Tuesday, September 16, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Panthers go on field trip

Leader sports editor

The Cabot Panthers play a dangerous game on Friday. They travel to Class 5A J.A. Fair for a 7 p.m. game against a team that has won one football game in the last four years. It’s not dangerous because Cabot may lose. Cabot can’t lose this game. It’s dangerous because it would be a travesty for someone to get hurt in a game like this.

The War Eagles have already lost 41-6 to Subiaco Academy, a below-average 4A team, and 50-0 to Little Rock Parkview, a below-average 6A team, this season.

The game was only scheduled because Jacksonville ended its series with Cabot, Conway wanted to move its game with Cabot to week one, and the Panthers couldn’t find an opponent nearby for week three.

“It’s hard to find anybody unless you want to travel,” said Cabot coach Mike Malham. “Didn’t want to have to go three and a half hours to the northwest schools and we couldn’t find any 6A or 7A schools around here that wanted to play us.”

While J.A. Fair may be the biggest underdog in the history of Arkansas high school football, Malham hopes his players’ approach to the game won’t change.

“It’s just one of those games you need to go over there, take it serious, not take anything for granted and get the game in hand as quickly as possible. When we have the game in hand we’ll play some others. Hopefully we’ll get to play a lot of kids, but you never know.”

Cabot opens conference play the following week against powerhouse North Little Rock. Malham sees the drawbacks to a game like this right before such a big game, but also thinks it could have its advantages.

“We had two good tests the first two weeks,” Malham said. “Conway and Catholic are good programs and tough teams and we got a little dinged up. You’d hate to have a big knockdown dragout right before North Little Rock. So maybe this is a chance to get some guys some rest and be ready for a big one.

“I don’t know. Who knows?” Malham said.