Wednesday, July 15, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> England dazzles at 7-on-7

Leader sports editor

Cabot held its sixth 7-on-7 meet Monday at Panther Stadium, along with regulars Lonoke, Hazen and Des Arc, as well as second-time participant J.A. Fair and newcomer England. And it was the Lions that shined the brightest in the most recent meet.

With junior quarterback Brayden Brazeal, who is a second cousin to New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees, and Division I prospects Xavier Iverson and B.J. Thompson at receiver, the Lions excel at non-contact passing competitions.

“We’ve gone to three tournaments and done really well,” said England coach Terry Farmer. “We won the one at Southside-Batesville. We did really well at the big shootout they have in Little Rock that PA hosts every year, and we got second in another one. If we can find some linemen we could be pretty salty.”

England started the event with three one-play scoring drives against J.A. Fair.

The only team to beat England in five games was Lonoke. The Jackrabbits scored three times while holding the Lions to two touchdowns in four drives.

Lonoke was without receiver Justin Meadows on Monday, but the connection between quarterback Savonte Rountree and receiver Casey Martin was very productive. Rountree hooked up with Martin for all three of Lonoke’s scores against England, and Martin added an acrobatic interception on defense to thwart one of the Lions’ drives and give the Jackrabbits the upper hand.

Lonoke rolled over Hazen, scoring on all five possessions while holding the Hornets to just one score on its last drive. Martin caught three touchdown passes and hauled in one interception in that game as well. But the offense sputtered in its last two games as the 100-plus degree afternoon heat index began to wear on all the teams.

Cabot’s backups beat Des Arc 3-1, but the Panthers mixed starters with subs against England and lost 5-4 in a game that offenses dominated.

Cabot and England scored on each of their first three possessions against each other, before the Panthers’ fourth drive stalled after one first down.

England got the upper hand on the next possession when a busted coverage left Iverson standing alone at the goal line near the right pylon.

After Cabot quarterback Jarrod Barnes found tight end Bryce Crockom for a 3-yard touchdown connection on the Panthers’ next drive, England regained the advantage when the 6-foot-5 Thompson out-jumped two Cabot defenders to haul in a deep scoring pass from Brazeal.

“I’m taking Thompson to visit Georgia this weekend,” Farmer said. “Iverson’s already got lots of offers from DII schools, and he’s visiting A-State this weekend.”

For Cabot, Crockom had two touchdown catches and two interceptions on the afternoon, while Jarrod Barnes’ favorite target was older brother Holdyn Barnes. The two hooked up for four touchdown plays and several other receptions.

The same teams will be back at Panther Stadium for a 4 p.m. start today, along with Little Rock McClellan, who will be making its second visit to the meet this summer.