Panther GameDay: Bald Knob, Heber Springs look to stay in playoff hunt

The Heber Springs defense, from left, Lucas Langster (50), Payton Owens (68), Thad Bray (55) and Jackson West (23), hits the road tonight at Bald Knob. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO


Heber Springs will play the second of an important 4-game stretch with the same approach — focus on the next opponent.

The Panthers (1-2 in 2-4A Conference, 2-3) will play the winless Bald Knob Bulldogs (0-3 in 2-4A Conference, 0-6) at Bulldog Stadium in Bald Knob at 7 p.m. Friday.

Hooten’s Magazine made the Bulldogs an 1-point favorite against Heber Springs in its weekly Class 4A predictions.

It also will be homecoming for Bald Knob, which lost to conference leader Stuttgart 42-19 last week. The Panthers are coming off a 47-26 win against Central Arkansas Christian.

“Win or lose, we always only look at the next game,” Heber Springs coach Todd Wood said. “We have a group of good guys, who aren’t looking past Bald Knob. We played our most complete game of the season against CAC. I liked what I’ve seen during practice this week.”

Running back Parker Brown and quarterback Xander Lindley were responsible for 470 yards for the Panthers against CAC. Brown rushed 16 times for 223 yards and four touchdowns, and he caught three passes for 44 yards and one touchdown.

Lindley completed 11-of-13 passes for 113 yards and one touchdown against the Mustangs. He ran for 134 yards on 13 carries and scored two touchdowns.

“Parker did what he was capable of, and Xander continues to mature at quarterback,” Wood said. “I’m proud of the number of players — receivers Chris Edwards, Austin Winchester, Easton Cusick, Dalton Yancey and Jackson West — touching the ball. When you can spread the ball around to that many receivers, that helps an offense quite a bit.”  

Brown didn’t set a school or stadium single-game record with his five total touchdowns. However, he did become the first Panther to have a 200-yard rushing and a 200-yard receiving games during the same season. Markeyvus Mays rushed for seven touchdowns on 11 carries in a win over Cave City on Nov. 4, 2010. Jerry Pilkington holds the school record with eight rushing touchdowns against Ola on Oct. 14, 1949.

Wood also was elated with the Panthers not having a turnover. Heber Springs had eight turnovers in the first four games.

“We spent more time this year stressing the importance of protecting the ball,” he said. “We didn’t do that much last year because of limited practice time because of Covid-19.”

Brown is the leading rusher for the Panthers with 537 yards on 63 carries and seven touchdowns. He has caught eight passes for 264 yards and four touchdowns.

Lindley has completed 35-of-61 passes for 516 yards and five touchdowns. He is the team’s second-leading rusher with 185 yards on 54 attempts and two touchdowns.

Wood said credit for the offense’s success against CAC came from the performance of the offensive line — Lucas Langster (left guard), Payton Owens (left tackle), Zach Thomas (center), Tristan Thissen (right guard) and Thad Bray (right tackle).

“I really enjoyed watching them on film after the game,” he said. “It was good seeing them come off the ball strong, and they executed well. They are showing improvement, and we need it to continue.”

Wood recalled the six turnovers — four interceptions and two fumbles — against Bald Knob in last year’s 35-15 loss.

Quarterback Leason Pierce, who completed 13-of-23 passes for 156 yards and three touchdowns in 2020, returns for the Bulldogs. Pierce connected on 11-of-17 passes for 132 yards during the second half. Bald Knob converted 5-of-7 third-down plays, and 2-of-8 plays on fourth down.

Wood is confident that his defense with a year of experience, plus playing three of the conference’s best quarterbacks this season, will play well.

“I told the players and defensive coaches we faced a talented mobile quarterback for the past three weeks,” he said. “They had speed and were able to go outside the pocket and make plays. We are looking at a quarterback (Pierce) who doesn’t have that kind of speed, but he has the ability to make things happens. We must contain him in the pocket.”

Linebackers Kenan Sneed, Hayden Johnson and West continue to lead the Heber Springs defense. Sneed had 21 tackles against CAC, while Johnson recorded 13 tackles and West was credited with 12 tackles.

“I’m pleased with our defense,” Wood said. “They did a good job of containing (CAC quarterback) Tyler Williams. He got a couple of big plays, but we kept him contained most of the game. Sneed puts up the numbers, and Johnson is playing well and making big plays.”

Wood said the play of the defensive line is improving.

“We changed our tactics and our strength is beginning to show,” he said. “Owens has been a surprise. Langster has the speed, and Bray has the size. The line can cause trouble for other teams.”

Wood said the formula is simple for a win.

“On offense, we must control and protect ball and execute well,” he said. “On defense, we must pressure the quarterback.”

  • Kickoff: 7 p.m. at Bald Knob
  • Radio/Streaming: 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. Streaming is available on The Lake’s YouTube page.

THE SERIES: Bald Knob leads 38-23-2

SERIES HISTORY: This will be the 64th time these two schools have meet on the football field. Heber Springs and Bald Knob first played during the 1929 season, a 26-2, Panther victory. It would be 11 more seasons before the two teams played again, a 1940 12-0 victory by Heber Springs. Heber Springs would win the first three games in the series before Bald Knob would win 18 out of 20 games played (a 1950 34-13 win by the Panthers broke a five-game losing streak in the series while a 1964 12-7 win broke a 10-game losing streak). The series would be fairly even before Heber Springs won eight straight from 1976 through 1983 before the Bulldogs closed out the 1980s winning six-in-a-row. In the 1990s, the teams would meet seven times with the Panthers getting wins during the 1990 and 1999 seasons. Since the 2005 season, Heber Springs and Bald Knob have played 10 times with the Panthers winning seven of those contests, but the Bulldogs did spoil the Heber Springs’ homecoming last season with a 35-15 victory.

                            W L CP  W L PS  PA 
Stuttgart                   3 0 29  5 1 208 112 
Little Rock Mills           2 1 26  5 1 276 151 
Lonoke                      2 1 26  5 1 197 105
Southside Batesville        2 1 15  4 2 197 118                      
Clinton                     2 1 23  3 3 168 179  
Heber Springs               1 2 13  2 3 112 146  
Bald Knob                   0 3  0  0 6  74 195
Central Arkansas Christian  0 3  0  2 4 159 278    

Friday, October 9
Heber Springs 47, Central Arkansas Christian 26
Stuttgart 42, Bald Knob 19
Southside Batesville 38, Lonoke 36 (OT)
Clinton 38, Little Rock Mills 28
Friday, October 16
Heber Springs at Bald Knob
Southside Batesville at Central Arkansas Christian
Lonoke at Little Rock Mills
Clinton at Stuttgart

Senior Spotlight: Lucas Langster

Lucas Langster


Lucas Langster knew one day he will become a Heber Springs Panther, but he never realized his senior season would become a part of the program’s history.

Langster is a Panther, like his late father, Rodger Dean Langster. His father was a receiver, but the younger Langster is a starter on the offensive and defensive lines during the 100th year of the program.

The HSHS roots run deep in his family with his grandparents being almuni of the school, along with his two twin aunts — Rhonda Langster Lynch and Rachelle Langster Evans.

His grandfather, Rodger Langster, is a former Cleburne County Clerk and later elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives. Rachelle Evans is currently the county clerk.

“Playing for the Panthers means a lot to me,” Lucas Langster said. “It’s an honor to be a part of the 100th year, especially as a senior.”

Langster was one of the offensive linemen, who helped to open the way for the Heber Springs’ running game against Central Arkansas Christian last week. He hopes the momentum will continue.

“Everything has been going well right now,” he said. “We started this week well and want to end with a win at Bald Knob on Friday. My teammates and I are looking to do the best we can for the remainder of the season.”  

Langster admitted defense was his favorite, but he enjoys contributing on the offensive line, too.

“Defense is more fun because of the hitting,” he said. “I don’t mind playing both ways. All I want is to do whatever I can to help the team.”

Langster said he and his teammates know it is one game at a time, and that’s the focus going into Friday’s game.

“CAC was a big win,” he said. “If we can win the next few games, we can get to the playoffs and do well there too.”

Junior Panthers take bark out of Bald Knob

Heber Springs’ Weston Warden (2) celebrates with teammate, Logan Rutledge (1), after Rutledge scored a third-quarter touchdown in a 28-6 win over Bald Knob. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

HEBER SPRINGS – Neither rain nor penalties nor the Bald Knob Bulldogs could stop the Heber Springs junior Panthers from earning their fifth win of the season with a 26-8 victory Thursday night at Panther Stadium.

Liam Buffalo rushed for a touchdown, passed for two more, and helped lead the defensive effort with two interceptions as Heber Springs improved to 5-2 on the season.

Buffalo’s two picks were part of defensive effort that held Bald Knob to 72 yards of total offense, with 54 yard of that coming on the final drive of the game against the Panther second-team defense. Freshman Jacob McMullin recorded one sack and spent most of the night in the Bulldog backfield as Heber Springs held Bald Knob to 13 yards rushing on 20 attempts.

Lightning had canceled the seventh-grade contest in the second half and helped lead to a delay of the kickoff by 15 minutes as the two teams played in a steady rain in the first half.

The elements couldn’t stop the Panthers on their first drive. After forcing a three-and-out on defense, Buffalo scampered 57 yards on second down to put the ball on the Bulldog 3. A pair of carries forced the Heber Springs back a yard, before Buffalo would score from the 4 on third down.

Buffalo would finish the night with 104 yard rushing on six attempts, his fourth 100-yard rushing performance of the season. The ninth-grader would connect with Carter Julian for the 2-point conversion to make it 8-0 with 3:02 left in the opening quarter.

Heber Springs would add to it’s advantage on its next possession after a Buffalo picked-off a fourth-down pass attempt by Bald Knob’s Dakota Shoebottom at the Panther 39. Seven plays later, Buffalo would hit Ty West for an 11-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-0 with 5:32 left in the half.

Heber Springs was penalized nine times for 83 yards on the night including for 18 yards on a holding penalty on the 2-point conversion attempt.

The Bulldogs had their best drive of the first half on their next possession moving from their own 40 to the Panther 12, aided by a 13-yard run by Shoebottom and a 15-yard penalty against Heber Springs. But Buffalo intercepted another Shoebottom attempt at the Panther 7 and returned it 17 yards.

West had an 11-yard reception on the ensuing drive but the Panthers couldn’t mount a scoring threat as the half ended with Heber Springs up 14-0.

The Panthers took the second-half kickoff and handed the ball off to Weston Warden to reach the Bulldog 10 as the freshman carried five times for 42 yards. Then the penalty flag came out as Heber Springs had four attempts at first-and-goal as two Panther penalties and one Bald Knob penalty forced the unique situation. Warden would score from the 4 make it 20-0 with 3:52 left in the third quarter.

The Heber Springs defensive unit forced Bulldogs to a three-and-out and a loss of 18 yards thanks in part to the McMullin sack.

The Panthers would take over at the Bald Knob 30 and six plays later would make it 26-0 after Buffalo hit Logan Rutledge in the end zone for the score.

The Bulldogs would use a seven-play, 54-yard drive against the second-team defense to get on the scoreboard late in the contest to set the final score at 26-8.

OCTOBER 14, 2021 
Bald Knob        0   0   0   8 -  8 
Heber Springs    8   6   6   6 - 26
HS - Liam Buffalo 4-yard run (Buffalo to Carter Julian pass), 3:02
HS - Buffalo to Ty West 4-yard pass (pass failed), 5:32
HS - Weston Warden 4-yard run (pass failed), 3:52
HS - Buffalo to Logan Rutledge 3-yard pass (pass failed), 6:30
BK - Jerry Tidwell 4-yard run (Dakota Shoebottom run), 2:14
RUSHES-YARDS: HS 25/191, BK 20/13
COMP-ATT-INT: HS 6-12-0, BK 4-6-2
RUSHING: HS, Liam Buffalo 6/104, Weston Warden 11/56, Cooper Holmes 3/21, Seth Dudeck 1/13, Logan Rutledge 2/5, Carter Julian 1/(-3), Team 1/(-5). Hunter Burleson 8/6, Garrett Swindle 2/4, Jerry Tidwell 4/4, Dakota Shoebottom 6/(-1). 
PASSING: HS, Buffalo 6/12-65-2/0. BK, Shoebottom 4/6-59-0/2
RECEVING: HS, West 3/32, Rutledge 2/18, Warden 1/15. BK, Garrett Swindle 3/48, Mika Comer 1/11.
KICKOFF RETURNS: BK, Jaeden Kuhn 1/0.
INT RETURNS: Buffalo 2/17
PUNTS: BK, Swindle 1/18


(All Games Start at 7 p.m.)

Aug. 26 – Heber Springs 32, Clinton 28

Sep. 09 – Harding Academy 36, Heber Springs 16

Sep. 16 – Heber Springs 26, Dover 12

Sep. 23 – Heber Springs 34, Lonoke 12 *

Sep. 28 – Heber Springs 42, Stuttgart 32 *

Oct. 07 – Central Arkansas Christian 30, Heber Springs 14 *

Oct. 14 – Heber Springs 26, Bald Knob 8 *

Oct. 21 – at Southside Batesville *

Oct. 28 – at Clinton *

(* – Denotes Conference Contest)

Panther Cubs claim win over Bullpups

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Heber Springs’ Josiah Riggs sacks Bald Knob quarterback Seften Polamares during seventh-grade action Thursday night at Panther Stadium. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

HEBER SPRINGS – The Heber Springs seventh-grade Panthers earned their second win of the season with a rain-shortened 14-0 victory over Bald Knob Thursday night at Panther Stadium.

Heber Springs struck first when Samuel Bush scored on a 63-yard run. The 2-point conversion failed.

The Panthers added another first-half touchdown when Lachlan Tubbs scored on a 1-yard run. Tubbs connected with Bush for the 2-point conversion. A 40-yard pass from Tubbs to Landon Brown set-up the touchdown run.

With just over 11 minutes left in the contest, lightning delayed the game 30 minutes before it was canceled giving the Panther Cubs earn the win.


(All Game Times are 5:30 p.m.)

Aug. 26 – Clinton 16, Heber Springs 14

Sep. 09 – at Harding Academy (Canceled)

Sep. 16 – Heber Springs 16, Dover 6

Sep. 23 – Lonoke 20, Heber Springs 6

Sep. 28 – Stuttgart 6, Heber Springs 0

Oct. 07 – Central Arkansas Christian 8, Heber Springs 0

Oct. 14 – Heber Springs 14, Bald Knob 0

Oct. 21 – at Southside Batesville

Oct. 28 – at Clinton

Panther Notebook: Super sophomore piling up big numbers

Heber Springs’ Kenan Sneed comes in to help finish off a tackle of CAC receiver Vance Strange Friday night at Panther Stadium. Also pictured for Heber Springs is Chris Edwards (at Strange’s knee) and Lucas Langster. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

HEBER SPRINGS – Parker Brown’s youth football coach, Jack Cook, had a nickname for Brown as he ran over opposing defenses for the “Pee Wee” Panthers — “Downtown Parker Brown.”

Flash forward to Friday night at Panther Stadium and a 47-26 victory by the senior high Panthers over Central Arkansas Christian, that moniker could have easily been “Touchdown Parker Brown” as the sophomore rushed for 223 yards on 16 carries and four touchdowns, and also had three receptions for 44 yards and another score, to finish with five touchdowns on the night.

Parker Brown

His five total touchdowns is the most by Panther since Nov. 4, 2010, when Markeyvus Mays rushed for seven touchdowns on 11 carries in a win over Cave City. Jerry Pilkington has the most in school history with eight rushing touchdowns against Ola on Oct. 14, 1949.

While Brown didn’t set a school or stadium record Friday night, he did make history by becoming the first Heber Springs football player in 100 seasons to have a 200-yard rushing game and a 200-yard receiving game (at Dover on Sept. 17) in the same season.

Through five games, Brown has 11 touchdowns (seven on the ground and four receiving) and 910 all-purpose yards (182 per game). He has rushed 63 times for 537 yards (107.4 yards per game and 8.5 yards per attempt) and is tied with Easton Cusick with a team-high eight receptions for 264 yards.

PROFESSOR X: Sophomore quarterback Xander Lindley scored his first two touchdowns of his senior high career Friday night on runs of 1- and 35-yards. He rushed for 134 yards on 13 carries for an average of 10.3 yards per carry. Lindley also passed for 113 yards (on 11 of 13 passing) to finish with 247 yards of total offense on the night.

For the season, Lindley (who last played quarterback as eighth-grader until this season) has completed 35 passes on 61 attempts for a 57.4 completion percentage. He also passed for 515 yards and five touchdowns.

Lindley leads the team with 700 yards of total offense.

X-MEN: Though CAC finished with 347 yards of total offense, 320 of that coming from Mustang senior Tyler Williams, the Panthers limited CAC 4.3 yards per carry (take out Williams’ rushing totals and the Panthers held the Mustangs to 1.7 yards per attempt for the rest of the CAC backs) and had a second-quarter, goal-line stand as they stopped Williams inches short of end zone on fourth down.

That goal-line stand led to a 99-yard touchdown drive by the offense and a commanding 28-6 lead with 1:17 left in the first half.

The Mustangs would pull to within 14 in the third quarter and reach the Panther 30 before another four-down stop on pass play. Heber Springs would go on to score on its next possession and take control of the game.

MUSTANG STOPPER: Kenan Sneed led the Panthers with 21 tackles and a fumble recovery. His 21 tackles are the first time that a Heber Springs player has hit the 20 tackle mark since Dillon Spivey had 20 at Gravette in a 4A playoff game on Nov. 10, 2017.

Sneed leads the team with 57 tackles, including 10 for a loss and two fumble recoveries. The junior had more than 100 tackles as a sophomore.

MORE MUSTANG STOPPERS: Sophomore Hayden Johnson finished with 13 tackles against the Mustangs and is second on the team with 38 stops, including eight for an loss. Senior Jackson West finished with 12 tackles and has 31 total tackles on the year while senior Tristan Thissen had 11 stops on the night and 26 on the season.

SENIOR VICTORY: Gus Hannah was injured during the conference opener with Lonoke and missed the Stuttgart game, but he did get a chance to get into the game late as coach Todd Wood put Hannah in on the victory formation. Prior to that injury, the senior was the team’s leading receiver with seven receptions.

CONFERENCE SHAKE-UP: Both Lonoke and Little Rock Mills entered Friday night both unbeaten in the 2-4A and overall, but ended the night with losses. Clinton defeated Little Rock Mills, 38-28, while Southside Batesville dropped Lonoke in overtime, 38-36. Stuttgart (3-0 in the 2-4A) defeated Bald Knob, 42-19, and now has a one game lead over four teams (Clinton, Southside Batesville, Lonoke and Little Rock Mills). The Panthers set at 1-2 while CAC and Bald Knob are both 0-3. The top five teams make the playoffs.

UP NEXT: Heber Springs travels to Bald Knob Friday night.

Heber Springs seniors honored before game

Some of the Heber Springs senior football players wait for the coin toss prior to Friday night’s game with CAC.

The seniors for the fall sports and band were honored before Friday’s football game between Central Arkansas Christian and Heber Springs.

Heber Springs won the contest, 47-26.

(Note: Click on name to see the photo.)


Thad Bray

Hayden Davis

Gus Hannah

Lucas Langster

Zane Lozeau

John McBroome

Payton Owens

Christopher Smith

Tristan Thissen

Zach Thomas

Jackson West

Austin Winchester


Brooklyn Barnes

Annica Brown

Riley Duncan

Tanner Fore

Payton Fry

Dulce Garcia

Aydia Haymond

Keirra Jennings

Brandi Meredith

Savannah Newberry

Andrew O’Hare


Magnolia Baureis

Lili Chaney

Faith and Hope Gilchrist

Elizabeth Jewell

Marie Julian

Hannah Smithson


Alexia Adams

Madison Lindley

Trinity West


Reagan Buell

Mason Harris

Maygan Jarvis

Kevin Leal

Ava Noble

Nathan Poff


Gage Buford


Alaina Endicott

Kiley Wilson

Sophomores shine on Senior Night

Brown scores 5 touchdowns, Lindley 2, as Panthers roar past CAC
Heber Springs sophomore Xander Lindley looks downfield as his teammate, Dalton Yancey (18), looks to make a block. CAC’s Jackson Morse (14) is picture in pursuit. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO


Heber Springs didn’t wait long to bounce back in a big way and jumped back into the 2-4A Conference playoff chase.

Sophomore running back Parker Brown rushed 16 times for 223 yards and four touchdowns and caught three passes for 44 yards and one touchdown as the Panthers rolled through Central Arkansas Christian, 47-26, at Panther Stadium on Friday. Quarterback Zander Lindley, also a sophomore, completed 11-of-13 passes for 113 yards and ran for 134 yards and two touchdowns.

Brown became the first Panther in 100 seasons of the program to have a 200-yard game rushing and a 200-yard game receiving during the same season. He caught three passes for 220 yards, all for touchdowns, earlier this year against Dover.

“I could not be any more proud of the players after the last two weeks when it was tough on them,” Heber Springs coach Todd Wood said. “At any point in time, they could have said we’re done, we’re finished. They didn’t do that.”

Wood didn’t hesitate in receiving the ball when winning coin toss, instead of playing defense first. The game plan was to find opportunities for Brown in the opening field.

“We wanted to get the ball to Parker in the open field early in the game,” Wood said. “We know if he got the ball in the open field, he could do dynamic things. He did that on the first play, and we never look back. It set the tone.”

Wood also said Lindley’s performance was a contributing factor in the win.

“I asked him (Lindley) to step up his play,” Wood said. “He is maturing and learning more how to play. Zander and Parker make a good running and passing duo. It was good see our other pieces of the offense do well. This is a great sign for the future.”

The Panthers compiled 484 yards of offense (373 rushing and 113 passing) with 23 first downs. Brown and Lindley each averaged 10 yards per run.

Brown and Lindley earned the headlines, but Wood said the improved play of the offensive line led to more success.

“The coaches challenged the linemen, who have been getting beat down for the last two games,” Wood said. “We told them we need to show dominance from the beginning. It was important to win the battle on the line of scrimmage.”

Wood smiled when asked about no turnovers by his offense.

“I was screaming at running backs to keep two hands on the ball during the second half,” he said. “That was a big factor in the win. It shows what can happen when you don’t turn the ball over.”

The Heber Springs defense kept Williams contained for most of the game. Williams rushed for 138 yards on 26 carries and scored three touchdowns. He completed 17-of-23 passes for 182 yards and one touchdown. Williams was responsible for 320 of his team’s 337 yards.

“Our goal was not let him get explosive plays,” Wood said. “He did have a couple of big plays.”

The Panthers recovered an onside kickoff attempt and scored on the game’s first play when Brown broke free on a 59-yard touchdown run. Gideon Tate kicked the extra point for the 7-0 lead.

“The line blocked well and let us pass and run,” Brown said. “On that play, I got to the corner and ran into the secondary.”

The kicking game put CAC into position for its first touchdown. Williams’ 62-yard punt pushed Heber Springs to its 9-yard line. The Mustangs forced a punt and took possession at the Panther 37-yard line.

Williams capped a 7-play drive with a 24-yard scoring run with 2:43 left in the first quarter. The try for a 2-point conversion failed.

The Panthers increased their lead on a 4-play, 57-yard drive following the kickoff. Brown scored on a 43-yard run and Tate’s kick for the conversion sent Heber Springs into the second quarter leading, 14-6.

Heber Springs threatened to pull away after Kenan Sneed recovered an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff. The Panthers went 45 yards on eight plays. Brown scored on a 6-yard carry with 9:51 left in the first half. Tate kicked the conversion for a 21-6 lead.

After holding on downs at the 1-yard line, Heber Springs needed six plays on a 99-yard scoring drive. Lindley passed to Austin Winchester for one first down and then Brown ran 39 yards for a first down at the CAC 30-yard line. Lindley connected with Brown through the air for a touchdown with 1:17 left in the first half. Tate kicked the extra point for the 28-6 lead.

The Mustangs responded with an 8-play, 58-yard drive before halftime. Vance Strange snagged a 1-yard toss from Williams for the touchdown with 15 seconds to go. The try for a 2-point conversion was unsuccessful as the Panthers led, 28-12.

CAC pulled to within one score early in the third quarter. The Mustangs received the second half kickoff as Williams ran 44 yards on the second play. Shawn Rycraw caught a pass from Williams for the 2-point conversion.

The Panthers answered with an 8-play, 65 yard drive, with Lindley scoring on a 1-yard keeper with 7:46 to go in the third quarter. Heber Springs was unsuccessful on a 2-point conversion try

A defensive stop put the Panthers for their next score. Heber Springs drove 71 yards on nine plays, with Brown scoring from the 1-yard line on the first play of the fourth quarter. Tate kicked the conversion for a 41-20 lead.

Lindley had the drive’s key play when he retrieved a bad snap on first-and-15 at the CAC 34-yard line. After Lindley picked up the ball near midfield, he picked up a first down on the 16-yard play for a first down at the 18-yard line.

“That was amazing, and I felt good after that play,” he said. “I thought about jumping on the ball, but no one was close to me. I picked it up and ran.”

CAC didn’t go away and reduced the Heber Springs on a 6-play, 63-yard drive. Williams ran for a 21-yard touchdown with 9:31 left in the game. The Mustangs attempted a 2-point conversion unsuccessfully and trailed, 41-26.

Heber Springs added an insurance touchdown on Lindley’s 35-yard run with 8:51 left.

“This game is a confidence builder,” Wood said. “The players showed what they are capable of doing.”

Defensively, Kenan Sneed finished with 21 tackles. He was one of four Panthers to finish in double digits in tackles — Hayden Johnson (13), Jackson West (12), and Tristan Thissen (11) were the others.

October 8, 2021 
Central Arkansas Christian (2-4, 0-3)   6   6   8   6 - 26 
Heber Springs (2-3, 1-2)               14  14   6  13 - 47
HS - Parker Brown 59-yard run (Gideon Tate kick), 11:47
CAC - Tyler Williams 24-yard run (run failed), 2:43
HS - Brown 43-yard run (Tate kick), 1:22
HS - Brown 6-yard run (Tate kick), 9:51
HS - Xander Lindley to Brown 30-yard pass (Tate kick), 1:17
CAC - Williams to Vance Strange 1-yard pass (pass failed), :15.1
CAC - Williams 44-yard run (Williams to Shawn Rycraw pass), 11:29
HS - Lindley 1-yard run (pass failed), 7:46
HS - Brown 1-yard run (Tate kick), 11:57
CAC - Williams 21-yard run (run failed), 9:31
HS - Lindley 35-yard run (pass failed), 8:51
RUSHES-YARDS: HS 34/373, CAC 36/155
COMP-ATT-INT: HS 11-13-0, CAC 17-23-0
RUSHING: HS, Parker Brown 16/223/4, Xander Lindley 13/134/2, Jackson West 2/17, Dalton Yancey 1/6, Team 2/(-7). CAC, Tyler Williams 26/138/3, Shawn Rycraw 3/11, Vance Strange 6/3, Judah Ward 1/3. 
PASSING: HS, Lindley 11/13-113-1/0. CAC, Williams 17/23-182-1/0
RECEVING: HS, Brown 3/44/1, Easton Cusick 3/18, Yancey 2/20, West 1/23, Austin Winchester 1/10, Chris Edwards 1/4. CAC, Strange 9/61/1, Rycraw 3/48, Jackson Morse 2/39, Ward 1/22, Cauy Blevins 1/9, Brady Velek 1/3.
KICKOFF RETURNS: HS, Edwards 1/0. CAC, Strange 3/28, Velek 1/3.
PUNTS: HS, Lindley 1/23. CAC Williams 1/62

Historic Night: Heber Springs’ Parker Brown

Heber Springs sophomore Parker Brown celebrates with his teammates after a 47-26 victory over Central Arkansas Christian Friday night. Brown rushed for 223 yards and four touchdowns in the win. He also added three receptions for 44 yards and another touchdown. With the 200-yard rushing performance to go along wit his 200-yard receiving performance earlier this season at Dover, Brown became the first Panther in 100 seasons of football to rush for 200 yards in game and have 200 yards receiving in game in the same season. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

Heber Springs Junior High Stats (through 6 games)

Heber Springs offensive lineman Cade James attempts to hold off Central Arkansas Christian’s Jesse Sharp as Panther quarterback Liam Buffalo looks for running room. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO





RUSHING (ATT/YDS/AVG/TD): HS 123/886/7.2/12, Opp 161/950/5.9/10

PASSING (COMP/ATT-YARDS-TD/INT): HS 51/89-762-10/1, Opp 27/55-343-2/3


RUSHING (Att/Yds/Tds): Liam Buffalo 69/630/11, Weston Warden 34/189/1, Lucas Carcia 6/49, Carter Julian 2/16, Logan Rutledge 5/14, Cooper Holmes 3/10

PASSING (Comp/Att-Yds-Tds/Int): Liam Buffalo 51/89-762-10/1

RECEIVING (Rec/Yds/Tds): Weston Warden 21/453/6, Carter Julian 11/122/3, Seth Dudeck 8/133/1, Logan Rutledge 6/38, Cooper Holmes 2/24, Ty West 2/22

TOTAL OFFENSE: Liam Buffalo 1392, Weston Warden 189, Lucas Garcia 49, Carter Julian 16, Logan Rutledge 14, Cooper Holmes 10

KICKOFF RETURNS: Logan Rutledge 4/59, Cooper Holmes 3/25, Emmitt Dwyer 1/11, Weston Warden 1/2

PUNT RETURNS: Weston Warden 1/19

INTERCEPTION RETURNS: Weston Warden 1/83/1, Caleb Carr 1/29, Emmitt Dwyer 1/9

ALL-PURPOSE YARDS: Weston Warden 716, Liam Buffalo 630, Carter Julian 144, Seth Dudeck 133, Logan Rutledge 111, Cooper Holmes 59, Lucas Garcia 49, Caleb Carr 29, Ty West 22, Emmitt Dwyer 9

SCORING: Liam Buffalo 76, Weston Warden 52, Carter Julian 24, Seth Dudeck 6, Logan Rutledge 4, Ty West 2

PUNTS (No/Yds/Avg): Liam Buffalo 9/363/40.3

Panther GameDay: Panthers hope to corral Mustangs on Senior Night

Heber Springs senior Austin Winchester. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO


After playing the two teams predicted during the preseason to finish one-two in the 2-4A Conference, the Heber Springs Panthers hope to start on a winning streak that leads to a state football playoff berth.

Heber Springs (0-2 in the 2-4A, 1-3 overall) will host Central Arkansas Christian (0-2, 1-4) at 7 p.m. Friday. The Panthers opened the conference season with losses to Lonoke and Stuttgart. CAC dropped games to Clinton and Little Rock Mills.

“The players knew what they were up against at Stuttgart,” Heber Springs coach Todd Wood said. “We played the two teams picked to be at the top of the conference standings. The next five games will decide who goes to the playoffs.”

Senior Tyler Williams will be the focus of the Heber Springs defense. Williams, who played tailback last season, moved to quarterback this season and responsible for 1,185 of the 1,484 yards for the Mustangs.

Williams leads CAC in rushing with 781 yards on 114 carries and scored 12 touchdowns. He has completed 39-of-74 passes for 404 yards and four touchdowns. Williams ran for 148 yards and three touchdowns and caught five passes for 63 yards and one touchdown in last year’s win against the Panthers.

Vance Strange and Isaac Rine are the Mustangs’ primary targets in the passing game. Strange has caught 15 passes for 122 yards and scored one touchdown. Rine has 10 catches for 151 yards and one touchdown.

“He (Williams) runs the ball most of the time, and we are preparing for that,” Wood said. “But we also have to be ready to defend the pass. I expect him to run 35 to 40 times.”

Heber Springs hopes to get sophomore Parker Brown into the open field against CAC. Brown has been one of the Panthers’ best offensive threats with 273 yards rushing and scored three touchdowns. He has caught five passes for 220 yards and three touchdowns.

“CAC primarily plays a 3-5-3 defense and blitz at least two players every play,” Wood said. “They stacked the box against Mills (a 60-16 loss) last week. Being a defensive coordinator in a similar system in the past, I understand some things will open up, and we must take advantage of them.”

The Mustangs have allowed 46 points per game. Wood is confident that other aspects of the Heber Springs offense will benefit and have similar success that it had against Dover (a 44-0 win).

“CAC is going through a similar situation with a lot of young players,” Wood said. “It has played good teams. Our goal is to prevent them from getting too many big plays and have big plays on offense.”

Heber Springs will have two players sidelined by non-Covid illnesses back on the field — offensive lineman-inside linebacker Tristan Thissen and center-defensive lineman Joenah Cordell.

“We were down to 22 players for Stuttgart,” Wood said. “Both players will help us at their positions and provide the team more depth.”

Wood expects better production from quarterback Xander Lindley, who has been playing behind a patched-up offensive line, and receivers Dalton Yancey and Easton Cusick. Receiver Gus Hannah, who injured an ankle against Lonoke, is questionable for the game.

The coach also said some players who had primarily played on defense will see action on offense.

“Kenan Sneed (inside linebacker) and Chris Edwards (cornerback) played at receiver last week,” Wood said. “Jackson West (outside linebacker) will play running back and receiver. Zane Lozeau (cornerback) will play at receiver. We will do whatever it takes to put us in position to win the game.”

Senior players will be recognized before the game for their contributions to the program.

“It will be a big night for the seniors,” Wood said. “It’s not their last home game, but a special night to reflect on what they have done, and the legacy they will leave. They want to get the fans a win at home.”

It’s not due or die, but a win would put the Panthers in good position to challenge for a postseason.

“We have five games left and critical for the playoffs,” Wood said. “We probably will need three wins to get into the playoffs. Our backs are up against the wall. We must come out fighting.”


  • Kickoff: 7 p.m. at Panther Stadium (Senior Night festivities start around 6:15)
  • Radio/Streaming: 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. Streaming is available on The Lake’s YouTube page.

THE SERIES: CAC leads the leads the series at 5-4

SERIES HISTORY: The two teams first meet in the 2000 season when the Panthers and Mustangs played nonconference games, both won by CAC. The two teams would not face each other again until CAC was paired with Heber Springs in the 2-4A conference in 2014. In conference play, the Panthers won four out of the first five meetings between the schools (CAC’s win came in 2015 with a 48-12 decision). Since then, the Mustangs have won back-to-back games (a 24-6 game in 2019 and 35-14 last season).

FORMER HOG: Former University of Arkansas and NFL receiver Joe Adams is an assistant coach at Central Arkansas Christian.

                            W L CP  W L PS  PA 
Little Rock Mills           2 0 26  5 0 248 113 
Lonoke                      2 0 26  5 0 161  67
Stuttgart                   2 0 16  4 1 166  93 
Southside Batesville        1 1 13  3 2 159  82                      
Clinton                     1 1 13  2 3 130 151  
Heber Springs               0 2  0  1 3  65 120  
Bald Knob                   0 2  0  0 5  55 153
Central Arkansas Christian  0 2  0  2 3 133 231    

Thursday, September 30
Stuttgart 42, Heber Springs 0
Friday, October 2 
Little Rock Mills 60, Central Arkansas Christian 16
Southside Batesville 35, Clinton 20
Lonoke 14, Bald Knob 0
Friday, October 9
Central Arkansas Christian at Heber Springs
Stuttgart at Bald Knob
Lonoke at Southside Batesville
Little Rock Mills at Clinton