The Cabot South Panthers were able to keep the Cabot North Panthers out of the end zone in a 16-0 win.
The win secured what turned out to be the outright Central Arkansas Junior High Conference championship for Cabot South.
"We’ve preached it all year that our key is togetherness and to play as a team," said Cabot South coach Lee Melder. "The guys really bought into it and it has paid off."
The South Panthers (9-1) went into the Tuesday night game tied with Bryant for first place, and were guaranteed at least a share of the title if they could get past their cross town rivals. Bryant fell to Benton 22-8 Thursday night, putting Cabot South in sole possession of first place.
The win didn’t come easily for South as the game was largely a war of attrition between two teams running basically the same offense and defense.
After stopping North (5-5) on the opening possession of the game, the South Panthers went on a scoring drive behind Mark Odom, Ethan Holland, Jordan Green and Lake Boyett. Boyett got the call from his quarterback spot and finished the drive with a 10-yard touchdown at the end of the first quarter.
Cabot North began the second quarter with the ball and kept it for virtually the full eight minutes until halftime. North put together a 14-play drive that got inside the South 15-yard-line, but were stopped short on fourth-and-three. Jacob Bailey carried the load in the drive, carrying nine times for 46 yards on the possession.
"North was knocking us off the ball, then we finally got down and started making plays," said Melder. "I’ve never liked these games, because you know how tough it is going to be. I’d rather play a North Little Rock every week."
Cabot South began the second half with the ball and put together a 10-play scoring drive. Two big plays came from Jordan Green getting three yards on fourth-and-two, and Dillon Buchanan’s 31-yard gain down near the goal line. Holland cleaned up the drive with a three-yard touchdown. Boyett tried to pass for the two-point conversion, it was batted back, where he caught it and ran it in for the two points and a 16-0 lead.
"When that kind of thing happens, you kind of know it is going to be your night," Melder said. "They had the same thing happen, but we got it for a loss."
North began its next drive with three minutes left in the third quarter. They kept the ball into the fourth quarter, but a holding call following a loss of yards stalled the drive.
Cabot South got the ball back with 6:46 remaining in the game and were able to hold on to it through the final whistle. Odom had a big first down on fourth-and-three thanks to a strong second effort.
"Coming into the season, I knew the potential was there, but that schedule was scary," Melder said. "What those guys did this year is a testament to their dedication and all of their hard work."