Tuesday, August 26, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot handles Lake Hamilton

Leader sports editor

The Cabot Panthers dominated most of the their benefit scrimmage game at Lake Hamilton on Monday. The hosting Wolves’ starters hit one big play for a touchdown but wasn’t able to produce much offense other than that.

The performance was especially pleasing to Cabot coach Mike Malham because four of his team’s defensive starters were sophomores.

“We looked alright,” said Malham. “I don’t know if they’re as good as they have been, but we looked pretty good. The first-team D shut them down pretty good. (Tristan) Bulice played really well and of course Jacob (Ferguson) over there, he had a nice game. We knew what they could do. We’ve been watching them since they were sophomores.”

Each team got 15 consecutive plays regardless of down, distance or touchdown. If a team was stopped on downs, it simply reset back at the 30-yard line.

Cabot’s defense kept Lake Hamilton out of the end zone altogether in the first set ofplays. The offense then took over and scored a little more than halfway through their 15 plays. The lone starting sophomore on offense, quarterback Jarrod Barnes, kept on the option and scrambled 30 yards for the score.

The Panthers turned around and drove back to about the Lake Hamilton 30-yard line before running out of plays.

“Jarrod ran the option pretty well,” Malham said. “He’s got a lot of talent. Being a sophomore though, sometimes when he gets going, he wants to make everything happen himself. We have to get him a little more relaxed but he’s got a chance to be a really good one for us.”

Barnes isn’t the only new ball carrier. The entire offensive backfield is starting for the first time. Malham said they all ran the ball well.

“All the backs looked pretty good,” Malham said. “Kolton Eads did a good job at fullback. We got Schrunk, Reed and Hemphill as our halfbacks and they all ran it well. Jack Whisker and Easton Seidl, our two linebackers, they rotated in there with the second team offense and they both looked pretty good.”

Lake Hamilton’s offense was struggling again during the second set of plays, but then hit a big one. It was just a little hitch pass, but the initial tackler missed and no defender could catch him once he got into open field.

“The kid has some speed because we had Jacob, Holdyn Barnes and (Logan) Melder all chasing him. Those are three of our fastest guys and they couldn’t catch him,” Malham said.

Malham also praised Bryce Cochran, who wasn’t projected as a starter until the Panthers lost a defensive end just before preseason.

“Cochran made one or two plays that took some athletic ability,” Malham said. “He had two quarterback sacks for us so that was good to see.”

The second teams took one set of 15-play drives, and as is usually the case, Cabot’s backup group dominated.

“They’re just not as deep as us,” Malham said. “Up the middle we were quite a bit stronger than they were.”

Cabot’s second-string offense scored twice before its 15 plays were up. Lake Hamilton got nowhere until the last play.

“That second group scored but it was an illegal play,” Malham said. “I thought they had five backs and when I looked at it on film, sure enough it was an illegal formation. So they scored on an illegal play.”

Malham doesn’t expect the same kind of dominance when his team opens the season next Friday at Conway, but he was pleased with Monday’s effort.

“We’re getting better,” Malham said. “I don’t know if we’re ready for the Conways or North Little Rocks just yet, but we’re better today than we were yesterday. I was pleased with them.”