Wednesday, September 01, 2010

SPORTS>>Panthers win brawl

Leader sports editor

Cabot’s group effort kept the traveling trophy from going anywhere Tuesday night.

The Panthers put a slew of running backs to work in a 28-14 victory over rival Jacksonville in “The Backyard Brawl” at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.

Four different backs scored touchdowns to help Cabot win the third straight season-opening rivalry game, which this year was part of the Arkansas High School Kickoff Classic, and keep the trophy in the Panthers’ possession.

“It’s just good to get off to a 1-0 start,” said Cabot coach Mike Malham, who had 14 new players in the lineup. “With this money young kids, you give them a little confidence. Everybody wants to get off 1-0 and it doesn’t happen so we’re just glad to be 1-0. That was our whole goal for the last six weeks.”

Andre Auseio, Austin Alley, Spencer Smith and Mason James scored for Cabot, and the ball was spread around so much that voting members of the media opted for a defensive player, linebacker Riley Hawkins, as the game’s most valuable player for his 10 tackles and an interception.

Smith led Cabot with 82 yards and Jeremy Berry had 59.

“We’re pretty deep there,” Malham said. “We’re pretty deep there in the backfield.”

Jacksonville had its moments, as when Tirrell Brown, who replaced starting quarterback Logan Perry, hit Jamison Williams over the middle for a 91-yard catch and run for the final touchdown with 6:03 left in the game.

An 84-yard scoring run by the Red Devils’ D’Vone McClure with 2:03 left was erased by a holding penalty.

“The effort was there,” first-year Jacksonville coach Rick Russell said. “The missed assignments and the penalties and things like that, they’re all correctable. I think we’ll have a positive film session tomorrow and make those corrections and go forward and against Benton a week and a half from now I think we’ll be an improved football team.”

Cabot built on a 14-6 halftime lead when Auseio scored on a 5-yard run in the third quarter and Alley ran 16 yards for a touchdown on the Panthers’ next drive to make it 28-6 with 2:24 to go. Hawkins got his interception to set up Alley’s touchdown run.

Cabot took a 14-6 lead after a penalty-plagued first half on touchdown runs by Smith and James while for Jacksonville Perry completed a touchdown pass to Williams.

Cabot scored first on Smith’s 2-yard run that capped an 81-yard, eight-play drive with 11:01 left in the half. Cabot’s Jeremy Berry recovered a fumble after a first-down run by Smith on the possession, which was aided by Jacksonville personal foul and encroachment penalties.

Jacksonville tried to go for it on fourth and 2 at its 28, and the incompletion led to Cabot’s second score on James’ 25-yard run that capped a two-play drive with 8:08 left.

“If you don’t score with them and they get ahead then they can get on cruise control,” Russell said, “and just run those dive and those bellies and those running plays right at you and keep the ball for 5-, 10-, 15-play drives. or 20-play drives even.

“So we felt we had a play that would work and we just didn’t catch it, we didn’t complete it, it was there and we just threw it a little bit behind the receiver.”

Jacksonville got a break on a pass interference call against Cabot’s Logan Spry, who bumped receiver D’Vone McClure, and the Red Devils drove for Perry’s 11-yard touchdown completion to Williams with 2:28 to go. Jared Dumois blocked Xavier Brown’s low extra-point kick.