Wednesday, August 13, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Breaking in sophmores is goal in Cabot practices

Leader sports editor

The Cabot football team spent the first day of practice in pads mostly separated into units, but got together on Monday for a short scrimmage at the end of practice. There were four sophomores starting on defense in that first scrimmage, but it was the lone sophomore starter on offense that made the immediate splash.

Quarterback Jarrod Barnes scored on the first play on an option keep. Cabot coach Mike Malham had previously expressed optimism about Barnes’ potential, and continued to do so, but said the youth on defense contributed to the big play.

“Just a lot of green over on defense,” said Malham. “And it’s not just sophomores. We’ve got four seniors on defense who started some last year. Other than that we’ve got seven new faces over there with four of them sophomores.”

Dylan Smith is one sophomore starting at strong safety. Easton Seidl joins senior Jack Whisker at one of the inside linebacker positions. Colin Thompson is starting at one defensive end and Jack Teague is at the other. Two other sophomores, Connor Daigle and Cody Neighbors, are rotating in at linebacker as well.

On offense, Christopher Jones got a chance to play with the first string on offense and got a good report from Malham.

“We moved him in there yesterday to see what he could do and he looked pretty good – made some plays for us on the line,” Malham said.

While only one sophomore is penciled in as a starter on offense, there are eight new starters, meaning 15 of the 22 starters are new faces.

“Right now it’s just rep, rep, rep trying to get it in their heads how to do it right every time,” Malham said.

Cabot’s offensive backfield isn’t as fast as last year’s group, but the coach is still excited about its potential.

“I think we’ll be alright there,” Malham said. “We don’t have anybody with the speed of Zach Launius or Chris Henry, but we’ve got some speed. We’re not going to be a slow group.”

The Panthers will scrimmage again at the end of practice today. There will be a red-white game and the annual controlled scrimmage against Lake Hamilton, but Malham says the true indicator will be the week-one matchup with Conway.

“Conway is going to be good,” Malham said. “We’ll get a pretty good idea of where we’re at after that game. If we can play with them, I think we’ll be able to play with just about anybody.”