Leader Blues

Monday, August 13, 2007

SPORTS>>Injury bug biting CHS again

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

The Cabot Panthers made it through one week without the injury bug biting too badly, but not the second week. After several years of the same problem occurring, the injury bug may have graduated to a curse at Cabot High School.

Only four players missed significant practice time last week, but that number more than doubled in week two, including six players that were expected to play starting roles.

Fortunately, none of the injuries are expected to threaten an entire season.

“We’ve got some kids that are going to miss a lot of practice and maybe a couple of games,” Cabot coach Mike Malham said. “This group is pretty talented though. Hopefully we’ll find some kids that can step in there and give us a lot of depth when we get the other kids back. The group we’re working with is pretty talented, we’re just really young. They’re learning the positions they’re playing, so if we can get everybody back and healthy, we should have a little depth too.”

Sophomore Seth Bloomberg is taking almost all the varsity snaps in practice. He began two-a-days battling junior Jake Burns for the starting job, but Burns is one of the players out. He is nursing a broken nose.

“Both of those kids can play,” Malham said. “They’ve been neck and neck for a while. If anything happens to Bloomberg, though, we’re going to be hurting.”

An injury to last year’s starting fullback Vince Aguilar, left some question marks in the offensive backfield that are beginning to be answered.

Sophomore Michael James, junior Chris Bayles and senior Casey Carlisle have worked into the three starting positions for the moment. Carlisle returns as the starting halfback while Bayles and James have alternated between halfback and the feature position of fullback. James has the size that dead T teams typically like to have at fullback, while Bayles comes in at 130 pounds.

“He’s little bitty but he’s the fastest kid we’ve got,” Malham said. “James has been doing most the work at fullback, but Bayles’ speed is hard to find, especially around here the last few years.”

Returning starting lineman Jordan Gunn is also out with an injury, but sophomore Jay Turpin has looked good as his replacement in practice. Turpin stands six feet and weighs 230.

There are three sophomores that have found starting spots in the defensive side. Joe Bryant will work at safety, ?? Nuemann has looked good at linebacker and Terrence Bertran will work extensively on the defensive line.

The Panthers will be hosting its annual Arkansas Activities Association benefit game against Lake Hamilton August 21. The annual Red-White game featuring all the football teams from seventh grade up will be August 24.