It wasn't what the second-winningest Arkansas high school football coach wanted from the final game of his career, but he accepted it with grace.
Shortly after the North Little Rock Charging Wildcats' 34-7 victory over the Cabot Panthers at Charging Wildcat Stadium completed Mike Malham's 38th and final season as head football coach at Cabot on Friday night, Malham said his time had come.
"It's been fun," Malham said. "Everyone's been great. I was in a very supportive town, but I've done this for a long time. It's someone else's turn."
Malham's career victories total stands at 301, second most among Arkansas high school coaches to former Barton coach Frank McClellan. Cabot won state championships under Malham in 1983 and 2000, with runner-up finishes in 1997, 1998, and 2013.
"For anyone to win 300 games in high school football is just unheard of," North Little Rock Coach Jamie Mitchell said.
"This game will miss him. I guarantee you, that community owes a ton to that guy. He is first class all the way."
After a fumble by North Little Rock (10-0, 7-0 7A-Central) early in the game, Cabot started in classic Malham ball-control form. It moved 12 yards on six plays before it struck with a 34-yard fumblerooski run by senior Isaiah Ogilvie to the North Little Rock 2. Three plays later, senior quarterback Jessie Windemaker scored on a 1-yard sneak to give Cabot a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter.
"We had to pull out trickery just to get down there against these guys," Malham said.
"Every year you play them, they are well-prepared, tough, hard-nosed," Mitchell said. "It's going to be hard to replace that guy."
Cabot (4-6, 2-5) would not have a possession beyond the North Little Rock 37 again. The Panthers were held to 152 total yards.
North Little Rock led 14-7 at halftime on touchdown runs of 3 yards by senior running back Oscar Adaway and 9 yards by senior Tyler Day.
Junior running back Brandon Thomas' 36-yard touchdown run gave North Little Rock a 20-7 lead early in the third quarter. Thomas led all rushers with 150 yards on 15 carries.
"He is a big-time special back," Mitchell said. "I've coached a bunch of them, and he's right up there with the best."
Sophomore quarterback Kareame Cotton's 1-yard sneak put North Little Rock's lead at 27-7 with 46 seconds left in the third quarter.
Sophomore reserve running back Aaron Sims ran in from the Cabot 2 late in the game to complete North Little Rock's undefeated regular-season and a chance to defend its Class 7A state championship.
"They are really talented," Malham said. "They've got size. They've got speed. They've got all the ingredients."
Cabot coach Mike Malham is shown in this photo.
Sports on 11/03/2018
Print Headline: North Little Rock rips Cabot to close out Malham's career