Tuesday, October 04, 2011

SPORTS >> Wildcats ready for turnaround

Leader sports editor

Cabot is still searching for its first win of the season as it prepares to make the short trip to North Little Rock this Friday. In the Charging Wildcats, the Panthers get an opponent that just lost a heartbreaker to Conway 20-17, in a game that well summarizes its season of underachievement, at least in the eyes of Wildcat head coach Bobby Bolding.

“Our worst enemy is ourselves,” Bolding told The Leader on Tuesday. “I say that every week. We have a very, very good football team. This is as good of a football team as I’ve every been around. We just have not played like we should be playing.”

Bolding’s theme didn’t alter. When asked about the difficulty of preparing for Cabot and its unique offense. Bolding stayed inwardly focused.

“It’s nothing against Cabot of anybody we’ve played, but our problem is not who we’re playing or what they’re doing. Our problem is how we’re executing.”

After opening the season with a 49-14 loss to Bentonville, North Little Rock reeled off three straight victories before facing Conway last week. In that game, the Wildcats led 17-0 late in the second quarter and if not for a dropped pass in the end zone, would’ve led 24-0. Instead, early in the third quarter, NLR threw a pick six that tied the game at 17-17, then ultimately lost the game when the offense failed to execute in the final two quarters.

“We should’ve beat them, and quite honestly, pretty handily,” Bolding said. “We just gave that game away, just gave it to them.”

The dangerous thing for Cabot is Bolding thinks a few meetings and a very good Monday practice means his team is finally getting its act together.

“I think some people woke up this week,” Bolding said. “We had a very good practice Monday. We had some very good heart to heart meetings, called some folks out that needed to be called out and they responded like you want. We feel like we’re’ ready to play on a different level. It should be a different football team this Friday.”

Bolding doesn’t just believe his team is capable of beating Conway and winning a conference championship. The head Wildcat believes his team has the talent to win state, even in a year that looks to have one of the most dominant teams in state history in Bentonville.

“There is no doubt, absolutely no doubt in my mind this team has the talent to win the state championship,” Bolding said. “We can beat Bentonville. Even without Atlee Tenpenny we ran up over 400 yards in that game. We blew two chances at touchdowns in the first half of that game that would’ve changed things. This team is talented enough to do it, but it won’t ever happen if we don’t come together as a group. Bottom line, ultimately that’s my responsibility and I want to get it fixed. I’ll be interested to see how things go today (Tuesday). How we practice today will tell me a lot about how Friday will go.