Tuesday, July 07, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot takes lumps at its 7-on-7 meet

Leader sports editor

The Cabot football team hosted its third 7-on-7 meet on Monday, the first day back from the mandatory dead period enforced by the Arkansas High School Activities Association. Monday’s meet featured Lonoke, Hazen and Des Arc, and a drastically depleted Cabot squad.

The Panthers had only three defensive starters at the meet and neither the first nor second-string quarterbacks were on hand for the event. The results showed as well.

The Panthers faced Hazen, then Des Arc and finished against Lonoke.

“This is really more or less a JV squad we’ve got out here tonight,” said Cabot defensive coordinator Randy Black. “But we want to do it this way because we’ve got to find some depth. It didn’t look real good defensively, but that’s why we do these things, to try to get better.”

The Jackrabbits looked good offensively in all three matchups, but head coach Doug Bost says improved conditioning should make them even better.

“It’s the first day back and we’ve got to get in shape,” said Bost. “We’re about to start a lot of running. We haven’t done any since summer started. We’ve been concentrating on lifting weights and getting stronger. We’re going to hit the weights a little more and then we’re going to work on conditioning. We’ve got a long way to go.”

Cabot’s first matchup went poorly for the Panthers. Hazen stopped two Cabot drives on downs and three more with interceptions. The Panthers were able to score once on a pass deflection that fell into an unintended receiver’s hand, but the Hornets scored on five of their six drives.

Cabot beat Des Arc 3-1, and then lost to Lonoke by the same margin, again scoring on a deflected pass that dropped into the arms of Cale Eddington.

“The tip drill was our best play,” Black said.

When the two Lonoke County teams met, the Jackrabbits scored first on a 30-yard fade pass from Savonte Rountree to Justin Meadows. The Lonoke receiver went up high over cornerback Cody Skinner to pull down the pass in the back left corner of the end zone.

Cabot picked up one first down, but was on its last play when a Skinner pass intended for Easton Seidl popped over Seidl’s shoulder and into Eddington’s hands at the 12-yard line. Eddington then outran a Lonoke defender to the right corner pylon for the score.

Cabot got a timed sack on Lonoke’s first play of the ensuing drive, but gave up a touchdown on the second play. Rountree found Casey Martin cutting up the middle near the 25-yard line. Martin made the catch and ran untouched into the end zone.

Cabot’s next drive ended with an interception after Seidl was accidentally tripped while running his route. With no officials present, Black made no protest and possession changed hands. Cabot stopped Lonoke on its next drive, but also failed to score again.

Lonoke’s next drive took several plays. It was almost stopped before one first down, but Logan Dozier made a catch near the home sideline and juked a defender to gain enough yardage to keep possession.

Lonoke’s next first down put the ball at the 2-yard line. On second down, Cody Nabors knocked down a pass intended for Meadows. Lonoke’s final play looked almost exactly like the last, with Nabors coming over Meadows’ shoulder to get a hand on the ball, but this time Meadows held on for the touchdown.

“Justin’s got great speed and he’s going to be a key part of things for us,” Bost said of Meadows. “We got one back that we lost after ninth grade in Casey. He’s a good addition for us. He’s the second fastest kid we’ve got and he showed some good things today.”

After opening up the quarterback position in the spring and encouraging competition for Rountree, the returning starter from last year has secured the position again.

“We looked at Dozier and he’s going to run some wildcat quarterback for us, but Rountree has come a long. He’s throwing a nice ball and making good reads. He’s looking pretty good back there. But he’s like the rest of us. We’ve got some improving to do.”