Cabot Coach Scott Reed said he is seeing the maturation in quarterback Tyler Gee and the Panthers each week.
Friday night at Quigley Stadium was a good example.
The Panthers (5-2, 2-2 7A-Central) trailed Little Rock Central 13-0 -- including a Gee interception that was returned for a score -- before rebounding for a 43-20 victory over the Tigers (4-3, 1-3).
"Everything is so different for us,'' said Reed, who took over for longtime Coach Mike Malham this season. "Not just our offense but for our defense as well. I think they are finally starting to adjust to things.
"I think they understand the system better, both sides of the ball. Defensively too. We are able to make adjustments. The offensive line at first was hard because every front we saw defensively was new. We're getting a little bit better every week."
Gee rebounded to pass for four touchdowns -- three to junior De'Kairo Rudolph -- and Graham Turner ran for a pair of scores as the Panthers dominated the second half.
"I think our quarterback is getting a little bit better every week,'' Reed said. "He's grown up. He did not let [the interception] bother him tonight, and he came back and made some great throws and great plays. And I don't think we had a dropped ball after that first one, and I am ecstatic our run game is coming along."
The Tigers built their early lead when Ricky Westbrook grabbed an interception off a Cabot helmet and raced 42 yards on the game's first play from scrimmage. Little Rock Central followed that with a 74-yard drive that ended with junior Sam Franklin scoring from the 3 for a 13-0 edge.
"I thought once we settled down, we played really well,'' Reed said. "Before you know anything it was 13-0, but after that I thought we really settled in and played well."
The Panthers' rally began with Rudolph returning a kickoff 45 yards. Four plays later Turner scored on a 6-yard run.
Gee, a junior, hit Logan Bell with a 4-yard touchdown pass, and Rhett Thurman's second extra point made it 14-13 on the first play of the second quarter.
A 47-yard pass to Rudolph with 8:10 left in the half made it 21-13.
Thurman kicked a 21-yard field goal to give the Panthers a 24-13 lead at the half.
Gee and Rudolph connected on a 3-yard touchdown pass early in the third as the Panthers built a 30-13 lead.
A bad snap from a punt formation gave the Tigers possession at the Cabot 31, and Little Rock Central quarterback Lawson Gunn hit Omari Murdock with a 25-yard touchdown pass with 1:05 left in the third.
The Panthers responded with Gee hitting Rudolph on a 10-yard pass, and Turner capped the scoring with a 12-yard touchdown run.
CONWAY 23, Fort smith NORTHSIDE 20
FORT SMITH -- Will Hogue kicked a 29-yard field goal as time expired to give Conway (5-2, 3-1 7A-Central) a victory over Fort Smith Northside (2-5, 0-4) at Mayo-Thompson Stadium.
The Wampus Cats rallied from a 13-0 first-quarter deficit. But Hogue's kick helped Conway escape with its third conference victory of the season.
Northside tied the game at 20-20 with Dreyden Norwood's 82-yard touchdown run with 53 seconds left.
Conway took its first lead of the game, 17-13, late in the third quarter on Bryce Bohanon's 33-yard touchdown run.
Nick McCuin completed 12 of 22 passes for 158 yards with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions for Conway. Luke Bailey had 83 yards on 19 carries.
Sports on 10/19/2019
Print Headline: Cabot ecstatic with progression vs. LR Central