Saturday, September 29, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Panthers get past Marion

Leader sports editor

The Cabot Panthers struggled early but pulled away for a 26-12 win over Marion in their first conference road game of the season. The Panthers led just 7-6 halfway through the third quarter after Marion scored on the opening drive of the first half.

From that point the Panthers dominated, scoring 19 unanswered points before giving up a touchdown in the final minute of play.

Cabot’s third-string quarterback Brandon Boatright, who normally plays tight end, had to go under center against the Patriots. Starting quarterback Kason Kimbrell did not play for undisclosed reasons, and his backup, Grant Bell, was hurt earlier in the week trying to fill holes left by injuries in the secondary.

Starting fullback Zach Launius started the game, but did not play after the first quarter.

Cabot’s missing starters aided Marion’s defensive performance early in the game, but Boatright found his rhythm and co-starting fullback Kyle Edgar turned in a good performance to help the Panthers get the offense moving in the second half.

Edgar scored the game’s first touchdown at the very end of the first quarter. Jesus Marquez’ extra point made it 7-0 and that’s how it stayed the rest of the opening half.

Marion got the ball to start the third quarter and put together a70-yard drive for a touchdown. The extra point was no good, leaving it 7-6 halfway through the third.

The Panthers answered on their opening drive of the half, with halfback Max Carroll punching it in from short yardage. The extra point was blocked, leaving it 13-6.

Cabot then forced a Marion punt and put together another good drive. Boatright almost got in from 3 yards out but was stopped inside the 1-yard line. Edgar got it in from there on fourth down. That extra point went awry due to a bad hold and the Panthers’ lead was 19-6.

Cabot forced the only turnover of the game on Marion’s next possession. The Panthers turned an interception into a short drive and their final touchdown of the game. Again it was Edgar who scored and Cabot converted the extra point to make it 26-7 with four minutes left in the game.

Marion broke a 40-yard run on the next drive to get inside the Panther 20, and punched in a mop-up touchdown as time was expiring.

The win lifts Cabot to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in conference play. Marion drops to 2-3 and 1-1.

Cabot and Marion trade opponents with Mountain Home and Searcy next week. Cabot hosts the Bombers while Marion travels to Searcy. The Lions beat the Bombers 44-41 on Friday.