By Rob Patrick
CABOT — With seven starters out for one reason or another, the Bryant White Hornets eighth grade team limped to season's end on Saturday afternoon.
A big, physical group of Cabot South Panthers eighth graders bulled their way to a 29-6 win in the game which was postponed due to storms on Thursday, Oct. 29, and played as part of five consecutive games on the turf at Cabot Panther Stadium.
The typical Cabot dead-T was in full display in the game. The Panthers attempted just one pass in 37 offensive snaps. Featuring a fullback that was as big as any of the linemen on the field, they racked up 217 yards rushing.
Bryant's lone touchdown came on a screen pass from Wesley Akers to Grayson Giles that the running back turned into a 70-yard play. A try for two failed and, at that point with 6:36 left in the third quarter, the Hornets were within 16-6.
Cabot answered with a 65-yard march in 18 plays that ate up the last 6:28 of the third quarter and the first 2:05 of the fourth.
On Bryant's next possession, the Hornets went back to the screen on a third-and-10 from their own 30 only to have Cabot pick off the pass. On the next play, the Panthers ran a trick play to add the final score. The quarterback took the snap, faked a handoff and laid the ball on the ground. The ball was hidden by one of the lineman who shadowed the ball on his hands and knees without touching it while everyone raced around left end. The running back on the opposite side waited a moment before racing up to pull the ball out from under the lineman, sprinting down the right side away from the flow for a 28-yard touchdown.
Yes, the old fumble-rooskie.
Cabot had opened the game with a 54-yard drive for a touchdown, using 10 time-eating plays to get there. When Bryant got the ball for the first time, there was just 2:21 left in the opening quarter.
Unfortunately, the Hornets had trouble tracking down the kickoff and had to start from their own 5. Giles was dropped for a loss of 3 on the first play from there. Cabot jumped offsides to move it out to the 7. On the next play, Akers threw a swing pass to Giles who couldn't haul it in. The official nearest the play didn't blow it dead when the ball hit the ground so alertly Drew Martin fell on it in the end zone. The pass had been ruled a lateral. Thanks to Martin, it was a safety and Cabot didn't recover the ball for a touchdown.
The Hornets' free kick was returned to the Bryant 35 and Cabot was in scoring range again. But, on the first play, the Hornets forced a fumble and recovered it.
Akers completed a 5-yard pass to Austin May and, after Cabot jumped offsides to convert a fourth-down play, a screen to Giles picked up 13 to the Cabot 37.
After Giles ran for 2 yards and Akers kept for 5, the Hornets faced a third-and-3 at the Panthers 30. But Akers was sacked on third down and a fourth-down pass fell incomplete.
Cabot took over and rumbled 65 yards in six plays to increase the lead to 16-6 just before the half. The Hornets scored on the second play of the second half then didn't see the ball again until there was just 4:55 left to play.
Akers finished 6 of 13 passing for 107 yards but the Hornets were held to a net of minus-18 yards rushing.