Friday, April 25, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Panthers clobber Blue Devils

Leader sportswriter

The Cabot soccer teams had little trouble with West Memphis in their 7A/6A East matchups at Panther Stadium on Tuesday. The Lady Panthers scored six first-half goals en route to a 7-0 victory, while the Panthers scored four goals in the first 40 minutes on their way to a 6-0 win.

In the girls’ game, it took the host Lady Panthers a little while to get their offense flowing, but after the first goal was scored, Cabot steadily built on its lead from that point forward.

Junior Lady Panther Braxton Reed scored three goals in the first half alone, getting the hat trick, while freshman teammate Leelee Denton scored two goals in that time, and sophomore Maddie Rice scored one goal, which gave the Lady Panthers their 6-0 lead at halftime.

“We had a couple of really good individual efforts,” said Cabot girls’ coach KerryCastillo. “That was kind of the spark we needed, but then they all turned on and wanted to be the goal-scorers themselves. Our goals weren’t distributed amongst a lot of players, but they were good goals and they were set up nicely. So that’s something we can take from it.”

Since the Lady Panthers (10-3-2, 3-1) were up by six goals at the start of the second half, the time was cut in half to 20 minutes and the clock ran continuously throughout the second half, but Cabot was still able to add another goal to set the final score.

Rice scored her second goal of the game less than two minutes into the second half to give the Lady Panthers the 7-0 cushion, and with the time cut in half and the clock running continuously, it wasn’t long before that game came to an end.

Senior midfielder Trevor Reed gave Cabot a 1-0 lead in the boys’ game with a goal less than five minutes into the first half, but it took some time for the host team to add to its lead. Grant Bell scored Cabot’s second goal of the game at the 17:28 mark of the first half, which made it a 2-0 game. Cabot’s next goal came 16 seconds later.

Reed immediately took possession at midfield following Bell’s goal, and took it the distance to score his second goal of the game and give the Panthers a 3-0 cushion. Bell added Cabot’s final goal of the half from six yards out with 11:36 remaining, which made the score 4-0 at halftime.

Panthers’ coach Steve Porter sat his starters for the majority of the second half, so there wasn’t as much action scoring-wise in the second half, but Cabot took a 5-0 lead with a goal by Adrian Martinez with 14:23 remaining.

Evan Wilson scored the final goal with 6:19 remaining, setting the final score.

“I felt for about 15 to 20 minutes in the first half that we did really well,” said Porter, “and we shared the ball, created a lot of chances. We didn’t finish as well as we’d hoped to, but there were some good signs.”

Even though the Panthers (8-2-1, 4-0) won the game convincingly, Porter thought his team lost some of its focus down the stretch and played more for themselves than for the team.

“We’re happy with the result,” Porter said. “We’re happy with 4-0 in conference, but there are going to be some more challenging games ahead, and we need to play better.”

With the win, the Panthers are still the only undefeated team in 7A/6A East play, while the Lady Panthers are in a three-way tie for first place with Little Rock Central and Searcy with a 3-1 conference record.

The Cabot soccer teams also got a tough pair of nonconference wins at Little Rock Christian on Monday. The Lady Panthers beat the Lady Warriors 1-0, thanks to a goal by Devin Patterson, and the Panthers beat the Warriors 2-1 in the nightcap.

Both Cabot teams played another conference game against North Little Rock last night at home after deadlines, and the Panthers and Lady Panthers will continue 7A/6A East play with a pair of games Tuesday at Jonesboro. The boys’ game will be played first, and that game is scheduled to start at 5 p.m.