Saturday, October 06, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Bombers dropped on homecoming

Leader sportswriter

There were plenty of reasons to celebrate Cabot’s homecoming on Friday as the Panthers won their second conference game of the year with a 42-17 blowout against Mountain Home. Other than the two turnovers Cabot had in the first half, the Panther offense had little trouble moving the ball against the Bombers’ defense.

“We took care of the ball pretty well until right there at the end of the first half when we had those two turnovers,” said Cabot coach Mike Malham. “The defense did a good job, and kept them out of the end zone in the first half.”

After the Panther defense forced a three and out on the Bombers’ opening drive, Cabot’s offense was given great field positioning after a short punt that landed out of bounds at the Mountain Home 35.

Senior running back Kyle Edgar took the first handoff 14 yards, but fumbled the ball over to the Bombers on the next play. However, Mountain Home (1-5, 0-3) couldn’t move the ball effectively against the Panther defense and were forced to punt at its own 40.

Chris Henry returned the punt all the way to the Bombers’ 30-yard line. Five plays later, Edgar redeemed himself with a five-yard touchdown run. Jesus Marquez’s extra point was good to give the Panthers a 7-0 lead.

Mountain Home was able to score on its next drive with a 23-yard field goal from Jaden McDonald with 9:13 to play in the first half, capping off a 19-play drive.

Cabot’s offense responded with touchdown runs on its next three possessions. With 5:36 to go in the half, Henry dashed 54 yards for the Panthers’ second score of the game.

Edgar plowed in the two-point conversion after an offsides penalty on the Bombers’ defense moved the ball closer to the goal line. Mountain Home quarterback Drake Walker’s pass was intercepted by junior defensive back Jordan Burke on the Bombers’ next possession, and Burke returned it from the Cabot 40 all the way to the Mountain Home 9-yard line.

Two-plays later, senior quarterback Brandon Boat-right scored on an 8-yard run on an option keeper. The extra point was good to give the Panthers a 22-3 lead with 4:06 to go in the half.

Boatright, who normally starts at tight end, took over quarterback duties last week against Marion after injuries hampered starter Kason Kimbrell and backup Grant Bell.

Kimbrell took limited snaps in Friday’s game, but Boatright took the majority of the snaps due to his performance.

“Yeah I think he can go,” Malham said of Kimbrell, “but Boatright did such a good job last week running the option and everything. We moved him over from tight end, so that gives us a little depth there, and both of them are capable.”

Cabot’s final score of the half came on another option keeper from Boatright, this one from 11 yards out. The Panthers were the first to score in the second half on a 52-yard touchdown run from running back Russ Rankin with 8:19 to play in the third quarter.

The extra point gave Cabot a comfortable 35-3 lead. Mountain Home cut the deficit to 35-10 on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Walker to Chayse Brown with 8:55 to play.

The Bombers attempted an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff, but Seth Hoggard scooped the ball up at the 48-yard line and returned it down the visiting sideline for another touchdown.

With 5:44 to play, Walker connected with junior tight end Tom Lynch on a screen pass in middle of the hash marks. Lynch ran 38 yards for the final score of the evening.

Other than the final margin, the two teams’ offensive numbers were similar by game’s end. Cabot finished with 322 yards of offense, 320 came on the ground. Mountain Home finished with 318, but had six turnovers to Cabot’s four.

Henry led all rushers with 116 yards and a touchdown on just four carries – all of which came in the first half. Edgar was also pulled after the first half, and finished with 72 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.

Cabot (4-2, 2-1) will look to improve its 7A/6A East record next week when the Panthers travel to Little Rock Central.