Saturday, September 06, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Cats escape the Panthers

Special to The Leader

CONWAY — Two major gaffes in the kicking game came back to haunt the Cabot Panthers Friday night at John McConnell Stadium in Conway.

The Wampus Cats blocked an extra-point attempt and the Panthers fumbled a snap on a two-point attempt after a late touchdown pulled them to within two points.

The Wampus Cats then recovered an onside kick after the last-minute Panther touchdown to seal a 24-22 victory in the season opener for both teams.

In building a cushion, Conway gave the Panthers a dose of their traditional power game. They unleashed a fresh 210-pound Kevin Chamorro on a 68-yard scoring drive to build a 24-15 lead late in the fourth quarter. Chamorro, who got most of the yardage on that drive on power runs, scored from the 1 with 3:43 left after he set things up by catching a double-reverse pass from quarterback Breylin Smith.

The Panthers came back to score when Jake Ferguson pulled in a tipped pass from Dylan Smith for a 35-yard touchdown with 1:15 left.

Cabot was forced to go for two because of the blocked extra point earlier in the game and failed on the conversion try.

The Cats took a 10-0 lead early on a 35-yard pass from Smith to D.J. Johnson and a 32-yard field goal by Matt Cummins.

The Panthers rallied to take a 12-10 lead on a 33-yard run by Jalen Hemphill and a 1-yard run by Kolton Eads on fourth and 1. They missed both extra-point attempts.

The Wampus Cats took a 17-12 lead at halftime on a 38-yard pass from Smith to Johnson with 1:44 left in the half.

Cabot drew within 17-15 with 6:24 left in the third period on a 35-yard field goal by Christian Underwood.

The Panthers host Catholic High next week. The Rockets lost 17-7 to North Little Rock in their opener on Thursday.