MOUNTAIN HOME — The second-ranked Cabot Panthers lived up to their billing Friday night at Bomber Stadium.
Cabot coach Mike Malham’s Panthers scored touchdowns on their first two offensive snaps of the night, and put the ball in the end zone on five of their six possessions in the first half, during a 35-0 win over the Mountain Home Bombers on Friday night at Bomber Stadium.
Mountain Home drops to 0-6 on the year and 0-3 in the 7A/6A-East Conference. Cabot stayed perfect at 6-0 and 3-0.
Cabot struck like lightning to open the ballgame.
Taking over at its own 38-yard line after the opening kickoff, the Panthers turned to fullback Zach Launius, who raced 62 yards to paydirt. The PAT kick made it 7-0 with 11:43 left in the first quarter.
The Panthers were swarming on defense from the outset, forcing the Bombers to punt after a three-and-out.
A short kick gave Cabot the ball at the Mountain Home 44 and the Panthers picked up a 44-yard run from Preston Jones to give his team two touchdowns on two snaps and a 14-0 lead with 10:20 left in the quarter.
Mountain Home picked up a first down on a nice 12-yard pass from Drake Walker to Josh Newton, but the ensuing drive lost traction and the Bombers were forced to punt once more.
The Panthers went to the air for their third touchdown in as many drives. Facing third-and-12 from midfield, quarterback Kason Kimbrell threw a bomb to Jake Ferguson for a 50-yard touchdown pass. The PAT kick made it 21-0 with 7:34 left in the first quarter.
Ferguson made himself known on defense for Cabot when he picked off a pass and returned it to the Bomber 30-yard line.
The Panthers marched methodically on this drive and took nine plays to find the end zone on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Kimbrell to Launius for a 28-0 lead with 2:07 left in the opening period.
Cabot would find the end zone once more before halftime.
Taking over at the Mountain Home 43 after a punt, Launius had carries of 6, 3 and 25 yards to take the ball to the 9-yard line. Kimbrell then hit Ferguson with a 9-yard touchdown pass to up the lead to 35-0 with 9:13 left in the first half and Cabot’s offensive starters never returned to the field.
Mountain Home ate up most of the remaining time in the first half with a 13-play drive that reached the Cabot 34 before faltering. The big play on the drive was Zack Martin’s 31-yard reception of a tipped pass.
With the Panthers leading 35-0, the second half was played with a running clock due to the Arkansas Activities Association’s Sportsmanship Rule. Cabot had the ball just twice in the second half and had one drive foiled when Mountain Home’s Dalton Reed came up with a big fumble recovery at the Cabot 36.
With their best starting field position of the night, the Bombers got runs of 6 and 5 yards by Newton, and an 11-yard pass from Walker to Ralph Love, to advance to the Cabot 13. The Panther defense rose up with an 8-yard loss on a sack and forced an incompletion as Mountain Home turned the ball over on downs.
The Panthers finished with 255 yards rushing on 33 attempts. The Panthers had 327 yards in total offense.
Launius rushed for 116 yards on six carries. Jones had 44 yards on his only carry
Unofficially, Cabot rolled up 241 yards rushing on 35 attempts and finished with 305 yards of total offense. Launius ran seven times for 118 yards and a touchdown to lead the Panthers. Jones had 43 yards and a score, while Kolton Eads ran 11 times for 43 yards. Nine different players carried the ball in the game for Cabot.
Kimbrell completed all four of his pass attempts for 72 yards. Ferguson caught three passes for 67 yards. Launius had one catch for five yards.
Mountain Home managed 131 yards on the night, most of that through the air. Drake Walker was 10 of 21 passing for 86 yards and Zane Walker was 2 of 3 for 13 yards in relief. The Bombers’ rushing game was limited to 32 yards on 22 carries.
Dakota Sutterfield netted 34 yards on seven attempts and Newton carried eight times for 29 yards. The Panther defense harassed Bomber quarterbacks all night as Drake Walker finished with minus-22 yards rushing on five carries and Zane Walker carried twice for minus-9 yards.
Patrick Neyhart and Jordan Burke led Cabot with five tackles each. Jack Whisker, Brandon Allinder and Tristan Bulice had four tackles each.
Cabot will host Little Rock Central on Friday night at Panther Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.