February 24, 2020
By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY
The Heber Springs Panther soccer team will need to grow up in a hurry.
Returning four starters, Heber Springs, which will return four starters, will debut in a preseason jamboree against Harding in Searcy at 7 p.m. Monday.
Jackson Harrod, who led the Panthers in scoring last season, will be one of the players to watch. Defenders Landon Johnson and Lawrence Baureis return, along with Landon Barbee.
“Jackson scored a lot of goals last season,” Heber Springs coach Jay Bishop said. “He played forward for most of his career and may have to become a midfielder. Lawrence and Landon (Johnson) have played well on defense for two years. We will lean those guys, especially early in the season, until we figure out who will play at the other the other seven positions. We will be young at a lot of positions.”
Bishop said one of the big decisions will be who assumes the starting role at goalkeeper.
“Jackson West is tall with long arms,” he said. “Nathan Poff was the backup last year.”
Bishop believes the younger players will step into their new roles, and he expects a successful season.
“We will be looking for players who can play out wide, like freshmen Luke Greenwald and Owen Phelps, and sophomore Gus Hannah” he said. “They need to take scoring pressure off Jackson. We have others players who do the job.”
Heber Springs has a challenging non-conference schedule. The Panthers will play Vilonia, Morrilton, Conway St. Joseph, Greenbrier, Conway Christian, Cave City and Mountain View.
“We will be learning together and use the non-conference to see what we need to work on,” Bishop said. “We want to be ready for conference play.”
Heber Springs will compete against Southside Batesville, Lonoke, Batesville, Jonesboro Westside, Brookland, Valley View and Wynne in the Class 4A North Conference.
“We will looking to put the players in the right position, so we will be successful,” Bishop said. “Valley View and Batesville will be the teams to beat. We should be in contention. We want to be playing our best once conference play starts.”
HEBER SPRINGS ROSTER
Nathan Poff, Jackson West, Landon Barbee, Julio Rubio, Landon Johnson, Diego Rubio, Gabe Tate, Jackson Harrod, Dalton McCollum, Gil Fernandez, Gus Hannah, Zach Thomas, Carlos Leal, Colt Allen, Mason Harris, Hayden Davis, Luke Greenwald, Harley Bresnahan, Owen Phelps, Kaden Young, Lawrence Baureis, Chandler Webber, Jacob Townsend, Lucas Langster, Kevin Leal, Preston Jones.