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Panthers score early, often in beating Blue Devils 49-7

Cabot’s Zach Launius scores his fourth touchdown in the first half against West Memphis on Friday.Buy Photo
Cabot’s Zach Launius scores his fourth touchdown in the first half against West Memphis on Friday.
Cabot’s Patrick Neyhart stops West Memphis’ Stanley Gaines during Friday’s game at Panther Stadium.Buy Photo
Cabot’s Patrick Neyhart stops West Memphis’ Stanley Gaines during Friday’s game at Panther Stadium.
Cabot’s Chris Henry runs away from West Memphis’ Demarcus Rivers for a touchdown in the first quarter Friday night.Buy Photo
Cabot’s Chris Henry runs away from West Memphis’ Demarcus Rivers for a touchdown in the first quarter Friday night.

Cabot’s running attack was in fine form in the first half as the Panthers led 35-0 at halftime, en route to a 49-7 win over West Memphis on Friday at Panther Stadium.

With the win, top-ranked Cabot is now 8-0 overall and 4-0 in the 7A/6A-East.

“The kids are taking care of business,” said Cabot coach Mike Malham, who now has 264 wins — fifth all time in the state of Arkansas. “You can’t take anything for granted because there are upsets every week. These kids seem to be keeping their free on the ground and keeping their heads out of the clouds. We’re playing good on both sides of the ball.”

Malham said his team made a mistake, allowing West Memphis’ only touchdown in the third quarter.

“There are going to be mistakes,” he said. “Hopefully, we can eliminate some and just get a little better every well. That is what our goal is.”

Cabot senior fullback Zach Launius continued his stellar season. He rushed for 162 yards on 13 carries. He scored on runs of 25, 27, 56 and 7 yards. Senior halfback Chris Henry also scored on a 52-yard run. Senior halfback Preston Jones had a 57-yard run in the first half to set up the Panthers’ fifth touchdown.

“Launius is so quick that they can’t hardly get off their blocks quick enough to get on him,” Malham said. “Chris is hard to tackle in open field with speed and Jones has been a pleasant surprise this year. And he’s a little stronger than the other two. He’s got some speed when he gets into the open field.

“All three of them, and Dylan Thompson is rotating in there, they are doing a good job.”

Malham said if his team stays injury free they could make a run in the playoffs.

“We’re trying to keep a level head and not take anything for granted,” he said.

Cabot took a 7-0 lead after forcing the Blue Devils to punt on their first possession.

Henry scored on a 52-yard run with 8:33 left in the first quarter. Trevor Reed kicked his first of six extra points on the night.

The Panthers took a 14-0 lead when Launius scored on a 25-yard run with 1:46 left in the first quarter.

Launius scored his second touchdown on a 27-yard run with 8:59 left in the first half to give the Panthers a 21-0 lead. His third touchdown came on a 56-yard run with 3:12 left to make the score 28-0.

West Memphis showed some life on its next possession, driving the ball to the Cabot 7 but eventually turned the ball over on downs at the Cabot 9.

From there, the Panthers drove 91 yards in only seven plays with Launius scoring on a 7-yard run with 16 seconds left in the first half. Reed’s PAT gave the Panthers a 35-0 lead.

The big play of the scoring drive was Jones’ 57-yard run to the West Memphis 15.

Cabot scored two-second half touchdowns. Jack Whisker scored on a 5-yard run with 7:29 left in the third quarter. Kolton Eads scored on a 3-yard run with 4:25 left in the game.

West Memphis’ only score came on a 34-yard touchdown pass from Parker Grigsby to Harrison Cole with 5:18 left in the third quarter.

Whisker added 84 yards rushing on 11 carries for Cabot. Jones had 65 yards on 3 carries.

Jake Ferguson led Cabot with eight tackles. Jake Vaughn, Patrick Neyhart and Jordan Burke had six tackles each. Tristan Bulice had five.

Cabot will travel to Jonesboro on Friday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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