Leader Blues

Monday, August 27, 2007

SPORTS >>Panthers run over Wolves

By RAY BENTON
Leader sportswriter

The Cabot Panthers ran like a wrecking ball through Lake Hamilton in a preseason scrimmage Tuesday night at Panther Stadium. The varsity offense scored on every possession, and were never stopped on downs. The two teams traded four, 15-play drives, two each for varsity and junior varsity. The Panther JV offense didn’t look bad either.

Cabot coach Mike Malham was very pleased with the looks of the offense.

“I thought they looked pretty good,” Malham said. “(Chris) Bayles and (Jordan) Carlisle ran the ball real well. Michael James, the sophomore, looked good at fullback. We got (linemen) Jackson (Matt) and Gunn (Jordan) back, and of course that helps. Overall I thought the line blocked well. We’ve got some size up there. I wish they were a little quicker, but they come off good, and they’re physical.”

Lake Hamilton’s first string started with the ball, and drove down the field without much resistance. That ended when the Wolves got into the red zone. Cabot’s defense stiffened up inside the 10-yard line. Lake Hamilton failed to score a touchdown after first and goal, and settled for a field goal.

Cabot then took the ball and ate up yardage in chunks. Bayles took the first carry 11 yards. Carlisle took the second 15 to set up first down at the Lake Hamilton 49-yard line.

Michael James then carried 11 yards for the third first down in as many plays.

Things briefly got a little tougher. Cabot was faced with fourth and inches after three more plays, but James easily converted with a three-yard carry.

He then went nine and eight yards to set up first and goal at the eight. Keifer Richmond then carried for three yards before quarterback Seth Bloomberg kept for the final five and the score on the 11th play of the drive.

With four plays left, Cabot tried a few things besides running up the middle. A downfield pass attempt to Les McGregor was incomplete, and an option pitch from Bloomberg to Carlisle was off the mark. Carlisle fell on the loose ball for a loss of six yards. A Bayles run of six and a Bloomberg keeper for three yards ended the drive. The second string’s first offensive drive was highlighted by a 45-yard run by Nathan Millar down to the 1-yard line. He got to finish his work on the next play with a one-yard plunge for a touchdown.

Lake Hamilton looked better on its second varsity possession. After two incompletions, the Wolves struck for a 36-yard pass play for a first down at the 34.

After that, Lake Hamilton ate up chunks of yardage. Two for seven yards, one for eight and a 12-yard run capped the scoring drive with eight plays left.

Those final eight plays weren’t nearly as productive. After an initial 15-yard completion, Ben Ford got the first sack of the game for a one-yard loss.

After a three-yard run set up third and eight, another sack by Callen Boris for an eight-yard loss made it fourth and 15. Boris then deflected a pass on fourth down. The Wolves got just one more yard on their final three plays.

Cabot put together another good drive, this time a 13-play march for its second score. The longest run of the drive was the last one, a 12-yard run by James.

James carried 12 times in the two drives for 82 yards.

The two teams then traded three possessions each starting at the 10-yard line to work on goal- line situations. Neither defense did well. Six touchdowns were scored in the six combined possessions.

“Our goal line defense will have to be better than that,” Malham said. “I thought the defense did ok. There were a lot of mistakes made out there, but they were playing hard and Lake Hamilton has a pretty good offense. They were pretty good last year and they’ve got everybody back.”

Cabot opens the season Friday at home against Jacksonville.