SPORTS >>Cabot closes with big victory
By JASON KING
Leader sports writer
Cabot senior Colin Fuller made the very most of his final night wearing Panther red during Cabot’s 37-27 win over Russellville Thursday night at Panther Stadium. Fuller rushed for over 150 yards and two touchdowns, kicked a 37-yard field goal, intercepted two Russellville passes, along with his other duties of kicking off, punting, and returning kickoffs.
One of Fuller’s picks stopped a critical drive from the Cyclones.
Russellville drove into the Cabot red zone in the middle of the fourth quarter trailing 29-20, but a pass into the end zone from Cyc-lones QB Blake Humphery was read all the way by Fuller. After a couple of bobbles while falling to the ground, Fuller was finally able to secure the ball to give the Panthers the touchback, and more importantly end Russellville’s threat to score.
Each team found the end zone once more before the end of the contest, but good clock management from the Cabot offense late left little time for the Cyclones to mount a comeback.
Cabot coach Mike Malham says that despite not securing a playoff berth, his young but talented squad has impressed him this year.
“There really wasn’t a lot expected of them this year, and they won six ballgames,” Malham said. “We have seven guys out hurt right now that started at the first of the year. We started eight or nine sophomores tonight, and I’ll tell you what, they got after it.”
Malham also recognized Ful-ler’s tremendous efforts on the night.
“He returns the kicks and the punts; he kicks, he punts, he plays fullback. He probably had over 100 yards tonight I’m sure, and he had one or two interceptions,” Malham said. “He’s one of those seniors that we’re going to miss. He’s played both ways, and we’ve had to have him out there because we don’t have too many athletes like that.”
Russellville’s first possession to start the game stalled at the Cabot 40-yard line, but the Cyclones tried a fake punt on fourth down.
Josh Cloud took the snap, but was stuffed by junior defensive end Daniel Hillenburg. That gave Cabot the ball on downs, and the Panther offense went to work.
Cabot spent most of the night running the option. Quarterback Corey Wade took the ball 33 yards on a keep during the second play from scrimmage, moving the ball into Russellville territory.
A couple of short runs for Fuller moved the ball into the red zone, but it was a pass play that would seal the deal for the first Cabot score.
Wade found Raul Gault wide open in the left corner of the end zone for a 19-yard TD throw with 6:14 left in the first quarter.
Fuller added the extra point to put the Panthers up 7-0, but it wouldn’t take long for the Cyclones to answer.
Russellville took the ball at their own 32, but one play was all that was needed for a score. Cloud broke free to the right side, breaking a tackle at the Cabot 40-yard line to run in for a 68-yard touchdown run. The extra point tied the score at 7-7.
Fuller really started to flex his muscle on the final Cabot drive in the first quarter. Alec Tripp started the drive off with a pair of rushes; the second went for 35 yards to move deep into Cyclone territory.
Fuller took over from there, with a run for 11 yards to put the ball inside the 20, then ran down the left sideline, diving to hit the pylon with the ball from 12 yards out for the score.
His extra-point attempt was tipped by Russ-ellville, leaving the score at 13-7.
Fuller added three more points for Cabot before the end of the half, with a perfect 37-yard field goal off the left hash mark with 2:21 left in the second quarter.
Russellville managed another score right before halftime on a 10-yard TD pass from Humphrey to Nathan Cathcart with only 11 seconds left before the half. The extra-point narrowed Cabot’s lead to 16-14 at halftime.
Both teams added a touchdown to their total in the third quarter.
Cabot scored on a one-yard run from Tripp after Fuller moved the ball inside the 5-yard line on a 22-yard run. Tripp punched it in for his first TD all season with 5:54 left in the third.
Russellville’s next score would come through the air as well. Humphrey hit Derek Owens from 14 yards out for the score with 2:45 left in the third quarter.
The extra-point left Cabot with a slim 23-20 lead heading into the final quarter.
Fuller would score one more time on a three-yard run with 9:47 remaining, but his extra-point attempt was blocked once again, putting the Panthers up 29-20.
He then pulled the first of his two interceptions down in the Cabot end zone in what turned out to be the game-saving-play for the Panthers.
Cabot had one more good offensive highlight left.
Tripp broke loose on a run up the middle and took the ball 39 yards for the final Panthers’ score of the night with 4:09 left in the game. Humphrey added one more score for the Cyclones with a 17-yard TD pass to Madison Beard moments later, but it was not enough.
Russellville’s last march was stopped with another pick from Fuller as the clock expired, ending the night on an appropriate note.
Fuller led the Panthers with 29 carries for 158 yards and two touchdowns, along with a 37-yard field goal and two interceptions.
Wade carried 10 times for 111 yards, and his only pass attempt was completed for a 19-yard touchdown. Tripp carried 12 times for 110 yards, two touchdowns and one fumble. For Russellville, Humphrey was 17 for 23 passing for 174 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. The win ends Cabot’s season with a final record of 6-4.