Leader Blues

Saturday, September 19, 2009

SPORTS >> Youngsters get their time

By RAY BENTON
Special to The Leader

Everyone got to play. That was about the best thing to come out of the Cabot Panthersí 48-0 victory over Little Rock Hall Friday night at Scott Field in Little Rock.

The mercy rule was not invoked until midway through the third quarter, but only because of a missed extra point late in the second half that left the halftime score 34-0.

Other than two fumbles, one of which appeared to happen after Cabotís Spencer Smith had crossed the goal line, the Panthers performed flawlessly on offense. From the first string to the fourth, everyone moved the ball effectively against the Warriors.

ďI thought we executed very well offensively,Ē Cabot coach Mike Malham said. ďFumbles like that are going to hurt us in a close game, so we canít have that. We didnít play the starters very much, but we didnít want to sit them too much because we donít want them off for two weeks before conference starts.Ē

Cabot used very little of its offense, running between the tackles on every play. No passes, no options, just hand off left and hand off right. It was all it needed. The Panthers compiled 395 total yards to just 66 for Hall.

The defense was effective too, getting the Panthers on the scoreboard on the second snap of the game. Deep penetration led to a tipped pitch, which defensive tackle Jay Turpin plucked out of the air and ran 14 yards for the first touchdown of the game with 11:14 left in the first quarter.

Hall went backwards again on its second drive, and a tipped punt set the Panther offense up at the Warrior 27. Just under three minutes later, Smith dove in from the 1 and the extra point made it 14-0 with 7:31 left in the first quarter.

The defense held Hall again with no yardage on three plays, and the offense this time started in its own territory at the 47.

However it only took five plays with halfback Matt Bayles going the final yard for the score with 4:02 left.

Hall went three and out two more times, totaling minus 2 yards. The Cabot starting defense didnít play after the second quarter clock showed 9:50, but in five Warrior possessions, it held its host to minus 12 total yards.

Cabot fumbled the ball away on its next two possessions, but still found time for two more touchdowns in the final 3:44 of the half. The fourth score came on a 13 yard run by Hunter Sales, the fifth on a 7-yard run by Jeremy Berry.

Sophomore Chase Campbell became the workhorse in the third quarter. He carried six times on the opening drive of the half, including a 3-yard run with 7:39 on the clock that triggered the mercy rule.

The final score came with 5:10 left in the game on a 10-yard run by junior halfback Andre Ausejo. It was Ausejoís third trip to the end zone on the drive, but the first one that wasnít accompanied by a Panther penalty.

Smith led the Panthers with 74 yards on nine carries. Sales totaled 70 yards on six carries. Campbell carried eight times for 62 yards and Berry had 47 on six rushes.

The Panthers are now 3-0 and will play host to archrival Conway next week to open 7A-Central play.