The Cabot Panthers opened fall camp with more than 100 players.
The Panthers have 56 varsity players and 45 sophomores. However, Cabot only returns seven starters from last year’s team, which went 7-5, including a playoff victory over Bentonville West.
Returning offensive starters include senior fullback Adam Flores, senior tight end John Wiens and center Christopher Long.
Returning defensive starters include senior defensive backs Bryce Billings and Austin Swackhammer and senior linemen Davonte Roberts and Janson Eubanks.
“I’m please with the week so far,” said Cabot coach and Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame member Mike Malham said. “I haven’t gotten to see the varsity defense because we’ve been split up but I feel like we’ve got a chance to be competitive.”
Malham said the Panthers have split up practicing each morning. The varsity goes first followed by the junior varsity.
“We’re a little green,” he said. “You don’t get Friday night experience until you get out there on Friday nights.”
With the teams being split during the first week of practice, each player is getting plenty of repetitions.
“When you split them up, there’s not much depth but they are getting a lot of reps,” Malham said.
Cabot is also learning to live life without all-state quarterback Jarrod Barnes, who Malham has called the best athlete he ever coached at Cabot. Barnes is currently a freshman wide receiver for the Arkansas Razorbacks.
The Panthers open the season Sept. 1 at Pine Bluff. The home opener is Sept. 8 against El Dorado. The 7A-Central opener is Sept. 22 against Little Rock Catholic at War Memorial Stadium. Homecoming is Sept. 29 when the Panthers host the Fort Smith Southside Mavericks.