Friday, August 20, 2010

SPORTS>>Cabot well and kicking

Leader sports editor

The injured players are trickling back to Cabot just in time for the Panthers’ first test, a Monday scrimmage at Lake Hamilton.

The Panthers, of the 7A/6A-Central, had seven players dealing with aches and pains or other health problems, but at media day

Thursday coach Mike Malham was anticipating all but defensive lineman T.C. Carter (shoulder) would be back by the end of the week.

Carter is expected to return in close to two weeks.

The group of injured players included senior kicker/defensive back Logan Spry, a potential all-stater who dropped a weight on his foot and was still limping somewhat during Thursday’s media day.

“We’ve got a bunch of them back,” Malham said. “Really Carter is still a little bit away from contact with that shoulder but other than that I think we’ve got most of them, a majority of them, back.”

The returnees will help Cabot put forth a starting lineup at Lake Hamilton that Malham said is more or less set. His concern, as it has been all preseason, is finding a solid group of backups.

“For the most part we’re pretty settled. Somebody would just have to jump out and do something great,” Malham said. “We’ve been looking at them now since last spring and two-a-days so we kind of know where we’re at right now.

“We’d love for some of these second-teamers to step up and challenge some of these first-teamers, but I haven’t seen a lot of that.”

Malham is hoping the scrimmage, and especially the regular season, might reveal greater depth than he is seeing now.

“Sometimes you throw a kid in there when he has to play and he’ll step up and perform,” Malham said. “But they’re getting the reps. Second team gets as many reps, just about, as the first team. So there’s no excuse not to know what to do when you get your chance.”

Malham agreed the preseason has taken a toll and said the Panthers, down to one practice a day, should benefit from a lighter schedule as they move toward the season opener with Jacksonville at War Memorial Stadium on Aug. 31.

The Panthers only posed for photos and enjoyed a barbecue at Thursday’s function, and Malham said Tuesday would be set aside for weights and film study only, while the starters would sit out Friday’s team scrimmage.

Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday will be devoted to preparation for Jacksonville, and Aug. 30, the Monday before the Tuesday opener, would be set aside to work on the Panthers’ pregame.

“Their bodies should be getting back to normal,” Malham said.

Cabot will test out 13 new starters, including quarterback Zach Craig, against Lake Hamilton.

The Wolves, of the 7A/6A-South Conference, were 8-4 last year and reached the third round of the 6A playoffs before losing to Pine Bluff. Lake Hamilton last won a state championship in 2008.

“We’ve been scrimmaging them for five or six years,” Malham said. “They’re a good 6A team. They’ve won the state here within the last couple years.