The Cabot Panthers opened 7A-Central play with a 42-20 win over the the Little Rock Catholic Rockets on Friday at War Memorial Stadium.
With the win, Cabot improves to 3-1 on the season, giving Cabot coach Mike Malham his 294th victory in his 38th season at Cabot.
Catholic took a 7-0 lead with 7:53 left in the first quarter on a 3-yard run by Logan Weaver. Chris Elser added the extra point.
Cabot wasted no time in tying up the game. Bradley Morales scored on a 68-yard run with 5:40 left in the first quarter. Ben McCullough kicked the extra point.
Catholic reclaimed the lead at 10-7 on a 22-yard field goal by Elser with 9:14 left in the first half. Cabot took its first lead of the game on a 19-yard run by Noah Sorrell with 6:37 left in the half. McCullough kicked his second of six extra points.
Catholic cut the deficit to 14-13 at halftime on a 25-yard field goal by Elser.
The Panthers scored 14 third-quarter points to lead 28-13 after three quarters. Tommy Oaks threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to John Wiens with 9:56 left in the third quarter. Wins then scored on a 4-yard run with 23 seconds left in the quarter.
Catholic tried to get back into the game, scoring a touchdown on a 2-yard run by Luke Schildknecht with 7:56 left in the game.
Cabot responded with two more touchdowns. Morales scored on a 4-yard run with 7:41 left and T.J. Rogers scored on a 62-yard run with 3:16 left.
Malham said it was a good way to start conference.
“There are four teams 1-0 and four teams 0-1,” he said. “We’re happy to be one of those that are 1-0.
“The kids played pretty good.”
Malham said he was concerned when the Rockets took the opening kickoff and drove for a 7-0 lead.
“But we came back and Morales broke one that tied it up,” he said. “We were up 14-13 at half. In the second half, the offense was really clicking. We had the ball four times and we scored four times to start the second half. That was a good sign. The defense played pretty well in the third quarter.
“We’re playing a lot of young guys on defense. I think we’re going to get better and better each week.”
Rogers led the Panthers with 181 yards rushing on 11 carries. Morales had 149 yards on 15 carries. Oaks completed all three of his pass attempts. Ayden Shurley caught two passes for 23 yards.
Catholic’s Samy Johnson finished with 124 yards rushing on 23 carries. Quarterback Jake James completed 12 of 22 passes for 172 yards.
Justin Holland led the Panthers with 14 tackles. Zhane Harper had 12. Dalton Crumbly had 11. Cody Skinner, Justin Nabors and Hayden Matthews had nine tackles each.
Cabot will host the Fort Smith Southside Mavericks for homecoming Friday night at Panther Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Southside is 1-3 on the season, coming off a 54-47 overtime loss at Conway in the 7A-Central opener Friday night at John McConnell Stadium in Conway. The Mavericks lone victory was a 50-17 victory over Rogers Heritage in Week 3.
“They definitely can score some points,” Malham said of Southside. “The defense has another big challenge. Offensively, we’ve just got to do what we like to do, try to control the ball and the clock; rest our defense and limit their offense.”