CABOT — As expected, there were lots of hugs exchanged after the Cabot Panther’s 35-14 victory over the El Dorado Wildcats at Panther Stadium on Friday night.
Scott Reed, in his second game as Cabot’s head coach, faced the team he coached for years. Under Reed’s leadership, El Dorado won four state championships.
“It was hard to look at those guys on the other side, but I enjoyed the night,” Reed said. “We had a great opponent, and it was a great night for Cabot football.”
Cabot (2-0) scored on its second possession with a 49-yard option pass from junior quarterback Kyler Carmack to senior receiver De’Kairo Rudolph with 8:02 left in the first quarter.
On its next possession, Cabot took a 14-0 lead on senior running back Graham Turner’s 1-yard run.
El Dorado (1-2) pulled within 14-7 on sophomore quarterback Sharmon Rester’s 58-yard run early in the second quarter.
Rester’s 7-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Devunte Kidd tied the score with 8:56 left in the second quarter.
“Every time we got the momentum tonight, it snapped back the other way,” El Dorado Coach Steven Jones said. “We had trouble holding on to it and sustaining a drive. We will clean some things up and continue to get better each week.”
A 33-yard punt return by Rudolph and a personal foul called on El Dorado put Cabot at the El Dorado 7 with 1:46 left before halftime. Turner ran in for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage to give Cabot a 21-14 lead.
“Cabot’s a good football team,” Jones said. “I think they’ll make noise, and I expect to see a Coach Reed football team make a deep run in the playoffs.”
Behind Turner, Cabot marched away in the second half. Third-quarter touchdown runs of 3 and 5 yards by Turner completed the scoring.
Turner rushed 20 times for 62 yards and 4 touchdowns.
“We finally settled down, but El Dorado had a lot to do with our trouble,” Reed said. “They got that great run by Rester, and it kind of gave them life.”
With Rester and junior Eli Shepherd rotating at quarterback, El Dorado struggled to extend drives beyond midfield. The pair combined to complete 5 of 14 passes for 18 yards and threw four interceptions, though Rester finished the game with 6 carries for 100 yards.
“We have two guys competing for that spot,” Jones said. “They’ll both continue to work.”