Saturday, November 05, 2011

SPORTS>>Cabot blows by Cyclones

Leader sports editor

The Cabot Panthers kept things rolling as the season ended Thursday night at Russellville. For the second-straight week, the Panthers rolled up more than 500 yards of offense and easily outpaced their opponent, beating the Cyclones 55-30 to finish the season 3-7.

Five different Panthers got into the end zone and Cabot threw for over 100 yards for the third time this season. Quarterback Zach Craig completed seven of nine pass attempts for 132 yards and a touchdown. Cabot rushed for 417 yards to finish with 549 total yards. Russellville did a good job of taking away the halfback dive that was so effective against Van Buren last week, but Cabot answered with the fullback and by running the option effectively.

Cabot didn’t break the game open until the third quarter, although it threatened to do so in the second.

Cabot took over on downs with 1:42 left in the first half and scored with 19 seconds on the clock to go up 21-10. The momentum took a big turn on the ensuing kickoff. Cabot kicked deep for the first time in the game, and it proved costly. Russellville sophomore Jalen Curtis took the kickoff 80 yards right up the middle for a touchdown that cut the margin to four points at the break.

Cabot got the ball to start the second half and scored three unanswered touchdowns take a 41-17 lead and complete command of the game with 11:43 left in the fourth quarter.

The Cabot defense was big when it counted. Russellville didn’t get a second-half first down until the six-minute mark of the final period.

Russellville had the sharper offense out of the gate. The Cyclones started the game at their own 36-yard line and drove to the Cabot 39 before being forced to punt. Cabot went three and out, and Russellville began driving again. Starting from its own 49, the home team drove to the Cabot 22, but a holding penalty set up third and long. On the third down play, Russellville went deep, but senior defensive back Bryson Morris got his third pick in two games to give the Panthers possession at their own 22.

From that point, Russellville had nothing for Cabot’s offense.

The Panthers marched down the field in 13 plays, taking up five and a half minutes and scoring on a Mason Haley 6-yard run with 30 seconds left in the first quarter.

It got easier from there.

Russellville went on another good drive, but settled for a 34-yard field goal by John Marasco with 9:48 left in the half.

Cabot then went 76 yards in 11 plays. Senior fullback Ian Thompson got the final 12 for the score. Halfback Max Carroll kept the drive alive with a 20-yard option run on a crucial third and seven.

Russellville got a good kickoff return to the Cabot 49, but five plays yielded just 13 yards. That’s when things came together for the Cyclones. On second and nine, Cabot had the blitz on, and Russellville had the perfect call for it. Fullback Kendall Bond caught a delayed screen pass in the flat. After one broken tackle, it was smooth sailing to the end zone to make it 14-10 with 3:21 remaining in the first half.

Penalties and an errant backwards pass that lost six yards caused Cabot to sputter on its next drive, but the Panther defense held and got the ball back on downs to set up the final drive of the half.

Thompson went 23 yards to midfield on first down. Cabot then went to the air. On second and six, Craig hit Carroll for nine yards.

On the next play, he found Keith Pledger for 12 to the Russellville 14. Staying in the air, Craig found Ethan Brown for 13 yards to set up first and goal. Sophomore fullback Zach Launius plunged in from there. The third of Jesus Marquez’s seven extra points made it 21-10.

Cabot went 66 yards in 11 plays to start the second half, facing just one third down along the way. Launius picked up 20 on first down from the 21. Thompson got the final carry to make it 28-17. After a three-and-out by Russellville, Cabot went 72 yards in eight plays. Two fullback runs picked up 20. On second and five from the 48, Craig dropped back to pass off the play action and had Brown uncovered downfield.

The pass was slightly overthrown, but Brown stretched out and made a diving grab for a 31-yard gain to the Russellville 21. Craig picked up nine on the option keep and Thompson got eight more to set up first and goal at the 4. On third down, Carroll punched it in from a yard out. The PAT was blocked and Cabot led 34-17.

Russellville gave it back in just three plays and Cabot went 69 yards in four plays to make it 41-17.

Haley went around the right side for 53 yards and the score.

Russellville got another good return to the 48. After one incomplete pass, junior scatback Nick Hendrix went 51 yards to the 1. On first and goal, he got the final yard to make it 41-23 just 33 seconds after Haley’s touchdown.

Cabot got its best starting field position of the night at its own 45. After seven plays, the Panthers faced their first fourth down of the half. On fourth and three, the play action again left Brown uncovered. This time he simply had to wait for the pass inside the 5 and backpedal into the end zone for the 34-yard touchdown.

Russellville then drove 62 yards against mostly Cabot reserves. The Cyclones converted on three third downs, and scored on fourth and nine with a 36-yard pass from sophomore Cody Jones to Curtis with 3:44 left.

Now with the second-string offense in, Cabot junior Russ Rankin took the first handoff 67 yards to score and set the final margin.

Launius led the Panthers with 125 yards and a score on 21 carries. Thompson picked up 100 yards and two touchdowns on 17 totes. Haley finished with 93 total yards, including 78 rushing on eight carries and one reception for 15 yards. Brown had 78 yards and a score on three receptions. Rankins had the one run for 67 and a score. Carroll finished with 61 total yards, 34 rushing and 27 receiving.

Russellville, 1-9, finished with 336 total yards and was led by Hendrix’s 10 carries for 81 yards. The Cyclones ran for 169 and threw for 167.