Leader Blues

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

SPORTS >>Loss sends Panthers home

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

SPRINGDALE — The Cabot Panthers’ season came to a close Friday night when they lost 35-14 to Har-Ber High School in Springdale.

The same two things that have plagued Cabot all season got it again Friday. The Wildcats scored with big plays over the top, and Cabot turned the ball over deep in opposing territory.

Cabot turned it over on downs twice inside the Har-Ber 20-yard line, and lost one fumble and interception inside the Wildcat 10.

“We just couldn’t stop the big play over the top,” Cabot coach Mike Malham said. “We knew they were going to do it, and they still made the plays on us. That’s a very good offense.”

Just like last week, Cabot gave up an easy touchdown to start the game, but unlike last week, were unable to answer. The Panthers gave up a 61-yard drive and score in less than three minutes to open the game. The drive saw Har-Ber convert a fourth and 9 from the Cabot 15. Two plays and an off-side penalty later, Wildcat quarterback Patrick Calcagni kept for the final yard for the score.

After a Cabot 10-play drive netted 31 yards, the Panthers punted, and it was more big plays for the Wildcats.

The punt by Wesley Sowell pinned Har-Ber on its own 5-yard line, but the Wildcats got out of the shadow of the end zone on the second play.

That’s when running back Derek Brinker broke loose for 25 yards out to the 33.

After that Har-Ber converted the first of three third downs of the drive, the last being a 17-yard hookup from Calcagni to Steven Walters on third and 9. That put the Wildcats on the Cabot 40. From there, Calcagni found Josh Fohner for 40 yards and the score. The extra point made it 14-0 with 1:04 left in the first quarter.

Cabot went 15 plays down to the Har-Ber 20 on its next drive, but stalled there on downs. The Wildcats turned right around and scored again with a series of big plays. After converting on another third down, the Wildcats connected for 30 yards, but it was called back for holding. Running back Ethan Morris lost three yards on first and 2, but on seond and 25, Fohner caught a 29-yard pass with a diving grab for first down at the 49.

Brinker then picked up 11 yards on the ground for a first down at the Cabot 40. Morris then caught a 40-yard pass in double coverage for the third touchdown of the game.

The extra point made it 21-0 with 2:24 left in the first half.

Cabot drove down the field through the air, but with time running out, the drive ended on with three straight incomplete passes from the Har-Ber 14-yard line.

The Panthers dominated the line of scrimmage and time of possession in the second half, but two turnovers inside the Har-Ber 10-yard line did in their first two drives.

On the opening drive of the half, Cabot drove to the Wildcat 8, but Michael James fumbled and Har-Ber recovered.

The Cabot defense got its only stop of the game on the next drive, forcing a 33-yard field goal attempt that was wide left.
The Panthers drove down the field again, only to throw an interception on the 7-yard line. It was an interception that Har-Ber linebacker Houston Pruitt retruned 93 yards for the score. With 10 minutes left in the game, Har-Ber led 28-0.

Cabot then put together a drive, and scored before it got inside the 10. With the help fo two personal foul penalties on Har-Ber, Cabot had first down at the Wildcat 20. From there, halfback Jordan Carlisle busted up the middle for 20 yards and the score.

The extra point was good, making it 28-7 with 7:10 left in the game.

It took the Wildcats less than a minute to answer. On the second play of the drive, Steven Walters caught a 47-yard touchdown pass to make it 35-7.

The Panthers answered again, but Carlisle’s 35-yard jaunt up the middle was little more than a consolation. With only two minutes remaining.

James finished the game with 162 yards on 35 carries. Carllisle had 75 yards and two touchdowns.

The Panthers finish the season 7-4 overall.