Saturday, October 22, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Bryant rips through Panthers’ D

Leader staff writer

Cabot was no match Friday night for Bryant’s no-huddle, fast-paced passing game as the Hornets more than doubled up on the Panthers, 48-20. It was the most lopsided Bryant victory over the Panthers since it beat Cabot 38-14 in 2007, despite the fact that Razorback commitment Jarrod Barnes was back on the field after missing just one game with a high ankle sprain.

Barnes was not in at quarterback, but did catch several passes as a wideout, which is his most likely position in college.

The Hornets and Panthers traded a pair of touchdowns early in the first half before the Hornets pulled ahead 28-14 at the half and never looked back.

Surprisingly both teams were almost even in the passing department through the first two quarters, with Hornets’ Ren Hefley passing for 159 yards, and Cabot’s Cody Skinner throwing for 140 yards.

But by the end of the game Skinner’s favorite passing targets were Barnes and the Bryant defense as Skinner threw three interceptions.

Despite the interceptions and three face-masking calls against Cabot – two on one series of plays – and resulting in touchdowns, the Panthers had some bright moments.

Barnes scored on a touchdown pass, grabbing it one-handed between defensive players. He also stayed focus and caught another pass that bounced off a Hornet player.

Halfback Braxton Burton broke through for two long runs and ended up with more than 75 rushing yards.

Neither team scored the first quarter, but Bryant scored twice in the last three minutes of the first half to take a two-touchdown lead.

Cabot tied the game at about the three-minute mark as Skinner hit Barnes on a 16-yard “highlight film” TD. Another Mason Martin PAT and the score was tied again.

Bryant went ahead on a 26-yard touchdown run by Landon Smith.

As Cabot tried to counter, Skinner threw an interception that was grabbed by Bryant’s Collin Welch.

Two plays later with less than 18 seconds left in the half, the Hornets scored on a pass play from Hefley to Recce Coates, making it 28-14 at halftime.

Cabot got on the board one more time near the end of the third quarter as Skinner hit Barnes again on a 28-yard pass play for the score.

The Panthers missed the extra point try and the fourth quarter was all Bryant until the last ditch try by Cabot’s Seidl to score after time had expired.

Cabot is now 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the 7A-Central with the top two teams in the league left. The Panthers will host Fort Smith Northside next week. The Grizzlies lost 35-28 to North Little Rock on Friday.