Saturday, September 14, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Jacksonville sputters again in loss

Leader sports editor

Jacksonville showed flashes of the offense it expected all summer to have, but more often looked like the same offense that stagnated last week against Cabot. The end result was a 31-21 home-opening loss to Benton on Friday, resulting in an 0-2 start to the season.

“We had some technique problems and to be honest with you, we had some effort problems,” Jacksonville coach Rick Russell said. “Everybody on the field has to play hard every play, the whole play. We weren’t lined up in the right position at times on defense, and that’s my fault. We have to get lined up right, we have to play better technique on offense and defense, and we have to do it quickly. We have one more game to get things worked out before it starts to count.”

The Red Devils took a 21-7 lead with three minutes left in the second quarter, but gave up an 80-yard drive in 1:08, a drive that turned out to be a foreshadowing of the second half. John Davis caught a 14-yard touchdown pass on third and 1 to make it 21-14 heading into intermission.

Benton got the ball to start the second half and drove 72 yards to the 7-yard line, but Jacksonville’s defense bowed up and held the Panthers out of the end zone, getting the ball back on downs.

After gaining just 3 yards, Red Devil receiver Robert Harris was stripped of the ball by Benton’s Gunnar Paul at the Red Devil 11-yard line.

But again, Jacksonville’s defense held. On fourth and 5, Brandon Toombs tipped a Terek Beaugard pass at the line of scrimmage, and Titus O’Neal picked it out of the air at the 8-yard line.

Jacksonville netted -2 yards when two incompletions followed a 2-yard gain and a false-start penalty.

The Red Devils punted and Benton started at the Jacksonville 43. Fullback Drew Dyer bullied his way up the middle for 26 yards on the first play. Quarterback Cason Maertens then hit Sam Baker for 6 yards on first down to the 11. Two incompletions followed, but a little trickery converted the fourth down. Benton lined both quarterbacks up in the backfield, snapped to Maertens, who hit Beaugard on the wheel route for an 11-yard touchdown pass. The extra point missed, leaving Jacksonville clinging to a 21-20 lead.

The Red Devils again went three and out, picking up 6 yards on first down, but nothing more.

Benton took over on its own 37 with 1:46 left in the third quarter, and made that distance up in just a minute and 11 seconds. Most of it came on the first play when Beaugard found Davis streaking down the left sideline for a 49-yard completion. Two plays later, he hit Nix for his second touchdown of the game. Beaugard also kept for the two-point conversion and a 28-21 Benton lead.

From that point, neither team could get much offense going. Benton got a 34-yard burst up the middle by tailback Shaun Carey for 34 yards to the Jacksonville 10. Three plays later, the Panthers hit a 26-yard field goal with 4:26 remaining in the game to set the final margin.

The first half was a series of momentum shifts as both teams struck quickly, then went into long slumps of inability to move the ball.

Jacksonville got the ball first and easily drove 57 yards for its first touchdown of the season with 8:50 left in the first quarter.

Damon Thomas rumbled 16 yards on the first play from scrimmage, and got just one more offensive touch the rest of the game. A holding penalty put Jacksonville in a hole of second and 21, but Lamont Gause went 18 yards up the middle on the next play and Carlin Herd got 4 yards on the next play to convert the first down. Jacksonville faced third and 7 two plays later, but Barnes found Avery Wells for a 13-yard completion to the 3-yard line. Gause punched it in from there for the score and John Herrman added the extra point for a 7-0 lead.

It took Benton no time to answer. Quarterback Terek Beaugard hit Colton Nix about 20 yards downfield on first down from the 22. Jacksonville cornerback Josh Alcorn made the initial hit, but Nix broke the tackle and outran Alcorn to the end zone to quickly tie the score with 8:29 left.

The Red Devils’ second drive was just as impressive as the first. They marched 60 yards in six plays, getting half of it on a screen pass to Gause on the first play. The tailback also got the last catch, a 9-yard swing pass to the right side for the score with 6:57 left in the first quarter.

From that point, Jacksonville’s next four drives gained -4 yards. Benton got just 13 on its next three drives before gaining 44 on the first drive of the second quarter. But that drive ended with Thomas intercepting a Beaugard pass on the 5-yard line and returning 56 yards to the Benton 39. Defensive end Toombs applied the pressure that forced the errant pass, but Jacksonville lost 5 yards on the ensuing possession.

The Devil defense got the ball back, and the offense got back into form, driving 85 yards in 9 plays for the score and a 21-7 lead with three minutes left in the half.

Benton rolled up 516 total yards while Jacksonville totaled 352. The big disparity was in the second half. Benton had 259 yards at halftime while Jacksonville had 232.

Beaugard completed just 37 percent of his passes, hitting 13 of 35 attempts, but for 247 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran eight times for 48 yards. Carey finished with 17 carries for 129 yards to lead all rushers.

Barnes completed 23 of 42 attempts for 242, but was 15 of 20 for 179 in the first half.

Harris caught seven passes for 115 yards to lead Jacksonville.

The Red Devils will host Maumelle next week. The Hornets beat North Pulaski 42-0 on Friday.

SPORTS STORY >> Bears hold off Rams’ comeback

Special to The Leader

After a season-opening win over Vilonia last week, the Sylvan Hills Bears hosted the Hot Springs Lakeside Rams Friday at Bill Blackwood Field. After a fairly even first half, the Bears led at one point by 18 in the second half. The Rams came back to score late and close the margin to 45-41 in favor of the Bears.

“I’m impressed that we hung with it,” said Sylvan Hills head coach Jim Withrow. “We keep on making enough plays to get us by and had the stretch where we scored a few more than them. All the way around, I’m happy to be 2-0. Clemmons had an outstanding game. He’s as good of a football player as there is. I’m glad he’s on our team.”

Marlon Clemmons had 129 rushing yards and 102 receiving yards for a total of 231 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Tra Doss had two rushing touchdowns and passed for three more. The Bears had a total of 454 yards of offense.

After receiving the opening on-side kickoff, the Bears started with excellent field position. However, there was a fumble on the first play from scrimmage, turning the ball over to the Rams. Lakeside struck quickly, with Beau Uzick carrying the ball to the Bear 4-yard line. A Bear penalty moved the ball to the 2-yard line where Blakely Lawless took the ball in for the touchdown. The extra point made the score 7-0 Rams with 11:41 left in the first quarter.

The Bears came right back with a scoring drive of their own. Starting on its own 33-yard line, Clemmons picked up a first down and Doss carried the ball to the Ram 45- yard line.

Doss hit Nathan Thomas for a first down at the 40-yard line. After carries by Tyler Davis and Marcus Long, Clemmons picked up another first down.

Doss moved the chains to the 12-yard line and then to the 2-yard line for a first and goal. Doss completed the drive by carrying it in from there. Philip Wood added the extra point for the 7-7 tie score.

Unable to move the ball on their next drive, Lakeside punted the ball out of bounds on its own 40-yard line, giving the Bears outstanding field position yet again.

Sylvan Hills could not take advantage and turned the ball over on downs.

From their own 30-yard line, Lakeside quarterback Garrett Carson handed the ball to Clint Smedley, who passed the ball down the field only to have it picked off by the Bears.

Sylvan Hills was forced to punt and the Rams took over on their own 20. Smedley broke free all the way to the Bear 1-yard line and Lawless scored from there. With the extra point, the score was 14-7 Rams.

After starting from their own 26-yard line, Doss connected with Clemmons on third down for a 69-yard Bears’ touchdown. Wood’s PAT tied the score at 14-14.

After neither team was able to move the ball, the Bears took over on their own 35-yard line. Doss hit Elijah Sowards for a reception to the Lakeside 38-yard line, then carried it himself to the 27. On fourth and 11, Doss hit Clemmons for a first down to the 11-yard line. Doss connected again with Sowards for an 8-yard touchdown pass to finish the drive. Wood added the extra point for a 21-14 Bear advantage with just 1:40 left in the first half.

The Rams came right back with a Carson to Braxton Jester touchdown pass with 1:04 to play in the half. The half ended in a 21-21 tie.

Lakeside started the second half on its own 12-yard line following a holding penalty. On third and five, the Rams fumbled and Quincy Flowers recovered for the Bears on the 18-yard line.

A screen pass to Davis on the next play resulted in a Sylvan Hills touchdown and a 28-21 Bear lead.

On their next drive, Lakeside completed a pass to midfield only to fumble the ball away again.

On the first play of the ensuing drive, Clemmons broke free for a long touchdown run. The extra point made it 35-21.

Lakeside moved the ball down the field with short passes on its next drive. Lawless completed the drive, running the ball in for his third touchdown. The extra point was blocked by Kylan Wade, leaving the score 35-27.

On the Bears’ next possession, Doss completed a pass to Thomas to the Lakeside 35. Clemmons and Flowers ran the ball to the 1-yard line, where Doss took it in from there. The extra point was good for a 42-27 Sylvan Hills advantage.

The Bears lead grew to 45-27 on their next possession when Wood added a 30-yard field goal.

The Rams answered back with Lawless scoring his fourth touchdown of the night. The two-point conversion was no good, leaving the score 45-33.

The Rams had turned the ball over on downs to Sylvan Hills on their own 46-yard line, but forced and recovered a fumble on the Bear 35. That led to a 2-yard touchdown by Carson. The two-point conversion was good to make the score 45-41 with 1:44 to go in the game.

The Bears were able to get one first down and run out the clock to preserve the victory.

Sylvan Hills travels to Newport next Friday. The Greyhounds beat Bald Knob 42-7 last night to remain undefeated.

SPORTS STORY >> NP ladies take three close ones

Leader sports editor

Three hotly-contested games all ended the same way, with North Pulaski narrowly pulling out victories to sweep crosstown rival Jacksonville 3-0, though the match was more competitive than the score indicates.

The hosting Lady Falcons, playing without their starting setter, won by scores of 25-23, 25-21 and 25-22. The service game proved to be the difference for the home team, which served up 18 aces out of its 38 points on serve.

“That’s one thing we’ve been good at this year,” North Pulaski coach Ben Belton said. “We’ve served the ball pretty well. Our problem is losing focus for long stretches. We did it tonight, but we managed to pull it together each time before it was too late.”

The Lady Falcons needed a win after a disappointing showing at the Spikefest tournament in Little Rock on Saturday. North Pulaski went 0-4 without winning a set. Losses to two 7A schools and defending 6A champion Greenwood didn’t bother Belton much. He was actually pleased with how competitive his team was against those powerhouse schools. But game four’s 25-3 loss to class 4A Marianna is what had Belton worried about the rest of the season.

“That was a low point,” Belton said. “We just didn’t play. It was like nobody wanted to even be there. I didn’t know what to do or expect the rest of the year after that. So coming out here and playing pretty well, for the most part anyway, was good to see. This is conference and this is what really counts.”

The win lifts North Pulaski to 2-1 in conference play and 2-9 overall. Jacksonville sinks to 0-5.

In game one, North Pulaski broke serve to start, and senior Casey Mullen reeled off four-straight points on serve, including two aces, for a 5-0 lead. That evaporated quickly. Jacksonville broke serve to make it 5-1, and Lady Devil Chanell Roy doubled Mullen’s effort. Roy served up eight-straight points, including two aces, for a 9-5 lead for the visiting team. Breezy Russell served the Lady Falcons back into a tie and things went back and forth from there up to 20.

North Pulaski finally began setting up its offense, and the result was three kills for Kiarra Evans in the Lady Falcons’ final five points. Roy’s turn to serve came back around and she scored twice to tie the game at 23. On the next point, Evans got a kill for a 24-23 NP lead, then took serve and drilled an ace to finish it.

Neither team managed much offense until late in game two. Jacksonville’s Shakyla Hill executed four kills as the Lady Red Devils began executing its passing, but the rhythm was interrupted when setter Bailea Mitchell left the game holding her side with Jacksonville trailing 23-19.

North Pulaski sophomore Raigen Thomas had three kills in the last 10 points, including the game winner. Belton calls Thomas the most athletic player on the team, who needs to be stronger mentally.

“She’s too worried about messing up,” Belton said. “When she makes a mistake she don’t want it anymore. She’s a tremendous athlete, but she’s going to have to learn to let things go and just keep playing hard.”

North Pulaski threatened to pull away early in game three, taking a 12-7 lead. But Roy took serve again and made it a one-point match before NP finally broke serve.

Megan Lewis then took serve for North Pulaski and put them up by six at 17-11. The two teams traded service breaks to 21-15, when Jacksonville’s Alexia Tolbert took the floor for the first time in the match. She made an immediate impact with an ace that went untouched. She added two more points to make it 21-19 before NP broke. Jacksonville broke right back with a kill by Hill, and Mitchell re-entered to serve the game to a tie at 22. But NP answered with the final three points. Russell broke Mitchell’s serve with a nifty play, finding a hole in Jacksonville’s defense just over the net on the far right side. She then took serve and scored the final two points to seal the match.

Jacksonville will host McClellan on Tuesday and travel to Helena-West Helena Central on Thursday. North Pulaski is at Mills on Tuesday and hosts Little Rock Christian Academy on Thursday.

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot blasts through Rockets

Leader sportswriter

Cabot wore down Little Rock Catholic with its traditional power run game, but the Panthers made some plays through the air as well as they beat the Rockets 40-20 in nonconference action Friday at War Memorial Stadium.

The Panthers’ offense amassed 448 total yards in Friday’s win, bettering the Rockets’ 298. Cabot used a plethora of backs to rush for 371 yards in the game, but the 77 yards and two touchdowns through the air brought more balance to the offense than it has had in some time.

“It’s not really a new passing game,” said Cabot coach Mike Malham. “We ran this several years ago, but we haven’t done it in a while just because we didn’t have that kind of (athletic) kid. It’s simpler. It makes defenses balance up more and it stretches them more because there’s one more gap they’ve got to control.

“I just feel like we’re real thin on the offensive line as far as having enough linemen and we have the skill people, so you use what you got to your advantage. I feel like right now, going open does a lot more damage than going two tight like we’ve done the last several years.”

The kid Malham referred to is none other than junior Jake Ferguson, who is the only Cabot player that consistently plays both offense and defense. Ferguson had another big game against the Rockets as he caught four passes for 59 yards and two touchdowns, and intercepted a pass on defense early in the second half.

“Last year he had a great year in the secondary,” Malham said of Ferguson. “So we decided to go split this year like we used to do because he’s a difference maker. He can run and catch and can catch in a crowd. That’s why we put him out there to try and get some of those (defensive) guys out of the box.

“He caught several over the middle tonight and if they’re going to single cover him then we’ve got to get it to him. We feel like it’s going to take more than one to cover him. He makes a real difference.”

After forcing a three and out on the Rockets’ first possession, Cabot’s offense also went three and out, but an illegal participation penalty against Catholic’s defense gave Cabot a first down.

The Panthers made the Rockets pay for the infraction with a five-play drive that resulted in a 12-yard touchdown run by Preston Jones with 7:35 to play in the first quarter.

The extra point was good, but Cabot’s offense stalled for a couple of series and Catholic tied the score at 7-7 after a 31-yard touchdown run by D.J. Brown and a successful PAT with 2:22 to go in the first.

Cabot retook the lead with 7:46 to play in the second quarter on a 6-yard touchdown run by senior fullback Zach Launius that put the Panthers up 13-7. Cabot’s defense held Catholic scoreless for the remainder of the half, and its offense struck twice more before the break.

After forcing a Catholic turnover, the Panthers scored on the first play of the ensuing drive, thanks to a 55-yard scamper by Launius that pushed the Panther lead to 19-7. Cabot extended its lead to 26-7 with 43 seconds to play in the half after quarterback Kason Kimbrell connected with Ferguson on a 14-yard strike at the back of the end zone, and sophomore kicker Caleb Schulte put the extra point through the uprights.

Kimbrell hit Ferguson again for another score with 7:30 to play in the third quarter, this one from 17-yards out. The PAT was good to push the margin to 33-7. It took Cabot just a little more than two minutes to find the end zone for the final time. With 5:14 to play in the third, Kimbrell scored on a 33-yard option keeper, which capped a three-play drive. Schulte’s extra point made it 40-7 Cabot.

Catholic’s offense found the end zone for the first time in the second half on a 27-yard pass from Andre Sale to Brown with 35 seconds to play in the third quarter that cut the deficit to 40-14 after the successful PAT. With much of Cabot’s second unit in the game, Catholic (0-2) set the final score on a 9-yard run by senior running back Joe Mariani and a successful PAT with 3:28 to play.

Kimbrell’s 77 yards through the air came after completing 6 of 11 passes for two touchdowns and one interception. Launius led the Panthers’ ground game as he totaled 162 rush yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.

Kimbrell added 59 rush yards and one score on the ground. Chris Henry finished with nine carries for 79 rush yards, and Jones had all six of his carries for 39 yards and one touchdown in the first half.

Cabot (2-0) will face a much tougher challenge next week as it hosts Conway in the final nonconference game of the season. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

SPORTS STORY >> Jackrabbits bully past rival Beebe

Leader sportswriter

It wasn’t the typical result during the annual Beebe-versus-Lonoke showdown as the Jackrabbits dominated every facet of the game in a 41-14 blowout at James B. Abraham Stadium on Friday.

The Jackrabbits (1-1) moved the ball at will on offense, and took advantage of Beebe turnovers to control the contest from the outset. Lonoke’s defense showed its muscle by holding dynamic Badger sophomore fullback Trip Smith to 70 yards on 18 carries, and junior defensive back Trey Bevis squashed any hopes of a Beebe comeback in the second half with two interceptions deep in Lonoke territory.

“We knew they were going to be physical; we preached that all week,” Lonoke coach Doug Bost said. “We hit and we hit and we hit all week, and the kids came out and they executed it. I told them that’s a team right there that scored 38 points last week, and we held them to 14, and one of those was on a drive that started at the 10-yard line. I’m real proud of our defense – real proud.”

The Badgers (0-2) appeared to establish a nice offensive rhythm early, taking their first drive nearly 70 yards while eating more than seven minutes off the clock until a fumble at the Lonoke 3-yard line gave Bevis his first of three takeaways, and set the Jackrabbits up for their second scoring drive.

There were just three sets of hands moving the ball for the Jackrabbits until subs played out the final two minutes. Sophomore tailback Josh Coleman torched Beebe’s defense with 19 carries for 163 yards and five touchdowns.

Senior quarterback Kody Smith put his hard-nosed running style on display with 15 carries for 191 yards and a touchdown, while recent Arkansas State verbal commit Blake Mack carried five times for 44 yards, and had six receptions for 74 yards.

Mack had a couple of big plays late in the second half that were called back on penalties after the game was well within Lonoke’s hands.

In all, Lonoke’s offense totaled 523 yards.

“He ran real well,” Bost said of Coleman. “For a 10th grader, I mean, we had some plays that were working. He ran really hard for us tonight.”

Beebe’s turnover woes continued into the second week as the Badgers gave the ball up six times, including first half fumbles recovered by Jackrabbit defenders Cedric Cooney and Jacob Vandiver. Sophomore Lance Dugger came up with the biggest special-teams play of the night when he recovered a fumbled kickoff return by Beebe at the Badger 16-yard line with 11:07 remaining.

The Badgers went to the air more in the second half in an attempt to come back from a 27-7 halftime deficit, but Bevis sniffed out two long passes from Beebe quarterback Aaron Nunez and pulled both of them down for interceptions, including his second pick that ricocheted off the hands of intended receiver Connor Patrom.

“We told him to stay back at 12 yards,” Bost said. “Don’t come up in case they break through all that mess right there, and he did a good job staying back and got a big interception there.”

Smith called his own number repeatedly for Lonoke with almost complete success, with the shortest gain of his 15 totes at two yards, and just four carries of less than five yards. Smith broke a number of tackles the hard way by simply lowering his head and running through the defender.

“We have five or six run plays that are run reads,” Bost said. “He has worked on that from day one, and he makes us dangerous when he can read when to keep it and when to give it. You don’t see quarterbacks with that kind of mentality, looking to run over a safety back there, and he does. That gets him into the game.”

Mack did not convert a score for Lonoke, though he did combine his running and catching abilities for 118 all-purpose yards with two Division I college scouts looking on.

“He committed to Arkansas State on Monday,” Bost said. “So they came down, and Louisiana Tech, he called me and said he understood he committed, but I’m still going to keep recruiting him. I think he had three touchdowns brought back on penalties tonight. If we had a negative, it was too many penalties. We’ve got to clean that up.”

Beebe finished with 243 total yards, including Nunez’s 14 carries for 75 yards, along with his 39 passing yards.

Beebe will host Vilonia next week, while Lonoke hosts Little Rock McClellan. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Friday, September 13, 2013

EDITORIAL >> Deep frying is spiritual

When I was in my teens, I learned to cook the way my mother did. I could make biscuits, fry chicken and pound out round steak to make it tender long before I was 16.

I know you must overfill a pot with raw greens if you intend to feed more than one or two because hot water quickly reduces them to a fraction of their original bulk. And I know that if you put a ham hock into a pot of pinto beans, it will be tender by the time the beans are cooked.

Over time, I learned to make dishes that didn’t necessarily originate in the South, an ability that comes in handy when the Pennsylvania relatives visit.

One group arrived on a recent Sunday afternoon. My place was their vacation spot on the way to take the 20-year-old daughter to a Bible college in Tulsa, Okla.

Breakfast wasn’t a problem because everyone likes hot, buttered biscuits. But dinner was a different matter. They didn’t like beans, I was told, so I assumed the other, standard southern fare like cornbread and fried okra would also be passed over.

So I made meatloaf, Swiss steak and spaghetti. I aim to please.

Then it came to me that I was doing them a disservice by not showing them how southerners eat when we’re getting back to our roots. And out came the deep fryer that I keep hidden out of sight most of the time but still on a roll-out shelf for easy access when I really need it.

I don’t fry very often. Chicken is usually baked or boiled for dumplings. Pork is usually a roast and potatoes are oven fried with just a little oil to help them brown, mashed or made into soup.

But I learned in conversation with the Pennsylvania relatives that not only had they never eaten fried green tomatoes, they hadn’t even seen the movie by the same name.

Isn’t experiencing other cultures the reason you travel? Surely it’s not simply to get from Point A to Point B. Who doesn’t have saltwater taffy when they go to the gulf or eat a sandwich on a hard roll when they go north?

So I fried chicken-breast strips, green tomatoes and okra, all of it soaked in buttermilk and rolled in seasoned flour. It came out of the hot oil the same medium brown and almost all of it was eaten.

Emily, the Bible student, told me later that she had prayed about dinner earlier in the day. “Please God,” she said, “Let there be something fried.”

Southerners are known for their hospitality. One author, traveling in the South more than 150 years ago, noted that the hotels were bad because they weren’t really needed. Southerners were more than willing to take in strangers for the night and offer them their best food, too.

I could have thrown a couple of chickens in the oven and maybe added some brown rice and a green salad. That would certainly have been the safer choice, not to mention healthier and more colorful.

Instead, I pulled out the deep fryer and stayed true to my heritage, a decision that turned out to be the answer to a very nice young woman’s humble prayer.

God works in mysterious ways, truly.

— Joan McCoy

TOP STORY >> Cabot woman faces charges

Leader staff writer

The Cabot woman who shot her longtime boyfriend on the evening of June 2 was arrested Tuesday on multiple charges, including first-degree domestic battery, which could get her five to 20 years in prison.

The delay in arresting Halelle Hooten, 32, who admitted on the evening of June 2 to shooting Frederick Lamont Ford three times, was partly because he was in a coma for a time and unable to tell his side of the story, Lonoke County Prosecutor Chuck Graham said.

Ford, 40, of North Little Rock was shot in his right shoulder, right buttock and right kidney area. A complete recovery is unlikely, sources said.

Hooten told police she shot him in self-defense.

The affidavit for Hooten’s arrest says Ford was the father of three of Hooten’s four children. He came by from time to time to take a shower and spend the night, she said.

Hooten told police on June 2 that she had invited Ford to their daughter’s third birthday party. She expected him between 5 and 6 p.m., but he arrived between 9:30 and 10 p.m.

Ford beat on the door, but she wouldn’t let him in. He called her cell phone, and she didn’t answer.

After 15 or 20 minutes, Hooten opened the door to her apartment at 898 Myrtle St. to see if he was still outside. Ford pushed his way inside, she said. Hooten told police that Ford had unscrewed the porch light so she couldn’t see outside.

She said she was frightened of Ford because he threatened to kill her and her children. Hooten said she knew he had a gun hidden somewhere in her apartment. No gun was found except the .38-caliber Rossi revolver Hooten used to shoot Ford.

She told police they argued and he was swinging his arms about, knocking things over in the apartment. Ford started to charge her, Hooten said, but he stopped and started to reach for something in a drawer. She pulled out the gun she had put in her robe pocket and shot, but thought she missed and shot two more times until he fell to the floor. Then Hooten called her father in Ward. He came to her apartment and called the police.

She may also be charged with four counts of endangering the welfare of a minor, possession of illegal drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia.

TOP STORY >> McRae museum may move nearby

Leader staff writer

Beebe School Board members on Monday discussed moving the McRae School District museum out of the new Beebe Middle School.

The McRae School District existed for 110 years — from 1895 to 2005. The state annexed McRae into the Beebe School District in response to falling enrollment.

Photos, trophies and other memorabilia of the McRae Trojans are displayed in the upstairs loft of the middle school gym. Early records were lost in a 1946 fire.

The tentative plan is to move the McRae collection to a neighboring house on 304 N. Wilkes St. in McRae. The house is owned by the district and has air conditioning. The gym does not have air conditioning.

Reunions are held the first Saturday in June. Many McRae graduates return to see mementos from the school’s past.

In other business:

 The board also approved the resignation of board vice president Lucy Mahoney, who served on the board for eight years. She is moving.

The school board has 30 days to appoint a new member to serve for one year and run for a one-year term. In 2015, an election will be held to fill the position for a full five-year term.

 Board members also approved the resignation of teacher Kathy Byrd, ground and transportation employee Terri Vanderford, cafeteria worker Heather Clemons and Becky Neu, secretary at the Early Childhood Building.

 Board members approved the employment of teachers Shelly Owens and Emily Raney, paraprofessionals Jessica Bell and Jennifer Totten and bus drivers Judy Harmon, Danny Burnett and Tonya May.

TOP STORY >> Martin, Raines run for Cabot School Board

Leader staff writer

Before Cabot’s school board election on Tuesday, The Leader asked the candidates — incumbent Dean Martin and Mark Raines, who are running for Position 5 — to share their views on the direction of the district and how they could contribute to its success.

Early voting is under way and will continue from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday in the Cabot City Annex at 208 N. First St. and at the county clerk’s office, 301 N. Center St. in Lonoke.

On Tuesday, voting will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 204 N. Third St., and Mount Carmel Baptist Church, 163 Mount Carmel Road.

Cabot School District voters can place their vote at either polling location regardless of residence.

Martin, who is running for his second five-year term, has been in the military for 22 years.

He is a lieutenant colonel and commander of the 189th Maintenance Squadron for the Air National Guard at Little Rock Air Force Base. He oversees a multi-million dollar budget used to maintain 10 C-130 aircraft and to provide resources for more than 200 personnel. He has a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering technology from Memphis State University and a master’s degree in aeronautical science.

Martin has received extensive school board training and experience in personnel, curriculum, finances and classified and certified policies. Martin is the board’s disbursing officer and has been recognized by the Arkansas School Board Association as a master board member.

Martin’s wife, Ann, has worked as a school nurse for the Cabot School District for eight years. They have two sons, Barrett, a 2011 Cabot High graduate, and Joseph, an eighth-grader at Junior High North.

Raines, 47, is a Jacksonville High School graduate. He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He was news director at KTHV, Channel 11 in Little Rock for 10 years and is currently an external affairs manager for an international energy company.

Raines and his wife, Caroline, have one son, Ryan, who is an 11th-grader at Cabot High School. They have lived in Cabot since 2004. Raines attends Cabot First Baptist Church, where he serves as a youth Sunday school teacher.

Why are you running for school board?

Martin: As a military officer for 22 years, I learned early on that if you take care of people, they will take care of the mission. I take pride in helping people and organizations solve problems and want to continue doing so for another term. My only agenda is to do everything within my power to ensure that every child has a great experience in Cabot schools. Our school board works well together and, while we may disagree, it is obvious that we all have the best interest of our students, faculty and community at heart.

There are too many examples of school boards that are dysfunctional, and the negative impact this can have on a school system and a community is tremendous.

We have challenges and areas that can be improved upon. I know that we have many areas for improvement, but we also take pride in our accomplishments. As a member of our school board, I can assure each of you that we have our eye on the ball, and we are focused on the continuous improvement of our district.

School board members serve a five-year term. It takes two to three years of training and hands-on experience to get a genuine feel of how the district operates and to build effective relationships with staff. Training and experience gained in all aspects of district operations are essential for an effective school board. I’ve learned that knowing what questions to ask is a key aspect of being an effective school board member.

We have an outstanding school district that receives great support from our community, and I am proud to be a member of this amazing team.

I will not make promises that I may or may not be able to keep. My promise and assurance to our students, parents and community is that I will be an advocate each and every day and in every way for the children.

Raines: A louder voice – I was encouraged to run for school board by several parents and teachers within the district because they felt as if they had no advocate on the board. I’ve heard countless stories from individuals who feel left out of the process; that their input was not valued. I believe a school board member should be an advocate for district patrons (parents and teachers) to help magnify their voice in a large arena; to solve problems by acting as a liaison between patrons and the administration.

Global competition – I work for an international company. At an April meeting at our North American headquarters in Houston, I looked around the conference room and noted the diverse ethnicity of those in attendance. There were people from Great Britain, Australia, Colombia, Trinidad, Pakistan and Canada. They were living and working in the United States.

When I privately questioned my boss about why Americans weren’t hired for those jobs, his answer was simple: there were none with adequate qualifications. I recently heard a similar story from an executive with Falcon Jet in Little Rock. It made me think of my own son and whether he is being prepared to compete in today’s global economy – and not just him, but all of our children.

When children leave Cabot schools, they will compete for educational opportunities and, ultimately, jobs in a challenging global environment. I want to serve to make sure our students are prepared to succeed.

To make a good school district great – I, like many other parents in Cabot, moved here because of the school district. Cabot has outstanding teachers and we, as a community, are blessed to have them. This is a good school district that is doing a lot of good things. But, to be a great school district, there is more work to do and new ideas for moving the district forward are needed.

What are the strengths of the Cabot School District?

Martin: 1) Expectations – Our community has high expectations for every member of our school system. These expectations are fully understood and appreciated by our school board members. We hold everyone to a high standard. We may not always be able to share details but there is not an administrator or staff member not held accountable. We want the very best for our students and want our parents and community to be proud of our school district.

2) Reputation – Our district’s reputation of providing a first class education to all students drives people to want to be here. There are many districts that would love to have the quality of staff, facilities and support from the community we enjoy. There is also the expectation that we continue to improve in all aspects of the district, which is an indication that our best days are still in front of us.

3) Accountability – Patrons hold the district to a high level of accountability. Many of our patrons have moved to this area to attend school in this district. That is both a compliment and a challenge to ensure that we are meeting expectations!

4) Fiscal responsibility – The district has been able to provide salary increases for our faculty and staff not only to attract the best and brightest new educators to Cabot but to reward those that work hard for our district each and every day. Through strategic bond refinancing, the Cabot School Board has saved $3.6 million since Nov. 1, 2010. The savings generated have provided a balance in our building fund to not only complete the Freshman Academy but meet many other facility needs in our district.

Our ending balance on June 30, 2013, was strong once again. We must be forward thinking to not only provide for our current needs but to ensure that we are being fiscally responsible for the long-term stability of our district.

5) The district is nationally and globally competitive. We have students that leave Cabot and attend college or technical school, become a part of our military or become members of our workforce. It is our responsibility to prepare them to live and work in a world that we cannot envision. Technology has made our world much smaller.

Many of our graduates will compete for jobs against graduates not only from the United States but from all over the world. It is not only our mission but our obligation to provide every opportunity for every student once they walk across the stage and receive that diploma to be competitive for whatever position they may desire.

Raines: The teachers and support staff of our district are the most outstanding in the state. I love their passion and their desire to reach the hearts and minds of our children.

One of my campaign commitments is that, if elected, I would meet regularly with teacher groups so that they can provide input, counsel and wisdom regarding district policies and issues. I think, oftentimes, those who are working directly with students everyday get overlooked when it comes to implementing policies and procedures that will directly impact them.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers. I have a lot to learn, and I need for teachers in the Cabot School District to do what they do best – teach me! That will be an important relationship for me as a school board member.

What are the challenges facing the district?

Martin: 1) Increases in employee health insurance premiums (48 percent for most plans in 2013) coupled with higher deductibles ($250-$500), higher co-pays (risen from $25 to $35) and increases in maximum out-of-pocket increases ($1,000-$2,500) must be addressed now. It must also be understood that the short-term fix could be an allocation of funds to offset the immediate increase, but the system must be overhauled for the long term so that we aren’t dealing with this issue every year. Another concern is that our hourly employees are charged the same rate as our certified staff.

Many of our valued cafeteria workers, custodians and classroom aides will work each month simply to pay the health insurance premium, and there will not be enough take-home pay to support their needs.

The short-term impact of these increases will be the loss of great faculty and staff from their chosen profession because they cannot afford health care premiums. The long-term impact is the decrease in the number of potentially top quality educators choosing other professions rather than considering the teaching field simply because of the concern over health coverage.

2) Balancing the workload we place on our teachers must be a consideration. Adding the latest and greatest program to a teachers’ plates can take away from teachers’ ability to engage with students. It must be considered that what works for one district may not work for another. Common Core is a major work in progress and has been a tremendous challenge for our educators.

The new documentation requirements involved with (the teacher evaluation system) TESS (Teacher Excellence and Support System) only add to the stress that has been placed on teachers.

We need teachers working with students and not spending valuable time completing documents or trying to implement one more program.

3) Potential for drastic reductions in NSLA (National School Lunch Act) funding provided by the state is of great concern. NSLA funds are provided to districts based on the number of students that qualify for free or reduced-price meals. The funds are to be used to provide additional instructional support for these students. Cabot currently receives $1.8 million in funds from NSLA.

This money has been used to pay salaries of interventionists and other staff that focus daily on the needs of our at-risk students. We’ve strategically targeted literacy with our interventionists. I encourage everyone to review the Annual Report to the Public on our district website ( and pay special attention to our literacy gains.

During the last legislative session, new funding calculations were proposed which would have resulted in a $1.1 million reduction for the Cabot School District from this funding. It is imperative that our district continue to be involved in the future of this important funding. Children that qualify for free and reduced-price lunches in Cabot deserve the same academic support provided to children that live anywhere else in Arkansas.

This is not the only funding source under attack. The facility partnership program has been advantageous to our district due to our economic base. We’ve been able to build new facilities and complete many renovations using partnership funding provided by the state. Foundation funding is the base amount of funding we receive for every child in the district. We must advocate for increases each year as it becomes more costly for every district to operate.

We simply can’t be good stewards of our taxpayer money. We must be great stewards of these funds if we are going to remain financially stable while providing every resource necessary for our staff to teach and our children to learn.

4) The safety and security of our children, faculty and staff is a priority not only for Cabot but for every school system. Our world is changing and there are people that want to do bad things that are inconceivable to the vast majority of us. We must continue to plan and implement security measures across the district.

This is certainly a priority within the budget. The challenge is to balance a safe and secure environment with one that is also welcoming for our students and parents.

Raines: Teacher Health Insurance Rates – This is the most immediate problem facing the district and it will require legislative action to help remedy. The portion of the premium that teachers are required to pay in the public school employees’ plan will rise at least 50 percent.

In the short term, the district needs to do what it can to assist our most valuable resource by looking hard for efficiencies in the district’s budget to help offset some of those out-of-pocket costs.

Over the long-term, I think the law needs to be changed to allow individual school districts to shop around for better policies and competitive prices as opposed to being tethered to one plan, which is the State and Public Life and Health Insurance Board.

If elected, what improvements would you to help the district make?

Martin: We must offset health care insurance costs for district employees and analyze the salary schedule to ensure that we remain competitive and able to retain current staff and attract the best candidates in the future. Teachers are drawn to the profession because they love children. They are able to stay in the profession when health care premiums are affordable and there is a stable retirement system.

Continuing to ensure we meet the academic needs of our Advanced Placement students and students with learning challenges, while placing increased emphasis on our larger segment of students to reach their full academic potential.

Interventionists have played a pivotal role in engaging students with deficiencies in literacy. I will advocate for implementation of intervention support added in the area of math in our elementary and middle school programs. Our curriculum has become so rigorous that we need to make sure we have the resources available for those kids that need extra support.

The opening of the Freshman Academy will provide a support system for those students during that critical freshman year. Students that struggle to graduate often fall behind in the ninth grade and are likely to lose hope and have disciplinary and/or truancy issues. We believe that the new Academy will have a great impact on the success of our students.

Technology and infrastructure support purchases must be considered in the future. We must provide our faculty and staff with the tools they need to promote the integration of technology into daily lessons.

We must also prepare for state testing to be conducted using computers. We must never forget that the most important variable in the overall success of a child is the quality of the teacher in the classroom. Technology will never take the place of our teachers, but will provide those that are already doing a great job one more tool in that tool box.

I encourage every patron to visit my website to learn more about our past accomplishments and my vision for what our district can become. (It is)

Raines: Improve parental involvement in district affairs. Cabot parents are extremely involved in their children’s education. We need their energies and insight when it comes to conducting the overall business of the district as well. I propose the following to help make it easier for them to participate:

 Move school board meetings from a 6 p.m. start time to 6:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. Cabot is a stereotypical bedroom community. The majority of our residents work elsewhere and getting home by 6 p.m. is difficult for many. Delaying the start time might encourage better attendance.

 Take school board meetings on the road – out of the boardroom and into the neighborhood schools. During the school year, consideration should be given to conducting meetings at the various schools on a rotation basis. The schools can conduct an open house centered on the meetings.

 Provide a live video/audio stream of all meetings on the district’s website and archive them for future viewing.

 Encourage future passage of Senate Bill 587 to align school board elections with November general elections. It was defeated during the 2013 regular legislative session. On average, only 600 people vote in September school board elections. That’s about 2 percent of Cabot’s population. Moving the elections to November, when people are accustomed to voting, will automatically increase turnout and make people become more informed, which is never a bad thing.

 School security audit – I would like to see the district conduct a comprehensive security audit and risk assessment. It will reveal where the district might be vulnerable from a safety and security standpoint and should give a thorough evaluation of all facilities, buses, playgrounds and athletic venues. If the audit reveals any issues, then the district can begin to address those. This is a worthwhile endeavor in order to provide our students, teachers and staff with peace of mind.

Online checkbook – I propose that the district create an online checkbook that details a thorough accounting of all district expenditures and the recipients of those funds. This level of transparency will create a greater sense of accountability and let patrons know exactly how their tax dollars are being spent.

TOP STORY >> Obamacare arriving soon in Lonoke County

By John Hofheimer
Leader senior staff writer

Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act’s private-option Medicaid expansion starts in 19 days and five enrollment assisters will be available at Lonoke County Health Units to help residents enroll, according to Milton Garris, director of the Lonoke County Health Unit.

Three of those will work out of the Cabot office, two out of Lonoke, he said.

Other groups also will have assisters in every county in the state.

An informational meeting is slated for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Cabot City Annex, Garris said. A similar meeting was already held in England.

Open enrollment begins Oct. 1 and extends through March 31, but to be eligible for coverage at the Jan. 1 start, you must enroll by Dec. 15, according to Heather Haywood, public information manager for Arkansas Health Connector. That’s the entity managing the private option for the Arkansas Insurance Division.


All Arkansans are required to have health insurance beginning March 31, and there are fines assessed through the IRS for those who don’t.

Beginning Oct. 1, Lonoke County residents needing information about the private option can call the Lonoke Health Unit, 501-676-2268 or Cabot Health Unit, 501-843-7561, Garris said.

The Health Department is one of four agencies in Lonoke that have contracted to provide in-person assisters, according to Haywood.

In Pulaski County, 13 agencies including the health department are contracted to provide in-person assisters.

The state Insurance Division has a large amount of clearly written information available at its Health Connector website,

For help enrolling or to find assisters in your area, call 855-283-3483.


There are three ways to get health insurance:

• Purchase insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, also called the Exchange, where you may qualify to have part or all of your premiums paid.

• Purchase health insurance from a private insurance company on your own.

• Get health insurance through your job or through your spouse’s job.

If you already have insurance through work, you won’t have to do anything else.

Enrolling through the marketplace is the only way you can receive financial assistance on your monthly health- insurance premiums. Officials are warning that fraudulent offers are already appearing online and elsewhere.


“The Arkansas Health Connector is your secure connection to the Marketplace,” according to Haywood.

You can apply online, in person, by mail or over the phone.

“You’ll need your Social Security number (or document number if you’re a legal immigrant) and employer and income information (pay stubs, W-2 forms, wage and tax statements),” according to information on the official Arkansas Health Connector website.

Financial assistance is available through a new type of tax credit called the Advanced Premium Tax Credit.

The amount of assistance you can get is determined by your household income and size. Some Arkansans will even be eligible to have all of their premiums paid through this financial assistance. Some aspects of the new healthcare law are already in effect. Children can be carried on their parents’ insurance until age 26, regardless of marital status, Haywood said. Children under 19 can’t be excluded for pre-existing conditions and prenatal and some other screenings are free to insured people.


Eligibility is determined by these simple criteria:

• You must live in the U.S.

• You must be lawfully present in the U.S.

• You must not be incarcerated due to a conviction

Five companies have filed letters of intent to provide private-option coverage in Arkansas, but so far the federal government has not notified the Arkansas Insurance Division which ones are approved to provide that insurance.

More than 430,000 uninsured Arkansans — most of them low income — will be eligible, and in fact, required to get the insurance. The Affordable Care Act requires that everyone have health insurance starting on Jan. 1.


If you don’t have health insurance in 2014, you will pay a penalty of $95 per adult or 1 percent of your taxable income. 

By 2015, the penalty will equal $325 per adult or 2 percent of taxable income and in 2016, that increases to $695 per adult or 2.5 percent of taxable income. After that the penalty increases based on the cost-of-living adjustment.

Penalties are noted and collected on IRS income tax forms.

The federal government, through the state, will pay the basic premium for individuals and families earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level, Garris said. For a single person, that would be $14,856 for instance, or $30,656 for a family of four. Help with premiums is on a sliding scale, with help available all the way up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level.


Individuals and families aren’t the only beneficiaries of the private option.

The private option is expected to benefit Arkansas hospitals in the range of $185 million to $200 million in 2014 alone.

About 28,000 Arkansas hospital patients were uninsured in 2010, costing the hospitals $280 million. Under the private-option Medicare Expansion, about 85 percent to 90 percent of those costs could have been recovered.

But for passage of the private option law by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Mike Beebe, unpaid cost for uninsured patients would surpass $430 million in 2014 and more each following year, mostly because the percentage of uninsured Arkansans has climbed from 20 percent in 2010 to about 25 percent in 2014.


There are four levels of coverage, each with a different cost, affecting the percentage of cost that the covered person pays. For instance, bronze level pays about 60 percent, leaving the patient to pay about 40 percent, while at the other extreme — platinum coverage — the premiums is more expensive, but the plan picks up about 90 percent of costs.
All participating insurance carriers are required to provide certain coverages — including free preventative tests

Free coverage include colorectal-cancer screenings, including polyp removal for those older than 50; immunizations and vaccines for adults and children; counseling to help stop smoking; well-woman checkups, as well as mammograms and cervical-cancer screenings; well-baby and well-child exams for children, and cholesterol screenings.


• Outpatient services, including primary-care physician office visits, specialist office visits, outpatient surgical services, outpatient diagnostics, including advanced diagnostic services such as MRIs and CT scans, and outpatient physical and occupational therapy.

• Emergency services, including after-hours clinics or urgent-care center visits; observation services; transfers to in-network hospital and ambulance services
n Hospitalization including hospital services; physician hospital visits; in-patient services including surgical services, physical and occupational therapy, and organ-transplant services

• Maternity and newborn care.

• Mental-health and substance-abuse services, including professional services; diagnostics and in-patient and outpatient care at hospital or other covered facility.

•  Prescription drugs.

• Rehabilitative and hab-ilitative services, including physical, occupational and speech therapy and developmental services.

• Laboratory services —testing and evaluation.

• Preventive and wellness services and chronic-disease management, including case- management communications made by primary-care physicians.

• Preventive health services, including routine im-munizations and pediatric services, including dental and vision care.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

EDITORIAL >> Defusing Syria crisis

The president, Congress and the American people for once share a deep ambivalence about a matter of considerable gravity, whether to launch a limited military assault on one of the world’s most ruthless tyrants, a man almost no one wishes well.

A Congress hopelessly fractured and dysfunctional for five years has for once abandoned partisanship and is seized by confusion about where a good Republican or a good Democrat ought to stand—with or against a reluctant president. Most members of Congress, including all but one of Arkansas’ own timid delegation, seem to be opting for the safest political course, which is to go with the public’s fears.

This is not an admirable picture of the nation at a crossroads but an understandable one. Ambivalence, caution and, yes, fear may also push the country along the wisest course in a region where we are deeply invested but where nothing ever turns out as we or anyone else planned.

President Obama has for five and a half years steered the country deftly through the rolling upheavals in the Middle East by following the course he outlined during his 2008 campaign, when he said he would take the United States out of Iraq, change the course of the long and drifting war in Afghanistan and end it in 2014, and keep the nation free of new military obligations.

The United States subtly supported the democratic aspirations of movements in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya and shaped the outcomes with relatively small costs and without incurring the usual hostility that followed our earlier interventions in the region. No one can reliably guess whether we will one day rue our roles in any or all of them.

Syria is a far more dangerous game because it abuts Israel and Iraq, is allied with Iran and Russia, its ruler, Bashar al-Assad, has a huge arsenal of chemical and perhaps biological weapons, and he can pull us into the Armageddon that religionists have predicted and often wanted. Republicans—all except the libertarian band—have attacked the president for a year for not stepping boldly into the civil war and supplying heavy arms and enforcing a no-fly zone to aid the Sunni rebels, presuming we could separate them from the jihadists. Obama has, wisely we think, avoided a clinching military involvement, preferring diplomacy and propaganda against the regime, which he said must go. The greatest fear is a total collapse of the Syrian state and the redistribution of its conventional and chemical weapons among radical factions that would bring a certain and wider war that we could not sit out.

Then came the final round of chemical attacks on civilians that shocked the world. The United States has long held that the use of weapons of mass killing, especially against civilians, was unacceptable and that it was obliged to see that it didn’t happen or didn’t go unpunished. Presidents Reagan and Bush I and the Congresses of the 1980s looked on indulgently when their secret pal, Saddam Hussein, gassed Iranians and Iraqi Kurds and Shia by the tens of thousands, so we do not come to this terrible juncture with a record of pristine idealism.

President Obama then declared that Assad should not get away with the crime and that the United States, alone if necessary because it had the capacity to punish the deed, was morally obliged to use its might to degrade Syria’s ability to make further chemical attacks on people. Europe—all except France this time—quailed. Members of Congress who had been attacking Obama for being a nervous Nellie on Syria decided that now he was being reckless and that the country should pursue peace, not war.

They saw the polls and read the mail. The American people—and for once this seems to mean Arkansans, too—are sick of war and sick of the Middle East. Arkansas congressmen who loved the fruitless wars begun by the President George W. Bush reported tides of mails and calls from their constituents saying don’t bomb Assad, although Iraq did not have WMDs and our leaders had every reason to know it, but Assad admits he has them.

The president did another shocking thing. Defying precedents going back 50 years, he asked Congress for what amounts to a declaration of war. The Congress has not declared war since 1941, though presidents have occasionally sought and received authorizations for military engagements. And Congress for the first time seems unlikely to give it. Republicans like the idea of the president failing, but they also know they are obliging most of the voters. Arkansas’ only Democrat, Sen. Mark Pryor, said he would not authorize an attack.

Obama’s only supporter in Arkansas’ delegation is Rep. Tom Cotton, his fiercest critic. That might seem odd, but Cotton could hardly do otherwise, given his unrelenting support of the Bush wars and his repeated call to engage the Syrians in combat. It also fits his fiscal policy. The only thing worth spending taxpayer dollars on in Cotton’s view is something that explodes.

We are not sure the president would be unhappy with the failure of congressional authorization for a limited attack on delivery units for chemical munitions. He sent signals through Russia last week that, with or without congressional authorization, he would not attack if Syria quickly surrendered its chemical and biological stockpiles to international control and ultimate destruction. The Russians and seemingly Assad himself grasped at the reed. We are skeptical that Assad will not try to escape the dilemma by delaying and conniving.

Still, anything that avoids a headlong lurch into the dark room of war is worth pursuing. Nothing bold that the United States has done in the region since 1953, when we overthrew the democratically elected leader of Iran, Mohammed Mossadegh, has turned out as we intended or well. If the president, guided by a fearful public and a timid Congress, navigates the chemical crisis without firing a rocket he will have served us well—we hope.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

TOP STORY >> Lonoke regulates sexual-themed stores

Leader staff writer

The Lonoke City Council Monday passed an ordinance establishing requirements that sexually-oriented businesses will have to meet in case some of those establishments come to Lonoke after the new I-40 overpass is completed.

The council also agreed to give Lonoke County Judge Doug Erwin until their next meeting to tear down three dilapidated houses the county owns at 320 Wright St. near the courthouse. Lonoke had decided at its August meeting to pursue a lawsuit against the county.

The council discussed but took no action on spending an estimated $90,000 for repairs to the city’s administrative building.

Aldermen refused to waive an ordinance prohibiting council members from bidding on construction projects, like the bathrooms at the ballpark.

The ordinance on sexually oriented businesses requires that owners and operators receive a sexually-oriented business license before setting up shop.

The application must include proof of age, the proposed location, a description of the proposed business, a sketch or diagram of the premises, how much floor space the business will occupy; whether the applicant has been convicted of, pleaded guilty or pleaded nolo contendere to a sex crime within the past five years and whether a previous business owned by the applicant was declared a nuisance or ordered to be closed or padlocked.

Employees of the business must also get a license, including much of the same information, mainly whether they were convicted of or pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to a sex crime.

The business license will cost $300 initially and a $300 annual renewal fee will be required. The employee license is $75 and there is a $75 annual renewal fee.

Police will be allowed to inspect the business occasionally to make sure it is complying with the ordinance, the ordinance states.

No sexually-oriented business can be open between midnight and 6 a.m.

Sexually-oriented businesses must be 1,000 feet from any other sexually-oriented business, any business that sells alcohol and the centerline of the I-40.

Merchandise cannot be visible from outside the business.

While City Attorney Camille Bennett spent quite a bit of time reading the 11-page ordinance, much of the meeting was spent talking about how the city’s administrative building is, as Alderman Michael Florence put it, a “money pit.”

He said, “We need to build a new facility.”

Most of the council agreed that the facility would house several or all of the city’s departments to save Lonoke money on upkeep at multiple buildings. A new building could also save on utilities if it is constructed with energy efficiency in mind, several aldermen said.

Alderman Koy Butler stressed the need to examine the city’s budget first.

“We’ve got some pitfalls…I’m with you. This building is falling apart,” Butler said.

Several on the council pointed out that Lonoke is already dealing with numerous projects that are monopolizing the city’s coffers.

Mayor Wayne McGhee said, “That’s the problem. We’ve got way too much to do.”

Butler suggested forming a committee to prioritize the city’s projects.

The mayor said ongoing street repairs are estimated to cost at least $1.1 million if not more. The price to update the water system could be $2.5 million or more, he continued.

The council has previously considered a bond issue that would generate $6 million in revenue.

Doing so could pay for streets, the water system and, possibly, and updates to the sewer system, the council members agreed.

But Alderman Pat Howell wanted to know how much the city has to spend on a new administrative building.

Personnel Director Cindy Reaves said the council needed to find out how much the building could cost first so officials can figure out if it would be more affordable than continuing to repair the current facility.

She also argued against putting off the decision on this issue again when immediate action is needed.

Reaves said it's going to cost Lonoke a whole lot more than $90,000 worth of repairs if the awning on the building falls and kills someone.

In other business:

• The county judge told the council that the county bought the three houses intending to demolish them and put a parking lot there. The county has contracted with a company for asbestos removal and the demolition.

Erwin also said, “I’ve been a partner with the city since the get go.”

He blamed the wet spring for the delay. The council has been discussing the houses for the past year.

Before Erwin left after only about 15 minutes of the 2.5-hour meeting, Howell said he was glad the houses would be gone because, “People who live over there have watched and endured it.”

• Last month, the council rejected yet another set of bids to build bathrooms at the ballpark. The lowest bid, submitted by Gerald Prince Construction, was $205,000. Parks director Roy Don Lewis was hoping the concrete-block building with a metal roof would run closer to $100,000.

City Attorney Camille Bennett asked if the council wanted to pass an ordinance waiving another ordinance that prohibits aldermen from bidding on projects so that Aldermen Danny Whitehurst could enter a bid on the bathrooms.

She said the ordinance was there to prevent conflicts of interest or the appearance of inside deals.

Aldermen Pat Howell said, while he trusts Whitehurst’s company to do the job if their bid was accepted, it was better to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

The council agreed.

Even Whitehurst said he wouldn’t be comfortable throwing his hat in the ring unless it was a sealed bidding process.

• The council received the 2012 audit report for the water department, but didn’t discuss it.

The aldermen agreed that rates should be raised to a level more in line with the water rates in surrounding cities so that department can be sustainable.

Some on the council said a public meeting would have to be set for next month if rates are going to increase in November — the same time they were increased last year. But a date and time for the public meeting has not been set.

• The council is looking at purchased a $54,000 truck with a mechanical arm for the street department. But aldermen agreed that they needed to at least see a video of the truck in action before buying it.

• The council voted to spend $18,900 on repairs to the sewer line at Cotton Lane and Rosemary. The aldermen were also introduced to the city’s new public works director, Ron Gosnell.

• Scott Bayles, the new manager of Third Street Apartments, assured the council that he is working with residents to get the trash issue there sorted out.

There have been complaints of trash being left out and being blown all over the area.

The apartments will re-main on the city’s watch list until the next meeting. The Mallard Point Golf Course also remained on that list.

• The city has torn down the house at 519 Hamburg and plans to remove two old cars from there. The council gave the owner of 903 Court Street until the next meeting to bring it up to code.

• The council voted to spend $3,200 to replace two spare hydrants that will be used to replace a missing hydrant that was probably stolen for scrap metal and a broken hydrant.

The aldermen agreed it was best to still have backup hydrants.

• The council voted to spend up to $3,000 on streetlights at the off ramp.

• The council voted to spend up to $2,000 to coat the floor of the community center’s gym. n The council voted to spend up to $500 for GPS units that would be installed in the leaf and li

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

TOP STORY >> Record set in killing of PB senior

Leader editor

Monroe Isadore was 107 years old when he was gunned down by Pine Bluff police officers in his home Saturday afternoon. He’s probably the oldest man to die with a gun in his hand with bullets coming at him from people who are supposed to serve and protect.

He’d bought the gun just a few weeks ago, according to his caretaker, who called police after Isadore told her he was going to kill someone if she didn’t leave the house.

Other witnesses said Isadore threatened to shoot if he was forcibly removed to another home. His caretaker and granddaughter got out of the house, but when the police showed up, Isadore started shooting at them. Since he couldn’t see, that’s doubtful.

But the cops stormed in, claiming they had to put the old man down because Isadore was too dangerous.

Why not wait till he had to go to the bathroom or until he ran out of ammunition? Why not wait till he fell asleep? Or send over some catfish and beer?

Isadore said he’d bought the gun for his own protection, and who can blame him? Living down there in Pine Bluff, where gunfire is part of the background noise, like dogs barking and tires screeching, you better protect yourself because the police won’t.

Worse, they’ll kill you even if you can’t hear them and your mind is a blur from all the gun noise you hear living in Pine Bluff.

It’s not as if the police in Pine Bluff, the murder capital of the South, don’t have experience with violence. There are shootouts every day. They should have figured out how to disarm an old geezer and tell him everything was going to be all right.

Pine Bluff is a dangerous place, but the cops couldn’t convince an old man to put his gun down? Sure, he was probably deaf and had Alzheimer’s since he was in his 90s, but couldn’t the cops have waited out the standoff? He wasn’t a 20-year-old crackhead too doped up to give himself up.

If you can’t arrest the crack dealers, go after centenarians with Alzheimer’s.

Interim Police Chief Jeff Hubanks, who was at the scene, said later, “Three victims reported they had been aggressed by a gentleman with a handgun.” A 107-year-old gentleman, no less, who was born when the U.S. was still fighting the First World War.

Hubanks must have known Isadore was old, even if he didn’t realize he was probably the oldest man in Arkansas.

Hubanks could have called Cabot Police Chief Jackie Davis, who would have told him, “Be patient.” That was his reaction when we asked him how he would have handled the showdown.

Jefferson County Prosecutor Kyle Hunter was outside the home with Hubanks and the police. You’d think Hunter would have advised caution so the standoff would have ended peacefully a few hours later.

Now Hunter is supposed to investigate the incident, but he’s not exactly an impartial observer since he was at the scene and should have told the cops to cool it.

Hunter will probably issue his report in a few weeks, but an independent review is needed to explain this tragedy.

How about hiring Lonoke County Prosecutor Chuck Graham, whose jurisdiction adjoins Jefferson County? He’s an impartial lawman and a class act. If anyone can, he’d make sense of this tragedy and bring charges against any wrongdoers.

We could give Pine Bluff Mayor Debe Hollingsworth his direct phone number if she can’t find it.

TOP STORY >> Range slightly behind opening target

Leader staff writer

The Jacksonville shooting range will likely open in late October rather than the hoped-for Oct. 1 completion date, but that didn’t stop it from being the talk of the recent Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation banquet.

At its Outdoor Hall of Fame Friday, the Game and Fish Foundation committed to raise $50,000 specifically for a memorial trap house at the shooting range.

The trap house will honor fallen Arkansas Game and Fish Commission employees. The Outdoor Hall Fame sponsor, National Wild Turkey Federation has promised to provide $10,000 toward the idea.

The promised $50,000 is part of a $2 million pledge of support from the foundation to build the state-of-the-art $3 million facility.

The 160-acre sport-shooting and archery range at the intersection of Loop Road and Graham Road will officially be called the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation Shooting Sports Complex because of the foundation’s financial support.

Mayor Gary Fletcher is pleased with the foundation’s continued support of the project and said the shooting range was the topic of choice at the hall of fame banquet. Parks Director Kevin House was at the banquet and said everyone was excited about the range and “couldn’t wait for it to open.”

Work is running behind the hoped-for completion date. Original plans called for it to open Sept. 1, but now city officials are looking at October.

“Even that is a push,” said the mayor. “I use to build houses for a living and this thing is a lot more complicated.”

House is optimistic in saying it will be four to six weeks before everything is ready. “But I don’t want to lock in a date yet,” he said.

Fletcher said more important than hitting the Oct. 1 date is that it is done right.

Painters are working inside the range, but both Fletcher and House said there is still a lot to be done on the outside. “Crews are out there working daily,” House said.

That fact that the area has seen very little rain over the past month has helped the project move forward. “Here I have to water my plants because of the lack of rain, praying that it doesn’t rain soon so work can continue,” the mayor said.

The construction is being funded through a $3 million short-term loan to the city.

The mayor said as the foundation sends its pledges to the city, that money will be used to pay off the loan. Also the city’s advertising and promotion commission is holding back $225,000 to be used either on the facility or to help pay off the loan.

House and the recently selected range manager Matt Killebrew, a six-year employee with parks and recreation, attended a high school meeting of sport shooting coaches Saturday.

“There were about 50 or so coaches at the meeting and we have about 800 teams in the state,” House said, adding that “the coaches asked a lot of questions and wanted to know when they could start booking times at the new facility.”

Hopefully soon, House said.

TOP STORY >> New board will advise on PCSSD

Leader senior staff writer

Jacksonville’s Daniel Gray and Sherwood’s Tjuana Byrd and Margie Anne Snider have been appointed to the new, seven-member Pulaski County Special School District’s advisory panel.

The state Board of Education on Monday approved boards for PCSSD and for the Helena-West Helena School District, both of which are in year three of fiscal distress and have been taken over by the state.

Act 600 of 2013 gave the state authority to run districts in fiscal distress for as long as five years and said since the school boards were dissolved by the state, the state should appoint advisory panels to give feedback.

PCSSD Superintendent Jerry Guess said when it meets, he would advise members of what the district was doing to meet its fiscal goals.

“I would imagine they would meet monthly,” he said, perhaps more often in order to take care of disciplinary matters. He said the advisory panel would report to state Education Commissioner Tom Kimbrell quarterly to report the progress in meeting the fiscal goals.

Of the six members appointed so far, he said, “Daniel is the only one I know. But I’ll work with whomever.”

Kimbrell is appointing one advisory member from each school board zone, with approval of the state board.

In Zone 1, Gray, a Realtor and father of two in the district, serves on the Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Board. He is the current face of Jacksonville’s effort to detach from PCSSD and form its own district, and was a school-board candidate at the time the state took over the district and dissolved the board.

Gray said he believed he was nominated by Rep. Mark Perry (D-Jacksonville) and Sen. Jane English (R-North Little Rock).

“They called me on Friday and asked if I’d be willing to serve, and on Monday, they voted on it,” Gray said.

“I don’t know the full scope of responsibility. Maybe it’s a school board with training wheels,” Gray said.

He said he thought there would be public meetings and he looks forward to serving.

As far as student discipline and personnel hearings go, “I don’t know how they’ve been handling that to this point.”

“I don’t know when we’ll first meet. We will be doing some training,” Gray added.

Gray said one of the major items facing the district is its fiscal-distress status. He said both unitary status (desegregation) and detachment of a Jacksonville district are related to the fiscal distress.

Debbie Coffman, Kimbrell’s chief of staff, confirmed that the board could give advice and feedback on any topic, including the district’s ongoing struggle to achieve unitary status and also the detachment of a Jacksonville district from PCSSD.

Byrd, a North Little Rock lawyer who lives in Sherwood, will represent Zone 2 on the new community advisory board.

In 2012, she ran unsuccessfully for circuit judge, Sixth Judicial District, 11th Division.

The seat oversees juvenile cases.

Byrd is still practicing in that field of law.

As a special judge, she rendered decisions on a wide variety of cases, most of them in the juvenile court.

Byrd said that she doesn’t know details yet about what she will be doing on the advisory board because it hasn’t met yet.

“I’m not a parent of any student in the Pulaski County Special School District, but I represent and serve a lot of those children...I hope that my unique perspective and contact with the community will help me to advise and advocate for changes that are in the best interests of students in the district,” Byrd said.

The board will advise Guess and will perform the thankless task of dealing with student-discipline hearings and teacher hearings, according to Coffman.

Kimbrell also appointed and the board approved the following advisory board members:

 In Zone 4, Snider is a retired North Little Rock science teacher with 31 years of teaching experience. She has served on the district’s Personnel Policy Committee. “I’m very concerned about the state of PCSSD schools,” she said.

 In Zone 5, Lindsey Pierson Gustafson, assistant professor of law at UALR Bowen School of law, will represent Maumelle. She has six children in the district and was appointed to the Maumelle High School Curriculum Committee in 2010.

 Dr. Julian McMurray of Little Rock — a chiropractic physician, a long-term substitute and lead instructor and facilitator for the Arkansas Virtual High School, PCSSD and the Alternative Learning Academy — will represent Zone 6. He has one child in the district.

 Representative for Zone 7 is Susie Marks, senior vice president for the Arkansas Chamber of Commerce. She volunteers for many community groups.

 Zone 3 is currently vacant, with Kimbrell awaiting nominations and consideration of candidates before making an appointment, Coffman said.

SPORTS STORY >> Coach expects ‘same ole’ when Beebe visits Lonoke

Leader sportswriter

Someone’s season is about to get brighter on Friday as local rivals Beebe and Lonoke prepare for their annual battle of Hwy. 31 supremacy at James B. Abraham Stadium.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Both teams are coming off season-opening losses despite competitive performances.

Lonoke fell just short of winning against Star City in what was, for the most part, a defensive struggle with a 16-14 result. Beebe, however, had one of its best offensive performances in years, combined with a complete letdown on defense that led to a 61-38 loss to Greenbrier in a game that featured countless big plays by both teams.

For Lonoke head coach Doug Bost, Beebe’s struggles on defense against Greenbrier carries no implications when it comes to this week’s showdown.

“I don’t even put any stock in the score from the Greenbrier game,” Bost said. “I remember last year, they had four or five fumbles in the Greenbrier game, and they’ll clean that up this year just like they did last year. It’s going to be the same old Lonoke-Beebe game.

Greenbrier passed against them 95 percent of the time, and we’re not set up that way, we’re geared more for the running game.”

Dylan Goforth and Chandler Elmore led the Jackrabbits defensively against Star City, with Elmore recording eight unassisted tackles and seven assisted tackles. Senior Kody Smith was solid in his debut at quarterback with 7 of 13 completions for 107 yards, and scored a touchdown on the ground. Senior receiver and Division I college prospect Blake Mack also ran for a touchdown, and had six receptions for 109 yards.

“Third downs were the main thing that hurt us the other night,” Bost said. “That’s a concern for us, is finishing drives on defense, but we battled and held them to three points in the second half, and we had no turnovers on offense, so there were a few things we had we can build off of.”

The Badgers had one of the most impressive varsity debuts witnessed in quite some time with sophomore fullback Trip Smith.

In his first-ever start on a Friday night, Smith rushed for 279 yards and four touchdowns, including a pair of breakaway runs of over 50 yards. Beebe coach John Shannon, who has had his share of outstanding players at the fullback position over the years, said he had not witnessed a debut quite like the one Smith delivered on Friday.

“Not in my 22 years of coaching,” Shannon said. “It was definitely something to see. We felt like he could be special right from the start, he’s a bigger kid than what we’ve had at that position in a long time, and he has a knack for making moves when he gets in the open field.”

Bost, who had the weekend to review the Beebe-Greenbrier game, is also aware of Smith’s potential for breaking games wide open.

“He looked real good,” Bost said. “He did breakaway for some long runs. It’s going to be the same old Beebe. They have huge offensive linemen, and they’re going to just run it straight at you. They did line up in a spread for two series, so that’s something we haven’t seen from them before.”

Just as Bost is leery of Smith’s abilities, Shannon’s primary concern when it comes to Lonoke’s offense is containing Mack.

“They’re very athletic as always,” Shannon said. “They have a good receiver, that kid all the colleges are looking at. They like to try and get it to him, and most of the time, he goes and gets it. That’s a big concern for us. They looked good on film.

“It’s going to be a dogfight as always. It typically comes down to the end, no matter if one team is good and the other team is not as good, or if both teams are good or vice versa. It seems like every year it is always a close game.”

SPORTS STORY >> Devils hoping for about-face

Leader sports editor

The Jacksonville football season got off to a very disappointing start in week one, but the Red Devils had 10 days to work on fixing the things that went wrong in a 42-0 loss at Cabot last Tuesday before taking on the Benton Panthers in their home opener on Friday.

Jacksonville’s offense, which has been revamped and looked extremely efficient all summer long in 7-on-7 competitions, wasn’t able to bring that production to the 100-yard gridiron once blocking and tackling were involved in week one.

Much of that had to do with an outstanding performance by a Cabot team that may be its most talented in many years.

After last week’s game, Jacksonville coach Rick Russell had trouble summarizing what happened and his feelings about what happened, but after some time to watch game film and analyze what went wrong, he feels better about it.

“We just have to do the basics better,” said Russell. “Maintaining blocks on the offensive line, defensive front staying low, those are things that are easily corrected. We didn’t do it well in the first game and we were up against an outstanding football team. I think that’s one of the better Cabot teams we’ve played in my years at Jacksonville. We knew Cabot would have a strong offensive line and a physical defensive line. And this year you add some speed they haven’t had. They’re going to be difficult for anybody to beat.”

Benton’s first game didn’t go very well either, but the offense did show some big play ability. That’s what hurt the Red Devils in last year’s rain-shortened 34-20 loss in Saline County.

“They use two quarterbacks, one that’s pretty mobile and then a sophomore who’s a really good pocket passer,” Russell said. “We need to notice who is at quarterback on every play. We didn’t see much pattern to when they were switching out, so we have to be aware of that at all times.”

Gone from Benton is last year’s All-Star player Wallace Foote, who nearly single-handedly led the Panthers to their win over Jacksonville last season. Foote made several plays with pure athleticism. Even though Benton doesn’t have anyone on this year’s team quite as athletic as Foote, the mobile quarterback is a playmaker.

“Wallace Foote is one of those special athletes that you just don’t get to have every year,” Russell said. “There were times when we were in perfect position and played great technique, and he still got away from us. This one this year, I don’t know if he’s that good, but he’s good enough that he had one of the plays of the week that one of the TV stations keeps playing over and over. So we have to keep him in the pocket, and if he does get loose, we have to be sure tacklers. We can’t give up the big play because that’s one of the things that happened to us last year.”

The Panthers lost 56-21 to Arkadelphia in week one, but Russell wasn’t too concerned one way or the other about how Benton played last week.

“We have to worry about us,” Russell said. “We need multiple reps of everything we’re trying to do offensively. I’m pleased with how we’ve responded since the game. We’ve had some really good practices and we’re encouraged. We’re looking forward to bringing these good practices with us to Friday night.”

SPORTS STORY >> Bears host spread out Ram team

Leader sportswriter

It’s been close to a decade since Sylvan Hills won its season opener, until Friday’s 31-16 defeat of Vilonia, that is. The Bears were in control most of the way, with all of Vilonia’s points coming from simple, yet correctable mistakes. The Eagles had dominated the series between the two teams up that point, signifying a colossal shift in talent pools.

This week, the Bears face Hot Springs Lakeside, a series in which they have traditionally had more success. The Rams lost their season opener to Little Rock Christian in a close 39-35 heartbreaker. Lakeside will make the long drive to Bill Blackwood Field on Friday for a 7 p.m. kickoff time.

There were few surprises for the Bears in their victory over Vilonia. Junior quarterback Trajan Doss carried his weight and then some with 224 passing yards and 95 rushing yards, combining those talents to account for three touchdowns. Marlon Clemmons, Matt Thompson, Chris Daily and Kylan Wade also gave dominant performances on the defensive side. One pleasant surprise for Sylvan Hills, however, was junior running back Tyler Davis (5-11, 170) who rushed for 131 yards after seeing limited time at that position in the scrimmage game at Joe T. Robinson two weeks ago.

“Tyler was one of those guys we were trying to find a place for,” Bears coach Jim Withrow said. “He’s still got a long way to go, but he gets better every single day.”

Clemmons was projected to be the strongest of Sylvan Hills’ fleet of tailbacks, but with the junior standout carrying such a vital role on the defensive side, the emergence of Davis could have huge implications for the Bears in the depth department.

“You take a little off his plate, and it definitely helps,” Withrow said. “It gives us a lot of options.”

For all of the good the Bears experienced against Vilonia, the 17 penalty flags they collected were decidedly bad. There were a few other hiccups, such as a fumbled ball in the end zone that gave the Eagles two points, one interception, and a bad punt that gave Vilonia a short field. But for Withrow, it was mostly the penalties that stung the hardest.

“If we can clean up the penalties, we’ve got a chance to play well at times. Those were disappointing. The defense was outstanding. We couldn’t have played much better on defense.”

Rams’ third-year head coach and former Arkansas Razorback quarterback Jared McBride has touted this year as time for rebuilding since the summer, though he does have experience returning in key positions, such as senior quarterback Garrett Carson. Carson is coming off a highly successful junior campaign in which he threw for over 2,000 yards out of the Spread formation. His primary target once again this year is junior Clint Smedley, who earned All-Conference honors last year with 50 receptions. Smedley also takes snaps in Lakeside’s version of the Wildcat offense.

“They’re well coached, and the concepts they do are really good,” Withrow said. “Coach McBride is a good coach, and they always give their opponents a tough game. Defense, they go with a 3-3-5, just tons of blitzing.”

This week is big for Sylvan Hills not only for the home opener. The classes of 1993 and 2003 will also be in attendance for their class reunions.

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot hits road at Catholic

Leader sports editor

The Cabot Panthers try to continue their great start to the 2013 season when they visit Catholic High on Friday in Little Rock. The two teams are coming off vastly different experiences in week one. The Panthers demolished nearby rival Jacksonville 42-0 while Catholic fell 38-14 to Little Rock Central, one of its fiercest rivals.

The Rockets are under the tutelage of first-year coach John Fogelman, who most recently has overseen the turnaround of the proud Malvern football program. He’s also been an assistant at El Dorado and Bentonville.

Fogelman has installed a base spread offense, but also showed a two-back pistol set last week against the Tigers.

Cabot coach Mike Malham was pleased with how his team stopped Jacksonville’s spread, holding the Red Devils to 46 total yards, but said Catholic does a few things Jacksonville didn’t do.

“They’re mixing things up a little more,” said Malham. “They do a whole lot of things you have to be ready for. Defensively, we won’t really know what they’re going to do until we see them. They sat in a base 4-2-5 against Central, but Central did a lot of spread stuff. If Estes (last year’s head coach who is now an assistant) is still doing defense, they might do what they did last year, but we won’t know for sure until we get there.”

Whatever Catholic did last year didn’t work very well. The Panthers ran up a 28-0 lead by halftime. Inclement weather caused the cancellation of the second half.

Malham also expects the Rockets to be a better team than they were in week one.

“They saw some things they did wrong and they’re going to work on them,” Malham said. “And they have some players. That big old tight end they got (Aaron Hamaker) is a really good hand. And number 17 (D.J. Brown), he got loose a couple times and he can make you pay for letting that happen.”

Fogelman was thrilled about opening with a wide-open spread team, then having to switch gears completely in preparation for the next game against Cabot’s dead-T. But his main concern is getting his own team better.

“Right now we’re just fixing ourselves,” Fogelman said. “We missed a lot of tackles, missed a lot of assignments. It really doesn’t matter what we line up in, we’re not that good unless we can get a lot of things better.”

The head Rocket also said Hamaker may not play on Friday. He was injured early in the Central game and continued to play. He went for tests on Monday and the team is awaiting results.

“It’s one of those injuries where, if the season was on the line, we might send him out there,” Fogelman said. “But right now it might not be worth it. We’re going to wait and see what the doctor says. If he’s cleared to play with 100 percent green light, he’ll be out there.”

Cabot will also be without a starter. Starting offensive guard Devin Crawford suffered a shoulder injury and will miss the next four games.

Central’s speed hurt Catholic. The missed tackles allowed the faster Tigers to get loose in space. When that happened, big plays ensued. Fogelman fears missed tackles against Cabot.

“Obviously we go from one end of the spectrum to the other,” Fogelman said. “We go from a very athletic team to just a grind it out team. You just don’t see that kind of ball anymore. It’s kind of refreshing to see it, but it’s hard to get your own kids to simulate that offense. It’s just hard to prepare for.”

Malham saw what Central’s speed did to Catholic, but doesn’t expect to have that kind of advantage. “We have a little more speed than we’ve had here recently, but we don’t have Central’s kind of speed,” Malham said. “We’re going to have play solid. We went to work on correcting some mistakes. There’s always little things like missed assignments and proper technique that you have work on.”