CABOT -- Cabot fumbled away its chance to give Coach Mike Malham his 300th career victory.
Junior quarterback Jordan Eddington threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Cole Plafcan with 10 seconds remaining to give Little Rock Catholic a 15-13 victory over Cabot in the 7A-Central opener on a rainy Saturday afternoon at Panther Stadium.
Catholic is 4-0 for the first time since 1990 while Malham, retiring at the end of the season, failed in his second attempt to join Frank McClellan as the only coaches in Arkansas high school football history to reach 300 victories.
"I have a lot of respect for him and was really torn about that a little bit," Rockets Coach John Fogleman said. "I really respect him. I know it's going to come."
Ultimately, the Panthers (2-2) couldn't overcome six lost fumbles in a game that was suspended at halftime, 7-7, Friday night because of lightning and torrential rain.
When play resumed, turnovers and stout defense by both teams led to virtually the entire second half being played in Cabot territory.
Catholic ran 37 plays in Cabot territory -- 20 inside the 20 -- yet still trailed 13-9 after the Panthers took an intentional safety with 2:45 remaining in the game.
After a free kick, Catholic's final possession began at its 46 with 2:36 remaining.
Catholic, which had one timeout, moved to the Cabot 37 after five consecutive runs by standout senior tailback Samy Johnson, who finished with 217 yards and a touchdown on 42 carries.
After an incompletion on third and 5, Johnson kept the drive alive with a 9-yard run to the 26 with 23 seconds remaining.
Fogleman then inserted his backup quarterback, Eddington, who attempted two passes Friday night. Eddington's third attempt was broken up near the goal line, but his fourth went for the game-winning touchdown when Plafcan -- running a post pattern -- made the reception near the 2 and crashed through two defenders into the end zone.
"We just felt he could handle the wet ball a little bit better," Fogleman said of Eddington. "I also thought they might see him and expect a quarterback run. It was just something different, just to give them a different look."
Cabot had taken a 13-7 lead on a 2-yard touchdown run by junior fullback Graham Turner with 7:53 remaining in the third quarter.
The touchdown came seven plays after a 40-yard interception return to the Cabot 43 by senior safety Zhane Harper on the third play from scrimmage of the second half.
Cabot lost a fumble at its 27 to open the second half, at its 18 with 4:36 remaining in the third quarter and at its 30 with 48 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
"The defense kept us in the game time after time after time," said Malham, Cabot's coach since 1981. "All we needed was one first down there and they finally completed one pass. That's the way it goes, I guess."
Catholic finished with a 256-207 advantage in total yardage.
On Friday, Johnson's touchdown covered 80 yards with 34 seconds left in the first quarter. Cabot's touchdown came on a 43-yard run by senior halfback TJ Rogers with 15 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Sports on 09/23/2018
Print Headline: LR Catholic wins as Cabot loses grip