CABOT -- A week after a gut-wrenching two-point loss to Little Rock Catholic to open 7A Central play, Cabot ground out a 12-0 victory over Fort Smith Southside on Friday night at Panther Stadium.
Cabot (4-1, 1-1 7A-Central) entered Friday night's homecoming affair averaging 35.3 points per game. Two touchdown passes by junior quarterback Tyler Gee and three forced turnovers by the Panthers' defense were all that was needed to win in a defensive battle.
"I thought we played hard. I knew that Southside would be physical and that they were good defensively -- may be as good a defense as we've played," Cabot coach Scott Reed said. "I thought they had a great plan for us, but we did a good job. We settled in and made the plays. As the game went, I thought that they were gonna have a hard time scoring on our defense."
Cabot and Southside (1-4, 0-2) each were sluggish from the beginning.
On their second possession of the game, the Panthers orchestrated a 14-play, 43-yard drive into Southside territory but had a 31-yard field goal attempt blocked, allowing Southside to take over at its 23 with 11 minutes, 18 seconds left before halftime.
Later in the second quarter, Southside junior quarterback Parker Wehunt was intercepted by Cabot junior defensive back Jaiden Ryals near midfield. On the ensuing drive, Gee gave the ball right back to Southside with 2:07 before the half on a fumble deep in Mavericks territory. But Southside quickly went three and out.
It wasn't until 52 seconds remained in the first half that one team finally woke up.
On a first and 10 from Southside's 39, Gee scrambled to his right, stayed patient and spotted a wide-open Braden Jay sneaking behind the secondary. Gee hit Jay for a 39-yard touchdown pass, which helped Cabot take a 6-0 lead into the break.
"Tyler made a great play," Reed said. "We worked [on] scramble drill this week."
After a scoreless third quarter, Gee delivered his second touchdown pass of the night with 10:17 left in the game, this one a 14-yard pass over the middle to a wide-open De'kairo Rudolph. After an unsuccessful two-point try, Cabot was in command 12-0.
Then the Panthers' defense took over.
Southside moved the ball all the way down to Cabot's 10 on the next possession. On second and goal, Ryals intercepted Wehunt on a throw toward the end zone with 5:55 to play. It was Ryals' second pick of the night.
"(My teammates) are always telling me to try to get one more, get one more," Ryals said. "Right before that drive, they told me to get No. 2, and I got No. 2."
Minutes later, Cabot junior running back Donta Barker fumbled to give Southside the ball back with 2:46 left, which set up the Mavericks at Cabot's 34. But Cabot's defense came up with a third critical turnover two plays later, with sophomore defensive end Jose Lopez sacking Wehunt from behind and forcing a fumble. From there, Cabot ran out the clock and secured their first district win.
"Bottomline, [Cabot] could move the ball tonight and we couldn't move the ball," Southside coach Jeff Williams said. "I think both defenses played outstanding."
Sports on 10/05/2019
Print Headline: Cabot nips FS Southside 12-0