Friday, November 03, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot competes well with NLR

Special to The Leader

The North Little Rock Charging Wildcats traveled to Cabot’s Panther Stadium Thursday night and keep their season unblemished, defeating Cabot 38-21 to finish the regular season 10-0 overall and 7-0 in conference play. The Panthers finish the regular season 5-5 and 3-4. Both teams’ seasons will continue, with North Little Rock the No. 1 seed and Cabot the No. 4 seed from the 7A Central Conference, when the playoffs commence next Friday.

The Charging Wildcats scored first, but Cabot answered to tie late in the first quarter. North Little Rock scored twice in the second period to lead 20-7 at intermission. Both teams scored two touchdowns in the second half, but the Wildcats also added a pair of field goals to set the final margin.

“I thought our kids kept fighting there at the end,” Cabot coach Mike Malham said. “North Little Rock’s got a good team. They’re talented all across the board. We hung in there with them a little bit, but they just had a better team than us. I tell you what, l’m proud of the way our kids played. I think we’re getting a little better, and we’re looking forward to the playoffs next week.”

The Panthers had the games first possession, but were forced to punt. The Cabot defense forced the Wildcats to do the same, but the Panther defense again stalled, resulting in the third punt of the contest.

This time North Little Rock got the ball on the Cabot 43-yard line, and on the second play Brandon Thomas escaped to the 2-yard line, and then scored from there on the next play. Savana Melton added the point after to give the visitors the 7-0 lead with 6:56 remaining in the opening frame.

Again, Cabot had to punt, but Ben McCullough got a good roll to the Wildcat 27. North Little Rock quarterback David Chappell was then intercepted by Justin Nabors to give the Panthers good field position at midfield.

A penalty moved the ball backward, but after a couple of short gains, quarterback Tommy Oaks found John Wiens for a 51 yard touchdown completion. McCullough made it 7-7 with the extra point with 1:51 remaining in the quarter.

The Wildcats answered with a 63-yard drive capped off by a keeper by Chappell from 10 yards out. Melton added the PAT for the 14-7 advantage with 10:29 remaining in quarter number two.

NLR scored again in the period after yet another Panther punt. Chapple scored his second touchdown from just inches away to increase the lead to 20-7 with just 11.7 seconds on the first half clock. Melton’s point after was blocked by Zhane Harper. Lucas Crumbly had a tackle for a 10-yard loss on a razzle-dazzle play in the drive.

North Little Rock started the third quarter with a score. Chapple was complete to Aaron Griffin for a 49-yard gain and scored his third touchdown from 2 yards out. The 2-point conversion was no good for a score of 26-7.

The Panthers then fumbled the ball away on their first play. NLR had the ball on the Cabot 29-yard line, but the defense held the Wildcats to a 26-yard field goal by Melton and the lead was 29-7 with 7:23 to go in the third.

Another touchdown by Chapple increased the lead to 35-7 early in the final period.

Cabot answered with a 62-yard drive, picking up three first downs along the way, and ending with a 28-yard touchdown scamper by Noah Sorrell. McCullough made it 35-14 with 6:53 remaining.

Melton kicked her second field goal of the game, this time a 28-yarder, and the score was 38-14 with 3:28 to go.

A miscue on the reception of the ensuing kick off gave Cabot the ball at its own 2. But, Oaks broke free for an 87-yard touchdown run. After the point after, the final score was set at 38-21 with 2:06 on the clock.

The Panthers got one more chance when Janson Hubanks recovered a Wildcat fumble, but could not score again in the time remaining.

Cabot had 302 total yards of offense, while NLR had 357.

Oaks rushed 17 times for 135 yards, and had three completions for 80 yards.