Tuesday, October 10, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Panthers try to right ship at Central

By RAY BENTON Leader sports editor

The Cabot Panther football team has to regroup after playing its worst game of the season last week in a 42-14 loss at Conway. The Panthers stay on the road and make the short trip to Quigley Stadium to face the Central Tigers.

Central has lost five-straight since winning its season opener against Rogers-Heritage, but Cabot coach Mike Malham is not expecting anything easy, and fully expects to lose if his team plays like it did last week.

“If we keep playing like that we can’t beat anybody,” said Malham. “I don’t know. We got off to a pretty good start to the season. That was a pleasant surprise considering all the kids we’ve got out there that haven’t played before. But it all fell to pieces last Friday night.

“There’s a lot of blame to go around. They played pretty good and we didn’t play well at all. I didn’t do a good job; the coaches didn’t do a good job of getting them ready. It was a fiasco. I guess those things happen. Hopefully we’ll get our mind on business and be more prepared than we were. We got four tough ones left, and if we don’t get our act together quick, it could turn ugly.

One piece of good news for Cabot (4-2, 2-1) is that starting fullback Adam Flores returned to practice this week after missing the last three games with an injury. Division I prospect at defensive tackle, Dayonte Roberts, might also return after missing the last three games as well.

“Flores is practicing this week,” Malham said. “He’s a different type of back than Morales. He’s a lot stronger but Morales gives you more speed.

We’re glad to have him back because he adds a different style, but it hasn’t been a huge problem. One place we have some depth is in the backfield.

“Now we could use another D lineman. Right now we’ve got three sophomores players across there. They’ve been doing a pretty good job, but that’s not ideal for 7A football. We’ll know if he’ll be back later this week.”

Central has played a tough schedule over the last five games. Four of the losses were to 6-0 Bentonville West, 6-0 West Memphis, 6-0 North Little Rock and 6-0 Bryant. NLR and Bryant are the top-two ranked teams in 7A, and Central’s losses were 31-20 and 35-20 respectively. The other loss was 35-20 at Fort Smith Northside (2-4)

“They played ‘em pretty tight,” Malham said. “They’ve got athletes and a good coaching staff, just like everybody else in this conference. If we don’t get ready to play better than we did last week we’re going to get worn out.”