Saturday, September 19, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot cruises against J.A. Fair

Leader sportswriter

Cabot’s final nonconference game of the season went as expected against struggling J.A. Fair, as the Panthers jumped out to a 42-point lead by halftime and coasted to a 42-6 mercy-rule win Friday night at Panther Stadium.

The winless War Eagles (0-3) struggled from the moment the ball was kicked off, but did manage to score their first offensive touchdown of the season late in the second half. Fair fumbled the opening return, and Cabot covered the loose ball at the Fair 47-yard line.

The Panthers (3-0) marched the ball downfield on their first offensive possession, but fumbled the ball inside the 5-yard line and Fair recovered it in the end zone for a touchback. The War Eagles committed the second of their eight turnovers on the fifth play of the ensuing drive, and Cabot’s offense took over at the Fair 41.

This time, Cabot was able to get it into the end zone. On the seventh play of the drive, running back Austin Morse ran 6 yards for the game’s opening score, and Caleb Shulte kicked the extra point to give CHS an early 7-0 advantage with 5:21 left in the first quarter.

Fair turned it over for the third time on its next offensive possession, this time at its own 28, and Cabot scored in five plays, capping the drive with a 2-yard TD run off the left side by fullback Kolton Eads. Shulte’s PAT gave the Panthers a 14-0 lead with 1:18 left in the opening quarter.

The War Eagles didn’t turn it over on their next offensive series, but had to punt on the fifth play of the drive. Cabot’s offense took over at the Fair 45, and on the first play of that possession, Braxton Burton scored on a 45-yard run with 10:14 to play in the half. The PAT made it 21-0 Panthers.

Another Fair fumble on the ensuing kickoff gave the Panthers the ball at the War Eagles’ 8-yard line, and after a 7-yard run by quarterback Jarrod Barnes, Burton took the second play up the gut for a 1-yard score. The PAT made it 28-0 Panthers with 9:25 left in the second quarter.

Cabot coach Mike Malham pulled the majority of his starters after the score, but the Panthers still managed two more touchdowns before halftime. The first of those scores came on an 8-yard run by William Niles with 3:23 to go in the half, and the second was on the defensive side of the ball.

On the second play of the following possession, Fair quarterback Edrion Lewis fumbled after taking a hit from his blindside, and Cabot’s Corey Shock scooped and scored with 2:15 left till halftime. Shulte made both PATs to set the halftime margin at 42-0.

The clock ran continuously throughout the second half, because of the 35-point mercy-rule margin. Fair received the opening kickoff and scored on that drive.

The War Eagles capped the eight-play drive with a 27-yard touchdown pass from Lewis to Berry Sykes with 6:35 to go in the third quarter. The 2-point try was no good, setting the final score.

Cabot finished the night with 244 yards of offense, all of which came on the ground. The Panthers had 215 of those yards in the first half. Fair totaled 101 yards of offense, 79 of which came in the second half.

Burton led the Cabot rushing attack with 46 yards and two TDs on two carries. Alex Roberts had five carries for 32 yards. Adam Flores had five carries for 31 yards. Niles had seven carries for 25 yards and a score. Eads had four carries for 24 yards and a score. Kaleb Schmidt also totaled 24 yards on four carries.

For Fair, Lewis finished the game 5 for 11 passing for 55 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Datrick Johnson led the War Eagles’ backfield with 11 carries for 24 yards.

Cabot will open 7A/6A-East Conference play at North Little Rock this coming Friday at 7 p.m.