Saturday, November 05, 2011

SPORTS>>’Rabbits fall back fast in Clinton loss

Leader sports editor

Lonoke will be the four seed in the class 4A state playoffs that begin next week. The Jackrabbits went to Clinton with third place on the line, and was routed 55-28 by the Yellow Jackets. Clinton scored the first 28 points of the game and never led by less than 21 after that point.

Lonoke wasn’t entirely without bright spots heading into the postseason. Sophomore Grant Dewey took over at quarterback in the second quarter after six consecutive incomplete passes. Dewey entered the game at the 7:13 mark with the Jackrabbits trailing 28-0. He made an immediate impact, completing a 53-yard touchdown pass on third and long.

All four of Lonoke’s touchdown drives took less than two minutes, and two of them took less than 60 seconds, but the Rabbit defense couldn’t stop Clinton’s multiple-set offense.

The Yellow Jackets alternated between the spread and the wing T formation, and were equally successful in both.

It was senior night at Clinton High and it was seniors who did the damage. Running back Dillon Toney had 132 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns.

Clinton scored on its first four possessions, with Toney scoring the first on a 1-yard run and the fourth on a 12-yard reception. Between his scores, wing back Skyler Donahue scored on a 17-yard run and quarterback Park Parish got a 1-yard keeper to put the home team up 28 points.

After Dewey’s touchdown pass, Clinton went down the field and scored, going 47 yards in four plays with Donahue getting another 17-yard touchdown run with 4:06 left in the half.

Lonoke junior D.J. Burton, who started at quarterback, moved to running back after Dewey entered the game. After a 13-yard run and a 17-yard completion by Dewey, Burton took the handoff and raced 35 yards for the score. T.J. Scott’s extra point made it 35-14 with 3:23 left in the half. That’s how it remained until intermission.

Lonoke got it to start the second half, but Clinton scored the first two touchdowns to invoke the sportsmanship rule with 3:47 left in the third quarter.

The Yellow Jackets went 42 yards in six plays after Lonoke turned it over on downs. Parish dropped back to pass but took off for a 13-yard scoring run when he found no one open.

After three Lonoke plays and a punt, Clinton marched 61 yards in seven plays with another 1-yard plunge by Toney capping the drive.

Lonoke’s third scoring drive took just 90 seconds. Three-straight completions by Dewey ate up 65 yards and made it 49-21.

Lonoke’s defense finally stopped Clinton on the next drive, but the Rabbits couldn’t respond with any points.

Clinton went up 55-21 on a 20-yard pass from backup quarterback David Keeling to Devin Shubert with 2:11left to play.

Lonoke set the final margin with a two-play, 80-yard drive that lasted 46 seconds.

Clinton finished with 471 total yards to 402 for Lonoke. Dewey completed 12 of 20 pass attempts for 246 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.

The loss drops Lonoke to 3-7 overall and 3-4 in the 4A-2 Conference. The Jackrabbits will travel to the third place team in the 4A-4 Conference next week in the first round of the playoffs.

Clinton will host Maumelle next Friday.

SPORTS>>Beebe still No. 3 seed after losing East finale

Special to The Leader

Beebe was looking to enter the 2011 playoffs on a winning streak, but regardless of Friday night’s loss to Batesville, the Badgers will enter the playoffs as the number three seed out of the 5A East Conference.

The Badgers fell to the 5A East champion Pioneers 28-14 at “Bro” Erwin Stadium. It’s Batesville’s second straight conference champion ship, and its seventh win in a row. The Pioneers finished the regular season undefeated in conference play.

“I thought our kids played hard, but Batesville’s a good team,” said Beebe Head Coach John Shannon about his team’s effort. “We knew coming in we couldn’t make any mistakes, and we just made too many mistakes tonight.”

The first half was a defensive battle as both sides played well. Batesville got on the board first when Beebe senior quarterback Dustin Stallnacker was intercepted by Daniel Neal, and Neal returned the interception 30 yards for the Pioneer touchdown. Mario Garcia kicked the extra point to give Batesville the early 7-0 lead.

The Pioneers tried to score again before the half with a field goal, but missed from 26-yards out, leaving the score 7-0 going into halftime.

The Badger defense remained strong going into the second half as Batesville’s first play of the half was a turnover. Pioneer quarterback Jacob Hardin was intercepted by senior Matt Pursell after the Batesville offense tried a reverse pass play.

The Badger offense couldn’t respond though, as the offense went three-and-out. Batesville countered as soon its offense took the field when Hardin hit junior wideout Athan Dockery for a 77-yard touchdown pass. It was their first play of the drive. The extra point gave Batesville a 14-0 lead with 9:59 left in the third quarter.

Beebe tried to stay in the game offensively going for it on fourth-and-three from their own 47-yard line, but failed to convert. Batesville responded with a seven play drive ending with Hardin taking the quarterback sneak into the endzone from one yard out, giving the Pioneers a 21-0 lead with 3:29 to go in the third.

The Beebe offense didn’t quit however, as Stallnacker found senior tight end Ethan Boyce wide open in the middle of the field for a 65-yard touchdown pass. Pursell kicked the extra point to make the score 21-7.

Both offenses sputtered the rest of the game. Batesville’s Hardin tried to take another quarterback sneak into the endzone, but fumbled and the Badger defense covered the ball at their own two-yard line.

On the Badger offense’s first play of the series, Stallnacker hit senior running back Jeremy Van Winkle on an out route, but Van Winkle fumbled the ball after being hit and Batesville’s Cody Vaughn returned the fumble seven yards for a touchdown.

“I think we had three turnovers tonight,” Shannon said, “and two of them they took back for touchdowns. We got beat 28-14 and their defense scored two touchdowns. You can’t make mistakes like that against a good football team.”

The Beebe offense found the endzone late when senior running back Jay Holdway, who ended the night with 28 carries for 123 yards, scored from one yard out with 2:38 left in the game to set the final margin.

“When you get in the playoffs and it’s down to 16 teams and no longer 32, it’s the best 16 teams in the state,” Shannon said about the team’s upcoming playoff game next week. “We faced one of the best ones tonight, and feel like we hung with them pretty good. So, I feel like it got us ready to go play better competition in the state.”

Beebe will travel to Watson Chapel next week for the first round of the 2011 playoffs. The Wildcats finished the season 8-2 and closed out their regular season on Thursday with a 51-21 win over Sylvan Hills.

SPORTS>>Carlisle holds on for crown

Leader sports writer

HAZEN — The rivalry lived up to the hype as visiting Carlisle claimed the 6-2A Conference championship outright with a defensively dominated 12-8 victory over Hazen at Hornet Field on Friday.

The Bison (10-0, 7-0) held the ball for nearly 75 percent of the game, and stacked the box defensively against Matt Tennison, the Hornets’ standout senior running back, especially in the second half.

Carlisle also relied on its depth at running back with good nights for sophomore Bo Weddle and senior Braxton Petrus.

Tennison was held to 51 yards rushing on 13 carries although he did haul in Hazen’s only score on a 20-yard pass play from quarterback Devin Bonds with 36 seconds remaining.

“Ball control and good defense – that’s what we base our whole program around,” Carlisle coach Scott Waymire said. “We did a good job of executing against a good Hazen team.”

The Bison took their opening drive to start the second half 71 yards in 11 plays to score on a play-action rollout pass from senior quarterback Zac King to Petrus from eight yards out, and also managed to burn almost seven minutes off the clock, taking it down to the 5:16 mark of the third quarter.

Hazen tried to answer by going to its biggest playmaker in Tennison, which helped move the chains once, but on the second set of downs, the Bison defense stood up and held Tennison to no gain on first down, and stuffed him for a yard loss on third and six from the Hazen 47-yard line to force a punt.

“Tennison – we’ve seen him since he was a seventh grader,” Waymire said. “He’s a very good ball player, plays with a lot of heart. He has a lot of talent to go along with that, and that’s a deadly combination. Our guys know that. Our guys know Matt Tennison is a ball player, and you’ve got to stop him if you’re going to beat Hazen.”

Carlisle took the lead and established clock dominance on its second possession of the game with a drive that spanned the 3:27 mark of the first quarter to the seven-minute mark of the second quarter, going 80 yards in 16 plays ending with an option keep by King from four yards. Weddle was stopped short on the two-point conversion attempt to keep the score at 6-0.

The Bison did the hard way with a series of short gains mostly of three and four yards, with an eight-yard rush by Weddle on the second play of the drive and a seven-yard gain by senior Ty Vaughn later in the drive that took the ball down to the Hazen 12-yard line.

Hazen threatened to come back and tie with a long drive of its own, going 49 yards in 10 plays all the way down to the Bison 13-yard line before sophomore Deron Ricks came up with the defensive play of the game for Carlisle. Ricks stripped the ball from Bonds on a quarterback keep and also fell on it to give possession back to the Bison with 2:43 left to play in the first half.

Carlisle came up empty on the scoreboard on its final drive, but the nine minutes of clock the Bison let tick away put Hazen’s back against the wall down two scores with just over four minutes left to play once the Hornets finally got the ball back at their own 12-yard line.

The drive appeared as though it might stall when the Hornets were flagged for holding to negate an eight-yard pickup by Bonds to put Hazen back at its own 33 facing a second-and-22 situation, but Bonds found an open receiver for a 34-yard pass play, this time putting the ball at Carlisle’s 33-yard line.

The Hornets then caught a break when Carlisle went offside on fourth-and-four at the 27 to move the chains again. Bonds rushed down to the 20 on the next play to set up the scoring pass.

Bonds scrambled frantically from the middle to the left and towards the middle again before spotting Tennison running left in the end zone with Weddle covering.

Tennison and Weddle both went up and came down with the ball, but Tennison wrestled it away after hitting the turf just as the official ran up to signal a touchdown.

Greg Metcalf hauled in the two-point conversion pass from Bonds to set the final margin.

The Bison rushed 54 times for 263 total yards, led by Weddle’s 22 carries for 123 yards.

Petrus added 80 yards on 16 totes and had one reception for a touchdown from King, who rushed only four times for eight yards and a touchdown on the ground as well. Chris Hart also added 11 passing yards in the first half when he hit King for a first down play in the second quarter.

The Hornets were held to 88 yards rushing while Bonds finished 7 for 9 passing for 70 yards and a score to push the overall total to 158 yards.

The Bison will have a bye next week as 6-2A champs, and will host the winner between the 4-2A No. 4 seed and the No. 5 seed out of the 6-2A on Nov. 18 at Fred C. Hardke Field.

“They’re a good group,” Waymire said. “Every Monday, they’ve been focused. They take each week at a time and each game at a time, and I’ve been proud of that. I don’t see them doing anything different. They’re a special group of young men, and just proud to be a part of them.”

SPORTS>>Jacksonville upsets Marion

Leader sportswriter

Jacksonville played like a team with plenty left to fight for as it outlasted and upset a tough Marion Patriot team 20-16 in the final week of 6A-East Conference play at Jan Crow Stadium on Thursday. The win guarantees the Red Devils a four seed and a home playoff game next week in the first round of the class 6A playoffs. A loss and a Mountain Home win over Searcy on Friday would have dropped Jacksonville to the five seed. The Red Devils wanted to remove all question by overcoming a terrible outing last week and pulling off the improbable win.

Junior Kevin Richardson hauled in a 15-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Tirrell Brown with 56 seconds remaining to secure the victory for Jacksonville (5-5, 4-3). The Red Devils flexed their muscles defensively by holding the Patriots out of their red zone on three drives, and holding on two other trips inside the red zone by Marion.

The Patriots finally conceded their first punt of the game with 9:48 left to play and trailing 13-8.

Senior defensive end David Johnson lived up to his nickname of “The Animal” with a series of big hits for losses against the Patriots. Johnson repeatedly sniffed out third and fourth down plays in the first half to force turnovers on downs.

“That’s as big as the homecoming win we had last year against Searcy,” Jacksonville coach Rick Russell said. “The kids all played extremely hard. It was senior night – our seniors played their best football. The young guys played their best football, and that’s what we ask them to do. It’s a great win for us.”

The Patriots (7-3, 4-3) dominated the clock, but lost the battle for field position due to a series of stalled drives. Marion marched into or near Jacksonville’s red zone five different times, only to come away empty handed after going for it on fourth down each time.

Richardson proved to be a playmaker regardless of what position he was put in for Jacksonville, scoring on a 76-yard touchdown scramble from behind center to start the second half before catching the go-ahead touchdown pass from Brown in the final minute. He threw, ran and caught a pass for all three of Jacksonville’s scores in that order.

All told, Richardson was 5 for 13 passing for 53 yards with a touchdown and an interception, he carried five times for 89 yards and had just one reception, but that one reception proved to be Jacksonville’s biggest.

Richardson started the game at quarterback, but Brown found his way into the lineup late in the second quarter. In the second half, the two traded off frequently, sometimes after one play, with Richardson running a Wildcat-type of scheme while Brown primarily stuck with the spread.

“With Richardson, there’s more of a running threat, so they have to play a little wider,” Russell said of the QB trade off between Richardson and Brown. “With Tee Brown, there’s more of a passing threat, so they’ve got to play a little deeper. It worked to our advantage. The offensive coaches did a great job in practice this week.”

Jacksonville took a 7-0 lead when Richardson hit junior tight end Brandon Brockman for a 27-yard touchdown pass with 9:58 remaining in the first quarter of the Red Devils’ opening drive.

Marion responded with a 15-play, 63-yard drive that featured 10 rushes by senior running back Tre Franklin. Franklin finally finished off the drive at the 1:54 mark of the first quarter with a one-yard rumble, and sophomore Corey Garrett, the other half of Marion’s rushing attack, ran in the two-point conversion to put the Pats up 8-7.

Franklin and Garrett provided nearly all of the Patriots’ yards, with Franklin rushing 36 times for 173 yards and Garrett carrying 21 times for 113 yards.

The remaining backs combined for 32 additional yards to bring Marion’s total to 318 yards.

Jacksonville struggled at time offensively with 207 total yards.

But the Devils defense carried the night.

Johnson made a big stop on Garrett on fourth-and-seven at the Jacksonville 10-yard line early in the second quarter, and ended another Marion drive in the final minute of the half when he stuffed Ralph Smith for a three-yard loss. Johnson sacked Patriots quarterback Cody Gross on the opening drive of the second half for a seven-yard loss.

“David Johnson, you know they call him ‘The Animal’ – he’s a big-time player,” Russell said. “He’s got speed, strength, he loves football, has a motor that won’t quit. He’s made plays for us all year, and in his last regular-season football game, we’re so proud of him, he did a great job.”

Richardson’s 76-yard touchdown run was aided by a bruising block from Brockman up field, as Richardson cut back to the right and easily outran Marion’s secondary.

Marion regained the lead with 2:32 left to play when Garrett scored from nine yards out to convert an 11-play drive.

Regardless of the outcome, and whatever else happens around the conference, the Red Devils are locked into the No. 4 seed, and will have a home playoff game next week at Jan Crow.

“With the 6A/7A points system, I don’t think head-to-head matters at all,” Russell said. “Even though we beat Marion, and we’re tied with them, we’re fourth. It goes on your opponents wins based on points. It’s just crazy.

“We should have the No. 3 seed because of beating Marion head to head. But we won’t know anything until after (Friday) night, so we’re going to try and continue this effort next week.”

SPORTS>>Cabot blows by Cyclones

Leader sports editor

The Cabot Panthers kept things rolling as the season ended Thursday night at Russellville. For the second-straight week, the Panthers rolled up more than 500 yards of offense and easily outpaced their opponent, beating the Cyclones 55-30 to finish the season 3-7.

Five different Panthers got into the end zone and Cabot threw for over 100 yards for the third time this season. Quarterback Zach Craig completed seven of nine pass attempts for 132 yards and a touchdown. Cabot rushed for 417 yards to finish with 549 total yards. Russellville did a good job of taking away the halfback dive that was so effective against Van Buren last week, but Cabot answered with the fullback and by running the option effectively.

Cabot didn’t break the game open until the third quarter, although it threatened to do so in the second.

Cabot took over on downs with 1:42 left in the first half and scored with 19 seconds on the clock to go up 21-10. The momentum took a big turn on the ensuing kickoff. Cabot kicked deep for the first time in the game, and it proved costly. Russellville sophomore Jalen Curtis took the kickoff 80 yards right up the middle for a touchdown that cut the margin to four points at the break.

Cabot got the ball to start the second half and scored three unanswered touchdowns take a 41-17 lead and complete command of the game with 11:43 left in the fourth quarter.

The Cabot defense was big when it counted. Russellville didn’t get a second-half first down until the six-minute mark of the final period.

Russellville had the sharper offense out of the gate. The Cyclones started the game at their own 36-yard line and drove to the Cabot 39 before being forced to punt. Cabot went three and out, and Russellville began driving again. Starting from its own 49, the home team drove to the Cabot 22, but a holding penalty set up third and long. On the third down play, Russellville went deep, but senior defensive back Bryson Morris got his third pick in two games to give the Panthers possession at their own 22.

From that point, Russellville had nothing for Cabot’s offense.

The Panthers marched down the field in 13 plays, taking up five and a half minutes and scoring on a Mason Haley 6-yard run with 30 seconds left in the first quarter.

It got easier from there.

Russellville went on another good drive, but settled for a 34-yard field goal by John Marasco with 9:48 left in the half.

Cabot then went 76 yards in 11 plays. Senior fullback Ian Thompson got the final 12 for the score. Halfback Max Carroll kept the drive alive with a 20-yard option run on a crucial third and seven.

Russellville got a good kickoff return to the Cabot 49, but five plays yielded just 13 yards. That’s when things came together for the Cyclones. On second and nine, Cabot had the blitz on, and Russellville had the perfect call for it. Fullback Kendall Bond caught a delayed screen pass in the flat. After one broken tackle, it was smooth sailing to the end zone to make it 14-10 with 3:21 remaining in the first half.

Penalties and an errant backwards pass that lost six yards caused Cabot to sputter on its next drive, but the Panther defense held and got the ball back on downs to set up the final drive of the half.

Thompson went 23 yards to midfield on first down. Cabot then went to the air. On second and six, Craig hit Carroll for nine yards.

On the next play, he found Keith Pledger for 12 to the Russellville 14. Staying in the air, Craig found Ethan Brown for 13 yards to set up first and goal. Sophomore fullback Zach Launius plunged in from there. The third of Jesus Marquez’s seven extra points made it 21-10.

Cabot went 66 yards in 11 plays to start the second half, facing just one third down along the way. Launius picked up 20 on first down from the 21. Thompson got the final carry to make it 28-17. After a three-and-out by Russellville, Cabot went 72 yards in eight plays. Two fullback runs picked up 20. On second and five from the 48, Craig dropped back to pass off the play action and had Brown uncovered downfield.

The pass was slightly overthrown, but Brown stretched out and made a diving grab for a 31-yard gain to the Russellville 21. Craig picked up nine on the option keep and Thompson got eight more to set up first and goal at the 4. On third down, Carroll punched it in from a yard out. The PAT was blocked and Cabot led 34-17.

Russellville gave it back in just three plays and Cabot went 69 yards in four plays to make it 41-17.

Haley went around the right side for 53 yards and the score.

Russellville got another good return to the 48. After one incomplete pass, junior scatback Nick Hendrix went 51 yards to the 1. On first and goal, he got the final yard to make it 41-23 just 33 seconds after Haley’s touchdown.

Cabot got its best starting field position of the night at its own 45. After seven plays, the Panthers faced their first fourth down of the half. On fourth and three, the play action again left Brown uncovered. This time he simply had to wait for the pass inside the 5 and backpedal into the end zone for the 34-yard touchdown.

Russellville then drove 62 yards against mostly Cabot reserves. The Cyclones converted on three third downs, and scored on fourth and nine with a 36-yard pass from sophomore Cody Jones to Curtis with 3:44 left.

Now with the second-string offense in, Cabot junior Russ Rankin took the first handoff 67 yards to score and set the final margin.

Launius led the Panthers with 125 yards and a score on 21 carries. Thompson picked up 100 yards and two touchdowns on 17 totes. Haley finished with 93 total yards, including 78 rushing on eight carries and one reception for 15 yards. Brown had 78 yards and a score on three receptions. Rankins had the one run for 67 and a score. Carroll finished with 61 total yards, 34 rushing and 27 receiving.

Russellville, 1-9, finished with 336 total yards and was led by Hendrix’s 10 carries for 81 yards. The Cyclones ran for 169 and threw for 167.

Friday, November 04, 2011

TOP STORY > >Cabot chamber hosts base dinner

Leader staff writer

The Cabot Chamber of Com-merce served dinner to about 200 spouses and children of deployed airmen of Little Rock Air Force Base on Tuesday night at the Thomas Recreation Center on base. The dinner, sponsored by local businesses and area chambers, is held four times a year. It was the first time for the Cabot chamber to host.

“We wanted them to know Cabot cares. It seemed like the right thing to do, giving them a night out,” chamber director Billye Everett said.

The chamber’s military committee felt the need to support the airmen as they are keeping our country safe, Everett said. Spouses are left at home, while military personnel are sent overseas.

“It is the Cabot chamber’s and the chamber business members’ way of giving back to those who serve us,” Karen Knight, chairman of the chamber’s military committee said.

A lot of military families live in Cabot. According to Knight, 70-percent of military families based at LRAFB live in Cabot and support the community in many ways.

The chamber provided door prizes for the families, including a $450 teeth-whitening treatment provided by chamber member Dr. Scott Hill of Hill and Moudy, DDS.

Knight’s Super Foods provided a beautiful cake for dessert. “It truly was a work of art. It was four tiers — red, white and blue with American flags and other military decorations,” Everett said.

Knight said “It is a privilege to do this. In my heart, it gives me immense joy. I feel I get more in return from helping the military than I have given.”

Everett said “I am completely in awe at the response of our chamber members. Our budget of $2,000 would not stretch that far. Within 45 minutes of sending out an e-mail, we had all the money needed from our members by sponsoring tables.

“They wanted to be part of the event. We reached our goal and used it all to give spouses and their children a really great evening. We had enough money left over to buy door prizes to giveaway to the spouses throughout the evening.

“I felt that due to the slow economy it might be difficult for our members to step up to the plate and provide funding for the dinner. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

“It just proves what I have known all along. Cabot chamber members are the greatest. They love and appreciate our military men and women, and they support their chamber,” she said.

Members of the chamber’s military committee and commanders of the base’s three airlift wings helped serve dinner.

Col. Mike Minihan, commander of the 19th Airlift Wing, praised the chamber for sponsoring the event.

“This is a show of grassroots, blue collar support. It is southern hospitality. Nobody does it better than the communities of the Little Rock Air Force Base. Cabot, Austin, Ward, North Little Rock, Sherwood and Jacksonville are all good partners. It takes a community to care for the airmen and their families. It keeps the mission moving. We can’t do it by ourselves,” Minihan said.

LRAFB has 17 C-130s and more than 800 airmen deployed on missions around the world, according to Minihan.

The dinners are always packed and filled with the sounds of children. Minihan said of serving at the dinners, it is a good time to look the spouses in the eye and ask them how they are doing. He said he is concerned about the young moms. It may be their first deployment and they may not be sure who to ask to get the assistance they may need.

“We get to meet people who are in the same situations,” Megan Eaton said.

Courtney Truax said the dinner brings friends together and makes it easier to cope with the deployment of their airmen.

Lydia Pope said she enjoys socializing at the dinners. “It makes you feel like you are not alone,” she said.

Emily Sweitzer said the dinners help her to catch up with her friends. “I get a break for the night and the community supports what my husband does,” she said.

The following businesses and organizations sponsored 30 tables —

Arkansas State University at Beebe, Arkansas Federal Credit Union, Bank of the Ozarks, Beyond Boundaries Equine—Assisted Therapy Center, CenturyLink, Centennial Bank, Colton’s Restaurant, Mayor Bill Cypert and the city of Cabot, Deer Creek Mini Storage, Families Inc. Counseling Services, First Security Bank, city council member Ann Gilliam, Gracepoint Free Will Baptist Church, H&R Block, Knight’s Super Foods, The Leader and Combat Airlifter, Magic Lube, New Generation Printing, Suddenlink and Webster University.

TOP STORY > >Fundraiser planned for a free medical clinic

Leader staff writer

Last Saturday was the last day until spring for the Cabot Farmers Market but many of the bakers and crafters from the market will have their wares for sale at a holiday craft fair to raise money for the Lonoke County Christian Clinic on Nov. 18-19.

Brandy Everett, who had handmade jewelry at the market this summer, is helping to organize the event.

Everett said she had fliers for the craft fair at the market last Saturday. She was surprised at how many people didn’t know about the clinic, which had its grand opening about a month ago but is not yet open on a regular basis.

The free clinic is for Lonoke County residents who don’t have insurance and are too young for Medicare and are too old for the state healthcare program for children.

Everett said all the booth rent from the fair will be donated to the clinic. She hopes to rent at least 50 spaces at $20 each.

Everett called the fair a win, win, win. The vendors will get one more chance to sell the things they make and the clinic will get the money from the booths. But more importantly, she said, people in the community will find out about the clinic.

The craft fair will be held rain or shine because it will be inside the clinic at 502 Richie Road, the old city gym.

The craft fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18 and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19.

For more information or to rent a booth, contact Everett at 501 605-7177 or

TOP STORY > > Griffin: Don’t jeopardize defense

Leader editor-in-chief

Following this week’s announcement of big layoffs of civilian workers in the military—including 41 positions at Little Rock Air Force Base—Rep. Tim Griffin (R-Ark.) is warning against cutting too many civilian jobs.

“The civilian jobs being eliminated at the LRAFB are a result of the restructuring of the civilian workforce nationwide due to anticipated budget cuts and the need to increase efficiencies at the U.S. Department of Defense,” Griffin told The Leader on Friday.

“I am very concerned with the loss of these jobs and have expressed my concerns regarding the size and scope of proposed cuts to our nation’s defense,” said Griffin, a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

About half of the civilian jobs that will be cut on base have not been filled for some time because of a hiring freeze. Eleven employees have been offered other positions, while the search is on to find jobs for nine others, according to Bob Oldham, a base spokesman.

In addition, about a dozen officers on base have been told to leave the Air Force. Nationwide, some 400 officers are squeezed out.

The Air Force, like other services, would see its budget shrink and benefits for service members squeezed if Congress goes through with plans to cut spending across the board.

The Air Force budget of $119.6 billion is down $4.5 billion and more cuts are likely.

The spending cuts are required under a debt agreement that calls for $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions over the next decade.

Items on the chopping block are weapons procurement, health-insurance premiums and pension benefits. Those last two items cost the military about $100 billion a year.

But a bipartisan budget supercommittee assigned to making across-the-board-spending cuts has failed to reach an agreement. Many Republicans now favor abandoning military cuts and want reductions in other parts of the budget.

Griffin still hopes there will be an agreement to cut overall spending. But he wants to avoid automatic cuts, or sequestration, if there is no agreement.

According to a spokesman, Griffin “has always viewed sequestration as the least appealing aspect of the budget agreement from August. But he remains hopeful that the members of the supercommittee will be able to present a proposal for reducing our deficit by the Nov. 23 deadline, thereby avoiding sequestration.”

Griffin told The Leader, “I understand the need to find efficiencies at the Department of Defense during these difficult economic times. However, we must ensure that our military receives the necessary support to defend our country: That is our federal government’s constitutional duty.

“I will continue to fight for the men and women of the LRAFB community and the critical role they play in our nation’s defense,” the congressman said.

The Air Force has eliminated approximately 9,000 civilian positions, although approximately 5,900 jobs were added in top-priority areas.

The 19th Airlift Wing at LRAFB is part of Air Mobility Command, where 657 civilian positions are to be eliminated in 2012 and 935 more in 2013.

“For the majority of our civilians affected by this adjustment we are diligently working to reassign them into other available positions wherever possible,” said Col. Steven Beatty, director of manpower, personnel and services at Air Mobility Command.

The military is scrambling to make personnel cuts less painful.

“We clearly understand the turbulence these and future reductions will cause in the workforce,” Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, the Air Force chief of staff, said in an announcement Thursday after members of Congress criticized the cuts.

Schwartz said the Air Force would try to reduce jobs through attrition and moving some workers to other jobs to avoid forced layoffs.

Even as major military operations continue around the world, the nation’s armed forces are being asked to do more and could see higher health-insurance costs and lower pension benefits.

Schwartz said a belt tightening is inevitable.

He said the service can get the job done even if the cuts are continued.

The challenge facing the Air Force is how to do more with fewer resources, including fewer new planes already in the planning stages that may not get built.

The Air Force has 330,000 service members, down from 600,000 in 1996.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

EVENTS >> 11-5-11


Sharon’s Parent’s Association will hold its annual chili cookoff at Sharon’s Dance and Gymanstics on James Street in Jacksonville from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday. There will be a raffle, kiddie games and a talent show. The cost is $5 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under. This includes all you can eat — chili, hot dogs and a drink.

For more information, call Tracy at 501-940-9703.


Beebe First United Methodist Church will hold a rummage sale and bazaar from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

A breakfast of fried pies and cinnamon rolls will begin at 7 a.m, and a soup luncheon will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Jelly, mustard, candies, cakes, crafts and quilts will be sold.


The Cabot Junior Auxiliary will hold a fundraiser Bunko Bash at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the National Guard Armory, 103 Commerce Park Drive. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Hors d’oeuvres served at 6 p.m.

Entry fee is $30.


Lonoke County Court will hold a hearing at 2 p.m. Monday to read letters from the viewers of Blue Bird Way, a road the county judge may close. The meeting will take place in the Court House Annex, 210 S. Center St. in Lonoke.

For more information, call 501-676-6403.


The Cabot American Legion will hold a Veterans Day ceremony at 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 11 at the Veterans Park Community Center.


Jacksonville residents are invited to bring their dogs to the city’s dog park from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Dupree Park, 1700 Redmond Road. The free event, dubbed Yappy Hour, will be held the first Sunday of each month.


The Cabot School District will hold a fundraiser for Cabot Christmas Alliance at Larry’s Pizza from 5 to 9 p.m. next Wednesday. Principals will be waiters, and all tips and donations will benefit the Christmas charity group.

Kindergarten through fourth-grade principals will work from 5 to 7 p.m., and fifth-grade through 12th-grade principals will serve from 7-9 p.m. Nonperishable food and toys can also be donated at the event.


Christmas parade themes and dates have been set in Sherwood, Jacksonville and Cabot.
Jacksonville’s parade is set for 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. The theme is “Storybook Christmas.” Entry fee is $20. Deadline to register is Nov. 18. Entry forms are available at Jacksonville Boys and Girls Club, 1 Boys Club Drive.

The Sherwood Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Christmas parade at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4. The theme will be “Christmas Around the World.” For entry forms, call 501-835-7600 or e-mail

 Cabot’s Christmas Parade is set for 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11.

The theme will be “Let There Be Peace On Earth.” Dewey Faught, former director of the Cabot Chamber of Commerce, will be the grand marshal.

Entry forms are available at the Veterans Park Community Center, the Cabot chamber and online at Deadline to enter is Dec. 3. Entry fee is $10. For details, call 501-920-2122 or e-mail


 State Rep. Jane English (R-North Little Rock) will speak at the 19th Airlift Wing’s Veterans Day retreat ceremony at Little Rock Air Force Base at 4 p.m. Wednesday. The ceremony will be held at Heritage Park on base.

 The Cabot American Legion will hold a Veterans Day ceremony at 11 a.m. Friday at the Veterans Park Community Center.

 Jacksonville Christian Academy's fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade classes will hold a Veterans Day ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Friday. Veterans and active-duty military members, who will be honored for their service, are welcome. The event will be held in the auditorium of Bible Baptist Church, 3301 N. First St. in Jacksonville. Refreshments will be served.

 Jacksonville Middle School will host an all-day Veterans Day celebration Friday. Students’ parents, who are military members will be honored. Students will learn ways to express honor and respect to the flag and country.

Parents who are active-duty military members will begin the day by greeting students as they arrive on campus.

The choir, accompanied by the school band, will sing the National Anthem and other patriotic songs.

The Jacksonville High School Honor Guard will attend, as will officials from the Jacksonville Museum of Military History.

There will be lessons on flag etiquette, an obstacle course, a rock-climbing wall and speakers will discuss their military service.

The day will conclude with students writing about what they learned from the event.

Cabot Community Coalition meeting Thursday

The Cabot Community Coalition will hold its second get together at noon Thursday at The Diner, 3286 S. 2nd Street in Cabot. The coalition is a group of agencies and individuals, who provide services for those in need in the area. The public is invited to attend. For more information, call 501-529-0604.


For all veterans and their spouses, Jacksonville AARP is offering its drivers-safety class for free this month. The class begins at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16. at St Jude Catholic Church, 2403 Mc Arthur Drive. To register call 501-982-4891

This will be the final class for Elise Remond, a longtime instructor of the course. Terry Franks will teach the next course.

Cabot United Methodist Church is also offering veterans a free AARP drivers-safety course also set to begin Nov. 16. Call Jean Davenport at 501-843-5694 for details.


An autism fun group for people with Aspergers Syndrome and high-functioning autism between the ages of 18 and 25 will be held at 11 a.m. next Saturday.

The program will be held in the KFC Panther room, 1003 W. Main St. For details, call Beverly Luck at 479-629-6335 or Janice Jones at 501-605-6721.


This month, the Sherwood Animal Shelter is holding its $5 felines drive to help with its over abundance of cats. The shelter wants to find their cats good homes at rock-bottom prices.

The shelter is open from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from noon to 3:30 p.m. Saturday.


Jacksonville Parks and Recreation will hold its 34th annual holiday craft and gift sale Nov. 19 and 20 at the Jacksonville Community Center.

Jewelry, painted wood, dolls, quilts, Christmas decorations and other handmade items will be for sale. Concessions and bake goods will also be sold. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children ages 12-18.

Vendor spaces are available. For more information, call Dana at 501-982-0818.


Mount Pisgah Baptist Church, 1017 Ray Road in Jacksonville, will celebrate Rev. Craig B. Collier Sr.’s 20th year with the church. The event will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20 at First Baptist Church, 2015 Main St. in North Little Rock. Pastor Quinton E. Hammonds of Birmingham, Ala., will give the sermon.

The theme is “A Spiritual Calling–Continuing to Minister to God’s People,” Timothy 1:12-17.

The public is invited. For more information, call 501-982-6215.


The North Metro Medical Center’s Auxiliary will host its annual fall book sale from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 14 and 15. The sale will be held in the hosptial’s cafeteria at 1400 Braden St. in Jacksonville.

Proceeds will help purchase hospital equipment. The group encourages residents to make the event part of their Christmas shopping. For details, call Ann Lucas at 501-988-5020.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

TOP STORY >> Fence was city’s to tear down

Leader staff writer

Sherwood Mayor Virginia Hillman doesn’t understand all the brouhaha over a city-owned fence that it recently tore down.

Some Austin Lakes residents are upset that a fence across the street from their homes in front of the Park Crest Apartments was recently taken down by the mayor and others.

The mayor said the developer put up the fence when working on the subdivision and then deeded the area between the adjoining apartments and the street to the city as an easement. She said that meant the fence also became city property.

“It had gotten into such disarray,” the mayor explained, “that it was best to tear it down.” She added that the fence didn’t go anywhere and was a safety hazard.

But some area residents believe the mayor acted improperly.

Leslie Durbin said, “The city of Sherwood does not own the property where the fence was torn down by Mayor Virginia Hillman. The mayor tore down private property. She owes the residents of Austin Lakes on the Bay over $3,000. I am not a lawyer, but I believe her actions were illegal.”

The mayor is adamant that the fence was on a right-of-way. “It concerned public property, which the city maintains,” she said.

The mayor is also worried about the consistent bickering about the fencing between the apartment complex and the subdivision. “Our fence requirements are for visual screening, not to block people in or out of areas,” she said.

Ordinance 1492 states, “Any fence or screen constructed shall not extend beyond the front building line on any lot or beyond the side building line on corner lots. Said screening is intended to minimize intrusions of commercial development with abutting single family residential. These regulations are designed to provide improved livability between residential and commercial uses by defining policy and standards regarding the placement, retention, or placement of areas designated as screen borders or buffer areas.”

Zoning Ordinance 729 also dictates the height of fences at no more than eight feet, and that the city engineer needs to approve the location, materials and construction method of the fence.

Before approving a fence the city engineer will make sure it is not a traffic hazard and does not significantly obstruct views from adjoining lots. The engineer will approve materials and construction methods “in order to eliminate unsightly and dangerous fences.”

And unsightly and dangerous is what the city’s code enforcement officer, Scott Kelley, considered the fence to be dilapidated.

“We couldn’t enforce the fence requirements onto Park Crest or any other resident or business if we didn’t take care of our own fence,” both the mayor and code enforcement officer said.

The fencing ordinance is being debated by the planning commission and the council.

Planning Commission Chairman Lucien Gillham said at the commission’s September meeting that “the main thing that would be changing with this ordinance is that in the event that nonresidential and multifamily-uses sides are backed up to R-1 or R-2 residential zoning or in the event that any nonresidential district backs up to R-3 multifamily district a solid brick/masonry screening wall of 8 feet in height shall be erected to provide visual and protective barriers between properties.”

Gillham said the current ordinance said a screen shall be provided and the material location and height shall be as prescribed by the planning commission.

He said in the past developers of multifamily developments have wanted to put up a wooden fence and the commission went along with that. He said the proposed requirements would give notice that a substantial screening is required.

The city council tabled any action on the ordinance at its September meeting.

EDITORIAL >> Flat tax panaceas

Running for president as a Republican means having to promise to overhaul the tax code so that it is simpler and fairer. The assumption people are supposed to make is that they also will pay less to Uncle Sam every year, although every candidate is careful not to make that promise.

You can measure the intelligence of the candidate by whether he produces a precise plan for doing that. If he does, he is stupid. Everyone is free then to put the calculator to his plan and see how people and the government actually would be affected. It is never pretty. If you make a vague promise of a simpler and fairer tax system, like, say, Mitt Romney, you always stay above the fray. There’s nothing to criticize.

This season, Herman Cain and Rick Perry have offered their own plans: Cain’s loopy 9-9-9 plan and Perry’s so-called “flat tax,” which he calls “Cut, Balance, and Grow.” (The season requires that every campaign make promises in multiples of threes.)

Neither Cain nor Perry paid much attention in 1996 when Steve Forbes, the billionaire publisher and investor, announced a flat income tax as the cornerstone of his campaign for the presidency. Forbes proposed a single tax rate on all income. He would have eliminated all deductions—for mortgage interest, charitable contributions and everything else—but fixed personal exemptions at a high-enough level that the poor would not be overburdened with taxes. But analysts, including his Republican opponents, did the calculations and supplied the figures. It would mean a tremendous tax cut for the very rich and substantial tax increases for the middle class—that is, unless the government decided to take in a lot less money and either cut defense spending and entitlements drastically or borrow trillions more from China.

The problem is that it is easy to analyze these ideas very precisely. It’s an exercise you can do at home. If you’ve got an hour, you can calculate whether you will pay more or less under the scheme. And you can go online to the U.S. Treasury Department and download the latest summary of federal income-tax receipts for Arkansas, which breaks them down by income group and by each deduction, exemption and credit.

You can see how the plan would impact Arkansas—whether more or less would be sucked out of the Arkansas economy to pay Washington’s bills, which income class in Arkansas would pay more or less and how many Arkansas citizens are in that bracket. When President Bush was slashing income taxes, primarily on higher incomes and corporations, in 2001-04, you could measure just how each tax bill was likely to affect Arkansas, including exactly how many people with incomes above $300,000 or $1 million would be paying less and how much less on average.

Cain’s proposal—a flat percent income tax on individuals and corporations, plus a 9 percent sales tax on every purchase of a commodity or service—got quickly analyzed by his opponents and ridiculed by every tax research group, conservative or liberal, in the country. It would be a bonanza for the rich and a backbreaker for the middle class. It wasn’t as simple as Cain made it either. In the few details he supplied, you discovered that not all income was to be taxed at 9 percent. A millionaire, for example, would see his top marginal rate reduced from 35 percent to 9 percent, but on all his income from capital gains, stock dividends and other forms of investment he would pay zero. For many of the nation’s wealthiest citizens, their effective tax rate would be zero. You would make up the difference.

So Perry decided to do better. He had someone devise for him a single tax system. No sales tax to clutter it. He wanted to be able to say that his plan would be so simple that a fool could fill out his return in minutes and that he could say that people wouldn’t see their taxes raised.

What he produced was a plan that, far from being simple, would be a much bigger headache than the present nightmare. And it likely would produce so little revenue for the federal government that Congress would have to do away with much of the entitlements and/or the military or else start running far bigger deficits. Well, you can’t have everything.

See, Perry’s plan would have every taxpayer figure his or her taxes under the present IRS system and also under his system. The taxpayer could file his taxes under whichever plan he wanted, presumably the one under which he would pay the smallest tax. People with fairly low incomes and very high incomes would like Perry plan because they would pay lower taxes, for the very rich much lower taxes. It would allow them to keep all their current deductions and exemptions. Many people in the middle would choose the present system because they would pay less that way. The rich? The new plan would be a bigger boondoggle than the present revenue code. Their taxes would be nearly nonexistent.

When critics pointed out the benefits for the super-rich, Perry responded, so what? He won’t apologize for helping the people who create jobs.

In an effort to make a flat tax popular—that is, by allowing everyone to choose the system that taxed him or her less—he would make the whole revenue system unworkable. The tax system would be hugely more unfair and even more complicated, and it would undermine government.

In this instance, stick with the men who only utter vague generalities. They know what they’re doing. The others are chasing fool’s gold. —E.D.

TOP STORY >> New approach to drug education

Leader staff writer

Jacksonville schools have done away with D.A.R.E. this year in favor of Project ALERT, a less expensive and more flexible program that focuses on teaching children techniques to resist drugs, alcohol and smoking.

The program is designed for middle-school students, and is already in place for the city’s fifth- and seventh-graders in the Pulaski County Special School District and at charter schools, said school resource officer Jennifer Thrasher of the Jacksonville Police Department. The program will expand to eighth grade next year.

Thrasher and fellow Jacksonville school resource officer Richard Butterton received certification to teach Project ALERT over the summer for $15 each, a special the program offered as it revamped its website,

The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program could come back to local schools in the future, but the department wanted to try something new, Thrasher said.

D.A.R.E. is a national program that costs taxpayers $1 billion to $2 billion per year, and it took in about $2.9 million from royalties and merchandising sales in 2000, according to the Center for Educational Research and Development’s website,

Project ALERT’s interactive lessons approach students with realistic scenarios. Many of the lessons include videos, activities or quizzes.

“I try to teach them confidence. I want to hit them with real-life situations,” Thrasher said.

Before every lesson, children are asked to fill out a pre-survey so that officers can know what they know about each topic. Many of the lessons include videos, activities and quizzes.

Thrasher said she wants to do more than give children the facts, she wants to build from what they already know or correct them if what they know isn’t accurate.

“It’s a lot of fun to go in there (the classroom). To me, education is proactive. To educate kids and give them the tools to make good choices, it’s No. 1 of what we do,” she said.

Fifth-grader Amber Slash agreed, “I think it’s going to keep younger people from doing this stuff. She’s (Thrasher) nice, and I can talk to her.”

Slash and her classmates at Lighthouse Academy charter school performed skits last week in which they had to imitate a real-life situation, practice what they learned from Project ALERT so far and use facts Thrasher has taught them.

Many of the students laughed as several groups performed skits in which part of the group approached others and offered them drugs. Someone played the part of a police officer and arrested the dealer after the students told the officer what they were doing.

In one scenario, a student was arrested for underage drinking. In another addressed the consequences of drug abuse.

Project ALERT teaches the following 11 lessons: Introduction to Project ALERT, consequences of smoking cigarettes and marijuana, drinking consequences and alternatives, introduction to pressures, social pressures to use drugs, resisting internal and external pressures to use drugs, practicing resistance skills, inhalant abuse, review and practice resistance techniques, smoking cessation and benefits of not using drugs. It also has three booster lessons, motivating resistance to drugs, practice resisting external and internal pressures and benefits of resisting drugs.

The officers adjust their schedule to what works best for each school. Butterton teaches lessons during the health class every seventh-grader must take for one semester.

After Christmas break, he will start fresh with seventh-graders who signed up to have health during the second semester this year.

Red Ribbon Week was held last week in all PCSSD elementary schools. Taylor Elementary in Jacksonville heard Chief Warrant Officer David Specht speak.

TOP STORY >> Ward woman honored

Leader staff writer

Billie Jean Dougherty of Ward was inducted into the Senior Arkansans Hall of Fame during the 31st annual Arkansas Aging Conference held at the Hot Springs Convention Center.

The Senior Arkansans Hall of Fame was created by the state legislature in 1999 to honor the significant contributions of older Arkansans.

Included on Dougherty’s nomination list was her work with a coalition that played a key role in ridding the state of abusive payday lending.

The lenders preyed on the poor, she said. They preyed on young couples who probably didn’t know how to manage their small incomes and needed money for the doctor and they preyed on the elderly living on fixed incomes.

They would charge $50 for a $300 loan that had to be paid back in two weeks, she said. And when the two weeks was up and their customers couldn’t repay the loan, they would start it all over again with another $50 fee.

“It was loan sharking in different clothes,” she said. “And I could see what it was doing to people.”

“I just have a love of people. And I’m motherly,” Dougherty said in an attempt to downplay the honor.

She’s not that great, she said. She’s just trying to repay kindnesses she’s received from other people and from God who has carried her through her almost 83-year life.

On Tuesday afternoon, she was busy in her kitchen making lasagna for company she was expecting that evening.

On another day, she might be found doing laundry for a neighbor who had to move to a nursing home or sitting in front of her computer writing her family history or working on various reports for friends who lack the writing skills she honed while working at a local newspaper – just the ordinary activities of a retired person.

In addition to doing almost every job available at a small newspaper, Dougherty taught elementary school in Alabama, owned a store in Lonoke and worked as a substitute teacher for the Cabot School District.

She became a member of AARP in 2005 after her husband died. Disabled with Parkinson’s disease, he required four years of total care before he died and friends helped get her through it, she said.

“People were so good to me and I decided I would do everything I could to help other people,” she said.

Dougherty is well-known in the Cabot area for her work with the local AARP. She currently serves as the vice president of the Cabot chapter as well as holding a position in Hub 6 (North Central Arkansas).

She also serves on the Governor’s Aging Advisory Council and on the Carelink Council of Advisers.

Her other honors and awards include a five-year volunteer visitor award from Arkansas Hospice; a certificate of appreciation from Central Arkansas Development Council; home town health recognition for service from the Arkansas Health Department; the Governor’s Volunteer Award; and AARP Arkansas’ 2011 Distinguished Service Award.

This year, eight people were nominated for the Senior Arkansans Hall of Fame. Dougherty was among the four who were chosen.

TOP STORY >> Cabot group plans free Thanksgiving meal

Leader staff writer

Families needing a hot home-cooked meal on Thanksgiving, or people who do not want to spend the holiday alone, can attend the second annual Cabot Community Thanksgiving Feast. Dinner will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 24 at Grace Fellowship Church at 601 S. Elm St., behind the Bank of Ozarks in downtown Cabot.

The sit-down meal is free and is open to anyone. Volunteers will be cooking traditional Thanksgiving turkeys with side dishes and desserts in their homes and bringing them to the church. Carryout is available and so is delivery service for those who cannot get out to the church.

Last year, the Cabot feast served 350 people at the New Life Church on 10th Street on a cold and rainy day.

Event organizers Heather Moore and her husband, Dane, decided to hold a Thanksgiving dinner last year after noticing a void in the city during the holiday.

Previously, they volunteered on Thanksgiving helping to serve meals at the Lonoke Community Center.

“We looked at each other and decided we needed to do this in Cabot,” Heather Moore said.

They have people committed to serving on Thanksgiving but are still accepting volunteers to help with the meal.

The feast is not associated with any church or denomination. Every year the Thanksgiving dinner is held at a different church.

Dane Moore said, “We want to show the love of Christ for those in need.”

Heather Moore, also a volunteer at Hope’s Closet and Pantry, said there are more people seeking assistance because of the weak economy.

She said, “There are a lot more people in need in Cabot than people think.”

She said she received many compliments on the meal and service last year. Many people, who did not have family members to cook for, came to the meal.

They were able to socialize instead of sitting at home alone on Thanksgiving. One family recently lost their home in a fire. They were excited to have someplace to celebrate Thanksgiving.

The Cabot Community Thanksgiving Feast is also collecting food donations, Heather Moore said.

“We’re hoping the community comes together as one and helps the people in need,” she said.

For more information, or to request meal delivery, call Heather Moore at 501-259-3799.

SPORTS >> Little riding on Devils, Patriots

Leader sports editor

Jacksonville’s playoff position is set, so little was lost in the defeat last week at West Memphis. This week’s regular-season finale at home against Marion will change nothing about that playoff positioning, regardless of the outcome. That doesn’t mean the Red Devils won’t be focused and hopeful of getting the horrible performance of last week behind them.

Plus, this Thursday’s matchup is senior night, and it’s always a goal to send the seniors out on a high note.

Against Marion, Jacksonville faces another running team similar to West Memphis. The Patriots’ Tre Franklin has rushed for 1,335 yards and 22 touchdowns this season. He is 6’1”, 215 pounds and described by Marion coach Mark Uhiren as a workhorse.

He leads a trio of backs that have put together phenomenal individual seasons. The other two backs are also approaching 1,000 yards this season.

Cory Garrett has 822 yards and 10 touchdowns. Rashad Boyd has run for 770 yards and 12 scores.

“We’ve moved the ball pretty well this year,” Uhiren said. “We’ve had trouble putting it in the end zone in a couple of games, but we’re moving the ball pretty well.”

Marion is coming off a 13-12 loss to Jonesboro that it wishes it could have back.

“That was one of those times,” Uhiren said about his squad not scoring, despite piling up the yards. His squad led 12-0 at halftime, but penalties and turnovers in the red zone thwarted second-half scoring opportunities.

“We aren’t real happy about the other night,” Uhiren said. “That was a tough one to take. “All we can do is put the air in the wheels again and get back after it. Jacksonville is always a tough team to play and it’s usually a pretty impactful game.”

This year the game probably doesn’t mean much in terms of impacting playoff seedings. Marion will likely be the No. 3 seed from the 6A East regardless of Thursday’s outcome.

In order for the Patriots to move up, they would have to beat Jacksonville, then hope that one or more improbable scenarios occur.

If Mountain Home beats Searcy or LR Hall beats Jonesboro, the Patriots would move up to the No. 2 seed. If both happened, the Patriots would be the top seed from the East.

First thing first though, they have to beat Jacksonville. Uhiren doesn’t expect things to be easy, though his team will be favored.

“You have to get ready for two different offenses against Jacksonville,” Uhiren said. “I’m not sure why they’re running two quarterbacks and two offenses, and don’t care. I just know we have to be ready to stop both. They have some speed at running back and receiver, and they use their wide receivers as running backs a lot. You have to account for every skill player on the field because they’re libel to give it to any one of them.”

Marion has seen another threat develop over the course of the season. Tight end and defensive lineman Darius Rosser has become a force on both sides of the ball, and has emerged as the team’s top college prospect. At 6-foot-4, 280, Uhiren understands why.

“He’s pretty athletic and any kid that size who’s got a little athleticism is going to get some attention. He’s come on really strong and done a really good job for us this year.”

SPORTS >> Lonoke, Clinton battling for third

Leader sportswriter

The Lonoke Jackrabbits could play at home again this season.

Last Friday’s 38-20 loss to Stuttgart ended their chances of claiming a No. 2 seed in the 2-4A Conference, but with five teams from each conference in Class 4A headed to the playoffs next week, and three of them at home, the road trip to Clinton this Friday to face the Yellowjackets (6-3, 4-2) will determine whether or not the ’Rabbits (3-6, 3-3) will step onto the grass at James B. Abraham Field in game conditions again this year.

Though their overall records vary, the two teams have had similar conference runs, including losses to Heber Springs and Stuttgart, and victories over Cave City, Newport and Marianna-Lee. The only difference through six weeks is that Clinton was able to hold off a much-improved Southside Batesville team to win 19-14 in week five, while the Jackrabbits fell to the Southerners the following week, 20-19.

And the similarities don’t end there. The Yellowjackets, like many of their 2-4A counterparts, are quarterback strong with talented senior signal caller Parker Parish. Parish is yet another of many dual-threat quarterbacks in the league, leading the ’Jackets out of the wing-T offense, with some spread pass offense thrown in.

“They spread it out to pass it some,” Lonoke coach Doug Bost said. “But it’s mostly so he can run it.”

Lonoke has its own good balance behind center with junior quarterback D.J. Burton, who has thrown for close to 1,100 yards and has rushed for just over 800 more.

Burton was not projected to be the starter this year until late spring, but has grown and adapted quickly in his role.

“He’s been more vocal,” Bost said. “He understands the offense. We’ve called on him a lot, and he has come through.”

For all of his strengths, turnovers have been one weakness for Burton, who gave away two fumbles to a tough Stuttgart defense last week. Both of those turnovers led to Ricebird touchdowns.

“We knew going in they had one of the toughest defenses we would see all year,” Bost said. “Their front six is just great. The first half, we have two turnovers, and both of those led to scores. We lose by 18, and there’s 14 of it right there.”

When it comes to stopping Parish and the Yellowjacket offense this week, Bost said the performance of the defensive line will be key in shutting down the wing-T attack. The defense as a whole has also been subject to the ups and downs of the season, giving up just over 31 points per game.

The offense got a boost last week with the return of tackle Justin Carpenter.

His imposing 6-foot-4, 290-pound frame made a difference in Lonoke’s running game against Stuttgart’s defense, which at one point in the season was allowing just nine points a game on average.

“We’ve just had a lot of different circumstances,” Bost said. “We’ve had to juggle our offensive line. I don’t think we’ve had the same group up there for two-straight weeks the whole year, and that’s tough to do. But they’ve won games and put themselves in position.”

SPORTS >> Battle of unbeatens determines league title

Leader sportswriter

Two local rivals with unbeaten records squaring off during the last week of the regular season, with the winner claiming the conference championship outright – it’s a high-school football fan’s wildest fantasy come true.

And for Carlisle and Hazen, it is reality this week as the two teams prepare to settle the score at Hornet Field this Friday for the top spot in the 6-2A Conference.

The Bison (9-0, 6-0) took advantage of an early cancellation by Hughes and penciled in a tough McCrory team last Friday, beating the Jaguars 18-6.

The Hornets (8-0-1, 6-0) made a big statement of their own last week with a 32-7 blowout over England.

So who has the advantage? On paper, it would appear no one. Home-field advantage for the Hornets could be a consideration, but take into account the Bison have played just as well on the road as they have at home, and the short 9.5-mile distance from Carlisle to Hazen for fans to travel, and again, it’s a dead heat.

“It’s for the conference championship – and it’s two big rivals,” Carlisle coach Scott Waymire said. “You couldn’t ask for a better setting for a high-school football game. A lot of young men who play high-school football would love to be in these kids’ shoes right now to play in a game of this magnitude.”

Stopping the Hornets will mean stopping senior running back Matt Pennison, who has rushed for over 1,300 yards through nine games. The three-year starter for Hazen has also led the team in tackles for the past three seasons from his middle linebacker position defensively.

“He does a tremendous job on both sides of the ball,” Waymire said. “They have a few senior linemen also. It’s a good group. We have to find a way to slow those guys down.”

It’s not just the records that are similar, the margin of victory against the more competitive teams in the 6-2A are also close, with Hazen edging Carlisle slightly. The Hornets beat Des Arc 38-8 in week four, compared to Carlisle’s 28-8 victory over the Eagles in week seven. Hazen downed England 32-7 last week, while the Bison won 30-14 over the Lions back in week six.

“I think there are a lot of similarities,” Waymire said. “They probably had an easier time with England. But it doesn’t matter with records or anything else when it’s such a big rivalry like this one. Both teams will come prepared.”

The Bison got their money’s worth against McCrory last week after a number of games in which the outcome was decided long before the final horn.

The starters had to play four quarters on both sides of the ball, and the offense responded with a solid night of blocking for Carlisle’s stable of talented running backs.

Bo Weddle came up biggest for the Bison, scoring all three touchdowns as the Carlisle’s offense ran for over 300 yards against McCory’s defense.

Junior quarterback Chris Hart also had a big night as half of Carlisle’s quarterback combo along with senior Zac King. Hart converted a critical fourth-and-six play in the second half that led to the Bison’s go-ahead score.

“Overall, it was a great team effort,” Waymire said. “I was pleased. McCrory was good for our guys – we needed to play 48 minutes.”

Regardless of who wins or loses, it’s a dramatic close to a stellar season for both programs.

“It’s going to be a heck of an atmosphere,” Waymire said. “For anyone who’s never been to a Carlisle-Hazen game, it’s one of the best atmospheres for high-school football anywhere.

SPORTS >> Cabot wants to keep momentum

Leader sports editor

When Cabot plays Russellville on Thursday night at Cyclone Stadium in Russellville, nothing will be on the line for the Panthers except an opportunity to go into offseason with some momentum. Cabot (2-7, 1-5) is out of the 7A playoff picture, but wants to finish on a roll after getting its first conference win of the season last week against Van Buren.

Russellville, on the other hand, has something big to play for. If the Cyclones lose, they will be the No. 8 seed in the class 6A playoffs and will have to face top-ranked Lake Hamilton in the opening round. If they win, they likely move up to the six seed, which means facing the loser of this week’s El Dorado-Pine Bluff matchup.

To win this week, Russellville must find a way to slow down a Cabot offense that finally hit its stride last week in piling up over 500 yards of offense against the Pointers.

Russellville, who is facing the possibility of two-straight 1-9 seasons, hasn’t beaten Cabot since 2005, when the Panthers went 1-9.

The Cyclones have had several close calls this year, and haven’t been blown off the field by any 7A Central team. Hanging on to leads has been Russellville’s biggest problem this season.

In their league opener, Russellville gave up a late drive and touchdown with only seconds remaining to fall 34-31 to North Little Rock. LR Central also scored with less than two minutes remaining to sneak away with a 28-24 win over Russellville. Van Buren also got a field goal in the waning seconds to beat the Cyclones, 24-21. Russellville missed two field goals in that game.

Even against Bryant, when Russellville lost 38-21, it held a 21-17 lead in the fourth quarter before the Hornets scored three touchdowns in a two-minute span.

“Offensively they’ve been moving the ball and putting points on the board,” Cabot coach Mike Malham said. “They’ve come close in a lot of games. They haven’t been able to win them, but we’re 2-7 so we’re not taking anything for granted.”

Cabot’s defense has improved in recent weeks as well. Big plays that spelled doom in several early games have been kept to a minimum in recent ones. Russellville runs an offense known for making big plays, so that will be a key on Thursday.

“When you eliminate turnovers and keep from giving up big plays on defense, you give yourself a chance to win the game,” Malham said. “That’s what we’ve done the last few weeks. Right now we have a chance to win one more and that’s it, so hopefully we’ll keep doing those things.”

Cabot’s senior defensive players have made a big impact in recent games. Malham bragged on the play of linemen T.C. Carter, Hayden Studdard, Zach Boyd and Brandon Schiefelbein, as well as linebacker Chase Boyles and defensive back Bryson Morris, who had two interceptions last week.

“Those guys have been doing a great job,” Malham said. “The guys on the line have been getting pressure, and of course Chase Boyles has been our leading tackler last year and this year. Bryson has been good in the secondary and our younger guys are starting to get better.”

Cabot’s offensive line has featured several sophomores and a few juniors, and besides Morris, most of the secondary players are underclassmen.

“I really kind of wish the season was just getting started,” Malham said. “The last three weeks have been a lot different than the first half of the season. Hopefully we’ll keep getting better, and next year will be a lot better than this one.