No. 300, finally
T.J. Rogers rushed for 168 yards and accounted for 4 touchdowns as Cabot defeated Little Rock Central 41-21 to give Coach Mike Malham his 300th career victory.
CABOT 41, LITTLE ROCK CENTRAL 21
CABOT — Mike Malham admitted he tried his best to make sure this week was just like any other he’s had in the 38 seasons he’s been the head coach at Cabot.
But even the laid-back Malham had a good reason to be in a jovial mood after the Panthers held off Little Rock Central on Friday night.
Running back T.J. Rogers carried 18 times for 168 yards and accounted for 4 touchdowns as Cabot took down Central 41-21 to give Malham his 300th career victory.
“Honestly, it really feels like the first one because it’s been so long since we got one,” said Malham, who scored his 300th on the fifth try. “I wish it would’ve happened a long time ago and maybe it’d be forgotten by now. But honestly, it’s a really good feeling.
“I’ve had great assistant coaches, great players, great support from the administration … it’s not just a one-man deal. This is like a team effort because it takes everybody to have a good football program.”
Running back Isaiah Ogilvie and quarterback Jessie Windemaker each had touchdowns for Cabot (3-4, 1-3 7A-Central), which hadn’t won a game since beating El Dorado 27-10 on Sept. 7 but needed to beat the Tigers to have any hopes of making a late-season push to reach the postseason for a seventh consecutive season.
On this night, Malham was adamant the only thing that mattered was getting a victory to snap his team’s four-game losing streak. By game’s end, the 65-year-old found himself among a distinguished group.
He joined fellow Arkansas Sports Hall of Famer and former Barton legend Frank McClellan as the only high school coaches to win at least 300 games in the state. McClellan retired in 2005 as the winningest prep football coach in state history with 367.
Little Rock Central (1-5, 0-4), which lost its fourth game in a row, piled up 226 yards over the first two quarters and held a 15-6 advantage early in the second quarter. The Tigers couldn’t sustain that level of play in the second half while the Panthers stepped up.
Running back Keylin Holloway ran 15 times for 119 yards and 1 touchdown for Central. Halfback Samuel Franklin chipped in with 102 yards on the ground on 9 carries and scored on a 78-yard run in the third quarter. Quarterback Lawson Gunn was 11of-17 passing for 105 yards.
Central took a 7-0 lead on a 55-yard touchdown run from Holloway with 10:05 to go in the first quarter, but Cabot countered with a 9-play, 67yard that ended with 9-yard scoring run from Rogers. The extra-point attempt was blocked, leaving the Panthers with a one-point deficit.
The teams traded touchdowns over the next two possessions before Ogilvie scored on a 64-yard fumble return with 47.3 seconds left in the second quarter to give Cabot a lead it wouldn’t give up.
Rogers’ third touchdown, a 2-yard blast with 6:51 remaining in the third quarter, capped an 11-play, 75-yard drive to push the Panthers’ advantage to 26-15, and his 67yard punt return score blew the game open.
“I told the kids this week to just keep their minds on the game,” Malham said. “It’s homecoming, too, and there can be a lot of distractions that come with that, but they did a good job of focusing on the task at hand.
“But like I said, it’s not just about me. It’s a total team effort. For me to be here 38 years, it has to be. I’m just so thankful for all the support I’ve gotten, but we’re not done yet. If we can get in the playoffs, everybody’s even again and anything can happen.”