for an 11-yard gain to the 40, and that was as close as Cabot got to the end zone all night.

Cabot got the ball moving well on its next drive, taking it from the 16 to the 42 in seven plays, but two more false start penalties on the next set of downs left the Panthers in another third and very long situation that they couldnít overcome.

The Panthers made a big stop on Bryantís next drive to take over on downs on their own 29, but got a holding penalty on the first play to dig another hole. A Fuller run and two incompletions forced Cabot to punt.

Cabotís last stand started on its own 7-yard line with 3:09 left. After a 16-yard completion, a sack and another false start infraction made it second and 22.

A four-yard run and another incompletion made it fourth and 18, and Wadeís pass deep downfield was picked off by Bryantís Trent Daniel to seal the win.

The Hornets improved to 7-1 overall and 5-0 in the 7A-East. The Panthers will travel to Pine Bluff next week.