CABOT: Panthers could ride ground game to title

Conference: 7A Central
Coach: Mike Malham
’15 Record: 10-1

The Cabot Panthers ran their way to a perfect regular season and another conference title in 2015. And most of that rushing fire power returns this fall.

It all starts with U of A commit Jarrod Barnes. The senior quarterback led Cabot’s ground game last fall with 1,090 yards and 17 touchdowns. Senior Alex Roberts returns at fullback in Cabot’s T offense. Roberts rushed for 870 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior. Senior Austin Morse (522 yards and 10 touchdowns), senior Braxton Burton (163 yards and two touchdowns) and junior Adam Flores (509 yards and three touchdowns) fill out the backfield at the halfback positions. Junior John Weins returns at tight end. No offensive linemen return, but top newcomers include senior Tristan Williams, senior Landon Teer, senior Jacob Cash, senior Grant Meek, junior Kylin Hicks, junior David Hubanks and junior Jacob Davis.

Senior linebacker Easton Seidl. (Jaison Sterling photo)

Malham brings back eight starters on defense. Senior Chris Jones (tackle/49 tackles), junior Dayonte Roberts (nose guard/37 tackles) and senior Colin Thompson (end/49 tackles) return on the defensive line. Seniors Easton Seidl (83 tackles) and Cody Nabors return at linebacker. Three starters return in the secondary: seniors Dylan Smith, Connor Daigle and Kale Eddington.

Senior defensive back Kale Eddington. (Jaison Sterling photo)

“We have a chance to compete if we can build an offensive line,” Malham said. “This could be our best ever offensive backfield, and with eight back on defense, we should be pretty solid. We are moving into a much tougher conference. They are all good programs. There is no breather. Everyone is tough!”