Saturday, November 03, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> South beats North for league title

Leader sports editor

The Cabot Junior High South freshmen sealed their second conference championship in three years when they beat Cabot Junior High North 16-0 Tuesday at Panther Stadium. The win capped a 9-1 season and earned the Panthers the outright Central Arkansas Junior High Conference championship. CJHS and Bryant entered the final week of the season tied for first place, but Bryant fell to Benton on Tuesday, leaving the South Panthers alone at the top.

South’s only loss this season was also against Benton, who finished 8-2, when four starters missed the game for various reasons, mostly for injuries.

“This team lost one game in seventh and eighth grade so I knew the potential was there,” South coach Lee Melder said. “We just weren’t playing together as a team early on this year like we were when we finished. This group really came together and started playing good football these last few weeks.”

Melder frets game week when the cross-town rival is on the schedule, and he finally breathed a sigh of relief after the two-point conversion that followed the second touchdown of the game. On that play, South quarterback Lake Boyett rolled left to pass. The throw was batted down, but batted right back into Boyett’s hands with nothing but the end zone in front of him.

“When you see that sort of thing happen you start to think it’s probably your night,” Melder said. “I hate playing North because they play so hard and it’s always such a tough game. I’d rather play North Little Rock 10 times than play Cabot North once, so we’ll take it anyway we can get it. The same thing happened to them later on in the game and we were able to sack them for a loss, so things went our way tonight.”

North controlled the ball for most of the game. Each team got just three possessions, but South scored on its first two and were at the North 11-yard line when time expired.

North’s opening possession stopped at the South 33 when Boyett tipped a pass and Mark Odom picked it off for the South Panthers.

South started there and needed eight plays to go 67 yards. Boyett got the last 12 on an option keeper and got the two-point conversion the same way with no time on the clock at the end of the first quarter.

North started its next drive at its own 35-yard line and drove 14 plays to the South 12-yard line. But on fourth down and 3 yards to go, fullback Jacob Bailey could only muster a yard and South took over on downs deep in its own territory with 24 seconds left in the half. Halfback Dillon Buchanan went 38 yards on a sweep left to close the half.

South got the ball to start the second half and drove 67 yards in nine plays for its second touchdown. Another sweep to Buchanan picked up 30 of those yards and set up first and goal at the 3-yard line. Holland got the rest on the next play before the bizarre completed pass capped the scoring on the two-point attempt.

“They moved up and down the field on us and controlled the ball most of the game,” Melder said. “Fortunately our defense was able to make some plays every time they got close.”

South finished with 234 total yards while North managed 101. Buchanan led all rushers with 70 yards on three carries.