Saturday, October 03, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot plows under Marion

Leader sportswriter

The Cabot Panthers improved to 5-0 on the season with another mercy-rule victory Friday, this one a 42-20 victory over the Marion Patriots in 7A/6A-East action at Panther Stadium.

Cabot (5-0, 2-0) scored the first 28 points of the game before giving up an 80-yard touchdown on the final play of the first quarter. The Panthers scored the only touchdown of the second quarter to lead 35-7 at halftime, and added another seven points on their second possession of the third quarter to invoke the sportsmanship rule.

“Offensively, we had a pretty good night,” said Cabot coach Mike Malham. “Overall, we got the job done. We did what we had to do to get the win. They (Marion) are much improved. They beat us in the second half, but we got to play some JV kids in the second half, so that got them some more experience.

“We’re pleased. We’ve just got to start getting ready for West Memphis now. They’re the only ones next week that can beat us.”

Cabot scored on its first offensive series. Marion (3-2, 0-2) went three-and-out on its first possession, and the Panther offense found the end zone in six plays. The touchdown came on a 13-yard option keeper by quarterback Jarrod Barnes with 8:52 remaining in the opening quarter, and Caleb Shulte’s PAT made it 7-0 Cabot.

The Panthers started that drive at the Marion 35, thanks to a 16-yard punt by the Patriots. Because of the punting struggles, Marion went for it on fourth down at its own 25-yard line on the Patriots’ second possession.

The fourth-down pass by quarterback Taylor Holmes was incomplete, his sixth-straight incompletion, and Cabot took over at the Marion 25. From there, Cabot scored in three plays, with the TD coming on a 14-yard run by Alex Roberts. Shulte’s PAT made it 14-0 Panthers.

Austin Morse scored the next two TDs for Cabot. The first was from 11 yards out with 2:36 left in the first quarter. The second was a 63-yard run with eight seconds left in the quarter. Both of Shulte’s extra points gave the hosts a 28-0 cushion.

Marion’s first score came on the next offensive play. Starting from its own 20, Holmes connected with receiver Collin Chambers in the middle of the field and he raced 80 yards for the TD. The extra point made it 28-7, and that was the score at the end of one.

The Panthers turned it over on their next offensive series, but followed that drive with a 13-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a 7-yard TD run by Roberts. The PAT by Shulte put the hosts up 35-7 with 2:18 left in the first half, and that was the score at halftime.

Cabot received the second-half kickoff and marched the ball inside the Patriots’ 10-yard line, but turned it over on downs. Marion went three-and-out, though, and from the 5-yard line, Holmes was set to punt, but botched the low snap and Cabot recovered the ball at the 1.

Jess Reed then took the dive play the distance for the score, and the extra point by Shulte made the score 42-7, which invoked the continuous clock, sportsmanship rule with 7:34 left in the third quarter.

Marion scored on its next offensive series. The drive was aided by a couple of penalties in the Panther secondary, and the score came on a 55-yard pass from Holmes to receiver Devin Blakely with 5:40 left in the third quarter.

The extra-point attempt was blocked by linebacker Easton Seidl, which made the score 42-13. Cabot’s starters didn’t play in the fourth quarter, and Marion added the game’s final score with 1:34 remaining.

That touchdown came on a 6-yard run by Tom Young on fourth down. The extra point set the final score.

Cabot finished the night with 384 yards of offense, all of which came on the ground. Barnes totaled 97 yards rushing on 12 carries with one touchdown, but Roberts led the Panthers with 104 yards and two TDs on 13 carries. Morse had 90 yards and two TDs on six carries.

Marion had 303 yards of offense Friday.