CABOT — North Little Rock took care of business and beat home standing Cabot in the regular season, 38-21, last Thursday.
The win moves North Little Rock to 10-0 on the season and the 7A-Central Conference championship, the second consecutive for coach Jamie Mitchell.
The conference championship gives North Little Rock a bye in the first round of the playoffs and action will resume on Friday, Nov. 14 as the Cats will host the winner of Springdale Har-Ber and Fort Smith Northside.
North Little Rock will have home field advantage through the playoffs with the semifinals on Nov. 24 and the state championship game on Saturday, Dec. 2.
The title game would kick at noon.
Cabot fell to 5-5 on the season and 3-4 in the conference. The Panthers are fourth seed from the 7A-Central and will host Springdale, the fifth seed from the West, at 7 p.m. this Friday.
Against Cabot, North Little Rock jumped out early with a 2-yard rush from running back Brandon Thomas with 6:56 left in the first quarter. Cabot responded with a 51-yard touchdown catch and run by tight end John Weins to tie the game.
Then it was all North Little Rock, as the Cats rolled to four consecutive unanswered touchdowns down the stretch.
Thomas, just a sophomore, was virtually unstoppable as he rushed for 189 yards on 25 carries. His long runs, setup short, quarterback sneaks by senior David Chapple, who rushed for four touchdowns on carries of 10, 1, 2 and 1 yard again. Chapple rushed 10 times for 55 yards in the game.
The final touchdown was the first play of the fourth quarter.
In between, was 26 yard field goal by senior kicker Savana Melton. After Chapple’s final touchdown, Melton added a 28-yarder in the fourth quarter. Melton was two of four extra point attempts, and one miss was blocked by Cabot.
Cabot quarterback Tommy Oaks set the final margin with an 89 yard run in game’s closing minutes.
While Thomas led all rushers, what’s more notable is who didn’t carry the ball as star running back Oscar Adaway sat the game out with an ankle injury and will have almost four weeks to get healthy for the quarterfinal game on Nov. 14.
Tyler Day also saw limited playing time and had one carry in the win. Day is another Cat banged up and will have time for rehab before returning to action.