CABOT — It was a battle of contrasting styles — the grind-it-out run game of Cabot against the wide-open passing attack of Fort Smith Southside.
In the end it came down to Fort Smith having a point-after blocked and Cabot executing a two-point conversion with 2:14 left in the game that sealed a 43-41 victory for the Panthers.
Cabot (4-1, 2-0 7A-Central) rode the running of juniors Brad Morales and Tadariyan Rogers; the Mavericks (1-4, 0-2) relied on the passing of junior quarterback Taye Gatewood.
“They have a very good team and can score a lot of points,” Cabot Coach Mike Malham said. “They had a good game plan but we got some breaks with dropped passes and a couple of interceptions. We hurt ourselves with some penalties, but it worked out in the end.”
In Cabot’s first five plays, the Panthers converted two 65-yard TD runs, 1 each by Morales and Rogers and held a 14-0 lead after the first quarter.
Morales rushed 10 times for 203 yards; Rogers had 15 carries for 200 yards.
Southside saw an opening at the outset of the second quarter when a fake punt attempt by Cabot fell a yard short and the Mavericks took over at the Cabot 29.
Two runs by Gatewood had Southside facing a second and 5 at the 11, and Gate-wood converted an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jordyn Jackson, cutting the deficit to 14-7.
Cabot went 70 yards in six plays, the big play a 29-yard run by Morales on first down. Quarterback Tyrese Solomon ran for 22 yards, giving the Panthers a first down at the Southside
Morales got the rest, putting Cabot up 21-7 with 8:45 remaining in the first half.
Gatewood and Jackson got the Mavericks back in the game with two completions good for 67 yards on a 6-play drive covering 90 yards. Jackson had a 21-yard reception on a third and 18 then caught a 43-yard-er from Gatewood for the touchdown, narrowing the lead to 21-14.
On the ensuing kickoff, senior wide receiver Mason Love fell on an onside kick at the Cabot 47. Gatewood and Jackson connected for 44 yards on first down, then Gatewood went 3 yards to tie it at 21-21 with 5:17 left.
Cabot took over at the 20 after the kickoff and moved the 80 yards in 9 plays, scoring on a Rogers’ 2-yard run for 28-21 lead.
But the Mavericks didn’t give up and moved down the field only to have Cabot’s Zane Harper intercept a pass in the end zone, ending the threat.
After a failed onside kick by Cabot,
Southside went 60 yards in seven plays to tie the game at 28-28 with 10:01 left in the third quarter.
Neither team could do anything on the next series, with Cabot turning the ball over on downs and Gate-wood getting intercepted by Harper and giving Cabot the ball at the Cabot 27.
Facing a second down on the Southside 43, Rogers gained 32 and 9 yards for a first and goal at the 2. Solomon scored on a sneak.
Solomon was intercepted on Cabot’s next possession and the Mavericks went 42 yards in seven plays and had a chance to tie the, but the extra-point kick was blocked, leaving Cabot up 35-34.
Rogers carried four times for 29 yards and Graham Turner added 18, leading to a 10-yard scoring run by Rogers. Tommy Oaks converted the two-point play to make it 43-34, effectively sealing the game for the Panthers with 2:14 left.
A 1-yard run by Gate-wood left the Mavericks 43-41 pending the onside kick, which Cabot’s Lucas Crumbly recovered.
Gatewood was 23 of 36 for 275 yards and three touchdowns.
Print Headline: Cabot grinds way past Fort Smith Southside