Panther GameDay

Heber Springs opens 4A-2 Conference play against Lonoke

  • Kickoff: 7 p.m. at Panther Stadium
  • Admission: $5
  • Radio: Billy Morgan with handle the play-by-play with Lance Hamilton providing color on KSUG 101.9 The Lake. Panther Pregame begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by the game.  You can listen live here.

LAST SEASON

Lonoke, elements can’t stop Panthers in 4A-2 opener

LAST WEEK

Heber Springs quarterback Adam Martin looks to avoid a Harding Academy tackler last week at Panther Stadium. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

Panthers fall in heartbreaker to Harding Academy

FOR LONOKE: First-year Lonoke coach Harry Wright got his first win last week as the Jackrabbits (1-2) rallied to down Newport, 49-40. The Jackrabbits trailed Newport, 34-21, in the third quarter before rallying to claim the win. Lonoke quarterback Spencer Pepper was 11 of 20 passing for 326 yards and four touchdowns, including a 91-yarder to Anthony Parks. Parks also rushed for 73 yards on 12 attempts while Pepper gained 48 yards on 17 carries.

CONFERENCE SCOREBOARD WEEK 3

  • Harding Academy 50, Heber Springs 49
  • Maumelle 47, Little Rock Mills 8
  • Haskell Harmony Grove 23, Bald Knob 0
  • Lonoke 49, Newport 40
  • Clinton 55, Central Arkansas Christian 21

CONFERENCE SCHEDULE WEEK 4

  • Lonoke (1-2) at Heber Springs (0-3)
  • Stuttgart (0-3) at Southside Batesville (2-1)
  • Little Rock Mills (1-2) at Bald Knob (0-3)
  • Riverview (2-1) at Central Arkansas Christian (2-1)

HEBER SPRINGS COACH WILL COX

GAME NOTES

The Series: Lonoke leads the all-time series, 13-10

The two teams first meet in 1931, a 25-0 victory by the Jackrabbits in Lonoke. The schools would play eight times between 1931 and 1942 with the Panthers lone victory coming in 1933, 19-0. The two teams wouldn’t meet again for almost 50 years when the two schools were both part of the 5AA-North conference for the 1991-92 cycle with the Jackrabbits winning both of those conference contests. Fourteen years later in 2006, Heber Springs and Lonoke would again be placed in the same conference (the 4A-2). Since 2006, the Panthers have won nine out of 13 contests, including five straight in the series.

SONIC BLAST: Randy Rainwater from KABZ 103.7 FM in Little Rock will be in Heber Springs broadcasting his statewide radio call-in show, “Drive-Time Sports” from 3 to 7 p.m. at Panther Stadium.

NONCONFERENCE WOES/CONFERENCE JOYS: Heber Springs has gone 1-11 in nonconference play the past four seasons, but are 22-6 in the 4A-2 over the same stretch, including a share of two conference titles and a second-place finish last season.

FIREWORKS: First Arkansas Bank and Trust has been sponsoring the Panther Stadium fireworks that are fired off after each Panther touchdown.

SAME RECORD/DIFFERENT YEAR: Last season, Heber Springs and Lonoke both entered conference play as the same records they sport this season, 0-3 for the Panthers and 1-2 for the Jackrabbits.

SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: FATE BERRY

SEASON STATS AFTER WEEK 3

Heber Springs 28 14  7 48 -  97 (32.3)
Opponent      14 28 35 36 - 113 (37.7)

TEAM
First Downs by Rush: Heber Springs 46, Opponent 28
First Downs by Pass: Heber Springs 18, Opponent 28
First Downs by Penalty: Heber Springs 1, Opponent 4
Total First Downs: Heber Springs 65, Opponent 61
Third-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 28/41 (68.3), Opponent 9/22 (40.9)
Fourth-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 7/10 (70), Opponent 1 /2 (50)
Red-Zone Conversions: Heber Springs 8/8 (8 tds), Opponent 11/12 (11 tds)
Fumbles/Lost: Heber Springs 5/4, Opponent 4/0
Turnovers: Heber Springs 7, Opponent 1
Points Off Turnovers: Heber Springs 7, Opponent 21
Penalties/Yards: Heber Springs 19/146, Opponent 15/116
Plays/Total Offense/YPP: Heber Springs 202/1340/6.6, Opponent 146/1035/7.1
Rushing: Heber Springs 153/872/5.7, Opponent 90/421/4.7
Rushing Per Game: Heber Springs 290.7, Opponent 140.3
Passing: Heber Springs 30/49-467-3/2, Opponent 43/68-594-8/1
Passing Per Game: Heber Springs 155.7, Opponent 198
Sacks/Yards Lost: Heber Springs 7/51, Opponent 6/24
Punts: Heber Springs 5/210/42, Opponent 9/301/33.4

INDIVIDUAL
OFFENSE
RUSHING (ATT/YARDS/PER ATTEMPT/PER GAME/TDS): Adam Martin 70/397/5.7/132.3/2, Julio Rubio 67/341/5.1/113.7/7, Landon Johnson 20/76/3.8/25.3/2, Nathan McKee 1/6/6/2/0.
BIG CAT RUNS (50+): Adam, Martin 1, Julio Rubio 1
RUNS OF 40+: Adam Martin 1, Julio Rubio 1
RUNS OF 30+: Julio Rubio 2, Adam Martin 1
RUNS OF 20+: Adam Martin 4, Julio Rubio 3
RUNS OF 10+: Adam Martin 12, Julio Rubio 9, Landon Johnson 1.
100-YARD RUSHING GAMES: Adam Martin 3, Julio Rubio 2
PASSING (ATT/COMP-YARDS-TDS/INT): Adam Martin 30/49-467-3/2
250-YARD PASSING GAMES: Adam Martin 1
RECEIVING (REC/YARDS/PER CATCH/TDS): Julio Rubio 8/121/15.1, Matthew Cook 8/86/10.8, Hunter Kent 4/32/8, Nathan McKee 3/39/13/1, Fate Berry 3/30/10, Tri Johnson 3/141/47/2,  Landon Johnson 1/8/8
100-YARD RECEIVING GAMES: Tri Johnson 1, Julio Rubio 1
TOTAL OFFENSE (OFFENSE/PER GAME): Adam Martin 864/288, Julio Rubio 341/113.7, Landon Johnson 76/25.3, Nathan McKee 6/2
KICKOFF RETURNS: Hunter Kent 3/46/15.3, Matthew Cook 3/52/17.3, Tri Johnson 3/37/12.3, Levy Phillips 2/14/7, Julio Rubio 1/12/12, Nathan McKee 1/11/11, Jackson West 1/1, Tristan Thissen 1/0.
PUNT RETURNS: None
INTERCEPTION RETURNS: Dalton McCollum 1/4
FUMBLE RETURNS: None
ALL-PURPOSE YARDS (YARDS/PER GAME): Julio Rubio 474/158, Adam Martin 397/132.3, Tri Johnson 178/89, Matthew Cook 138/46, Landon Johnson 84/28, Hunter Kent 78/26, Nathan McKee 56/18.7, Fate Berry 30/10, Levy Phillips 14/4.7, Dalton McCollum 4/1.3, Jackson West 1/.3
DEFENSE
TACKLES (ASST/SOLO/TOTAL): Fate Berry 20/8/28, Levy Phillips 10/7/17, Landon Johnson 7/6/13, Kaden Hughes 6/5/11, Hunter Kent 5/5/10, Lawrence Baureis 4/6/10, Tri Johnson 5/4/9, Matthew Cook 6/2/8, Harley Bresnahan 4/2/6, Dalton McCollum 2/4/6, Jackson West 3/2/5, Nathan McKee 1/1/2, Trent Barnes 1/1/2, Preston Jones 1/1/2, Devon Doxey 2/0/2, Jackson Harrod 1/0/1, Tristan Thissen 0/1/1, Gus Hannah 1/0/1.
TACKLES FOR LOSS: Landon Johnson 3.5, Fate Berry 3, Kaden Hughes 2.5, Levy Phillips 2, Tri Johnson 1, Harley Bresnahan 1.
SACKS/YARDS LOST: Levy Phillips 1/ 5, Kaden Hughes 1/ 4, Harley Bresnahan 1/ 4, Tri Johnson 2/ 18, Fate Berry 2/ 9
INTERCEPTIONS: Dalton McCollum 1
FUMBLE RECOVERIES: None
PUNTING (No./Yards/Avg./Inside20): Adam Martin 5/210/42/0
SCORING: Julio Rubio 54 (9 tds), Jackson Harrod 13 (13-13 PAT), Landon Johnson 12 (2 tds), Adam Martin 12 (2 td), Tri Johnson 12 (2 td), Nathan McKee 6 (1 td)

 

SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: LANDON JOHNSON

MARKEDTIME.COM PANTHER PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

WEEK 3 vs. HARDING ACADEMY

OFFENSE – Tri Johnson. DEFENSE – Dalton McCollum

WEEK 2 vs. GREENBRIER

OFFENSE – Harley Hannah. DEFENSE – Levy Phillips

WEEK 1 vs. CLINTON

OFFENSE – Adam Martin and Julio Rubio. DEFENSE – Fate Berry

Heber Springs’ Tri Johnson on the return after getting a block from teammate Dalton McCollum (19).

JUNIOR HIGH FOOTBALL

Junior Panthers fall to Lonoke

SEVENTH-GRADE FOOTBALL

Panther Cubs remain unbeaten

PANTHER SPORTS THIS WEEK

  • Saturday, September 28 – Cross Country at Russellville
  • Saturday, September 28 – Volleyball at Hot Springs Lakeside Tournament
  • Monday, September 30 – 4A State Girls Golf at Harrison
  • Monday, September 30 – Volleyball vs. Conway Christian, 4:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, October 1 – 4A State Girls Golf at Harrison
  • Tuesday, October 1 – Tennis at 4A-4 at Clarksville
  • Tuesday, October 1 – Volleyball at Pulaski Academy, 4:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, October 2 – Tennis at 4A-4 at Clarksville
  • Thursday, October 3 – Volleyball at Forrest City, 4:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 3 – 7th-Football vs. Stuttgart, 5:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 3 – Junior Football vs. Stuttgart, 7 p.m.

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Junior Panthers fall to Lonoke

September 26, 2019

Heber Springs’ Conner Riddle looks on as as coach Chase Roberts speaks during a timeout against Lonoke. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

LONOKE – The Heber Springs Junior Panthers dropped a 34-0 decision to Lonoke Thursday night.

Heber Springs (0-3) did threaten to score in the third quarter when quarterback Xavier Lindley raced 50 yards before being tackled at the Lonoke 5, but a first-down penalty put the Panthers in a hole and they were not able to punch the ball into the end zone (video sequence below).

Heber Springs will play its home opener on Thursday when they host Stuttgart at 7 p.m. at Panther Stadium.

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Panther Cubs remain unbeaten with win at Lonoke

September 26, 2019

Heber Springs’ Axley Davis breaks an attempted tackle from a Lonoke defender and looks up field in the Panthers 18-0 win over Lonoke on Thursday. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

LONOKE – The Heber Springs Seventh-Grade football team improved to 3-0 on the season with an 18-0 victory over Lonoke on Thursday.

The Panthers scored on the last play of the first half as Liam Buffalo connected with Bryce Seigrest for a 53-yard touchdown pass.

Heber Springs started the second half as the ended the first one as Buffalo found Ty West on the first play from scrimmage with a 70-yard touchdown pass.

The Panthers added another touchdown to set the score as Buffalo ran 41 yards for a score with 2:18 to play.

Heber Springs will play its home opener on Thursday when they host Stuttgart at Panther Stadium at 5:30 p.m.

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Lonoke, elements can’t stop Heber Springs conference opener

September 21, 2018

By PHILIP SEATON

LONOKE – It took two days and two trips to Lonoke, but the Heber Springs Panthers were finally able to claim a victory.

Lightning forced the postponement of the game on Friday night with Lonoke leading 14-7 with 11:14 to play in the third quarter. When play was resumed at 2 p.m. Saturday in a heavy downpour, Heber Springs scored 21 unanswered in the third quarter and the defense held on in the fourth as the Panthers claimed a 28-14 the win.

More importantly for coach Darren Gowen’s squad, the Panthers first win came in the 4A-2 conference opener for both schools.

The Panthers have only one nonconference victory in the past three seasons, but Heber Springs bounced back and has won a share of the 4A-2 conference crown each of the past two seasons.

“We are 1-0 in conference,” Gowen said after the win on Saturday. “I know I get a lot of flack for this, and nonconference games do matter, but they get us ready to play games like this (conference games).”

Blaze Nelson finished the game with 75 yards rushing and two touchdowns while Adam Martin added 55 yards on the ground and another score.

Heber Springs (1-3, 1-0) finished with 246 yards of total offense in the contest while Lonoke (1-3, 0-1) had 199. But in the third quarter, the Panthers held the Jackrabbits to minus-6 rushing yards on 16 attempts, and 16 rushing yards on 24 attempts in the second half.

“The defense made some adjustments at halftime, and a little bit overnight, and they played lights out,” Gowen said. “Dalton Hall really got after it, and Fate (Berry) and Julio (Rubio) were the three without watching any film that really stood out to me.”

Heber Springs will return to Panther Stadium Friday night at 7 p.m. when they face conference favorite Stuttgart. The Ricebirds defeated Southside Batesville, 35-15, Friday night.

SLOW START

After Lonoke recovered the Panthers onside-kick attempt on their own 42, it didn’t take long for the Jackrabitts to hop into the end zone. On the first play from scrimmage, Lonoke quarterback Braidon Bryant took the ball on a keeper, got a couple of good blocks downfield and raced untouched 58 yards to give Lonoke at 7-0 advantage just 12 seconds into the contest.

Disaster struck for Heber Springs on the ensuing kickoff as Lonoke attempted and recovered an onside kick at the Panther 44.

“I thought we came out a little flat on Friday night,” Gowen said. “I don’t know anything sometimes. I told my guys Friday, we need to stay in as much routine as possible.

“We get here and play flat, and then today (Saturday) there is no routine … we come out and play like that. I guess routine doesn’t matter as much anymore like it used to back when I was playing.”

RUBIO FORCES FUMBLE

The Jackrabbits had reached the Panther 36 before Rubio forced a fumble that Hall recovered for Heber Springs at the 9:22 mark of the first quarter to give the Panthers their first possession of the contest.

After relying on the running game for the most part during the nonconference, the Panthers first possession was nothing but the hurry-up passing game. Adam Martin connected with Matthew Cook on an 11-yard pass completion after three Lonoke defenders tipped the ball into Cook’s arms. That play moved the ball into Jackrabbit territory at the 43.

A 12-yard pass completion from Martin to Seth Dickeson was good enough for anther Panther first down at the Lonoke 24.

The drive appeared to stall at the Lonoke 18 on fourth down after false penalty cost the Heber Springs five yards on a fourth-and-4 play attempt. But on the next play, Martin found Cook up the middle for the 23-yard scoring strike. Julian Cameron’s PAT kick made it 7-7 with 6:58 to play in the quarter.

COSTLY TURNOVER

The team traded possessions before Lonoke recovered a Panther fumble at the Heber Springs 22 late in the quarter. Three plays later, and on the first play of the second quarter, Davonta Adams rushed 11 yards to give the Jackrabbits a 14-7 advantage.

SCORING CHANCE

The teams again traded possession before the Panther defense forced Lonoke to a three-and-out from their own 10. A 25-yard punt gave Heber Springs excellent field position at the Jackrabbit 35 with 2:37 left in the half.
On third-and-5, Rocky Finney carried for 10-yard gain on an end-around play, but the drive fizzled at the Lonoke 20 forcing a 37-yard field-goal attempt by Cameron with 38 seconds left in the half. Cameron’s kick sailed right and the Jackrabbits killed the clock to end the half.

BREWING STORM

The forecasters had called for rain on Friday and all weekend, and though the radar was ominous in the first half the rain held off for the most part. At halftime, lightning could be seen at a distance after both bands performed, but it was not close enough (10 miles within the stadium) to stop the start of the second half.

So the third quarter kicked off with the Panthers recovering the onside-kick attempt on their own 48. After a seven-yard run by Nelson, Martin connected with Finney on an apparent 30-yard pass completion, but an illegal-man downfield penalty wiped out the completion and the gain. However, Finney was hit out of bounds giving the Panthers a first-and-10 from the Lonoke 35 with 11:14 to play in the third.

A lightning strike was close enough after that play to suspend the game as Lonoke headed to its lockerroom and the Panthers to a safe room in the school. The rain soon followed as the game continued to be delayed for just over an hour.

Finally, officials, coaches and administrators met at midfield after attempting to re-start the game and determined to postpone it until Saturday.

For Gowen, he wanted to continue to play, “I thought we had the momentum and we were fixing to do this (on Saturday).”

DOING THIS

For the first time in school history, the Panthers played in a game that was started on one day and finished on the next.

Play resumed on Saturday at 2 p.m. in a heavy downpour with the Panthers taking over on the Lonoke 35. A first-down run by Martin for 10 yards on the third play was followed by a 15-yard run by Nelson to push the ball to the Lonoke 5. From there, Martin carried it over with 8:29 left in the quarter to tie things up at 14-all.

“Just proud that we continued that momentum (from Friday night),” McGowen said. “I could tell in the lockerrom just sitting around waiting that they were ready to go play, and they were excited.

“We came out just about 20 minutes before the game started and the energy was just incredible.”

KEEPING IT GOING

The two teams traded possessions before Lonoke took over on its own 22 with 5:39 to play in the third quarter. After Adams carried for a two-yard gain, Nelson forced a fumble and the Panthers recovered it on the 24.

On the first play, Nelson ran into a pile of Lonoke defenders spun free and raced 24 yards to give Heber Springs its first lead of the game at 21-14.

“When you’ve got a back like Blaze, you (offensive line) just have to get in their way in a little bit and he’s going to make things happen,” Gowen said. “Our offensive line does a good job of continuing their blocks, and he just stays there and keeps moving.

“He’s got such great vision. He just spins off it and uses his incredible speed.”

HIGH SNAP

The Panther defense forced at three-and-out on the Lonoke’s ensuing possession before Heber Springs caught another break in the driving rain. A high snap on the punt attempt from the Lonoke 24 was recovered by the punter, but the Panthers were in business again from the Jackrabbit 9.

Two players later, Martin walked into the end zone untouched with 3:31 to play in the third quarter. Julian Cameron added the PAT kick and the Panthers led 28-14.

“Adam did a great job holding and Julian kicking in these conditions,” Gowen said. “We were three-for-three on extra points in this nasty weather, and one of those was almost off the ground and he still made it. That’s an awesome weapon to have.”

HOLDING ON

The Panther offense took advantage of opportunities in the third quarter to scored 21 unanswered points.

But after that, it was the Panther defense that held Lonoke out of the end zone.

Lonoke had moved to the Panther 36 late in the third quarter before Rubio sacked Bryant for a 13-yard loss on third down forcing a punt.

After a Panther turnover on the ensuing play gave the Jackrabbits the ball at the Panther 29, the defense again rose to the occasion forcing a turnover on downs highlighted by Berry and Cook bringing down Bryant for a five-yard loss on a third-and-5 play.

Heber Springs went three-and-out before Lonoke marched from their own 30 the Panther 24, thanks in part to a 30-yard pass completion from Dayton Smith to Shawn Lake. But a fourth-down pass attempt by Smith was broken up by Berry giving the Panthers the ball back with 5:03 to play.

Hall carried the ball for Heber Springs as the Panthers moved from their own 24 to the 48, but the drive would stall forcing a Martin punt.

BIG PICK

After a Lonoke moved into Panther territory with 1:22 to play, Smith heaved a pass into the end zone that Landon Johnson took away from the receiver to come up with the interception. The interception preserved the Panthers 14-win, giving Heber Springs 13 conference points (points used to determine tie-breakers in postseason seeding).

“I don’t know if you would call that a pick or whatever, because he just took the ball away as he was coming down,” Gowen said, “so that was a great job.”

BY THE NUMBERS
TEAM

First Downs: Heber Springs 12, Lonoke 12
Third-Down Percentage: Heber Springs 4-14, Lonoke 1-12
Fourth-Down Percentage: Heber Springs 1-2, Lonoke 1-4
Rushing Att-Yards-Avg: Heber Springs 40-154-3.9; Lonoke 43-136-3.2
Passing Comp-Att-Yards-Int: Heber Springs 10-20-92-0; Lonoke 5-12-76-1
Total Offense: Heber Springs 246, Lonoke 199
Sacks-Yards: Heber Springs 1-13, Lonoke 0-0
Penalties-Yards: Heber Springs 6-55, Lonoke 7-55
Fumbles-Lost: Heber Springs 3-2, Lonoke 3-2
Punts-Avg: Heber Springs 6-31, Lonoke 6-28.7
INDIVIDUAL
Rushing: Heber Springs – Blaze Nelson 23-75-2, Adam Martin 10-55-1, Dalton Hall 4-24, Team 2-(-10), Rocky Finney 1-10. Lonoke – Davonta Adams 19-36-1, Anthony Parks 10-18, Braidon Bryant 9-81-1, Dayton Smith 2-1, Shawn Lake 1-10, Brayden Coble 1-8, Team 1-(-15).
Passing: Heber Springs – Adam Martin 10-20-92-1-0. Lonoke – Braidon Bryant 3-6-27-0-0, Dayton Smith 2-6-49-0-1.
Receiving: Heber Springs – Matthew Cook 2-38-1, Tri Johnson 2-20, Seth Dickeson 2-16, Rocky Finney 2-9, Blaze Nelson 2-9. Lonoke – Davonta Adams 2-12, Shawn Lake 1-28, Dalton Smith 1-21, Anthony Parks 1-15.

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Panther Postgame

Heber Springs falls in heartbreaker, 50-49

Heber Springs’ Tri Johnson looks upfield on the opening kickoff return. Johnson picked up nine yards on the return. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

September 20, 2019

By PHILIP SEATON

HEBER SPRINGS – It was a nonconference slate of a tale of 2-point conversions.

In the opener, Heber Springs failed to convert a 2-point conversion in the final seconds to Clinton and dropped a 28-27 contest. Friday night, Harding Academy (3-0) converted a 2-point conversion with 17.9 seconds left to hand Heber Springs a 50-49 setback.

Heber Springs has started the season 0-3 three out of the past four seasons, including this season, but rebounded in conference play to go 6-1 in conference play in two of those years. The Panthers will open 4A-4 play Friday night at Panther Stadium against Lonoke (1-2).

Against Harding Academy, the fourth quarter turned into an offensive shootout with the two teams trading touchdowns.

Tied at 28-all going into the final stanza, Heber Springs struck first in the quarter with an impressive 15-play, 73-yard drive that consumed the final 3:03 of the third quarter and 2:18 of the fourth.

The Panthers were 16 out of 18 on third-down conversions on the night, including four on the drive.

On third-and-11 from the Panther 45, senior Adam Martin connected with Julio Rubio for a 12-yard completion.

Two plays later the Panthers again faced a third-down situation, this time third-and-1 from the Wildcat 34 as Martin, who rushed for 116 yards on the night, kept for a 4-yard gain on the final play of the third quarter.

After an incomplete pass on first down, Rubio picked up five yards on second down.

On third-and-5 from the 25, Martin again found Rubio for a first down.

Back-to-back 3-yard runs by Adam Martin and Landon Johnson moved the ball to the Wildcat 8.

Two plays later, Rubio would punch the ball in from the 1 to give Heber Springs a 35-28 lead with 9:42 to play, after Jackson Harrod kicked the PAT.

Harding Academy struck quickly with a five-play, 56-yard drive that took only 1:32 off the clock as Caden Sipe, who was 22-of-38 for 366 yards and six touchdowns, connected with Ty Dugger for a 23-yard touchdown strike to make 35-all.

The Panthers used a “Big Cat” play to go back on top 42-35 as Martin connected with Tri Johnson, who also had a 59-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter. This time the Johnson raced 76-yards for the score with 7:18 left.

The Wildcats needed four plays to tie things up a 42-42 with 6:07 to play as Sipe found Stone Sheffield for a 34-yard touchdown.

Heber Springs responded with an impressive 11-play, 76-yard drive to go up 49-42 which included two third-down conversions.

Facing third-and-7 from the Panther 26, Martin found Fate Berry for an 11-yard completion.

Two players later, it was another third-down for Heber Springs as Martin found Matthew Cook for a 13-yard completion on a third-and-10.

Three players later, Martin found Rubio for a 15-yard completion to move the ball to the Wildcat 24.

Martin followed with a 14-yard run to put the ball on the Wildcat 10.

On the next play, Rubio raced for paydirt to give the Panthers a 49-42 lead with 1:21 to play.

Harding Academy would go on a nine-play, 80-yard, game-winning drive as Sipe connected with Dugger for a 20-yard touchdown pass. Sipe again used his arm on the 2-point conversion, rolling to his right, he found Connor McGaha in endzone with 17.9.

Heber Springs ran out of time as Martin found Rubio for a 22-yard completion and a 29-yard reception on the games final play.

GAME NOTES

MASCOT DEBUT: The Heber Springs cheer team debuted Pablo and Piper Panther against Harding Academy for their first football game. The duo had made their first appearance at the volleyball match on Tuesday against Joe T. Robinson at the Panther Den.

Pablo and Piper Panther

WELCOME BACK: Record-setting kicker Julian Cameron was an attendance Friday night. Cameron graduated last spring after setting the state record for most consecutive PAT kicks made without a miss. He is kicking this season for Arkansas Tech University in Russellville.

BIG NUMBERS: The two teams combined for more than a thousand yards of total offense. Heber Springs had a season high 603 yards on the night.

WELCOME BACK: After missing last week against Greenbrier for concussion protocol following a non-football injury, senior all-conference performer Tri Johnson returned in a big way with two touchdown receptions and a sack on defense.

BIG CATS: Heber Springs had a season-high three “Big Cat” plays (plays of 50 yards or more) against Harding Academy. Adam Martin was involved with all three. The first was a 68-yard run by Martin to put Heber Springs up 14-0 with 2:17 left in the first quarter. In the third quarter, Martin connected with Tri Johnson for a 59-yard touchdown reception and a 76-yard scoring strike in the fourth quarter.

Dalton McCollum (9), far left, celebrates with teammates Lawrence Baureis (25) and Hunter Kent (21), after a first-quarter interception.

FIRST TURNOVER: The Panthers picked-up their first turnover of the season when senior Dalton McCollum took a pass from the Wildcat receiver for the interception. Heber Springs would score on the ensuing drive as Adam Martin found Nathan McKee for a 15-yard touchdown reception.

RED ZONE STOP: Heber Springs picked up its first red zone stop of the season in the second quarter. Opponents had been nine for nine inside the Panther 20 this season before Heber Springs got the second-quarter stop. Harding Academy had reached the Panther 16 before Tri Johnson sacked Caden Sipe for a 15-yard loss on third down forcing a Ryan Fox punt.

HEBER SPRINGS COACH WILL COX

SCORING

Harding Academy (3-0)        0  14  14  22 - 50
Heber Springs (0-3)         14   7   7  21 - 49

FIRST QUARTER
Heber Springs - Adam Martin to Nathan McKee 15-yard pass (Jackson Harrod kick), 6:22
Heber Springs - Martin 68-yard run (Harrod kick), 2:17
SECOND QUARTER
Harding Academy - Caden Sipe to Isaac Miller 34-yard pass (Ben Sloan kick), 4:54
Heber Springs - Julio Rubio 29-yard run (Harrod kick), 3:34
Harding Academy - Sipe to Connor McGaha 11-yard pass (Sloan kick)
THIRD QUARTER
Harding Academy - Stone Sheffield 33-yard run (Sloan kick), 10:52
Heber Springs - Martin to Tri Johnson 59-yard pass (Harrod kick), 5:05
Harding Academy - Sipe to Ty Dugger 26-yard pass (Sloan kick), 3:03
FOURTH QUARTER
Heber Springs - Rubio 1-yard run (Harrod kick), 9:42
Harding Academy - Sipe to Dugger 23-yard pass (Sloan kick), 8:10
Heber Springs - Martin to Tri Johnson 76-yard pass (Harrod kick), 7:18
Harding Academy - Sipe to Sheffield 34-yard pass (Sloan kick), 6:07
Heber Springs - Rubio 10-yard run (Harrod kick), 1:21
Harding Academy - Sipe to Dugger 16-yard pass (Sipe to McGaha pass), 17.9
Heber Springs Adam Martin runs for positive yardage in the first half against Harding Academy. The senior was responsible for four touchdowns. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

TEAM STATS

First Downs by Rush: Heber Springs 12, Harding Academy 5
First Downs by Pass: Heber Springs 12, Harding Academy 17
First Downs by Penalty: Heber Springs 1, Harding Academy 2
Total First Downs: Heber Springs 25, Harding Academy 24
Third-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 16/18, Harding Academy 3/7
Fourth-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 0/0, Harding Academy 0/0
Red-Zone Possessions: Heber Springs 3/3 (3 TDs), Harding 2/3 (2 TDs)
Time of Possession: Heber Springs 30:49, Harding Academy 17:11
Fumbles/Lost: Heber Springs 1/1, Harding Academy 1/0
Turnovers: Heber Springs 1, Harding Academy 1
Points Off Turnovers: Heber Springs 7, Harding Academy 7 
Penalties/Yards: Heber Springs 6/45, Harding Academy 3/30
Plays/Total Offense/YPP: Heber Springs 72/613/8.5, Harding Academy 56/486/8.7
Rushing: Heber Springs 47/251/5.3, Harding Academy 18/120/6.7
Passing: Heber Springs 18/25-362-3/0, Harding Academy 22/38-366-6/1
Sacks/Yards Lost: Heber Springs 2/21, Harding Academy 1/3
Punts: Heber Springs 3/130/43.3, Harding Academy 3/88/29.3
Punts Inside 20: Heber Springs 0, Harding Academy 2
The Heber Springs offensive line. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

INDIVIDUAL STATS

OFFENSE
RUSHING: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio 27/127/4.7, Adam Martin 17/116/6.8, Landon Johnson 3/8/2.7. Harding Academy, Stone Sheffield 13/107/8.2, Caden Sipe 5/13/2.6.
RUSHING RUNS OF 50+: Heber Springs, Adam Martin (1)
RUSHING RUNS OF 40+: Heber Springs, Adam Martin (1) 
RUSHING RUNS OF 30+: Heber Springs, Adam Martin (1). Harding Academy, Stone Sheffield (1), Caden Sipe (1).
RUSHING RUNS OF 20+: Heber Springs, Adam Martin (1), Julio Rubio (1). Harding Academy, Stone Sheffield (2), Caden Sipe (1)
RUSHING RUNS OF 10+: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio (3), Adam Martin (2). Harding Academy, Stone Sheffield (4), Caden Sipe (1).
PASSING: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 18/25-362-3/0. Harding Academy, Caden Sipe 22/38-366-6/1.
RECEIVING: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio 6/111, Matthew Cook 5/65, Tri Johnson 2/135, Fate Berry 2/23, Nathan McKee 1/15, Landon Johnson 1/8, Hunter Kent 1/5. Harding Academy, Ty Dugger 11/194, Isaac Miller 5/75, Connor McGaha 4/49, Stone Sheffield 1/34, Carter Neal 1/14.
RECEPTIONS OF 50+: Heber Springs, Tri Johnson (2).
RECEPTIONS OF 40+: Heber Springs, Tri Johnson (2)
RECEPTIONS OF 30+: Heber Springs, Tri Johnson (2), Matthew Cook (1). Harding Academy, Ty Dugger (2), Stone Sheffield (1).
RECEPTIONS OF 20+: Heber Springs, Tri Johnson (2), Julio Rubio (2), Matthew Cook (1). Harding Academy, Ty Dugger (5), Stone Sheffield (1).
TOTAL OFFENSE: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 478, Julio Rubio 127, Landon Johnson 8. Harding Academy, Caden Side 379, Stone Sheffield 107.
PUNT RETURNS: None
KICK RETURNS: Heber Springs, Matthew Cook 2/39, Tri Johnson 2/30, Levy Phillips 2/14, Jackson West 1/1, Tristan Thissen 1/0. Harding Academy, Ty Dugger 3/69, Stone Sheffield 2/39, Carter Neal 1/13, Parker Golden 1/13. 
FUMBLE RETURNS: None
INTERCEPTION RETURNS: Heber Springs, Dalton McCollum 1/4
ALL-PURPOSE YARDS: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio 238, Tri Johnson 165, Adam Martin 116, Matthew Cook 104, Fate Berry 23, Landon Johnson 16, Nathan McKee 15, Levy Phillips 14, Hunter Kent 5, Dalton McCollum 4, Jackson West 1, Tristan Thissen 0. Harding Academy, Ty Dugger 263, Stone Sheffield 180, Isaac Miller 75, Connor McGaha 49, Carter Neal 27, Parker Golden 13, Caden Sipe 13.
DEFENSE
TACKLES (Shared/Solo/Total): Heber Springs, Fate Berry 4/2/6, Levy Phillips 2/3/5, Tri Johnson 2/2/4, Landon Johnson 2/0/2, Dalton McCollum 0/2/2, Kaden Hughes 2/0/2, Hunter Kent 1/1/2, Nathan McKee 1/1/2, Jackson West 1/1/2, Lawrence Baureis 2/0/2, Tristan Thissen 0/1/1, Devon Doxey 1/0/1, Matthew Cook 1/0/1, Harley Bresnahan 1/0/1, Gus Hannah 1/0/1.
TACKLES FOR LOSS: Heber Springs, Tri Johnson 1.5, Fate Berry 1, Kaden Hughes .5
SACKS/YARDS LOST: Heber Springs, Tri Johnson 1/15, Fate Berry 1/6. Harding Academy, Cooper Welch 1/3/
INTERCEPTIONS: Heber Springs, Dalton McCollum 1/4
FUMBLE RECOVERIES: Harding Academy, Team 1/0
PUNTING: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 3/130/43.3. Harding Academy, Ryan Fox 3/88/29.3
PUNTS INSIDE 20: Harding Academy, Ryan Fox (2).
Heber Springs junior Matthew Cook gets brought down by Harding Academy defender Friday night. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

VIDEO SCENES FROM THE SIDELINES

Opening Coin Toss and Panther Run Out

Heber Springs Cheer and Dance Halftime Show

Heber Springs Band Halftime Show

Heber Springs Halftime Band Jam With Students

PHOTO GAME SCENES

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Panther GameDay

Cat Fight: Heber Springs hosts Harding Academy

Heber Springs’ Fate Berry looks to avoid the tackle of a Greenbrier defender. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO
  • Kickoff: 7 p.m. at Panther Stadium
  • Admission: $5
  • Radio: Billy Morgan with handle the play-by-play with Lance Hamilton providing color on KSUG 101.9 The Lake. Panther Pregame begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by the game.  You can listen live here.

LAST SEASON

Panthers fall in heartbreaker in Searcy.

LAST WEEK

Panthers tumble at Greenbrier, 35-21

Heber Springs’ Dalton McCollum and Matthew Cook. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

CONFERENCE SCOREBOARD WEEK 2

  • Little Rock Hall 22, Little Rock Mills 16
  • Greenbrier 35, Heber Springs 21
  • Beebe 45, Lonoke 44 (OT)
  • Southside Batesville 43, Trumann 30
  • Riverview 21, Highland 20
  • Warren 62, Stuttgart 27
  • Central Arkansas Christian 40, Baptist Prep 38

CONFERENCE SCHEDULE WEEK 3

  • Harding Academy (2-0) at Heber Springs (0-2)
  • Haskell Harmony Grove (1-1) at Bald Knob (0-2)
  • Newport (2-0) at Lonoke (0-2)
  • Central Arkansas Christian (2-0) at Clinton (2-0)
  • Little Rock Mills (1-1) at Maumelle (2-0)
  • Idle: Southside Batesville (2-1), Stuttgart (0-3), Riverview (2-1)

HEBER SPRINGS COACH WILL COX ON LAST WEEK, TONIGHT

GAME NOTES

TURNOVERS: Heber Springs is minus five in turnover ratio. The Panthers have yet to pick-up a turnover and have fumbled three times and given up two interceptions.

NONCONFERENCE WOES: Heber Springs has lost five consecutive regular-season nonconference games. The Panthers last regular season nonconference win came on Sept. 15, 2017, at Panther Stadium against Harding Academy, 35-14. Since 2015, Heber Springs is 2-12 in regular-season nonconference games. However, over the stretch the Panthers have went 22-6 in conference play, including 18-3 over the past three seasons.

BIG CAT PLAY: The Panthers recorded their first “Big Cat” play (over 50 yards) last week against Greenbrier when Julio Rubio ran for a 72-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

BACK TO ACTION: Senior receiver Tri Johnson missed last weeks game for concussion protocol. Johnson was injured in a non-football event.

MASCOT DEBUT: The new male and female Panther mascots will make their debut tonight. Pablo and Piper made their debut at Tuesday’s volleyball match at the Panther Den. Try-outs were held this week to determine who gets to wear the costumes on game nights.

SEE YA’ IN WEEK TWO: This will be the sixth year in a row that Heber Springs and Harding Academy have meet in week three, but that will change next year. The Panthers and Wildcats will meet in week 2 beginning in 2020. Dover will be Heber Springs opponent in week 3 in 2020.

COACHES WIVES OF HEBER SPRINGS: TAYLOR COX

THE WILDCATS

Harding Academy sets at 2-0 on the season. The Wildcats opened the season with a convincing 55-20 win over 4A-2 member Bald Knob in week 0. Harding Academy followed that with another convincing win, this time a 47-20 victory Heber Springs coach Will Cox’ alma mater, Highland. Against Bald Knob, the Wildcats exploded with 35 second-quarter points and led 41-20 at the half. Junior quarterback Caden Sipe was 24-of-29 passing for 292 yards and five touchdowns with an interception. On the ground, senior Stone Sheffield rushed 22 times for 174 yards and two touchdowns. Sipe’s favorite receiving target was junior Ty Dugger, who caught 13 passes for 149 yards and three touchdowns. Junior Jeffrey Mercer finished with 10 total tackles for the Wildcats. In week 1, Harding Academy led Highland, 37-6, at the half. Sipe followed up his week 0 performance with another impressive outing, finishing 18-of-23 passing for 261 yards and five touchdowns. Seniors Connor McGaha and Sheffield each finished with more than 100 yards receiving as four different Wildcat receivers finished with at least three receptions. The Wildcats rushed 17 times for 95 yards as team agains the Rebels with Sheffield finishing with 73 yards and a touchdown.

SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: HUNTER GRIFFIN

Heber Springs vs. Harding Academy
The Series
Harding Academy leads 31-14

LAST MEETING: 2018 in Searcy, Harding Academy won 29-27

LAST WEEK: Heber Springs lost to Greenbrier, 35-21; Harding Academy was idle

TONIGHT: Friday night’s match-up at Panther Stadium in Heber Springs will be the 46th in the series between Heber Springs and Harding Academy. The two teams first met in 1951. Heber Springs won that contest 33-6. The Panthers won the first two meetings before the Wildcats won three straight.

OLD CONFERENCE FOES: The Panthers and Wildcats played continuously from 1951 until 1969. The two teams were part of the 2B conference from 1951-1968 and part of the 2A-South in 1969.

STATE CHAMPIONS: Harding Academy has won six state titles 1976, 1977, 1983, 2002, 2012 and 2015. The two teams did not meet when the Wildcats won the title in 1976, 1977 and 2002. In 1983, Harding Academy defeated Heber Springs, 19-14. In 2012, Heber Springs led 6-0, but the game was canceled due to weather in the first quarter. In 2015, the Widlcats won 40-12.

HIATUS: From 1995 through 2006, the two teams only meet twice, both games won by Harding Academy in 1998 and 1999. Since the series resumed in 2010, the two teams have played eight completed games with each team winning four times.

SEPTEMBER 20: The two teams have faced each other on this date only once in the series. In 1956, Harding Academy won 33-6 in game played at Searcy.

SHUTOUTS: The Panthers have won three games by shutouts, while the Wildcats have shutout Heber Springs, 13 times. The last shutout in the series came in 1993, a 28-0 win by the Wildcats.

TOUCHDOWN OR LESS: 11 games in the series have been decided by a touchdown or less, including last year. There have been no overtime games in the series.

MOST POINTS: The most points scored by the Panthers in series was 49 in 2011 while Harding Academy has scored 46 twice, 1999 and 2016.

SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: ADAM MARTIN

PANTHER STATS

Heber Springs 14 7 0 27 – 48

Opponent 14 14 21 14 – 63

TEAM

First Downs by Rush: Heber Springs 34, Opponent 23

First Downs by Pass: Heber Springs 6, Opponent 11

First Downs by Penalty: Heber Springs 0, Opponent 2

Total First Downs: 40, Opponent 37

Third-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 12/23 (52), Opponent 6/15 (40)

Fourth-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 7/10 (70), Opponent 1 /2 (50)

Red-Zone Conversions: Heber Springs 5/5 (5 tds), Opponent 9/9 (9 tds)

Fumbles/Lost: Heber Springs 4/3, Opponent 3/0

Turnovers: Heber Springs 5, Opponent 0

Points Off Turnovers: Heber Springs 0, Opponent 14

Penalties/Yards: Heber Springs 13/101, Opponent 12/86

Plays/Total Offense/YPP: 130/737/5.7, Opponent 90/549/6.1

Rushing: Heber Springs 106/621/5.9, Opponent 72/321/4.5

Passing: Heber Springs 12/24-115-0/2, Opponent 21/30-228-2/0

Sacks/Yards Lost: Heber Springs 5/30, Opponent 5/21

Punts: Heber Springs 2/80/40, Opponent 6/213/35.5

INDIVIDUAL

OFFENSE

RUSHING (ATT/YARDS/PER ATTEMPT/PER GAME/TDS): Adam Martin 53/281/5.3/140.5/1, Julio Rubio 40/214/5.4/107/4, Landon Johnson 17/68/4/34/2, Nathan McKee 1/6/6/3/0.

BIG CAT RUNS (50+): Julio Rubio 1

RUNS OF 40+: Julio Rubio 1

RUNS OF 30+: Julio Rubio 2

RUNS OF 20+: Adam Martin 3, Julio Rubio 2

RUNS OF 10+: Adam Martin 10, Julio Rubio 6, Landon Johnson 1.

PASSING (ATT/COMP-YARDS-TDS/INT): Adam Martin 12/24-115-0/2.

RECEIVING (REC/YARDS/PER CATCH): Hunter Kent 3/27/9, Matthew Cook 3/21/7, Nathan McKee 2/24/12, Julio Rubio 2/20/10, Fate Berry 1/7/7, Tri Johnson 1/6/6.

TOTAL OFFENSE (OFFENSE/PER GAME): Adam Martin 396/198, Julio Rubio 214/107, Landon Johnson 68/34, Nathan McKee 6/3

KICKOFF RETURNS: Hunter Kent 3/46/15.3, Matthew Cook 1/13/13, Julio Rubio 1/12/12, Nathan McKee 1/11/11, Tri Johnson 1/7/7.

PUNT RETURNS: None

INTERCEPTION RETURNS: None

FUMBLE RETURNS: None

ALL-PURPOSE YARDS (YARDS/PER GAME): Adam Martin 281/140.5, Julio Rubio 246/123, Hunter Kent 73/36.5, Landon Johnson 68/34, Nathan McKee 41/20.5, Matthew Cook 34/17, Tri Johnson 13/13, Fate Berry 7/3.5.

DEFENSE

TACKLES (SHARED/SOLO/TOTAL): Fate Berry 16/6/22, Levy Phillips 8/4/12, Landon Johnson 5/6/11, Kaden Hughes 4/5/9, Hunter Kent 4/4/8, Lawrence Baureis 2/6/8, Matthew Cook 5/2/7, Harley Bresnhan 3/2/5, Dalton McCollum 2/2/4, Jackson West 2/1/3, Trent Barnes 1/1/2, Preston Jones 1/1/2, Devon Doxey 1/0/1, Jackson Harrod 1/0/1.

TACKLES FOR LOSS: Kaden Hughes 2, Landon Johnson 2, Fate Berry 2, Levy Phillips 2, Tri Johnson 1, Harley Bresnahan 1.

SACKS/YARDS LOST: Levy Phillips 1/ 5, Kaden Hughes 1/ 4, Harley Bresnahan 1/ 4, Tri Johnson 1/ 3, Fate Berry 1/ 3

INTERCEPTIONS: None

FUMBLE RECOVERIES: None

SCORING: Julio Rubio 24 (4 tds), Landon Johnson 12 (2 tds), Adam Martin 6 (1 td), Jackson Harrod 6 (6-6 PAT)

MARKEDTIME.COM PANTHERS OF THE WEEK

Senior Harley Hannah was the offensive player of the week against Greenbrier for helping anchor the offensive line for more than 300-yards rushing. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

WEEK 1 vs. CLINTON

OFFENSE – Adam Martin and Julio Rubio. DEFENSE – Fate Berry

WEEK 2 vs. GREENBRIER

OFFENSE – Harley Hannah. DEFENSE – Levy Phillips

YOUTH FOOTBALL

SIXTH GRADE

Heber Springs’ Eli Buffalo gets a block from teammate Emmett Dwyer in sixth-grade youth football action on Saturday at Panther Stadium. Heber Springs (3-0) defeated Bald Knob, 39-6. All Heber Springs youth teams play at Clinton on Saturday in the Little Battle of the Little Red. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

FIFTH GRADE

Heber Springs fifth-grader Jacob Riddle looks for running room against Midland. The Midland 5th- and 6th-Grade defeated the Heber Springs 5th-Grade team in youth football action on Saturday at Panther Stadium. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

FOURTH GRADE

Heber Springs’ Golden Tate runs for a big gain against the Bald Knob 3rd-Graders on Saturday at Panther Stadium. Bald Knob defeated the Heber Springs 4th-Graders, 28-15. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

THIRD GRADE

Panther Cub D.J. Nolan reacts as he gets a little help talking off his shoulder pads following Heber Springs’ contest with Midland’s third- and fourth-grade team on Saturday at Panther Stadium. Heber Springs (2-1) fell to Midland, 6-0. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

VOLLEYBALL

Panthers split 4A-Central matches this week.

PANTHER SPORTS THIS WEEK

  • Saturday, September 21 – Cross Country at North Little Rock
  • Monday, September 23 – Volleyball vs. Rose Bud, 4:30 p.m.
  • Monday, September 23 – Golf at Red Apple Inn
  • Tuesday, September 24 – Volleyball at Lonoke, 4:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, September 24 – Cross Country at Sloan-Hendrix
  • Tuesday, September 24 – Golf at Red Apple Inn
  • Tuesday, September 24 – Tennis vs. Dardanelle, 3:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, September 26 – Volleyball vs. Morrilton, 4:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, September 26 – 7th-Grade Football at Lonoke, 5:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, September 26 – Junior High Football at Lonoke, 7 p.m.

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Panthers fall in heartbreaker

September 14, 2018

By PHILIP SEATON

SEARCY – In game of momentum swings, Harding Academy took advantage of the last one to pull out a 29-27 nonconference victory over Heber Springs at First Security Stadium.
Ben Sloan’s 25-yard field goal with 2:01 left in the game proved to be the difference for the Wildcats. The field goal came three plays after Parker Golden blocked an Adam Martin punt at the 29 and Brooks Tipton recovered it at the 19 for Harding Academy.
The Panthers managed to get a first down on the ensuing drive but Martin’s fourth-down pass attempt was incomplete with 47 seconds left and Harding Academy killed the clock to improve to 2-1 on the season.
Heber Springs fell to 0-3 for the second time in the past three seasons. The last time the Panthers started 0-3 they earned the No. 1 seed out of the 2-4A conference in 2016.
Heber Springs will kick-off conference play Friday night at Lonoke (1-2).
The loss also overshadowed another impressive performance by running back Blaze Nelson. Nelson carried the ball 29 times for 190 yards and two touchdowns. The senior also caught three passes for 48 yards to finish with 238 yards of total offense. Nelson has rushed for 558 yards on 75 carries with seven touchdowns in three games this season for Heber Springs.
Harding Academy quarterback Davis Morgan was the offensive catalyst for the Wildcats. He passed for 217 yards and two scores and rushed for 130 times and two more touchdowns.
QUICK START FOR WILDCATS
The Panthers won the toss and took the ball, but Harding forced the Panthers to a three-and-out on Heber Springs’ first possession. It didn’t take long for the Wildcats to score on their first drive. Four straight running plays covered 70 yards in 1:18 to give Harding Academy at 7-0 lead with 9:45 in the first quarter. Morgan carried on the last two for 52 yards, the latter a 16-yard run for the score.
Heber Springs followed with a nice 11-play, 51-yard drive that pushed the ball to the Wildcat 13. But on fourth-and-2, Harding Academy’s Braden Oliver stopped Nelson a yard short of the first-down marker. Nelson carried the ball nine times on the drive for 38 yards.
Harding Academy took the ball from just outside the 11 and appeared to be marching downfield for another score when junior Jackson Harrod stepped in front of Morgan pass attempt at the one-inch line as the first quarter ended.
BIG PLAY MOMENTUM
On the first play of the second quarter, Martin connected with Tri Johnson on a long strike. After avoiding a tackle near the Wildcat 40, Johnson broke free and outran three Harding Academy defenders to complete the 99-yard plus scoring play. Julian Cameron added the PAT to tie the game at 7-7 with 11:44 left before the half.
The Wildcats moved the ball from their own 20 to the Panther 44 before a chop-block penalty stalled out the Harding Academy drive at the 8:08 mark.
Heber Springs took over on the Panther 34. After a first-down run of eight yards by Martin, two plays later, Nelson took the handoff at the Wildcat 49, ran into a group of Harding Academy defenders, spun free and found nothing in front of him except the end zone to give Heber Springs its first lead of the night with 5:59 left in the second quarter.
ON-SIDE BLUES
In the season opener at Clinton, the Yellowjackets successfully recovered an on-side kick attempt to start the second half. Clinton would later score and turn the game in their favor. Flash forward two weeks and Harding Academy did the same thing to take a 20-14 lead in the halftime lockerrom.
After the two teams traded possessions, the Wildcats took over on their own 19 with 3:11 left in the half. After a pair of first down runs and two incompletions, Harding Academy was facing a third-and-10 on its own 48. Morgan found Stone Sheffield open for a short completion and he did the rest racing 52 yards to tie things up at 14-all with 2:00 minutes to play on the quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Wildcats attempted an on-sides kick, the ball bounced off a Panther where a waiting Tipton landed on the football for Harding Academy.
Morgan connected with Caleb Campbell on a 47-yard pass completion on the next play to put the ball on the Panther 5. From there, Morgan did the rest with his feet at 1:57 mark. The PAT kick failed and Harding Academy led 20-14. The Panthers drove to the Wildcat 43 before turning the ball over on downs.
Harding Academy threatened again but sophomore Matthew Cook intercepted the Morgan pass attempt to leave the score 20-14 at the half.
THIRD-QUARTER ADVANTAGE
With Morgan sick on the sidelines on the Wildcats first possession of the second half, the Heber Springs defense held Harding Academy to a three-and-out.
The Panthers took over on their own 29 after the Wildcat punt. On a third-and-12, Martin found senior Rocky Finney for a 13-yard completion. After an incompletion, Nelson rushed for 8, 17 and 6 yards to move the ball to the Wildcat 29. Martin rambled for 10 and another first down before the Wildcats were able to stop Nelson on consecutive carries. On third-and-7, Martin raced free to score an apparent 16-yard touchdown but holding penalty negated the score. After offsetting penalties again on third down, Martin found Finney for the 28-yard scoring strike. Cameron’s PAT made 21-20 in favor of Heber Springs with 4:51 left in the third.
ADVANTAGE HARDING
The Wildcats responded taking over on their own 20 and moving downfield on short runs by Morgan and Sheffield to reach the Panther 32. From there the flags came out in favor of the Wildcats. On second down, Heber Springs was guilty of an obvious pass interference call in the end zone that saved a touchdown. On the next play at the Panther 17, pass interference was again called against Heber Springs in the end zone. This time it appeared the Finney had timed the play perfectly but a flag was thrown. After a pair of runs from the 8 by Morgan, Connor McGaha scored on a 1-yard touchdown reception from Morgan. The two-point pass attempt failed as the Wildcats led 26-21 with 10:46 left in the contest.
NELSON TAKES OVER
After taking possession at the Panther 37 on the ensuing kickoff, four consecutive runs by Nelson pushed the ball to the Wildcat 23. From there, Martin kept the ball for five yards before Nelson finished off the drive with an 18-yard run with 8:38 to play. The two-point run failed.
DEFENSIVE STOP
Morgan found Jimmy Citty for a 15-yard completion on the Wildcats first play of the ensuing drive, but from there the Panther defense stiffened. On second-and-5 from the 50, Dalton Hall stopped Morgan for no gain and on third down, Fate Berry threw Citty for a two-yard loss on an end-around attempt forcing the Wildcats to punt.
SACKED
Heber Springs took over from its own 30 with 6:22 to play. After runs by Nelson and Martin, Tipton sacked Martin for a six-yard loss on third-and-5, forcing the punt that would be blocked by Golden.
DEFENSIVE NUMBERS
Tanner Tillman and Fate Berry each had 10 total tackles to lead the Panthers on defense. Landon Johnson had 9 and Blaze Nelson finished with 8.
BY THE NUMBERS
TEAM

First downs: Heber Springs 15, Harding Academy 18
Rushing Att-Yards-Avg: Heber Springs 36-209-5.8, Harding Academy 41-199-4.9
Passing Comp-Att-Yards-Int: Heber Springs 10-22-220-0, Harding Academy 12-21-217-2
Total Offense: Heber Springs 416, Harding Academy 414
Sacks-Yards: Heber Springs 0-0, Harding Academy 2-15
Penalties-Yards: Heber Springs 6-50, Harding Academy 2-20
Fumbles-Lost: Heber Springs 1-1, Harding Academy 1-0.
Punts-Avg: Heber Springs 3-17.3, Harding Academy 3-24.7
INDIVIDUAL
Rushing: Heber Springs – Blaze Nelson 29-120, Adam Martin 6-15, Julio Rubio 1-4. Harding Academy – Davis Morgan 20-130, Stone Sheffield 15-71, Jimmy Citty 4-7, Team 2-(-9).
Passing: Heber Springs – Adam Martin 10-22-220-0. Harding Academy – Davis Morgan 12-21-217-2.
Receiving: Heber Springs – Rocky Finney 6-73-1, Blaze Nelson 3-48, Tri Johnson 1-99-1. Harding Academy – Connor McGaha 6-90-1, Caleb Campbell 2-45, Jimmy Citty 2-24, Stone Sheffield 1-52-1, Carter Neal 1-6.

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Panther volleyball splits matches

September 19, 2019

Heber Springs senior McKenzie Becerra gets ready to serve against Joe T. Robinson on Tuesday at the Panther Den. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

After dropping a five-set match to conference foe Joe T. Robinson on Tuesday at the Panther Den, Heber Springs rebounded on Thursday with a three-match sweep of Dover on the road.

Heber Springs, 4-5 overall, improved to 3-2 in the 4A-Central with the 25-14, 25-17, 25-21 win at Dover.

On Tuesday, Heber Springs won the first match, 25-23, but dropped the next 21-25 and 13-25. The Panthers rebounded in the fourth match with a 25-12 win to force the deciding match in which the Panthers lost 9-15.

Heber Springs hosts Rose Bud Monday at the Panther Den in nonconference action before traveling to Lonoke on Tuesday for a 4A-Central match.

Heber Springs’ Katelyn Vanlandingham serving against Joe T. Robinson on Tuesday at the Panther Den. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO
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Panther Postgame

Heber Springs falls to Greenbrier, 35-21

Heber Springs quarterback Adam Martin attempts to get a pass off as Greenbrier defensive end Brandon Beck puts up his arm to block in first-quarter action at Don Jones Stadium in Greenbrier on Friday. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

September 13, 2019

By PHILIP SEATON

GREENBRIER – Heber Springs held Greenbrier to 254 yards of total offense, but three turnovers cost the Cleburne County Panthers a chance a victory Friday night at Don Jones Stadium as the Faulkner County Panthers claimed a 35-21 victory in the last game in the foreseeable future between these two former conference foes.

Greenbrier (2-0) turned two Heber Springs fumbles and an interception into 14 points as Ryan Barnard, who finished the night with 16 tackles, picked off an Adam Martin pass and stripped the Heber Springs senior quarterback on a potential game-tying drive late in the contest.

The Cleburne County Panthers struck first with an impressive 16-play, 80-yard drive to open the game as Martin scored on a 1-yard run on fourth-and-goal, to make it 7-0 with 5:03 to play in the opening quarter after senior Jackson Harrod connected on the extra-point kick.

Martin was six-of-eight passing for 55 yards on the drive, connecting with five different receivers. Besides the fourth-down conversion that Heber Springs scored on, the Panthers also converted on a fourth-and-4 from the Greenbrier 32 when Martin found Nathan McKee for a 13-yard completion.

“That’s excellence from top to bottom,” Heber Springs coach Will Cox said, “from what the guys were doing executing to play-calling wise. Coach Bishop did a great job there, and that’s what he does. He’s a great play-caller. He’s a great offensive coordinator.

“(But more importantly) to understand the game we were playing. We knew were going to have to shorten the game down a bit. The longer this game went the more it worked against just because of numbers wise. Really, really great first drive. Great momentum for us.”

That momentum for Heber Springs carried forward on the ensuing Greenbrier possession as Levy Phillips pressured quarterback Jackson Riddle on a backwards lateral. The ball was batted around before Greenbrier finally recovered it on their own 2 for a 35-yard loss.

“Would have really liked to gotten a hold of the ball at the 2,” Cox said while still praising the play of his defense and Phillips. “(Phillips) started at corner in week 1. Diego gets hurt a bit and we have to move him to outside backer, and he made some great plays for us tonight coming off that weak side. Can’t say how proud I am of the way our defense competed tonight.”

Heber Springs forced a punt and ended up with great field possession on its own 49 with 3:22 left in the first quarter, but Barnard stepped in front of the Martin pass-attempt to give the ball back to Greenbrier.

From there, the Faulkner County Panthers marched 58 yards in eight plays to tie things up at 7-all with 1:05 left in the first.

The two teams traded possessions until late in the first half when Greenbrier took advantage of short field as Riddle connected with Jaron Kuykendall for a 10-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-7 with 3:34 left in the half.

Heber Springs managed to push into Greenbrier territory late in the half, but a holding penalty stalled the momentum and the Panthers turned the ball over on downs with 19 seconds left at the Greenbrier 40.

Greenbrier used a six-play drive at the start of the third quarter to go up 21-7 after Peyton Long scored his second of four touchdowns on the night with a three-yard run.

Heber Springs turned the ball over on its next possession at the 50-yard line, but the Panther defense stiffened forcing a Greenbrier punt. The Panthers moved the ball from its own 25 to the Greenbrier 40, but penalty put Heber Springs in a third-and-long situation and Heber Springs was unable to convert on fourth down.

Greenbrier once again took advantage of the excellent field position moving from their own 47 on a four-play drive to go up 28-7 with 1:08 left in the third quarter.

“Probably lot of people probably expected that (28-7), but us coaches we didn’t,” Cox said. “(We didn’t) just because we know these kids, and they didn’t. That’s a testament to this senior class. They are fighters. They never think they are out of a game.”

And they weren’t.

Heber Springs got a quick strike on the ground as Julio Rubio broke free for a 72-yard touchdown run with 11:47 to play.

The Panther defense stiffened again and got the ball back with 10:06 left.

Heber Springs then used a 15-play, 53-yard drive to cut the deficit to a touchdown with 4:05 after Landon Johnson plowed into the end zone on second effort from the 3.

A three-and-out gave Heber Springs a chance to tie things with 2:26 to play on their own 38, but a fumble ended the comeback attempt as Greenbrier tacked on a touchdown with 48 seconds left to set the margin.

Heber Springs senior offensive lineman Harley Hannah. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

GAME NOTES

SERIES: With the growing enrollment at Greenbrier, the meeting will mark the last in the series between the former conference foes. The Panthers nonconference schedule next season will consist of Newport, Harding Academy and Dover.

CLOSE GAMES: 24 games in the series have been decided by a touchdown or less, including Friday night’s contest.

BIG CAT PLAY: Heber Springs had its first “Big Cat” play (a play of 50 yards or more) when Julio Rubio broke free for a 79-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.

STATE RECORD AND COUNTING: As a team, Heber Springs has connected on 108 extra-point kicks which is a team state record. Julian Cameron connected on 100 straight before graduating last season. Graduated senior Seth Dickson also connected on two extra point kicks in 2018. Friday night, Jackson Harrod is a perfect five-for-five on the season.

FOX 16’s FEARLESS FRIDAY: For the second week in a row, Wess Moore’s Fox 16 Fearless Friday show had a crew to film Heber Springs. In week one against Clinton, Stephanie Sharp reported live after that game.

PANTHER PLAYERS OF THE GAME

Heber Springs senior linebacker Levy Phillips finished with seven total tackles including two for a los and a sack.
Heber Springs senior offensive lineman Harley Hannah helped anchor the line that saw the Panthers rush for 307 yards and three touchdowns.

SCORING

Heber Springs (0-2)       7  0  0  14 - 21
Greenbrier (2-0)          7  7  14  7 - 35

FIRST QUARTER
Heber Springs - Adam Martin 1-yard run (Jackson Harrod kick), 5:03
Greenbrier - Peyton Long 6-yard run (Cody Powell kick), 1:05
SECOND QUARTER
Greenbrier - Jackson Riddle to Jaron Kuykendall 10-yard pass (Powell kick), 3:34
THIRD QUARTER
Greenbrier - Long 3-yard run (Powell kick), 9:53
Greenbrier - Long 5-yard run (Powell kick), 1:08
FOURTH QUARTER
Heber Springs - Julio Rubio 72-yard run (Harrod kick), 11:47
Heber Springs - Landon Johnson 3-yard run (Harrod kick), 4:05
Greenbrier - Long 4-yard run (Powell kick), :48
 
Heber Springs coach Will Cox

Heber Springs coach Will Cox

We said going into this game that turnovers were going to be the key, and we were minus three on it, (yet) two-and-half minutes left and we are down a touchdown. We have to do a better job of holding on to the football. But more importantly, defensively do a better job of creating turnovers. Our guys scrapped on both sides of the football, and that was exciting to see. A team like Greenbrier, a team as well-coached as they are and has the numbers they have, you can’t spot them three series and that’s what we did.

TEAM STATS

First Downs by Rush: Heber Springs 17, Greenbrier 6
First Downs by Pass: Heber Springs 4, Greenbrier 9
First Downs by Penalty: Heber Springs 0, Greenbrier 0
Total First Downs: Heber Springs 21, Greenbrier 15
Third-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 6/14, Greenbrier 2/7
Fourth-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 4/7, Greenbrier 0/0
Red-Zone Possessions: Heber Springs 2/2 (2 TDs), Greenbrier 5/5 (5 TDs)
Time of Possession: Heber Springs 29:34, Greenbrier 18:26
Fumbles/Lost: Heber Springs 3/2, Greenbrier 2/0
Turnovers: Heber Springs 3, Greenbrier 0
Points Off Turnovers: Heber Springs 0, Greenbrier 14  
Penalties/Yards: Heber Springs 4/25, Greenbrier 5/40
Plays/Total Offense/YPP: Heber Springs 76/390/5.2, Greenbrier 46/254/5.4
Rushing: Heber Springs 56/305/5.5, Greenbrier 28/77/2.7
Passing: Heber Springs 10/20-85-0/1, Greenbrier 16/18-177-1/0
Sacks/Yards Lost: Heber Springs 4/16, Greenbrier 3/11
Punts: Heber Springs 1/38/38, Greenbrier 4/143/35.8

INDIVIDUAL STATS

OFFENSE
RUSHING: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 28/120/4.3, Julio Rubio 23/170/7.4, Landon Johnson 4/9/2.3, Nathan McKee 1/6/6. Greenbrier, Peyton Long 20/110/5.5, Jackson Riddle 6/(-26)/(-3.7), Trey Havens 2/(-7)/(-3.5).
RUSHING RUNS OF 50+: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio (1)
RUSHING RUNS OF 40+: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio (1) 
RUSHING RUNS OF 30+: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio (1).
RUSHING RUNS OF 20+: Heber Springs, Adam Martin (1), Julio Rubio (1). Greenbrier, Peyton Long (1).
RUSHING RUNS OF 10+: Heber Springs, Adam Martin (4), Julio Rubio (3). Greenbrier, Peyton Long (5), Jackson Riddle (2).
PASSING: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 10/20-85-0/1. Greenbrier, Jackson Riddle 16/18-177-1/0.
RECEIVING: Heber Springs, Hunter Kent 3/27, Matthew Cook 3/21, Julio Rubio 2/20, Nathan McKee 1/10, Fate Berry 1/7. Greenbrier, Talon Moore 5/31, Bryce Morehart 4/55, Logan King 2/35, Brody Johnson 2/22, Jaron Kuykendall 2/15, Ryan Barnard 1/19.
RECEPTIONS OF 20+: Greenbrier, Bryce Morehart (2), Logan King (1).
TOTAL OFFENSE: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 205, Julio Rubio 170, Landon Johnson 9, Nathan McKee 6.
PUNT RETURNS: None
KICK RETURNS: Heber Springs, Hunter Kent 3/46, Julio Rubio 1/12, Nathan McKee 1/11. Greenbrier, Talon Moore 1/25, Logan King 1/18, Brody Johnson 1/18. 
FUMBLE RETURNS: None
INTERCEPTION RETURNS: None
ALL-PURPOSE YARDS: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio 202, Adam Martin 120, Hunter Kent 73, Nathan McKee 27, Matthew Cook 21, Landon Johnson 9, Fate Berry 7. Greenbrier, Peyton Long 110, Talon Moore 56, Bryce Morehart 55, Logan King 53, Brody Johnson 40, Ryan Bernard 19, Jaron Kuykendall 15, Trey Havens (-7), Jackson Riddle (-26).
DEFENSE
TACKLES (Shared/Solo/Total): Heber Springs, Fate Berry 8/3/11, Levy Phillips 4/3/7, Kaden Hughes 2/3/5, Landon Johnson 4/1/5, Harley Bresnahan 3/2/5, Dalton McCollum 2/2/4, Hunter Kent 3/1/4, Matthew Cook 3/1/4, Lawrence Baureis 2/1/3, Jackson Harrod 1/0/1, Jackson West 1/0/1, Trent Barnes 1/0/1, Devon Doxey 1/0/1, Preston Jones 1/0/1. Greenbrier, Ryan Barnard 8/8/16, Jacob Keller 12/4/16, Ty Embry 5/5/10, Talon Moore 6/3/9, Chance Embry 3/4/7, Jeremy Hardcastle 3/3/6, Payton Riddle 2/4/6, Dawson Spencer 3/2/5, Bryce Morehart 2/3/5, Nick Huett 2/2/4, Brandon Beck 1/3/4, Avery Thomas 2/1/3, Logan King 2/1/3, Tanner Collins 2/1/3, Keaton Whitley 1/0/1, Trey Havens 1/0/1, Jeremy Parker 1/0/1, Josh Robinson 1/0/1.
TACKLES FOR LOSS: Heber Springs, Levy Phillips 2, Fate Berry 1, Landon 1, Harley Bresnahan 1. Greenbrier, Ryan Barnard 2, Jacob Keller 1, Payton Riddle 1.
SACKS/YARDS LOST: Heber Springs, Levy Phillips 1/5, Kaden Hughes 1/4, Harley Bresnahan 1/4, Fate Berry 1/3. Greenbrier, Jeremy Hardcastle 1/7, Payton Riddle 1/2, Avery Thomas 1/2.
INTERCEPTIONS: Greenbrier, Ryan Barnard 1.
FUMBLE RECOVERIES: Greenbrier, Ryan Barnard 1, Jacob Keller 1.

GAME SCENES

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Heber Springs tops Bald Knob in 6th-Grade football

September 14, 2019

Heber Springs’ Eli Buffalo gets a block from teammate Emmett Dwyer in sixth-grade youth football action on Saturday at Panther Stadium. Heber Springs defeated Bald Knob, 39-6. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO
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