Saturday, October 06, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Bombers dropped on homecoming

Leader sportswriter

There were plenty of reasons to celebrate Cabot’s homecoming on Friday as the Panthers won their second conference game of the year with a 42-17 blowout against Mountain Home. Other than the two turnovers Cabot had in the first half, the Panther offense had little trouble moving the ball against the Bombers’ defense.

“We took care of the ball pretty well until right there at the end of the first half when we had those two turnovers,” said Cabot coach Mike Malham. “The defense did a good job, and kept them out of the end zone in the first half.”

After the Panther defense forced a three and out on the Bombers’ opening drive, Cabot’s offense was given great field positioning after a short punt that landed out of bounds at the Mountain Home 35.

Senior running back Kyle Edgar took the first handoff 14 yards, but fumbled the ball over to the Bombers on the next play. However, Mountain Home (1-5, 0-3) couldn’t move the ball effectively against the Panther defense and were forced to punt at its own 40.

Chris Henry returned the punt all the way to the Bombers’ 30-yard line. Five plays later, Edgar redeemed himself with a five-yard touchdown run. Jesus Marquez’s extra point was good to give the Panthers a 7-0 lead.

Mountain Home was able to score on its next drive with a 23-yard field goal from Jaden McDonald with 9:13 to play in the first half, capping off a 19-play drive.

Cabot’s offense responded with touchdown runs on its next three possessions. With 5:36 to go in the half, Henry dashed 54 yards for the Panthers’ second score of the game.

Edgar plowed in the two-point conversion after an offsides penalty on the Bombers’ defense moved the ball closer to the goal line. Mountain Home quarterback Drake Walker’s pass was intercepted by junior defensive back Jordan Burke on the Bombers’ next possession, and Burke returned it from the Cabot 40 all the way to the Mountain Home 9-yard line.

Two-plays later, senior quarterback Brandon Boat-right scored on an 8-yard run on an option keeper. The extra point was good to give the Panthers a 22-3 lead with 4:06 to go in the half.

Boatright, who normally starts at tight end, took over quarterback duties last week against Marion after injuries hampered starter Kason Kimbrell and backup Grant Bell.

Kimbrell took limited snaps in Friday’s game, but Boatright took the majority of the snaps due to his performance.

“Yeah I think he can go,” Malham said of Kimbrell, “but Boatright did such a good job last week running the option and everything. We moved him over from tight end, so that gives us a little depth there, and both of them are capable.”

Cabot’s final score of the half came on another option keeper from Boatright, this one from 11 yards out. The Panthers were the first to score in the second half on a 52-yard touchdown run from running back Russ Rankin with 8:19 to play in the third quarter.

The extra point gave Cabot a comfortable 35-3 lead. Mountain Home cut the deficit to 35-10 on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Walker to Chayse Brown with 8:55 to play.

The Bombers attempted an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff, but Seth Hoggard scooped the ball up at the 48-yard line and returned it down the visiting sideline for another touchdown.

With 5:44 to play, Walker connected with junior tight end Tom Lynch on a screen pass in middle of the hash marks. Lynch ran 38 yards for the final score of the evening.

Other than the final margin, the two teams’ offensive numbers were similar by game’s end. Cabot finished with 322 yards of offense, 320 came on the ground. Mountain Home finished with 318, but had six turnovers to Cabot’s four.

Henry led all rushers with 116 yards and a touchdown on just four carries – all of which came in the first half. Edgar was also pulled after the first half, and finished with 72 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.

Cabot (4-2, 2-1) will look to improve its 7A/6A East record next week when the Panthers travel to Little Rock Central.

SPORTS STORY >> ’Rabbits rumble, rout SSB in storm

Leader sportswriter

The conditions were miserable, but victory was sweet just the same for Lonoke as the Jackrabbits poured it on with a big ground attack to defeat Southside Batesville 51-21 at James B. Abraham Stadium on Friday for their first 4A-2 Conference win of the season.

The Southerners (3-2-1, 1-2) gave up 18 quick points to Lonoke, but cut the margin to 18-14 late in the first half before the Jackrabbits (3-3, 1-2) dominated the second half.

Starting quarterback Nick Watson went out with a shoulder injury at the end of the first half, and backup Grant Dewey suffered a bloody nose early in the third quarter. That left the Jackrabbits with all-purpose senior back D.J. Burton to run the offense out of the wildcat package, and he delivered with a 56-yard touchdown run to start the second half, and a 70-yard scoring rumble to set the final margin inside two minutes.

“We told them it was important for us to win tonight,” Lonoke coach Doug Bost said. “The kids had a good week of practice, and we put four quarters together tonight.”

The rainy conditions were bad enough, but the scoreboard at Abraham Field malfunctioned early in the third quarter. The LHS staff even tried unplugging the power to the unit, but the scoreboard remained frozen, displaying 12:82 on the clock. That meant time was to be kept on field by the officiating crew, which seemed to have troubles of its own during the course of the game.

“It got kind of sloppy at times,” Bost said. “Both teams had some turnovers because of the wet ball, but we were able to run the ball. We had to go to the wildcat a little bit more than what we planned for, but the kids blocked and D.J. ran the ball hard. That was good for us.”

Senior tailbacks Eric Williams and Brent Sims also had their moments on the ground for Lonoke. Williams upped the Jackrabbits’ lead to 37-14 late in the third quarter with a 33-yard touchdown run, and added another score from 9 yards with around 5:40 left to play in the fourth quarter to make it 44-21. Sims did most of his damage in the first half, carrying five times for 60 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown run on Lonoke’s third possession.

Southside senior running back Jordan Childress kept the Southerners in the game early with 21 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown in the first half alone, but Lonoke’s defense adjusted and held him to 20 yards in the second half.

The Southerners were stopped in their tracks on their opening possession, but the real trouble started for them on the punt attempt. The snap sailed high over punter Drew Moss’s head and rolled toward the goal line. In a panic, Moss tried to kick the ball away from the goal as Lonoke defenders converged on him. The play resulted in illegal procedure and illegal kick penalties against Southside Batesville, setting the Jackrabbits up with a first and goal at the 1-yard line.

It took one play for Burton to punch it in on a wildcat quarterback keep at the 10:18 mark of the first quarter. Burton also ran in the two-point conversion run to give Lonoke an early 8-0 lead.

The Jackrabbits got the ball back even quicker the second time around as Jordan Childress fumbled the snap out the Southerners’ version of the Wildcat formation, and this time, it did end up a safety for Lonoke to make it 10-0. Childress picked the ball up in the end zone, but Sims and Chandler Elmore were there on the play for the Jackrabbits.

The Jackrabbits turned it over on downs and Southside returned the favor to give the ball back to Lonoke at the 50-yard line.

Sims was stopped on first down for no gain, but he busted things wide open on the next play with a 50-yard touchdown run straight up the middle with 4:51 left to play in the first half. Burton again ran in the two-point try to give the Jackrabbits an 18-0 lead.

The Southerners began to get back in the game on the strength of Childress, who carried eight times on the next possession and picked up the majority of yards from the Southside 35 to the Lonoke goal line.

A pass-interference penalty made up the only non-Childress yards, as the Batesville High School transfer finished the drive with an 11-yard touchdown carry with 1:22 left to play in the first quarter. Colby Roulett connected with Jacob Rawlings for the two-point conversion pass play, cutting Lonoke’s lead to 18-8.

Southside cut the lead to one score when Roulett found Jake Hendricks wide open in the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown pass with 10:08 left to go in the first half. The two-point try was unsuccessful, leaving the score 18-14 Lonoke.

The rest of the half was a series of stalled drives for both teams until the Jackrabbits ended up with the ball at midfield with 50 seconds remaining.

A pair of completions from Watson to junior receiver Blake Mack, along with a pass-interference call, helped Lonoke move the ball quickly.

The Jackrabbits had good field position at the 5-yard line, but less than a second remaining on the scoreboard. Junior kicker Jose Garcia came out to try a 22-yard field goal, and made it just as time expired to give Lonoke a 21-14 halftime lead.

Burton led the Jackrabbits with 15 carries for 151 yards and three touchdowns. Williams added 102 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. Lonoke finished with 345 yards offense.

For Southside, Childress rushed 29 times for 108 yards and a touchdown while Roulett was 7 of 20 passing for 98 yards and a touchdown, along with an interception by Lonoke senior Dra Offord.

The victory puts both Lonoke and Southside Batesville at 1-2 in 4A 2 Conference play.

“We told them, and they knew it,” Bost said. “If (Southside) would have won, that would have put them two games up, and it’s tough in this conference to try and come back from that. We got a win, and we’ve got four games left, so we have to keep playing; get some more wins.”

Lonoke will host Dollarway next week for homecoming while Southside Batesville plays at home against Marianna.

SPORTS STORY >> NLR ladies beat Cabot

Leader sports editor

What started as a blowout, suddenly became close, then became a blowout again as the North Little Rock volleyball team dispatched Cabot in three games Tuesday, winning by scores of 26-24, 25-13 and 25-12. The Charging Lady Wildcats raced out to a 10-2 lead in game one, only to see that lead slowly evaporate.

Cabot never made a huge run, but slowly chipped away at its deficit. The Lady Panthers never had the lead, but Bailee Uhiren tied the game with a block that fell inbounds on North Little Rock’s side to make it 24-24.

North Little Rock coach Becky Matthews called timeout to refocus her team.

“When we got out to that big lead we thought this was going to be easy and we lost focus,” Matthews said. “We can’t afford those types of things. We have some big matches coming up against the league’s top teams, and we can’t give games away like that and continue to get away with it.”

Matthews’ squad didn’t give the game away. It won the next two points. Senior hitter Keedra Johnson threw down her 10th kill of the game to make it 25-24. Cabot got a good pass and a good set on the next serve, but Taylor Bitely’s kill hit landed just wide of the left sideline to give the home team the hard-fought game.

The rest of the match was one-sided. Game two saw very few points on serve from either team. North Little Rock was able to put a few together in spots in order to get the 12-point margin, but there was never a moment when it seemed like the Wildcats had full control of the game. Most points for both teams came on errors by the opponent.

Game three was a different matter. North Little Rock got 15 points on serve, including three aces, scored on eight kills and six blocks.

Johnson led all players in two categories. She finished with 15 kills and 12 points on serve. She also had five blocks, as did teammate Jaelyn Wayne.

Cabot’s Bitely led all players in blocks with six. Uhiren led Cabot with eight kills while Lakin Best finished with six.

North Little Rock’s Kevinisha Jarrett also turned in a solid all-around performance. She had 11 digs, nine points on serve and five kills. Kelsie Claussen finished with six kills for the Lady Wilddcats.

Despite the lop-sided victory, Matthews wasn’t entirely pleased.

“I thought Keedra played pretty well but she wasn’t at her best,” Matthews said. “We had some moments when I thought we were playing really well but we didn’t keep it up like we need to. That performance will get us beat by the top teams.”

Matthews’ fears proved true on Thursday when the Charging Lady Wildcats were soundly beaten in three games at Jonesboro.

The Lady Hurricanes crushed their visitors in the first two games, winning each one 25-12, then squeaking out a 26-24 win in game three to end the match in straight sets.

The loss, combined with Mountain Home’s 3-1 win over Marion on Thursday, dropped the Charging Lady Wildcats (17-5, 7-2) out of first place and into a tie for second with Jonesboro. Mountain Home now sits alone at the top of the league at 9-1, 17-3 overall.

Cabot got better results in its match on Thursday, beating West Memphis 3-0 at home to improve to 8-12 overall and 4-6 in the 7A/6A East.

SPORTS STORY >> Hurricane give ’Cats big scare

Leader sports editor

North Little Rock survived a scare Friday at Jonesboro, scoring a pair of late touchdowns to beat the previously undefeated Hurricane 27-20.

The Charging Wildcats’ Gary Vines intercepted a Jonesboro halfback pass with a little more than two minutes left in the game, setting up Juan Day’s 12-yard touchdown run that gave North Little Rock a 25-20 lead with 1:03 left to play.

Quarterback Payton Holmes found Deon Tidwell on the two-point pass to set the final margin at 27-20 North Little Rock.

Early turnovers helped the home team jump out to a 13-0 lead in the first four minutes of the game. Jonesboro (4-1, 2-1) had two scoring drives of less than 20 yards to take early control of the game. Running back Martin Stafford scored from 6 yards out with 9:43 left in the first quarter after a North Little Rock turnover. A missed extra point left it 6-0.

North Little Rock (4-1, 3-0) then fumbled on the second play of the next drive, setting up a 20-yard keeper by quarterback D.J. Anderson to make it 13-0 with 8:19 left in the opening frame.
The Hurricane offense stalled after that, due to great play from the North Little Rock defensive line.

But the Charging Wildcats’ offense still struggled to get going. They finally got on the board early in the second quarter when tight end Cameron Williams caught a 9-yard pass from Heath Land that made it 13-7 with 9:02 left in the half.

Jonesboro answered right back, with Anderson keeping again, this time going 43 yards for the score to make it 20-7 with 4:02 remaining in the second quarter.

North Little Rock finally broke a big play. Junior tailback Juan Day broke loose up the middle for 57 yards and a score. The kick was no good, leaving it 20-13 at the break.

The Wildcats’ defense took over the second half while the offense did just enough to eke out the win. Neither team scored in the third quarter, but Day got loose again with 9:39 left in the game, rumbling 35 yards for the touchdown. A two-point conversion attempt failed, leaving Jonesboro with a 20-19 lead. The two teams traded possessions before Vines’ interception set up Day’s winning touchdown.
Day finished the game with 21 carries for 197 yards and three touchdowns for the Charging Wildcats. Altee Tenpenny carried 12 times for 57 yards and Rodney Bryson had seven carries for 48 yards for North Little Rock.

Anderson led Jonesboro with 19 carries for 127 yards.

Weather conditions made passing difficult for both teams. North Little Rock completed three of five pass attempts for 19 yards. Jonesboro was four of 10 for 57 yards.

The Wildcats travel to Searcy next week while Jonesboro takes on Catholic High.

SPORTS STORY >> Turnovers propel Jacksonville

Leader sports editor

A game that seemed like it could be competitive if Sylvan Hills could hold onto the ball never materialized. Jacksonville’s defense dominated until late in the fourth quarter and the Red Devil offense scored almost every time it didn’t turn it over. It all culminated in a 49-14 Jacksonville victory at Jan Crow Stadium on Friday.

The Red Devils ran just 10 plays in the second half and scored four touchdowns.

“This was as close to a solid 48-minute effort as we’ve had all year,” Jacksonville coach Rick Russell said. “Our offensive line did a great job blocking all night. Our defense did a great job except for a little letdown at the end. Overall I’m very pleased. They were very focused all week and they brought that to the field tonight. We came into this game wanting to go 3-0. We’re going to enjoy this, watch some film tomorrow and then focus on next week and going 4-0.”

Jacksonville (4-2, 3-0) scored on its first two possessions and sputtered in its next two, but the Bears couldn’t capitalize. After sacking Jacksonville on fourth down and 1 at the Sylvan Hills 16-yard line, the Bears gained 32 yards before giving it back on a fumbled handoff exchange.

Tra Doss got it back for the Bears with an interception at the Sylvan Hills’ 15. He then went under center on offense and led the team out to the 45-yard line, but fumbled the snap there and gave it back to the Red Devils.

Lamont Gause then got his third touchdown of the game in a flash after the turnover. On the first play after Doss’s fumble, Gause took an inside handoff 43 yards for the score. Blocking on the outside, and good downfield blocking by the Red Devil receivers sprung the play and Gause utilized the blockers perfectly.

“Lamont Gause did a tremendous job,” Russell said. “He was not going to be denied this week and he ran like it. This was his best game by far. He’s going to be an exciting back for us.”

The extra point was no good, leaving it 20-0 with 2:20 left in the half and that’s how it stayed until the break.

Sylvan Hills (2-4, 1-2) got the ball to start the second half, but turned it over for the fourth time on the second play from scrimmage. This time it was an interception by Nykel Worthen, aided by intense pressure from the Red Devil defensive line.

That gave Jacksonville the ball at the Sylvan Hills’ 32 and the onslaught began. On the third play of the drive, quarterback Aaron Smith hit Brandon Brockman on the right sideline at the 15. Brockman ran it in from there to make it 27-0.

On the second play of Sylvan Hills’ next drive, Jacksonville’s Mark Monk, a senior transfer playing his first game for Jacksonville, covered another fumbled exchange. It was his second fumble recovery of the game.

“Mark Monk is a big addition to this team,” Russell said of his new defensive lineman. “Depth is always a key and he gives us some quality depth at a position we really needed it.”

Two plays later, Smith kept from 15 yards out, breaking two tackles in the last five yards for the score.

Smith then hit receiver Kevin Richardson for the two-point conversion, making it 35-0 and invoking the sportsmanship rule with 8:48 left in the third quarter.

The Bears held it for three plays on the next drive, but another Doss fumbled was scooped up by Jacksonville’s Randy Armstrong and returned 15 yards for another touchdown. Hermann’s extra point made it 42-0 with 5:50 left in the third.

Sylvan Hills then put together a solid drive, marching 67 yards in 11 plays with Marion Clemmons scoring from 7 yards out with 10:15 left to play.

Jacksonville answered quickly. Sophomore Xavier Amos took the first handoff of the ensuing drive 48 yards to the Sylvan Hills 16. Two plays later, sophomore Keilen Richardson ran up the middle for 15 yards and a touchdown to make it 49-7.

Quincy Flowers scored the last touchdown of the game for the Bears to set the final margin.

The Red Devils took the ball 76 yards in eight plays on their first drive. On first down on the Jacksonville 46, Smith threw a rollout pass to Richardson, who took it 48 yards to the 6-yard line. Two plays later, Gause plowed his way into the end zone from 4 yards out for the first score of the game with 9:26 left in the first quarter.

The Bears got a good run of 17 yards by Clemmons on their first play, but turned it over a few plays later when Richardson picked off a Doss pass and returned it 36 yards to the Sylvan Hills 42.

Facing fourth down and 4 three plays later, Smith hooked up with Richardson again for a 15-yard gain to the 21.

Two Smith keepers got it to the 10-yard line and Gause did the rest, taking it 5 yards on second and goal with 3:02 left in the first quarter. John Hermann’s extra point made it 14-0.

Gause led Jacksonville with 10 carries for 117 yards and three touchdowns.

Clemmons led the Bears with 11 carries for 99 yards and a score.

The Red Devils finished with 373 total yards while the Bears tallied 238.

Friday, October 05, 2012

TOP STORY >> Theater grand opening this week

The grand opening of the newly renovated Cabot High School Theater will present “Little Shop of Horrors,” which transforms the stage to New York City in September 1960 and Mushnik’s Flower Shop and a glamorous doo-wop-singing Greek chorus (Bailey Moses, Jade Gibbs, Charl Young, Jeni Fuller and Emily Freeman).

The musical has 72 cast members, 24 backstage crew and a live orchestra. Tickets are $7 and can be purchased at the box office in the lobby or at the CHS office or by calling 501-259-1305. Performance dates are at 6 p.m. Thursday and at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Mr. Mushnik (Jacob Crowder) is struggling financially in his flower shop, and both of his employees, nerdy Seymour Krelborn (Skylar Bartlett) and the beautiful but ditzy Audrey (Victoria Eckert), separately dream of escaping their hopeless poverty.

Seymour displays a “strange and interesting” plant to attract customers and names the plant “Audrey II” after Audrey, who he is secretly in love with.

Unfortunately, Audrey is dating the not-so-nice dentist (Madison McGregor). After a surprising turn of events, the audience sees the plant’s growth as it takes over the shop.


Skylar Bartlett (Seymour); Victoria Eckert (Audrey); Jacob Crowder (Mr. Mushnik); Madison McGregor (Orin); Payton Collier (voice of the plant); Jeni Fuller, Bailey Moses, Jade Gibbs, Emily Freeman, Charl Young (doo- wop girls); Savannah Woods, Riley Hofer, Alison Kaseberg (NBC girls); Tanner Johnson (NBC interviewer); Lexi Cunningham (Mrs. Luce), and Ryan Stephens (Bernstein).

Also Trent Blankenship (Snip the talent agent); Alison Kaseberg (Mrs. Martin); Riley Hoffer/Kolby Cole (customers No. 1); Lara Beth Gore/Kirsten Cagle (customers No. 2) Lauren Worth; Lara Beth Gore, Alison Kaseberg, Savannah Woods, Riley Hoffer, Judith Beckham and Amber Klein.

Also Kasie Follett, Anna Kay Everett, Haeden Waymack, Tanner Johnson, Ryan Stephens, Kolby Cole, Trent Blankenship (“Downtown” featured singers/dancers); Lara Beth Gore, Mary Powell, Anna Kay Everett, Lauren Worth, Kirsten Cagle, Terri Veatch, Victoria Wilson, Ryan Stephens, Kolby Cole and Tanner Johnson (“Meek Shall Inherit” featured singers).

Also Linda Copeland, Rhi-annon Epley, Lauren Gilbert, Brooke Rowland, Cally Males, Matthew Lemaster, Victoria Stanislaski, Tyler Faust, Tracy Tyler, Allyson Green, Presleigh Reaves, Samantha Shaw, Jada Davis, DeYauni Akins, Haley Campbell, Victoria Wilson, Terri Veatch, Lauren Morris, Tristan Bulice, Brittney Davis, Lauren Kerr, Courtney Lewis, Sam Hinson and Kayla Looney.

Also McKenzie Marks, Bailey Meador, Raven Lurz, Brett Frazier, Brady Smith, Daniel Brathwaite, Jake Ferguson, Tyler Hill, Katie Foust, Emma Galvez, Michael Gilstrap, Michael Graham, Payton Petritsch, Cody Pugh, Ashton Williams, Jay King, Crystal Rudy and Logan Medler (Skid Row characters).

TOP STORY >> Cabot chamber displays trophy

The Cabot Chamber of Commerce is displaying the Abilene Trophy, which was won by the Little Rock Air Force Base Community Council.

Visitors are encouraged to drop by the chamber office, 110 S. First St., to view the bronze bald eagle.

The community council has won the trophy twice for its commitment to the air base.

The Abilene Trophy is presented annually to an air base with the most outstanding community support.

The LRAFB Community Council is comprised of representatives from communities around the air base.

“The beautiful bronze trophy, featuring a soaring Eagle, will be on display here at the chamber office for a week or two,” said chamber director Billye Everett.

The Cabot chamber office is at 110 S. First St.

“I am privileged to serve on the LRAFB Community Council, as is your Military Committee Chairman Karen Knight. In addition, Mayor Bill Cypert and council member Ann Gilliam serve on the council. There are other Cabot citizens seated on the council as well,” including Knight, Everett said.

According to a Cabot Chamber of Commerce press release, hosting a dinner for spouses of deployed airmen and placing a billboard on Hwy. 67/167 congratulating the base on winning the Air Mobility Command Rodeo helped the council win the trophy.

The billboard was sponsored by Cabot’s Advertising and Promotion Commission and the chamber.

Everett also said the A and P Commission was a major sponsor of the recent LRAFB air show as it has been in the past.

“I have served three years as an honorary commander of the 314th Maintenance Operation Squadron, and I now serve as Honorary Commander Emeritus of the squadron. In addition, I serve on both the executive board and the board of directors of the community council,” Everett said.

“You are most welcome to drop by the office and see the trophy. It is indeed something that you as a chamber member can be very proud of,” she said.

Everett concluded, “I know that I am proud to have been given the opportunity to support the men and women who serve at Little Rock Air Force Base.”

TOP STORY >> In Sherwood, 11 candidates make pitches

Leader staff writer

Eleven of the 12 candidates introduced themselves to voters Thursday during two-minute presentations before a packed Sherwood Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

The candidates for city council, the state Legislature and circuit judge spoke at the Greens at North Hills golf course club house.

Aldermen hopefuls Bob Ferguson and Mike Sanders are facing off in the Ward 4, Position 2 race. Steve Fender decided not to run again because the lines were redrawn to include Gravel Ridge. He said he didn’t know enough about the former township to provide adequate representation.

Patti Julian is vying for the state House of Representatives Dist. 28 seat. Her opponent, Dean DiMichele, did not attend.

State House candidates Doug House and Steven McNeely are running for the Dist. 40 seat; Jim Nickels, the incumbent, and Alan Pogue are facing off in the Dist. 41 race.

John Hout and Patti James are running for Dist. 6 circuit judge for juvenile court.

Rep. Jane English (R-North Little Rock) and Rep. Barry Hyde (D-North Little Rock) are vying for the state Senate Dist. 34 seat.

Ferguson kicked off the brief presentations.

He said he is 59 years old and moved to Sherwood more than 30 years ago. Ferguson and his wife have two children.

“We raised our children in a terrific neighborhood. I think that’s what most people want for their families,” he said.

Ferguson has been a certified public accountant for 35 years.

Ferguson said, “I understand the need for good stewardship over our tax dollars. That professional background I have will be a big plus working with the city on city budgeting.”
He complimented Sherwood on having good parks, police, firefighters and a senior citizens center.

“What we need to do is to continue to improve and upgrade our city because those are the things that are going to add to the quality of our life. It’s going to add to the future of our city and it’s going to help the city of Sherwood continue to prosper. It’s also going to help businesses continue to prosper as well as increase our property values,” Ferguson said.

He added, “I’ll work hard to earn that vote and make sure Sherwood continues to be the best hometown in Arkansas.”

Sanders said, “I’m running for city council because I believe I can make a difference.”

He spoke about working with youth at the Sherwood Sports Complex 10 to 12 hours a week for more than 20 years. Sanders said he grew up in the Runyan Acres area. He and his wife have three children.

He is a football, baseball and basketball coach. Sanders has also been president of the Sylvan Hills Sherwood Optimist Club.

“I firmly believe young people are our future. The things we do today in our community prepare our youth for tomorrow. (I will) maintain Sherwood’s status as one of the state’s greatest city,” he said.

Senate candidate Hyde said, “Vote for me so we can keep on the right track.”

He said Arkansas is ranked No. 5 in education, and incomes in the state are rising at the 10th fastest rate in the nation. English said, “Education is very, very high on my list. We have some great policies at the state level that don’t transfer down to the local level.”

House candidate Julian, a Democrat, said, “This is my home. There is absolutely no better place to live and raise a family than our community.

“We’re vibrant, with business and industry of our own, safe neighborhoods and good schools.”

She stressed the importance of education.

“My commitment to you is to continue to improve our schools so that our children have absolutely the best education to prepare them for the future. We need them to have the best education possible because we need an educated workforce to continue the economic growth in our community,” Julian said.

House, a Republican running for state representative, introduced himself as a retired Army colonel and a former attorney for Camp Robinson.

He said the area he would represent if elected is people who live north of Little Rock Air Force Base.

House said, “I’m conservative. I’m Republican. I’m going into the job hoping we can reduce taxes and make some reforms in government.”

McNeely, his Democratic opponent, is a lawyer who handles Social Security and disability cases.

He said, “Our economy is starting to come back up. My clients are more able to find jobs and re-enter the workforce. Our biggest problem is we’ve still got to work on skilled, trained labor. We have to have people who can do the job for them to hire them. We are making progress. I want to continue making progress.”

Nickels took out a flyer that he said has been produced by the billionaire Koch brothers, who have used both his and Hyde’s pictures. The flyer, he said, accuses them of being against seniors.

Nickels, the Democratic incumbent, said that is not true. He also disputed the idea that his attempts to reform the tax code are hurting small businesses by treating them like big businesses.

“I was trying to put small businesses on the same playing field. That’s who I’m trying to protect,” Nickels said.

Pogue, his Republican opponent, said the government is doing too much.

“I’m running because my frustration with our government reached the boiling point. One of things that is irritating me is the mass of regulations on businesses. Roll back on the laws. Rollback the regulations and get government down to a manageable size,” he said.

Judicial candidates Hout and James both claimed that their experience make a difference in this race.

Hout said, “This job is critically important. I will keep your children safe. I will be tough on crime. I will use my experience to do that.”

He said he has been lead attorney in more than 150 jury trials, more than 50 of those were homicide cases and more than 50 were child abuse and domestic abuse jury trials.

Hout said child cases are very complex and experience is needed to handle them.

He said he wants to rehabilitate children, especially those who put on masks to rob a store or shoot people.

Hout said studies have shown more than 90 percent of them can be rehabilitated.

He also said he has interviewed hundreds of child victims.

James said she won the election in May but not by a high enough margin. The November election is a run-off.

She said she was appointed a special judge in the juvenile court. James said that the position she is vying for is in that court.

James explained that the juvenile court doesn’t have jury trials and older youths are usually tried as adults.

She said she also believes in rehabilitation because “It costs us $80,000 to house one child,” in a correctional facility.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

EDITORIAL >> Roomy jails after reforms

Preliminary studies show that legislation enacted last year has freed up prison space for dangerous offenders by shifting more non-violent offenders into probation.

The Legislature passed Act 570 of 2011 to control skyrocketing growth in the Arkansas inmate population, which had doubled in 20 years. The cost of operating state prison units grew proportionately and is now more than $300 million a year.

The inmate population peaked in 2010, when more than 16,000 men and women were being housed in state prison units.

It has dropped down to about 15,000.

Also, there are about 56,000 people on probation or parole in Arkansas, under the supervision of the Department of Community Correction.

A study showed that Arkansas was 23 percent below the national average in using probation, while at the same time non-violent offenders were serving long sentences. This strained the prisons’ capacity for dangerous and career criminals.

The number of offenders sentenced to probation has gone up since 2010, when 8,300 people received probation in Arkansas. That number increased to 9,750 last year.

The Senate Judiciary Committee and the Charitable, Penal and Correctional subcommittee of the Legislative Council held a joint meeting at the Capitol and heard a report that people convicted of violent crimes are getting longer sentences, thanks to Act 570.

State prisons now are using less space to house offenders who are guilty of a technical violation of their parole. Typical violations are leaving the county without notifying a parole officer, going to a bar, failing to report or failing a drug test.

Under Act 570, technical violators are immediately picked up and serve a day or two in a local jail instead of having their parole or probation revoked and being processed back into prison.

Act 570 also directs the Department of Community Correction to use evidence based practices, in other words, to base its policies on solid data and not on conventional wisdom.

The department director told legislators that evidence based practices include electronic monitoring, such as ankle bracelets, halfway housing to transition inmates back into the community, drug courts and treatment for drug abuse and mental health issues.

Act 570 authorized a $10 increase in fees charged for supervision, from $25 to $35. The additional fee has brought in $2.8 million which the department is using to implement evidence based practices, such as electronic monitoring.

Prison officials, law enforcement authorities and legislators will continue to closely monitor changes in criminal justice resulting from Act 570.

The data presented last week was preliminary and more reliable information will be available in coming years, after the new law has taken full effect.


A record number of Arkansas high school students took advanced placement exams earlier this year, when 22, 857 students took the college level tests. That is 7.4 percent more than took the tests last year.

Almost a third of their scores were high enough that the student earned college credit.

The director of the state Education Department said that more Arkansas high school students are taking a rigorous college preparatory curriculum, therefore they are better prepared for college level academics.

TOP STORY >> Showdown at Alma key to massacre

Leader executive editor

People in Crawford County often talk about a Mormon leader’s murder near Alma in 1857 and the slaughter of a group of Arkansans in Utah a few months later known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

Once Mitt Romney began running for president, there was talk about how his great-great-grandfather was the one killed by a jealous husband after his wife ran off with the Mormon leader and became his 12th bride.

If you search the Internet, you’ll learn about Parley Parker Pratt, one of the 12 Mormon Apostles, who collected wives well into his 40s. You’ll also learn about the furious husband who searched for Pratt in several states before hunting him down less than 200 miles west of here.

The drama would make an interesting mini-series: It might be called “Incident at Alma: Prelude to the Mountain Meadows Massacre.”

Pratt, a much-traveled missionary, had taken up with a woman named Eleanor McLean in California, and when her estranged husband, Hector, found out about it, McLean caught up with him at Fort Gibson in Oklahoma, just over the Arkansas line near Fort Smith.

Pratt was put on trial in Van Buren for taking McLean’s kids away from their father, but a judge let Pratt go for insufficient evidence. The judge even offered him a gun for protection, but Pratt refused, telling the judge, “Gentleman, I do not rely upon weapons of that kind. My trust is in my God.”

Pratt, who was 50, headed east toward Alma on horseback and hoped to make it through the rugged Boston Mountains north of town and then into Indian territory.

McLean and two confederates followed Pratt in the rain and found him on the Winn family farm in the community of Fine Springs just north of Alma, not far from where I-540 and Hwy. 71 now cut through. McLean stabbed Pratt with a Bowie knife and shot him for good measure.

As he lay dying, Pratt supposedly proclaimed, “I die a firm believer in the Gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith, and I wish you to carry this my dying testimony. I know that the Gospel is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of the living God, I am dying a martyr to the faith.”

Pratt said he wanted to be buried in Utah, but he was buried near where he died.

Pratt’s grave, off Hwy. 282 between Alma and Mountain-burg, has an impressive monument and is open to visitors. A few years ago, his descendants tried to move his remains, but none were found there.

Newspapers proclaimed Hector a hero and urged president James Buchanan to make him governor of Utah. Instead, he died in obscurity a decade later in New Orleans. Eleanor taught school in Utah and died in 1874.

Mormons consider Pratt a martyr, although church historians concede that Eleanor and Hector were estranged but still married. Polygamy often meant not only that Mormon men had several wives — or plural marriages, as they were called — but many of the women were often still married to other men. Plural marriages indeed.

When most Mormons agreed to follow U.S. law and abandoned polygamy, Mitt Romney’s grandfather, Gaskell, joined a Mormon colony in Mexico. Pratt’s granddaughter, Anna Pratt Romney, who was Gaskell’s wife, and their son, George, Mitt’s father, were born there.

Pratt’s murder was avenged in September 1857 with the arrival of the Baker-Fancher wagon train from Arkansas, which had started out in Harrison (Boone County) and headed for California. Some of the emigrants were from Crawford County, the others from Johnson, Carroll and Marion counties in north Arkansas. They picked up another group in Missouri, and the party grew to 120 adults and several children.

They hoped to buy supplies at Cedar City in southern Utah, their last stop before California. But they were refused provisions, maybe because they were infidels. They appeared to have plenty of money, making them an easy target for robbers.

Word also got around that most of the travelers were from Arkansas, and angry Mormons made the connection to their apostle’s murder in Crawford County.

There were rumors that Eleanor McLean Pratt had recognized one of the travelers as one of those responsible for Pratt’s death.

The massacre took place at scenic Mountain Meadows, 35 miles from Cedar City. Several of the Mormon attackers were disguised as Indians, although there were a few real Indians involved in the massacre.

The travelers had circled their wagons and the standoff continued for several days, when John D. Lee, one of the Mormon leaders, entered the circle with a white flag.

The settlers thought the fighting was over and put their weapons down. Instead, the men and women were led one by one about a mile away from where the fighting took place and were shot by Mormons or their Indian accomplices.

The victims weren’t buried for more than a year, when the Army gave them a proper burial. Lee was executed and other Mormons were ex-communicated.

Seventeen children were spared as they were considered too young to understand what had happened and wouldn’t tell the world about the massacre.

They were taken to Mormon homes but did not stay there for long. The federal government ordered them reunited with their extended families in Arkansas.

Perhaps decades later, during the great migrations of the Depression, they wound up in California after all.

TOP STORY >> Forum reveals differing views

Leader staff writer

Besides either bashing or defending the city’s economic consultant, what were the agendas, platforms or issues espoused by Jacksonville City Council aldermen and office seekers at Thursday’s chamber-sponsored forum?

First, most of the chamber questions were all different versions of “do we or don’t we need an outside economic consultant?”

The questions restricted what the aldermen could say and basically put them into two camps: Yes, we need the consultant, or no, we don’t, but there was more to the candidates.

Aldermen Terry Sansing and Bill Howard, both running for re-election, focused on the positives like the new joint education center and the public facilities training complex. They wanted to continue the improvements and growth.

Candidate Freddie Booker pushed for better lighting, both as a safety issue and a way to improve the looks of the city. She also wants to work with everyone.

Unopposed candidate Barbara Mashburn is a proponent of more neighborhood watch programs, citing that when she and neighbors started one in her area crime dropped 70 percent.

Candidate Rizelle Aaron wants to focus on city finances and making ordinances less restrictive.

The Rev. James Bolden III also made it clear that he was about saving money and working together.

Jim Moore, who has attended more council meetings than any of the other candidates, also wants the focus on economic development.

Roger Sundermeier wants to focus on preserving and increasing small businesses.

Twitty made it clear she was a “let me see it in writing and study it first” before jumping to a decision.

Celeste Williams, a member of the 100-plus audience, said after the forum, “I was surprised by a couple of the candidates. They were different from what I thought they would be. I agreed with them more than I thought I would. I think they’ll care about the whole city, the affluent and the needy part, not just one side because it takes all of it to make a city. That’s life. You’re not going to have all good or all bad.”

After the chamber questions, the audience asked questions. One mother, asking for her daughter, asked what can be done for young people in the city.

Sundermeier said the city had some fine outstanding facilities like Splash Zone and the Boys and Girls Club, but he added, “We need to bring in more family friendly, kid friendly businesses, have safer parks and perhaps bring the skating rink back.”

Howard, who used to spend his youthful days at the old Gray Theater in the Sunnyside area of town said things are tougher for kids these days and was open to input from the kids themselves.

Bolden went a step further, saying a committee needed to be formed with the young people as members. “What us older people think is fun is much different than what young people think,” he said. “You know the saying, ‘Out of the mouth of babes…’”

Booker said there is a lot of space and a lot of empty buildings that could be used for youth activities. “We’ve got to work with the kids.”

Mary Twitty, who is a member of the Parks and Recreation Commission, said that the parks department offered a number of youth programs and activities. She would like to see a bowling center open in town.

Mashburn felt the city could build and open up more basketball courts and sports areas.

Aaron wanted to take the economic consultant’s salary and use it for more basketball facilities, and then take more of the consultant’s pay to get a skating rink and a bowling alley. Aaron was exaggerating to make his point as the consultant’s costs fall between $50,000 and $80,000.

Sansing said the city has added programs and activities. Most recently he said the city opened up a canoe trail, “and there’s a paintball facility, shooting range, archery and let’s not forget the skateboard park right outside this community center.”

Moore, who operates the Stonewall pool, said he didn’t feel comfortable with his daughter playing paintball or taking that trail with snakes. “But I know when the pool is open we are covered with young people, and when it closes, where do they go?”

Another audience question was how could the city “grow” the north Hwy. 67/167 corridor when the area doesn’t have sewer.

Sansing explained that when a developer does the infrastructure necessary for a project, the city will do everything in its power to meet or match the needs. He added it’s the developers who bring in the infrastructure, not the city.

Sundermeier said the city was landlocked with just a few options for growth.

“We have to make those spots very attractive and prepare the land for growth,” Sundermeier said.

Moore, a member of the planning commission, piggybacked on Sansing’s explanation and said as plans are developed, the infrastructure and all the needs are worked out and that nothing is approved until those details have been agreed to.

Bolden, a member of the water commission, added that developers and the commissions work out the plans and that it is a smooth transition.

Mashburn and Twitty both concurred with Sansing.

Aaron said the city needed to work with the businesses in a partnership. But he was concerned with the types of business that came in with the north corridor annexation.

“Sex shops, strip clubs, liquor stores,” he said, adding that they were draining protection services from other parts of the city.

After the forum, Mahalia Watson, a member of the audience, said, “I did not know you could vote for more than one. I do think it was exciting to see them play off each others’ answers.”

Even though aldermen serve a particular area or ward, they are elected at-large.

Audience member, Jerry Reichenbach, said, “We’ve lost basically every manufacturing job we’ve had except maybe two. The state has things tied up where you can’t do this, you can’t do that. We should maybe have more than just the one (forum). Maybe in two week there ought to be another one. I’m not sure every one of them should have answered the same question. We’d have got a lot more questions out here. “

Two more candidate debates or forums are scheduled: One at Reed’s Bridge and one at the senior center later this month.

TOP STORY >> Farewell to fallen soldier

Leader staff writer

One thousand supporters lined the streets Saturday in Beebe from Westbrook Funeral Home on Dewitt Henry Drive to First Baptist Church on Hwy. 64 and waited a couple of hours to put their hands over their hearts for Army Sgt. Jason Swindle.

Swindle, 24, of Cabot died in Afghanistan on Sept. 20 when he was attacked by a rocket- propelled grenade while on patrol, according to a Department of Defense news release.

The sergeant was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Ga.

Most of the crowd gathered in front of the church as the funeral was held inside.

Several of Swindle’s relatives rolled down their car windows as they passed by on the way to Meadowbrook Memorial Gardens Cemetery. They waved and thanked the people — some knew Swindle, others did not — for honoring him by dressing in red, white and blue and holding American flags.

Five or six supporters noticed drivers passing the procession because it slowed traffic to a crawl.

They took a large flag and formed a human barricade across one side of the road.

Jennifer Mathis was proud to be a part of that group.

“God bless America and my right to stand in the middle of the road. He died for that right. We did it out of respect for that soldier and his family,” she said.

Swindle’s cousin, Cindy Johnson, said, “It’s heartbreaking. This is so overwhelming to me, the support that has been shown to the family. I’m flabbergasted.”

Chandra Rodgers said some of her friends are part of The Silent Few, a Little Rock-based motorcycle club. The Silent Few was just one group that made up the hundreds of bikers who escorted the sergeant and his family from the funeral to the church and to the cemetery.

Rodgers said, “They support the troops in everything they do.”

Michele Shaffer, another supporter, said, “If it weren’t for them, the war would be here, not somewhere else.”

J.B. Martyrs, president of the Martyrs Motorcycle Club, which is based in Searcy, said, “We’re trying to support one of our troops. They’re real important to us.”

Senior Airmen James Urban held one side of a large flag as he waited for the procession to pass. He said he had just returned from Arizona and hadn’t slept in 24 hours, but this was important.

“I’m here to show my respects,” Urban said.

A supporter who didn’t want to be named said, “It’s not too much for us to take a few hours on a Saturday to support the family when the military gives up their lives for us.”

The Patriot Guard Riders came out in force to help the family.

They are part of a loose organization that formed to neutralize the presence of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, which says soldiers die because of America’s sins, especially homosexuality.

Its members were expected to protest at the funeral, but they were nowhere to be seen.

Several supporters said they heard the protesters don’t show up when all of the Patriot Guard Riders attend a service. An unconfirmed rumor is that a local radio station offered the church airtime in exchange for not attending. Some of the crowd said the station told listeners to avoid tuning in while the church was on the air.

Others claimed city police and sheriff’s deputies, which were at the event in more than a dozen patrol vehicles, kept the church members out of sight.

A couple of officers escorted two men who were carrying signs with nonsensical messages like, “Nickleback dooms nations.” Nickleback is a well-known rock band that was established in the 1990s.

They said their posters were satirical criticism of the church.

The Cabot High School Air Force JROTC will hold a special flag presentation at 4 p.m. Monday at Veterans Park. The students will present a flag to the family.

TOP STORY >> Capital murder charges for trio

Leader staff writer

Three men from the Sunnyside addition in Jacksonville could face the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole if they are convicted in the capital murder of a North Little Rock gas station clerk.

The clerk, Akika Egeston, was shot Sept. 22 during the aggravated robbery of EZ Mart, 3600 MacArthur Drive.

As of Tuesday morning, a court date had not been set for Davion Howard, 19, Jacobi Robinson, 20, or Maclin Rogers, 20, according to the Pulaski County Circuit Court.

Howard has been connected to a second armed robbery at the Citgo gas station on Marshall Road in Jacksonville later the same evening Egeston was killed.

Sunnyside residents who lived near the suspects didn’t appear to be shocked by the arrests.

One of Robinson’s neighbors, James Anderson, said he didn’t know the accused, but he wasn’t surprised.

“It’s nothing new in Jacksonville,” Anderson said.

Two of Robinson’s neighbors refused to say anything about him or how his arrest has been received in the community.

Another neighbor, who did not give The Leader her name, said she didn’t know Robinson had been arrested, but she said, “I feel fine he’s gone now.”

Robinson was arrested without incident Friday at his residence, 1201 South Road, Apt. D.

The duplex manager at Rogers’ last known address, 1007 Wright St., said she didn’t know anything about the incident. Her office is next door to his residence.

She said, “This is the first time (something like this has happened).”

Rogers turned himself in on Saturday at the Jacksonville Police Department.

Howard of 5 Georgeann Circle was arrested Friday with the help of the State Police during a traffic stop in Texarkana.

As of Tuesday morning, the three men were being held without bond at the Pulaski County Regional Detention Facility in Little Rock.

North Little Rock police found the clerk’s body at E-Z Mart around 9:12 p.m.

According a news release from the department, Robinson “acknowledged his involvement in the crime and shooting the store clerk.”

Jacksonville police responded to the holdup at Citgo, 120 Marshall Road, around 2:10 a.m. on Sept. 23.

The perpetrator allegedly threatened the clerk with a black handgun. He told her to give him cigarettes and to open the safe.

The clerk ran from the store and wasn’t injured, according to a news release from the Jacksonville Police Department. The robber later fled on foot with an undetermined amount of money.

All of the suspects have criminal histories, according to Pulaski County Circuit Court documents.

Robinson was arrested on Feb. 25 for third-degree domestic battery and violation of a no-contact order.

The victim said Robinson, her ex-boyfriend, was upset with her saying goodbye to co-workers. He grabbed her by the shirt and tried to force her outside. He started to choke her and threw her against a wall, causing her to hit her head. There were scratches on her neck and a bump on the back of her head.

Robinson was later charged with felony aggravated assault.

He pleaded not guilty in June to both the assault and the domestic battery.

Robinson was convicted of the battery charge at a trial in late August. He was not prosecuted for the assault charge.

He was sentenced to one year of probation, which would have ended in August 2013.

Rogers pleaded guilty to felony residential burglary and felony theft of property in April 2011.

He also pleaded guilty to violating probation last month.

For both charges and for violating his probation, Rogers was sentenced to five years of probation that would have ended in 2016.

Howard was scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 25 for a trial concerning a theft-by-receiving charge.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Bison bear down on newest foe

Leader sportswriter

The Carlisle Bison haven’t had much trouble running through their conference schedule after beating Palestine-Wheatley 48-0 in week four and Clarendon 44-6 last week on the road. On Friday, the Bison travel to first-year 2A-6 Conference member Brinkley in an attempt to stay unbeaten.

Brinkley hasn’t had much success in recent years, and the Tigers’ luck hasn’t changed since dropping down to class 2A. Last season in class 3A, Brinkley finished 3-7 overall, but went 2-1 against teams in the 2A-6 Conference, including wins against Clarendon and Palestine-Wheatley and a loss to Des Arc.

“I don’t know a whole lot about Brinkley,” said Carlisle coach Scott Waymire. “They’re new to our conference. Looking at them on film, they’re a very athletic ball club that has some size. Their offensive line probably averages 230 to 240 across. They’re tall kids that range anywhere from 5’10 to 6’3.”

The Tigers have had significant trouble on both sides of the ball this season. In its five games, Brinkley has given up an average of 47 points per game, while the offense has averaged just more than nine. Last Friday, the Tigers were handed their worst loss of the year, a 64-0 beat-down by the Hazen Hornets (3-2, 2-0).

Carlisle (4-0, 2-0), who’s won the conference the last two years, will likely be the toughest test yet for Brinkley (0-5, 0-2).

“They fill out a uniform and look good physically,” Waymire said of Brinkley. “But watching them on film, they just can’t seem to get it together for a whole drive. They may have a couple of drives where they look really good, and then they just kind of fall apart.

“So they’re working to try to get things together, and we’re going to try and jump on them early and work on our stuff. We know we have some tough ball games down the line, so hopefully we can get some young guys some playing time.”

Brinkley’s size and overall team speed will give the Tigers an advantage according to Waymire. But overcoming those types of disadvantages are nothing new for the Bison. Class 3A power Osceola (3-2, 2-0) had the same advantages, and fellow conference members Palestine-Wheatley (1-4, 0-2) and Clarendon (1-4, 0-2) had more speed.

Carlisle was the victor in all three games by being the more disciplined team as the Bison stayed on their blocks to create open space on offense, and simply executed better on both sides of the ball. Last week against Clarendon, junior running back Deron Ricks led the Bison rushing attack with 152 yards and two scores on 15 carries.

Clinton Hampton had seven carries for 53 yards and two touchdowns. Senior quarterback Chris Hart was 5 for 8 passing for 79 yards and a touchdown, and also had two interceptions on defense.

The Tigers primarily line up in a 4-3 on defense, but will sometimes put six up front. On offense, Waymire said Brinkley likes to throw a lot of different looks at opposing defenses, most of which comes from the pistol formation.

“They’re going to run some empty sets and they’re going to motion a lot,” Waymire said. “They’ll do some things we haven’t seen in the past five weeks. We’re going to have to do a good job lining up defensively, and flying to the football when it’s in the air.

“They like to run jet sweeps and throw a lot of screens, and do those things to try and spread the field to put their athletes in open space.”

Brinkley uses two sophomore quarterbacks on offense. Case Harrell is the more accurate of the two, but Cole Sheffer is an athlete that can do some damage if given an open lane to run through. Versatile senior Courtney Swanigan and junior Torren Tucker pace the Tiger backfield.

The receiving corps for Brinkley includes Sheffer, senior slot receiver James Jarrett who boasts 4.5 speed, seniors Tyler Armstrong and McCrory transfer Mark Walker. D.J. Roberts and sophomore Eric Daniels contribute at receiver as well, while senior Deshun Tyler has the ability to make plays at tight end.

Various sources have predicted the Bison to be the easy victor on Friday. has Carlisle projected to win by 56 points. However, one of the many things Waymire has taught his players over the years is to never take any opponent lightly.

“They’re still looking for some identity amongst themselves,” Waymire said of Brinkley. “We have to go there. I’ve never been there so I don’t know what type of place it is. But we’re just going to go out and do our stuff, play our game of football, and hopefully we come out of there on the upper end. Then get ready for a big one next week against Hazen.”

SPORTS STORY >> Coach wants a better run game Friday

Leader sports editor

North Little Rock is still finding room for improvement as it heads to Jonesboro this Friday to take on the undefeated Golden Hurricanes. The glaring deficiency in last week’s otherwise dominant performance against West Memphis was the running game. The Wildcats managed just 68 yards on the ground, and standout Altee Tenpenny gained just 39 yards on 16 carries. Charging Wildcats’ coach Brad Bolding gave West Memphis some of the credit for that, but felt like his team could have had much more success if some things were done differently.

“West Memphis’ defensive front is pretty good,” Bolding said. “Longview’s was really good but they’re right up there with Longview. They got into some sets defensively that created some problems for us. But to get to the point, we were awful in the running game. At the end of the day we didn’t get the job done and that’s my fault.”

Bolding said West Memphis did what he was expecting, but it came down to the Wildcats executing what they game-planned.

“I said early in the week that if I’m a defensive guy, this is what I’m going to do to us,” Bolding said. “I don’t think we worked it enough during the week. We talked about and schemed for it, but at the end of the day, there’s only one finger to point and it’s at me.”

Jonesboro doesn’t have quite the same kind of athletes on the defensive line that West Memphis has, but the Hurricanes are dangerous in other areas. D.J. Anderson brings his 4.4 speed from wide receiver to quarterback, and has been a very effective dual threat. Running back Martin Stafford is also a problem for opposing defenses. He’s already approaching 1,000 yards this rushing this season.

“They have an outstanding team,” Bolding said. “They’ve done a wonderful job of executing their game plan. Got to give a lot of credit to coach Coleman. They have playmakers all over the field on offense and we have a lot of respect for them.”

A common thread through each week of game preparation has been more of a focus on internal matters than on opponents’ schemes. That doesn’t change this week.

“We’ll go into this game like we have all the others,” Bolding said. “We’re looking to play a flawless game. That’s our goal each week. We don’t want to have any blown assignments like we had last week. We want to play fast and we want to be a physical team.”

The Wildcat defense continues to look sharp. West Memphis mounted almost no offense and never seriously threatened to score in last week’s game.

Jonesboro is better offensively than West Memphis, and also owns a win over the Blue Devils, beating them 30-21 a week before they came to North Little Rock.

The Wildcats also lost starting defensive tackle Kenny Howard, who left last week’s game in the third quarter with a knee injury. Still, Bolding’s confidence in his defense continues to grow.

“Javian Williams (nose guard) played a great game,” Bolding said. “I thought both our defensive ends played great. Deonte Pearson had a great game. Alex Gosser was back there causing trouble on just about every play. We named our whole defense as players of the game.”

One major bright spot that came out of North Little Rock’s running problems was the emergence of a steady passing attack. The co-starters at quarterback, junior Payton Holmes and sophomore Heath Land each had good performances. The team combined to complete 13 of 19 passes for 217 yards. Wide receiver Aaron Adams had his best game of the season, and tight end Cameron Williams, who has been recovering from a preseason injury, had a breakout game with five catches for 82 yards.

“You’re seeing what he’s capable of now,” Bolding said of Williams. “We’ve been waiting for him to get completely healthy. He’s been spot playing here and there, but he’s 100 percent now and he’s a dangerous weapon for us.”

SPORTS STORY >> Panthers battling injuries, Bombers

Leader sports editor

An injury depleted Cabot football team got out of Marion with a 26-12 victory, and comes home to face the Mountain Home Bombers this week for homecoming. The Bombers are just 1-4 this season, but is near the top of the league in points scored per game. They are averaging over 31 points per game and that kind of offensive efficiency is enough to concern head Panther Mike Malham, especially given the injuries that has plagued his secondary this year.

The Panthers have lost four defensive backs this season, but could have two of them back for homecoming if everything goes well.

Colby Ferguson is able to play but is still slowed a bit by a bad ankle. Chris Luna, who was a projected starter before breaking his ankle just before the start of the season, could be back by next week.

“We’re getting healthier,” Malham said. “We could get Luna back, but we’re not going to rush it. Colby played a little for us last week on that bad ankle, but he’s not 100 percent.”

Cabot played last week without starting quarterback Kason Kimbrell, who suffered a broken bone in his foot. His backup Grant Bell, was injured getting some repetitions at cornerback in a JV game due to the other injuries at that position. That left starting tight end Brandon Boatright to take over at quarterback. Boatright played quarterback as a sophomore and filled in well.

“Boatright did a really good job at quarterback,” Malham said. “He ran the option really well. He went 4 for 4 passing so you can’t beat that. And he had about 80 yards rushing. We ran the option a lot. He probably kept for about 10 carries. He was making good decisions and running pretty well.”

Starting fullback Zach Launius went out with an elbow injury in the first quarter. Kyle Edgar moved from halfback to fullback, where he had also played this season. Starting halfback Russ Rankin also went down with a back and hip injury. Max Carroll and Chris Henry stepped in to play halfback.

“All those guys have played all year and could be called starters,” Malham said. “We had pretty good depth there so we’re not hurt that bad at running back. We just can’t get any more hurt or then we’ll be in trouble.”

Blake Gibson filled in at tight end for Boatright. That was another case of a starter taking over for a starter.

“Gibson had been playing every position on the line, giving somebody a break every series,” Malham said. “He just stepped right in and started at tight end for us so we didn’t miss a beat there either.”

Kimbrell is in a similar situation as Ferguson. He could play this week if needed, but the plan for now is to stick with Boatright.

“Kimbrell is not quite full speed and it’s hard to run the option if you’re not full speed,” Malham said.

With the depth chart figured out, Malham turns his attention to Mountain Home.

“You can’t take anybody for granted,” Malham said. “They’ve had some trouble stopping people, but they’re scoring a bunch of points. They scored 40-something on Harrison. They just scored 41 on Searcy, 31 on Parkview. Their quarterback is a real good runner. The defense is going to have to play well. Plus we have homecoming this week so there are going to be those distractions. I’m not expecting an easy game.”

Mountain Home has only beaten Cabot once in school history, but it was the last time the two teams met in 2004.

“They beat us here the last time we played in the old five-classification format,” Malham said. “Of course we went 1-9 that year so there were a lot of teams that got a little revenge that last time around.”

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot wins many titles

Leader sports editor

The Cabot BMX track held the state championships on Sunday for the third consecutive year. Eighty-seven riders took part on Sunday with several competitors from the local track winning state championships in their respective age divisions.

It’s the first year for Cabot to hold the state races since the city took over the track, and track manager Jeff Gray says the event went very well.

“We were very surprised we pulled it off with the rain in the forecast and it looking like rain all day long,” Gray said. “We no more than got the races finished and gave out the awards, and 20 minutes later it started raining.”

Despite the threat of rain, several competitors from all over the state and even out of state took part in the event. Ages of participants ranged from 4 to 56 with 28 new state champions crowned.

“We were expecting a little more than 87 but I think the threat of rain kept some of the people from far off from making the trip,” Gray said. “Nobody wants to drive a long ways and not even get to compete. There was right at 100 here last year so even with the rain we came really close to that. Most of the competitors come with families of three of four at least, so I’m going to say there were close to 300 people here. We were able to pay all our bills and put a little back into the track to keep things running and get our 501-C3 non-profit stuff going.”

It was actually a two-race weekend with a double points night of racing on Saturday. BMX points systems accumulates points over the course of the season and Saturday’s races counted for twice as many points as other races. There were 67 competitors on Saturday.

Seven different Cabot track regulars won nine state championships. Faith Douglas won the girls 6-year old cruiser championship and Rylan Light won the same title in the 8-year-old boys division. Nathan Worrell won the boys 12-year-old championship. Cole Stracener won the boys 13-year-old title. Jaggar Basinger won the 16-year-old championship in standard and cruiser division. Rick Worrell, Nathan’s dad, won the 36-up division and Gerald Grieve won the over-40 division.

“We have a lot of riders in this area,” Gray said. “We had a father-son team each win their divisions so you can see what a family sport this is. We have different teams, but that doesn’t matter when it comes to helping each other out with parts or fixing bikes and getting a track ready. It’s a really friendly atmosphere and everybody has a great time.”

Sunday’s competition also featured a dash for the cash with three of the state’s fastest riders plus one rider from Texas competing for a cash pot that each donated to. Chris Bradley won the race with Benton’s Brandon Rutherford finishing second.

“That’s just something we did so some of these younger kids can see just how fast these top riders can really go,” Gray said. “It’s one thing to see them in a regular race against people that aren’t all on their level. To get all those guys out there together and watch them compete like that was really fun. They were really moving.”

All of the winners from Saturday, as well as the top four in the points standings qualify for the Grand Nationals in Tulsa on Thanksgiving weekend.

“That’s our super bowl and it’s a really huge event,” Gray said. “It’s four straight days of racing, Thursday through Sunday. It’s a lot of fun for those that get to go.”

SPORTS STORY >> Jacksonville set to host Sylvan Hills

Leader sportswriter

An old gridiron rivalry will be renewed Friday when Sylvan Hills makes the short drive to Jacksonville to take on the Red Devils at Jan Crow Stadium. It’s the first meeting between the two teams since they were in the old 6A East in 2007.

Both teams are coming off big wins last week as the Bears posted a comeback victory over Mills while the Red Devils won big over Little Rock McClellan during the second half of a 57-33 rout over the Crimson Lions.

Opening kickoff between the Bears and Red Devils is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Sylvan Hills (2-2, 1-1) was in danger of dropping its second straight league game after trailing Mills 19-7 late in the third quarter last week before scoring 21 unanswered points to take a 28-19 victory.

“They’ve got some speed, and they have good size,” Jacksonville coach Rick Russell said of the Bears. “They have two quarterbacks, with one being able to run maybe a little better than the other one, but they can both throw the ball. They’re very similar to us.

“I thought Mills was a good team, so for them to comeback and win in that game means they’ve got something going on.”

The Red Devils (3-2, 2-0) got a boost offensively last week with the return of starting quarterback Aaron Smith. The senior bruised his thigh against Maumelle and sat out the entire game against Helena West-Helena Central in week four.

He did not play in the first half against McClellan, but came out in the second half and led Jacksonville to five touchdowns to help engineer the late rout.

But if Sylvan Hills wants to stop the Red Devils in their tracks, they will have to contend with all-purpose senior Kevin Richardson. Richardson has blistering 4.3 speed, and can be utilized at quarterback, running back and receiver, as well as a returner on special teams.

“He’s outstanding,” Russell said. “He’s definitely a weapon. We knew he was going to be difference maker. He’s tough, and he’s also a great leader out there. It’s not just his playing, he’s also out there showing younger players the right way of doing things.”

Bears coach Jim Withrow is also aware of Richardson’s abilities, as well as the significance of Smith’s return. Withrow learned Monday morning of Smith returning to the lineup for Jacksonville, and seemed sarcastically enthused.

“That’s great; good for them,” Withrow said. “One thing about them is how athletic they are. You’ve also got the Richardson kid in there. They’re probably the best team we’ve faced so far.”

The Bears put up some of the best offensive numbers of the season against Mills with 100 passing yards for sophomore quarterback Tra Doss. Sophomore Marlen Clemmons rushed for 77 yards and also had 50 receiving yards, and senior Ashton Brown led the way on the ground with 19 carries for 118 yards.

Brown, a late transfer from North Little Rock, was one of the last players to make it on to the roster for the Bears. His late arrival meant most of the good equipment was already spoken for, and with the 5-6, 180-pound power running back developing into the offensive workhorse for Sylvan Hills, it has Withrow rethinking his gear situation.

“He got the worst equipment because of how late he showed up,” Withrow said. “I really didn’t notice it, but then I looked over at him on Friday, and he had this yellow foam stuff coming out of his shoulder pads. I thought maybe it’s time to look for him some better pads.’”