Tuesday, May 04, 2010

SPORTS >> Panthers finish 1-1 at 7A state

Cabot junior defender Mark Reider takes a header in a recent Central match.


Leader sportswriter

Everything was stacking up in Cabot’s favor until a corner kick by Russellville in the final 30 seconds of the 7A state soccer semifinals at Rogers.

The kick bounced off numerous Panther defenders in front of the goal until Cyclone freshman Mason Freeman was able to find an opening and break a scoreless tie as Russellville won 1-0.

“Both teams were subbing in and out a lot, but I thought we looked a little fresher,” Panthers coach Clark Bing said. “I was thinking that if the game reached overtime, we could win this thing.”

By the time Cabot reset to resume play at midfield, there were only 16 seconds left.

“That’s what’s so frustrating about soccer,” Bing said. “You play well all day, and your opponent gets lucky and scores. I thought things would be in our favor if it went to overtime, but both teams really played a great game.”

Cabot’s performance in the state tournament echoed that of a year ago, when the Panthers advanced out of the first round before losing a quarterfinal heartbreaker.

The Panthers advanced out of Friday’s first round with a 2-1 victory over Fort Smith Southside. It was somewhat of an upset for Cabot with the Rebels coming in as the No. 4 seed out of the 7A West and the Panthers as a No. 5 seed.

Cabot (9-8-1) took the early advantage in the first-round game when sophomore midfielder Garrett Park broke through the defense on a restart play for a goal at the five-minute mark to make it 1-0. Southside scored midway through the first half to tie.

Junior forward Logan Spry scored the winning goal for the Panthers on a breakaway, which also resulted in a yellow card for the Rebels’ goalkeeper for touching the ball outside the box. Southside protested the call, but Spry’s goal stood to advance Cabot into the Saturday quarterfinal.

The tournament marked the final games for Cabot seniors Cameron Kohler, Carlos Silva and Zach Woods, who served as goalkeeper for the Panthers throughout the weekend.

“Our defense got better as the year went on, and that’s really all you can ask,” Bing said. “I’m proud of all the guys efforts. Honestly we played our best soccer over the past weekend.”

The loss of Kohler, Silva and Woods leaves holes for Bing to fill defensively, but with returning offensive talent that includes Spry and William Hildago, the Panthers are in position to be contenders in the 7A Central Conference next year.

The Cyclones earned the top seed out of the 7A Central this season, but will lose a number of their key players, as will Van Buren.

“We only have three seniors who started this season,” Bing said. “And we have a lot of talent in those junior and sophomore classes, so there’s no reason for us not to be solid next year.”


The Jacksonville teams lost out in the first round of the 6A state tournament in Mountain Home. The Red Devils came in as a No. 6 seed out of the 6A-East Conference and fell to 6A South No. 3 seed Sheridan 4-0 on Friday.

The Lady Red Devils were also a No. 6 seed, and fell to South No. 3 Benton 6-0.