Panther Gameday: Heber Springs hosts Bald Knob for homecoming date

Heber Springs’ Matthew Cook fights for yards against CAC last week in North Little Rock. Also pictured, Zach Moore (4) and Parker Noyes (65). PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

Heber Springs will look to put all of the pieces together for an entire game as the Panthers will host Bald Knob for homecoming in a 2-4A Conference football game at 7 p.m. Friday.

Homecoming festivities are scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m., with the crowning of queen Hope Evans.

After losses to the three teams tied for the conference lead, Heber Springs (0-3 conference, 1-5 overall) will meet Bald Knob (1-2 conference, 4-3 overall), which will try and bounce back from last week’s 45-8 loss at Stuttgart.

The Panthers trailed fourth place Southside Batesville, Little Rock Mills and the Bulldogs by one game in the conference standings.

“The players were disappointed with the loss to Central Arkansas Christian (35-14),” Heber Springs coach Todd Wood said. “We trailed by seven points with eight minutes left in the game. After the game, I challenged the players to play at a higher level against Bald Knob.”

Wood said the players had three of their best practices all season during the week and believes it will carry over to Friday’s game.

“We had a better attitude and showed more spirit during practices,” he said. “I was pleased with the effort. I hope that effort will continue.”

Bald Knob features a run-oriented attack. Wood said one of the keys to success for the Heber Springs defense is to win the battle at the line of scrimmage.

“Bald Knob is a spread team that likes to run the ball,” Wood said. “We must make sure we have enough guys in the area to contain the run and force them to pass. The quarterback makes good decisions, and the running back is talented. The offensive line is big and strong.”

The Bulldogs play a 3-4 scheme on defense with the team’s strength at linebacker.

“Bald Knob’s defense is versatile,” Wood said. “The two outside linebackers will put pressure on the quarterback. They also react well in stopping the run. The defensive line is big and plays physical.”

Diego Rubio became the first Panther to rush for 100 yards in a game this season against CAC. Rubio had 143 yards on 10 carries, including a 58-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

The passing game was effective as quarterback Matthew Cook completed 19-of-29 passes for 149 yards. Nathan McKee led the receivers with eight catches for 65 yards.

“We keep building every week,” Wood said. “We are adding new plays and building on having more success. Cook stepped in and played well at quarterback and took charge of the offense. Diego is a hard runner and was able to get loose a few times last week.”

Wood said the defense also keeps improving, and he expects a good performance against Bald Knob.

“We know our roles better,” he said when asked about the defense’s improvement. “The key against Bald Knob, like last week, is winning the line of scrimmage.”

Wood said Preston Roberson and Thad Bray have played well on the defensive line, and a new player emerged against CAC.

“Roberson has played steady at end,” Wood said. “Bray plays aggressive and gets into the backfield. Jayden Bremmon had one of his best game against CAC. Bremmon showed the ability to move well and uses his hands to gain leverage.”

Wood also likes the play of the linebackers.

“(Kenan) Sneed has the ability to get to the ball. Jackson West has played well, along with Diego at the inside linebackers. Our secondary is improving.”

Wood hopes homecoming will give the team an emotional boost.

“Homecoming always is a double-edge,” Wood said. “I expect them to come out and play with a full effort.”

2-4A CONFERENCE STANDINGS

                            W L CP  W L PS  PA 
Stuttgart                   3 0 39  5 0 207  26 
Lonoke                      3 0 33  5 1 233 132
Central Arkansas Christian  3 0 31  6 0 202 111
Southside Batesville        1 2 13  2 4 120 198   
Bald Knob                   1 2  6  3 3 144 136  
Little Rock Mills           1 2 11  2 4 146 174  
Heber Springs               0 3  0  1 5 113 220
Clinton                     0 3  0  0 6 137 285 
 
Friday, October 9
Central Arkansas Christian 35, Heber Springs 14
Little Rock Mills 46, Clinton 35
Lonoke 52, Southside Batesville 21
Stuttgart 45, Bald Knob 8

Friday, October 16
Bald Knob at Heber Springs
Central Arkansas Christian at Southside Batesville
Little Rock Mills at Lonoke
Stuttgart at Clinton

NOTES

  • Kickoff: 7 p.m. Panther Stadium
  • Admission: $5
  • 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. 

THE SERIES: Bald Knob leads 37-23-2

SERIES HISTORY: This will be the 63rd 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 nine times with the Panthers winning seven of those contests, including 34-7 last season.

Mustangs pull away late from Panthers

Heber Springs’ Diego Rubio escapes the tackle attempt of CAC’s Jackson Richmond Friday night in North Little Rock. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

NORTH LITTLE ROCK – Sometimes statistics don’t tell the entire story of a football game.

It happened when the Heber Springs Panthers lost to 2-4A Conference co-leader Central Arkansas Christian 35-14 at Mustang Mountain Friday.

CAC (3-0 conference, 6-0 overall) held a 13-yard advantage in total offense, but the Panthers (0-3 conference, 1-5 overall) averaged more per play, 5.7 to 5.6 yards. The Mustangs ran 60 plays from scrimmage to 57 for Heber Springs.

Diego Rubio became the first Panther to rush for 100 yards in a single game this season with 10 carries for 143 yards and scored one touchdown.

The passing game was effective as Heber Springs quarterback Matthew Cook completed 19-of-29 passes for 149 yards. Nathan McKee caught eight passes for 65 yards, while Jackson West had 46 yards on four receptions. CAC sacked Cook five times for a minus 24 yards.

“We had some success on offense, and the guys. executed well, but the problem was we didn’t do it for the entire game,” Heber Springs coach Todd Wood said. “We have to count on everyone to execute every play. Sometimes we were not focused on what to do mentally. That is a failure on the coaches’ part, and we need to do a better job of getting the players prepared for games.”

CAC running back Tyler Williams was a one-player show, rushing for 148 yards and scoring three touchdowns, and catching five passes for 63 yards.
Mustang quarterback Palmer Gilbrech completed 15-of-22 passes for 194 yards and one touchdown. Jackson Richmond caught four passes for 61 yards.

Wood said momentum shifted to the Mustangs late in the first half. The game was tied 7-7 before CAC scored two touchdowns for the 21-7 halftime lead.

“They were rolling down the field with No. 5 (Williams) running,” Wood said. “We had a chance to make tackles and hit him high. When you try and tackle him high, you are not going to come out well. If we could have kept it at 14-7 going into halftime, it might have been different in the second half.”

CAC took the lead after recovering a McKee fumble, who caught an 8-yard pass from Cook, fumble at the Mustang 35-yard line after it appeared the ball went out of bounds. Williams rushed on 8-of-9 plays during the drive, scoring on a 2-yard carry with 31 seconds left in the first quarter. Isaac Rine kicked the extra point for the 7-0 lead.

Heber Springs answered with a 10-play, 50-yard drive following the kickoff. McKee’s 17-yard reception and Rubio rushed for 11 yards to start the drive. Cook finished the series by scoring on a 10-yard run on fourth-and-goal. Chandler Webber kicked the extra point to tie the game at 7-7 with 9:23 left in the first half.

Heber Springs’ Jackson West

CAC regained the lead by driving 53 yards after the ensuing kickoff. Williams scored on a 2-yard carry and capped the 10-play drive with 5:10 remaining in the first half. Rine kicked the extra point for the 14-7 lead.

Heber Springs threatened to tie the score when it had a first down at the CAC 30-yard line. Four plays later, the Mustangs held on downs at the 22-yard line.

CAC needed eight plays on the 78-yard drive, with Williams scoring on a 25-yard run with 23 seconds left. Rine kicked the extra point for the 21-7 halftime lead.  

“If we had been down 14-7 going into the half, it might have been different in the second half,” Wood said. “We had the ball at the beginning of the third quarter, but we didn’t execute well.”

Heber Springs drove to the CAC 17 in the third quarter. A holding penalty moved the Panthers back as the Mustangs held on downs at the 10-yard line.

After two defensive stops, Heber Springs pulled to within a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. Cook connected on a 17-yard pass to McKee before Rubio broke into the clear, ran around a defender and scored on a 58-yard run. Webber kicked the extra point, reducing CAC’s lead to 21-14 with 8:14 left in the game.

“Diego is a warrior for the team,” Wood said. “He keeps going and going and makes things happen. Diego is only 5-feet-4, but he plays with a big heart.”

CAC regained a two-touchdown lead on an 8-play, 57-yard drive, all runs by Williams. The Mustangs had a first-and-goal at the 10-yard line, but the Heber Springs defense stiffened on the next three plays and forced fourth-and-goal at the 1.

Williams plunged into the end zone with 4:38 remaining in the game. Rine kicked the extra point, increasing CAC’s lead to 28-14.

“We needed a stop on defense,” Wood said. “We knew No. 5 would get the ball. I told the guys on fourth-and-goal they needed to get into the backfield and tackle him. He just wanted it more than we did.”

CAC’s Jake Sheehy’s 82-yard interception return wrapped up the scoring.

Heber Springs will host Bald Knob for homecoming on Friday.

Heber Springs’ Matthew Cook looks to escape a CAC defender.

GAME STATS

SCORING   
Heber Springs (1-5, 0-3)                  0   7  0  7 - 14 
Central Arkansas Christian (6-0, 3-0)     7  14  0 14 - 35 
FIRST QUARTER   
CAC, Tyler Williams 2-yard run (Isaac Rine kick), :31
SECOND QUARTER   
Heber Springs, Matthew Cook 10-yard run (Chandler Webber kick), 9:28
CAC, Williams 1-yard run (Rine Kick), 5:18
CAC, Palmer Gilbrech to Williams 25-yard pass (Rine kick), :23
FOURTH QUARTER 
Heber Springs, Diego Rubio 58-yard run (Webber kick), 8:14
CAC, Williams 1-yard run (Rine kick), 4:38
CAC, Payton Talbert 82-yard interception return (Rine kick), 1:41

TEAM STATS   
First Downs by Rush: Heber Springs 11, CAC 8
First Downs by Pass: Heber Springs 4, CAC 8
First Downs by Penalty: Heber Springs 2, CAC 2
Total First Downs: Heber Springs 17, CAC 18
Third-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 4/10, CAC 2/11
Fourth-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 2/5, CAC 4/5
Red-Zone Conversions: Heber Springs 1/2, CAC 3/4
Time of Possession: Heber Springs 23:32, CAC 24:28
Fumbles/Lost: Heber Springs 3/1, CAC 1/0
Turnovers: Heber Springs 3, CAC 0      
Points Off Turnovers: Heber Springs 0, CAC 14 
Penalties: Heber Springs 10/87, CAC 9/73
Plays/Total Offense/YPP: Heber Springs 57/325/5.7, CAC 60/338/5.6
Rushing: Heber Springs 28/176/6.3, CAC 38/144/3.8
Passing: Heber Springs 19/29-149-0/2, CAC 15/22-194-1/0
Sacks/Yards Lost: Heber Springs 1/4, CAC 5/24
Punts: Heber Springs 1/36/36, CAC 3/117/39
Inside 20: Heber Springs 0, CAC 0

INDIVIDUAL STATS   
OFFENSE     
RUSHING: Heber Springs, Diego Rubio 10/143/1, Matthew Cook 16/25/1, Nathan McKee 2/8. CAC, Tyler Williams 27/148/3, Ethan Demarco 1/4, Palmer Gilbrech 7/4, Team 3/(-12).
PASSING: Heber Springs, Matthew Cook 19/29-149-0/2. CAC, Palmer Gilbrech 15/22-194-1/0.
RECEIVING: Heber Springs, Nathan McKee 8/65, Jackson West 4/46, Easton Cusick 3/7, Isaac King 2/5, Austin Winchester 1/13, Diego Rubio 1/3. CAC, Tyler Williams 5/63/1, Jackson Richmond 4/61, Jackson Morse 2/42, Carlito London 2/8, Cauy Blevins 1/12, Jake Sheehy 1/8.
TOTAL OFFENSE: Heber Springs, Matthew Cook 174, Diego Rubio 143, Nathan McKee 8. CAC, Palmer Gilbrech 198, Tyler Williams 148, Ethan Demarco 4, Team (-12).
PUNT RETURNS: None
KICK RETURNS: Heber Springs, Jackson West 3/41, Isaac King 1/0. CAC, Carlito London 1/31, Tyler Williams 1/26.
FUMBLE RETURNS: Heber Springs, Thad Bray 1/5. CAC, Carlito London 1/(-3).   
INTERCEPTION RETURNS: CAC, Jake Sheehy 1/81/1, Palmer Gilbrech 1/38
ALL-PURPOSE YARDS: Heber Springs, Diego Rubio 146, Jackson West 87, Nathan McKee 73, Matthew Cook 25, Austin Winchester 13, Easton Cusick 7, Isaac King 5, Thad Bray 5. CAC, Tyler Williams 237, Jake Sheehy 89, Jackson Richmond 61, Jackson Morse 42, Palmer Gilbrech 42, Carlito London 36, Cauy Blevins 12, Ethan Demarco 4, 
SCORING: Heber Springs, Matthew Cook 6, Diego Rubio 6, Chandler Webber (2/2 XPA). Lonoke, Tyler Williams 24, Jake Sheehy 6, Isaac Rine 5 (5/5 XPA).
DEFENSE    
PUNTS/YARDS/AVERAGE/INSIDE THE 20: Heber Springs, Matthew Cook 1/36/36/0. CAC, Palmer Gilbrech 3/117/39/0.
SACKS/YARDS LOST: Heber Springs, Preston Roberson/Thad Bray 1/4. CAC, Jake Sheehy 2/8, Cole Shoemaker 1/6, Henry Handley 1/5, Jeremiah Wingfield 1/5 
FUMBLE RECOVERIES: CAC, Ty Bahnks
INTERCEPTIONS: CAC, Jake Sheehy, Palmer Gilbrech

Gameday: Panthers travel to Mustang Mountain

Heber Springs’ Thad Bray (58) and Trevor Weathers (75).

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

Heber Springs spent most of the week adjusting its defense.

The Panthers faced pass-oriented teams in the first five games, but that will change in Friday’s 2-4A Conference matchup against run-oriented Central Arkansas Christian at Mustang Mountain in North Little Rock. Kickoff is scheduled at 7 p.m.

Tyler Williams, who rushed for 149 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries last season against Heber Springs, leads the Mustangs’ run game with 757 yards on 116 carries and 13 touchdowns. Williams rushed for 120 yards and one touchdown in last week’s 20-14 win against Little Rock Mills.

But Williams is not the only threat. Quarterback Palmer Gilbrech has rushed for 169 yards and reached the end zone once. Gilbrech ran for 37 yards on seven carries against Mills.

“CAC has a good tailback (Williams) and a big offensive line,” Heber Springs head coach Todd Wood said. “Williams is a powerful runner and capable of bouncing to the outside. We intend to put CAC’s running game in a bad situation.”

CAC also has an effective passing game. Gilbrech, who rushed for 31 yards against Mills, has completed 62-of-96 passes for 915 yards and five touchdowns. He connected on 15-of-31 passes for 240 yards and one touchdown against Mills.

Jackson Richmond is the leading receiver with 26 catches for 535 yards and four touchdowns. Richmond caught six passes for 98 yards against Mills.

Wood said Williams and Gilbrech were talented players, but the game will be decided at the line of scrimmage.

“The battle will be on the front line,” Wood said. “We must be in the right spots and execute our coverages in the secondary. We match up well. CAC doesn’t have the speed of Lonoke or Stuttgart, but it will make up for it by playing with discipline.”

Seniors Nathan McKee and Hunter Kent, two-way starters for the Panthers, were injured against Stuttgart. Wood said both players returned to practice this week, and he expects McKee to play against CAC. Kent is listed as questionable for the game.

Matthew Cook will start at quarterback for the fourth straight game. Cook has completed 50-of-84 passes for 703 yards and seven touchdowns in the last three games.

Diego Rubio remains the starting running back, but Kenan Sneed may become more involved with the offense.

“CAC has not played a team that plays our type of offense, so we may need to adjust early in the game, depending on how the Mustangs play us,” Wood said. “CAC is strong on the defensive line and has played a 3-4 scheme. The linebackers will pressure you. We plan to try and spread the field against them.”

Wood said Dakota Farmer, who has been a starter on defense, and Jackson West will play more at receiver.

“I’m happy about how the younger guys who are picking up the pace,” Wood said. “I’ve seen a lot of growth from those players.”

Wood said containing CAC’s running game is one of the keys for success.

“We must contain him (Williams),” he said. “We need more production from the offense. Execution will be very important. If we execute, we will do well.”

2-4A STANDINGS

                            W L CP  W L PS  PA 
Stuttgart                   2 0 26  4 0 162  18 
Lonoke                      2 0 20  4 1 181 111
Central Arkansas Christian  2 0 18  5 0 167  97
Southside Batesville        1 1 13  2 3  99 146   
Bald Knob                   1 1  6  3 2 136  91  
Little Rock Mills           0 2  0  1 4 100 139  
Heber Springs               0 2  0  1 4  91 185
Clinton                     0 2  0  0 5  91 239 
 
Friday, October 2 
Central Arkansas Christian 20, Little Rock Mills 14
Stuttgart 42, Heber Springs 6
Southside Batesville 38, Clinton 21
Lonoke 13, Bald Knob 6

Friday, October 9
Heber Springs at Central Arkansas Christian
Clinton at Little Rock Mills
Southside Batesville at Lonoke
Bald Knob at Stuttgart

NOTES

  • Kickoff: 7 p.m. at Mustang Mountain, North Little Rock
  • Admission: All vouchers claimed (No tickets available to attend)
  • 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. 

THE SERIES: Series tied at 4-4

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 4A-2 conference in 2014. Since then, the Panthers have won four out of six meetings. CAC’s only conference wins against Heber Springs came in 2015 with a 48-12 win and last season, 24-6.

CONCORD CONNECTION: Central Arkansas Christian was in the same conference with Concord during its only two seasons of varsity football action (1975 and 1976). The Panthers defeated Concord, 48-12, in 1975, and 47-12 in 1976.

PALMER THE FORMER PANTHER: Central Arkansas Christian senior quarterback Palmer Gilbrech played junior high football at Heber Springs before transferring to CAC.

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

Panthers top CAC in junior high scoring fest

Heber Springs’ Dalton Yancey looks for running room against CAC Thursday night at Panther Stadium. Yancey finished the night with four receptions for 128 yards and a touchdown in the Junior Panthers, 49-26, victory over the Mustangs. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

By PHILIP SEATON

Liam Buffalo passed for more than 300 yards and Parker Brown had three touchdown receptions as Heber Springs improved to 4-1 on the season with a 49-26 victory over Central Arkansas Christian Thursday at Panther Stadium in 2-4A junior high play.

The two teams combined for 755 yards of total offense (417 for Heber Springs and 238 for CAC), but early on it was defensive stand that help put the Panthers on the scoreboard first.

After the Mustangs took the opening kickoff and drove from their own 36 to the Panther 17, Heber Springs stopped the drive on fourth down as Grayson Wilson’s pass attempt fell short for the Mustangs.

Four plays later, Buffalo connected with Dalton Yancey for a 70-yard touchdown strike. Gideon Tate kicked the PAT and Heber Springs led 7-0 with 1:30 left in the opening quarter.

After the two team traded three-and-outs, CAC took the ground on the Panther 47 and used an 11-play (all rushes), 5:39 drive, to pull within a point at 7-6 with 1:22 left in the half. The 2-point conversion failed.

Heber Springs wasn’t finished in the half as Buffalo took the snap at the buzzer rolled to his left and found Hud Haggard in the back of the end zone for the score. A Buffalo 24-yard run had set-up the score, but the key play on the drive came on the play before as Buffalo connected with Xander Lindley on a fourth-and-1 from the CAC 45 for a 13-yard completion.

The Panthers would go up 21-6 to start the second half when Buffalo connected with Brown for a 27-yard touchdown with 6:09 left in the third. But the key play on the drive came on a fourth-and-1 from the Panther 25 when Buffalo hit Yancey for a 37-yard, first-down pass completion.

That six-play drive would be the longest of the second half until the waning seconds of the game as the two teams traded scoring jabs with one exception.

Wilson would connect with Caden Rhoads for a 41-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-12 with 4:18 left in the third.

On the ensuing kick off, Lindley returned it 81 yards for the quick answer at the 4:06 mark.

Heber Springs’ Weston Warden.

A minute later, Wilson hit Renalson Sullivan for a 55-yard touchdown reception for make it 28-18 with 3:06 left in the third.

With 55.5 seconds left in the quarter, Buffalo found Brown for a 30-yard scoring play putting the Panthers up 35-18 to start the fourth.

On a fourth-and-12 from the Panther 40 on the ensuing drive, Wilson connected with Vance Strange for a 10-yard completion, but the Panthers held and four plays later Heber Springs would go up 42-18 as Buffalo again found Brown this time for a 60-yard score to make it 42-18 with 6:08 to play.

Wilson connected with Sullivan again, this time for a 35-yard touchdown pass, to make it 42-26 with 4:40 left in the contest.

Heber Springs would go the ground and pick up the final points of the game as Tate would score on a 15-yard run with 2:22 left. Tate added the PAT kick to finish the night a perfect seven-for-seven.

Buffalo , who had 344 yards of total offense, finished the night completing 15 of 25 passes for 304 yards and five touchdowns. Brown caught seven of those passes for 142 yards and three scores while Yancey had four receptions for 128 yards and a score.

For CAC, Wilson was 10 of 19 passing for 231 yards and five touchdowns. Sullivan finished with five receptions for 129 yards and three touchdowns to pace the Mustangs.

Heber Springs will look to improve to 3-1 in conference play on Thursday when the Panthers travel to Bald Knob for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

The Heber Springs offensive line looks to the sideline for the play. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

Heber Springs 7th-graders fall to CAC

Heber Springs’ Lucas Garcia carries the football against Central Arkansas Christian Thursday night at Panther Stadium. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

Kevin Williams rushed for a two touchdowns in leading Central Arkansas Christian to a 22-0 victory over Heber Springs in seventh-grade football action Thursday night at Panther Stadium.

Williams, the son of NFL Hall of Fame nominee Kevin Williams, put CAC up 6-0 with 15:32 left in the first half on a 12-yard touchdown run.

Williams’ second touchdown run of 11-yards made it 12-0 with 5:50 left in the half. Jacob Henry added the 2-point run to put the Mustangs up 14-0.

Henry would score on a 36-yard run with 53 seconds left in the first half while Williams would run in the 2-point conversion as CAC led 22-0 at the break.

Neither team would score in the second half.

With the loss, the Panther Cubs fall to 3-2 on the season and will look to rebound next week on the road at Bald Knob.

Heber Springs’ Eli Buffalo. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

Junior High Stats: Central Arkansas Christian at Heber Springs

CENTRAL ARKANSAS CHRISTIAN AT HEBER SPRINGS
Junior High Football
October 8, 2020
at Panther Stadium

CAC               0   6   6  14 - 26
Heber Springs     7   7  21  14 - 49

FIRST QUARTER
Heber Springs, Liam Buffalo to Dalton Yancey 70-yard pass (Gideon Tate kick), 1:30
SECOND QUARTER
CAC, Grayson Wilson to Renalson Sullivan 9-yard pass (pass failed), 1:22
Heber Springs, Buffalo to Hud Haggard 8-yard pass (Tate kick), :00
THIRD QUARTER
Heber Springs, Buffalo to Parker Brown 29-yard pass (Tate kick), 6:09
CAC, Wilson to Caden Rhoads 41-yard pass (pass failed), 4:18
Heber Springs, Xander Lindley 81-yard kickoff return (Tate kick), 4:06
Heber Springs, Buffalo to Brown 30-yard pass (Tate kick), 55.5
FOURTH QUARTER
CAC, Wilson to Vance Strange 40-yard pass (run failed), 7:48
Heber Springs, Buffalo to Brown 60-yard pass (Tate kick), 6:08
CAC, Wilson to Sullivan 35-yard pass (Wilson run), 4:40
Heber Springs, Tate 15-yard run (Tate kick), 2:22

TEAM STATS
First Downs by Rush: Heber Springs 7, CAC 6
First Downs by Pass: Heber Springs 8, CAC 7
First Downs by Penalty: Heber Springs 0, CAC 1
Total First Downs: Heber Springs 15, CAC 14
Penalties: Heber Springs 1/5, CAC 7/40
3rd-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 3/6, CAC 4/9
4th-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 2/3, CAC 3/4
Fumbles/Lost: Heber Springs 0/0, CAC 0/0
Sacks/Yards Lost: Heber Springs 0/0, CAC 0/0
Rush/Yards/Avg: Heber Springs 12/113/9.4, CAC 25/107/4.3
Passing (A/C-Yards-TD/Int): Heber Springs 15/25-304-5/0, CAC 10/19-231-4/0
Total Offense: Heber Springs 417, CAC 338
Punts: Heber Springs 0/0, CAC 1/19
INDIVIDUAL STATS
OFFENSE
Rushing: Heber Springs, Gideon Tate 4/49/1, Liam Buffalo 4/40,  Dalton Yancey 1/18, Weston Warden 3/9. CAC, Renalson Sullivan 7/38, Grayson Wilson 10/27, Caleb Cook 4/24, Vance Strange 2/10, Hayes Miller 1/5, Gus McConnell 1/3.
Passing: Heber Springs, Liam Buffalo 15/25-304-5/0. CAC, Grayson Wilson 10/19-231-4/0
Receiving: Heber Springs, Parker Brown 7/142/3, Dalton Yancey 4/128/1, Weston Warden 2/13, Xander Lindley 1/13, Hud Haggard 1/8/1. CAC, Renalson Sullivan 5/129/2, Vance Strange 2/32/1, Caden Rhoads 1/41/1, Jake Overstreet 1/15, Hayes Miller 1/14
Kickoff Returns: Heber Springs, Xander Lindley 1/81/1, Parker Brown 1/13, Corbin Jones 1/0. CAC, Vance Strange 3/55, Renalson Sullivan 1/17, Hayes Miller 1/6, Jake Overstreet 1/6.
Interceptions: None
Total Offense: Heber Springs, Liam Buffalo 344, Gideon Tate 49, Dalton Yancey 18, Weston Warden 9. CAC, Grayson Wilson 258, Renalson Sullivan 38, Caleb Cook 24, Vance Strange 10, Hayes Miller 5, Gus McConnell 3.
All-Purpose Yards: Heber Springs, Parker Brown 155, Dalton Yancey 146, Xander Lindley 94, Gideon Tate 49, Liam Buffalo 40, Weston Warden 22, Hud Haggard 8. CAC, Renalson Sullivan 184, Vance Strange 97, Caden Rhoads 41, Grayson Wilson 27, Hayes Miller 25, Caleb Cook 24, Jake Overstreet 21, Gus McConnell 3.
DEFENSE
SACKS/YARDS LOST: None
PUNTS: CAC, Renalson Sullivan 1/19
KICKING: Heber Springs, Gideon Tate (7/7 XP)

Panther PostGame

Heber Springs falls to CAC, 24-6, in 4A-2 contest

Heber Springs’ Landon Johnson looks to make a tackle against CAC. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

October 11, 2019

Heber Springs struck first, but didn’t have an answer for Central Arkansas Christian’s Wildcat formation in a 24-6 setback at Panther Stadium.

Both teams were unable to do anything offensively on their first possessions of the contest as Adam Martin’s 55-yard punt was downed at the CAC 1 by Nathan McKee. The Mustangs did manage to pick up a first down before Kaden Hughes brought down CAC quarterback Palmer Gilbrech for the first of his two sacks on the night of the Mustang signal-caller.

After a 34-yard punt, Heber Springs (1-2 in the 4A-2) took over near midfield. A false start penalty, one of 13 on the night for the Panthers, forced a third and long for Heber Springs. Julio Rubio for the Panthers ripped off three consecutive runs that lead to the Heber Springs’ only score of the night with a 30-yard jaunt by the senior. The PAT kick was no-good with 1:42 to play in the first quarter.

The Mustangs responded on their next possession with a 10-play, 67-yard drive to take a 7-6 lead with 9:03 to play in the first half. The big play on the drive came on a fourth-and-2 from the Mustang 41 when Gentry Miller picked up 12 yards to keep the drive going. Tyler Williams capped it off with a 3-yard run six plays later.

Heber Springs wouldn’t threaten again in the contest until the game was out of reach in the fourth quarter and interception on the games final play sealed the win for the Mustangs.

Heber Springs managed to reach Gilbrech four times on the night for sacks before he was replaced by Williams who lined-up in the Wildcat package and rushed 26 times for 139 yards, the majority of those coming in the second half when CAC exclusively used the formation. Miller also broke the century mark for the Mustangs, running for 141 yards on 13 attempts.

SCORING

CAC (1-2, 3-3)                0   7   7  10  - 24   
Heber Springs (1-2, 1-5)      6   0   0   0  -  6   

FIRST QUARTER   
Heber Springs - Julio Rubio 30-yard run (kick failed), 1:42 
SECOND QUARTER   
CAC - Tyler Williams 3-yard run (Eli Jenkins kick), 9:03
THIRD QUARTER   
CAC - Tyler Williams 1-yard run (Eli Jenkins kick), 1:42  
FOURTH QUARTER  
CAC - Eli Garrison 26-yard field goal, 10:06
CAC - Gentry Miller 11-yard run (Eli Jenkins kick), 2:21 

TEAM STATS

First Downs by Rush: Heber Springs 6, CAC 11  
First Downs by Pass: Heber Springs 9, CAC 1  
First Downs by Penalty: Heber Springs 4, CAC 0  
Total First Downs: Heber Springs 19, CAC 12  
Third-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 4/12, CAC 2/12  
Fourth-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 0/2, CAC 3/4  
Red-Zone Possessions: Heber Springs 0/2, CAC 4/4    
Time of Possession: Heber Springs 21:17, CAC 26:43 
Fumbles/Lost: Heber Springs 2/1, CAC 1/0   
Turnovers: Heber Springs 2, CAC 0   
Points Off Turnovers: Heber Springs 0, CAC 0    
Penalties/Yards: Heber Springs 13/100, CAC 11/105   
Plays/Total Offense/YPP: Heber Springs 63/257/4.1, CAC 57/300/5.3  
Rushing: Heber Springs 31/108/3.5, CAC 49/262/5.4  
Passing: Heber Springs 17/32-149-0/1, CAC 6/8-38-0/0   
Sacks/Yards Lost: Heber Springs 4/21, CAC 2/11 
Punts: Heber Springs 7/316/45.1, CAC 6/254/42.3   
Punts Inside 20: Heber Springs 3, CAC 3  

INDIVIDUAL STATS

OFFENSE RUSHING: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio 13/73/5.6, Adam Martin 12/10/.8, Landon Johnson 6/25/4.2. CAC, Tyler Williams 26/139/5.4, Gentry Miller 13/141/10.8, Palmer Gilbrech 5/(-16)/(-3.2), Eli Jenkins 3/5/1.7, Carlito London 1/(-2), Team 1/(-5).    
RUSHING RUNS OF 50+: CAC, Gentry Miller (1)
RUSHING RUNS OF 40+: CAC, Gentry Miller (1)
RUSHING RUNS OF 30+: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio (1). CAC, Gentry Miller (1).  
RUSHING RUNS OF 20+: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio (1). CAC, Gentry Miller (1).
RUSHING RUNS OF 10+: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio (2). CAC, Gentry Miller (4), Tyler Williams (4).
PASSING: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 17/32-149-0/1. CAC, Palmer Gilbrech 6/8-38-0/0, Tyler Williams 0/2-0-0/0 
RECEIVING: Heber Springs, Tri Johnson 7/48, Landon Johnson 3/30, Fate Berry 2/26, Matthew Cook 2/7, Julio Rubio 1/18, Hunter Kent 1/14. CAC, Tyler Williams 3/5, Eli Garrison 2/15, Eli Jenkins 1/18.   
TOTAL OFFENSE: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 155, Julio Rubio 73, Landon Johnson 25. CAC, Gentry Miller 141, Tyler Williams 139, Palmer Gilbrech 22, Eli Jenkins 5, Carlito London (-2), Team (-5).
PUNT RETURNS: Heber Springs, Nathan McKee 1/(-2). CAC, Gentry Miller 1/11. 
KICK RETURNS: Heber Springs, Tri Johnson 2/45. CAC, Carlito London 2/33
FUMBLE RETURNS: None   
INTERCEPTION RETURNS: CAC, Carlito London 1/65 
ALL-PURPOSE YARDS: Heber Springs, Tri Johnson 93, Julio Rubio 91, Landon Johnson 55, Fate Berry 26, Hunter Kent 14, Adam Martin 10, Matthew Cook 7, Nathan McKee (-2). CAC, Gentry Miller 152, Tyler Williams 144, Carlito London 96, Eli Jenkins 23, Eli Garrison 15, Team (-5), Palmer Gilbrech (-16).
DEFENSE TACKLES (Shared/Solo/Total): Heber Springs, Landon Johnson 6/7/13, Diego Rubio 7/2/9, Fate Berry 4/3/7, Kaden Hughes 4/3/7, Nathan McKee 3/2/5, Lawrence Baureis 5/0/5, Matthew Cook 4/1/5, Hunter Kent 3/1/4, Tri Johnson 3/0/3, Nicholas Hitchcock 1/2/3, Levy Phillips 1/1/2, Jackson Harrod 0/1/1, Harley Hannah 0/1/1.
TACKLES FOR LOSS: Heber Springs, Fate Berry 2, Nicholas Hitchcock 2, Kaden Hughes 2, Landon Johnson 1, Diego Rubio 1, Lawrence Bauries 1. 
SACKS/YARDS LOST: Heber Springs, Kaden Hughes 2/10, Fate Berry 1/7, Tri Johnson .5/4, Nicholas Hitchcock .5/4. CAC, Rhett James 1/7, Drew Donaghy 1/2 
INTERCEPTIONS: CAC, Carlito London (1).
PUNTING: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 7/316/45.1, Eli Garrison 6/254/42.3  
PUNTS INSIDE 20: Heber Springs, Adam Martin (3). CAC, Eli Garrison (3).   

Panther GameDay

Heber Springs hosts CAC looking to stay in 4A-2 race

  • 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 win at Mustang Mountain

LAST WEEK

Landon Johnson carries the ball in the second half against the Ricebirds. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

Heber Springs claims win at Stuttgart

4A-2 CONFERENCE STANDINGS

                            W L CP  W L PS  PA  
Riverview                   2 0 23  4 1 168 124  
Lonoke                      2 0 15  3 2 176 171   
Southside Batesville        1 1 13  3 2 151 136    
Bald Knob                   1 1  7  1 4  78 151   
Little Rock Mills           1 1  3  2 3 104 126   
Heber Springs               1 1  1  1 4 137 172 
Central Arkansas Christian  0 2  0  2 3 163 160   
Stuttgart                   0 2  0  0 5 125 189  
Friday, October 4  
Heber Springs 28, Stuttgart 27 
Lonoke 38, Bald Knob 36 
Riverview 35, Southside Batesville 7  
Little Rock Mills 38, Central Arkansas Christian 35  
Friday, October 11  
Central Arkansas Christian at Heber Springs  
Stuttgart at Bald Knob 
Lonoke at Southside Batesville  
Little Rock Mills at Riverview 

HEBER SPRINGS COACH WILL COX

GAME NOTES

THE SERIES: Heber Springs leads, 4-3.

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 4A-2 conference in 2014. Since then, the Panthers have won four out of five meetings. CAC’s only conference win against Heber Springs came in 2015 with a 48-12 win.

CONCORD CONNECTION: Central Arkansas Christian was in the same conference with Concord during its only two seasons of varsity football action (1975 and 1976). The Panthers defeated Concord, 48-12, in 1975, and 47-12 in 1976.

PALMER THE FORMER PANTHER: Central Arkansas Christian junior quarterback Palmer Gildbrech played junior high football at Heber Springs before transferring to CAC.

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

PLAYOFF SEEDINGS: The top two seeds out of the conference are paired with the 4A-8 conference (Crossett, DeWitt, Dumas, Hamburg, Helena-West Helena Central, Monticello, Star City and Warren) while the conference’s lower three seeds are paired with the 4A-1 conference (Shiloh Christian, Berryville, Gravette, Gentry, Green Forest, Lincoln, Pea Ridge and Prairie Grove). The No. 1 seed out of the 4A-2 hosts the No. 5 seed out of the 4A-8. The No. 2 seed hosts the No. 4 seed out of the 4A-8. The No. 3 seed hosts the No. 3 out of the 4A-1. The No. 4 seed travels to the No. 2 seed out of the 4A-1, while the No. 5 seed travels to No. 1 seed out of the 4A-1.

SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: TRENT BARNES

SEASON STATS

Heber Springs 35 34 13 55 - 137 (27.4) 
Opponent      25 49 55 43 - 172 (34.4) 

TEAM 
First Downs by Rush: Heber Springs 59, Opponent 43 
First Downs by Pass: Heber Springs 28, Opponent 42 
First Downs by Penalty: Heber Springs 2, Opponent 6 
Total First Downs: Heber Springs 89, Opponent 92 
Third-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 32/66 (48.5), Opponent 18/50 (36) 
Fourth-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 10/20 (50), Opponent 5 /9 (55.6) 
Red-Zone Conversions: Heber Springs 11/14 (11 tds), Opponent 16/19 (15 tds, 1FG) 
Fumbles/Lost: Heber Springs 8/6, Opponent 8/2 
Turnovers: Heber Springs 12, Opponent 5 
Points Off Turnovers: Heber Springs 13, Opponent 28
Penalties/Yards: Heber Springs 41/290, Opponent 31/261
Plays/Total Offense/YPP: Heber Springs 318/1971/6.2, Opponent 288/1713/5.9 
Rushing: Heber Springs 226/1219/5.4, Opponent 175/757/4.3
Rushing Per Game: Heber Springs 243.8, Opponent 151.4 
Passing: Heber Springs 50/91-751-5/5, Opponent 75/125-956-12/3 Passing Per Game: Heber Springs 150.2, Opponent 191.2 Sacks/Yards Lost: Heber Springs 15/86, Opponent 7/33 
Punts: Heber Springs 12/459/38.3, Opponent 17/574/33.8 

INDIVIDUAL 

OFFENSE 
RUSHING (ATT/YARDS/PER ATTEMPT/PER GAME/TDS): Adam Martin 101/531/5.4/106.2/3, Julio Rubio 97/478/4.9/95.6/9, Landon Johnson 28/150/5.4/30/3, Nathan McKee 1/6/6/1.2/0, Tri Johnson 1/(-2)/(-2)/(-.5)/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 2 
RUNS OF 20+: Adam Martin 6, Julio Rubio 4, Landon Johnson 1
RUNS OF 10+: Adam Martin 17, Julio Rubio 12, Landon Johnson 4 
100-YARD RUSHING GAMES: Adam Martin 3, Julio Rubio 2 
PASSING (ATT/COMP-YARDS-TDS/INT): Adam Martin 50/91-751-5/5  
250-YARD PASSING GAMES: Adam Martin 1 
RECEIVING (REC/YARDS/PER CATCH/TDS): Julio Rubio 10/121/12.1, Matthew Cook 10/141/14.1, Nathan McKee 10/133/13.3/2, Fate Berry 8/115/14.4/1, Hunter Kent 4/32/8, Tri Johnson 4/150/37.5/2, Landon Johnson 4/49/12.3 
100-YARD RECEIVING GAMES: Tri Johnson 1, Julio Rubio 1 
TOTAL OFFENSE (OFFENSE/PER GAME): Adam Martin 1282/256.4, Julio Rubio 478/95.6, Landon Johnson 150/30, Nathan McKee 6/1.2, Tri Johnson (-2)/(.5) 
KICKOFF RETURNS:  Tri Johnson 6/125/20.8, Matthew Cook 4/62/15.5, Hunter Kent 3/46/15.3, Julio Rubio 3/44/14.7, Levy Phillips 2/14/7,  Jackson West 2/11, Nathan McKee 1/11/11, Diego Rubio 1/13/13, Lawrence Baureis 1/10, Harley Bresnahan 1/ 6, Tristan  Thissen 1/0. 
PUNT RETURNS: Nathan McKee 2/14, Tri Johnson 1/(-3) 
INTERCEPTION RETURNS: Nathan McKee 1/10, Dalton McCollum 1/4, Fate Berry 1/2 
FUMBLE RETURNS: None 
ALL-PURPOSE YARDS (YARDS/PER GAME): Julio Rubio 643/128.6, Adam Martin 541/108.2, Tri Johnson 270/67.5, Matthew Cook 203/40.6, Landon Johnson 199/39.8,  Nathan McKee 174/34.8, Fate Berry 117/23.4, Hunter Kent 78/15.6, Levy Phillips 14/2.8, Diego Rubio 13/2.6, Jackson West 11/2.2, Lawrence Baureis 10/2, Harley Bresnahan 6/1.2, Dalton McCollum 4/.7,  
DEFENSE 
TACKLES (ASST/SOLO/TOTAL): Fate Berry 39/15/54, Landon Johnson 23/12/35, Lawrence Baureis 12/9/21, Hunter Kent 12/8/20, Kaden Hughes 13/6/19, Matthew Cook 15/4/19, Levy Phillips 10/7/17,  Diego Rubio 12/4/16,Nathan McKee 8/5/13, Tri Johnson 6/5/11, Harley Bresnhan 6/3/9, Dalton McCollum 4/4/8, Jackson West 6/2/8, Julio Rubio 6/1/7, Nicholas Hitchcock 4/0/4, Preston Jones 1/2/3, Tristan Thissen 1/2/3, Trent Barnes 1/1/2, Devon Doxey 2/0/2, Jackson Harrod 1/0/1, Spencer Evans 1/0/1, Harley Hannah 1/0/1, Gus Hannah 1/0/1. 
TACKLES FOR LOSS: Landon Johnson 10.5, Fate Berry 9, Kaden Hughes 4.5, Lawrence Baureis 2, Levy Phillips 2, Tri Johnson 1, Nicholas Hitchcock, Harley Bresnahan 1. 
SACKS/YARDS LOST: Levy Phillips 1/ 5, Kaden Hughes 2/14, Harley Bresnahan 1/ 4, Tri Johnson 2/ 18, Fate Berry 3/21, Diego Rubio 1/5, Julio Rubio .5/9, Landon Johnson .5/3, Matthew Cook .5/3.
INTERCEPTIONS: Dalton McCollum 1, Nathan McKee 1, Fate Berry 1 
FUMBLE RECOVERIES: Nathan McKee 1, Landon Johnson 1 
PUNTING (No./Yards/Avg./Inside20): Adam Martin 12/459/38.3/2 SCORING: Julio Rubio 66 (11 tds),  Adam Martin 18 (3 td), Landon Johnson 18 (3 tds), Jackson Harrod 17 (17-18 PAT), Tri Johnson 12 (2 td), Nathan McKee 12 (2 td), Fate Berry 6 (1 td)

SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: JACKSON HARROD

MARKEDTIME.COM PLAYERS OF WEEK

WEEK vs. STUTTGART

OFFENSE – Adam Martin. DEFENSE – Nathan McKee

WEEK 4 vs. LONOKE

OFFENSE – Fate Berry. DEFENSE – Landon Johnson

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 senior running back Julio Rubio.

JUNIOR PANTHERS

The Heber Springs junior high football team claimed its first win of the season with a 22-12 victory over Central Arkansas Christian Thursday night at Mustang Mountain in North Little Rock. The Panthers set at 1-4 on the season.

SEVENTH-GRADE PANTHERS

The Heber Springs seventh-grade team fell to 3-2 on the year with a 30-0 setback to CAC on Thursday.

PANTHER SPORTS THIS WEEK

  • Saturday, October 12 – Cross Country at Bryant
  • Tuesday, October 15 – Volleyball vs. Dover, 4:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 17 – Volleyball vs. Lonoke, 4:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 17 – 7th-Grade Football vs. Bald Knob, 5:30
  • Thursday, October 17 – Junior Football vs. Bald Knob, 7 p.m.

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Panthers run free on Mustang Mountain, crush CAC

October 5, 2018

By PHILIP SEATON

NORTH LITTLE ROCK – Heber Springs scored 42 unanswered points and cruised to 52-21 victory over Central Arkansas Christian in 4A-2 conference play Friday.

The Panthers trailed 14-10 with just over four minutes to play in the first half before junior quarterback Adam Martin connected with senior Rocky Finney for a 39-yard touchdown pass to put the Panthers up, 17-14. Heber Springs (2-4, 2-1 in the 4A-2) added another touchdown late in the first half and then scored on it’s four possessions of the second half to claim the win.

The 52 points were the most scored by a Panther team since Sept. 16, 2016, when Heber Springs defeated Stuttgart, 56-29.

Senior Blaze Nelson paced the Panthers with 180 yards rushing and four touchdowns as Heber Springs finished the night with 326 yards on the ground as team.

“I wouldn’t want to run behind any other line,” Nelson said. “They were great all night with the blocks.”

Coming into the contest, Heber Springs coach Darren Gowen, who improved to 3-1 as head coach against CAC, said he wanted to take away the Mustang running attack and make them one dimensional. 

CAC (3-3, 2-1) finished with 153 yards on the ground, with a majority of those yards coming on a fourth-quarter, 58-yard touchdown run by CAC’s Krishaun Watson.

“Their run game turned into screens (passes),” Gowen said. “So we did a pretty good job there. We knew if we kept forcing them have to make plays, we would have chances (at interceptions).” 

The Panther defense did take advantage of those chances as Finney picked off two Palmer Gilbrech pass attempts while Fate Berry added another interception.

“Those were big plays for us,” Gowen said.

Each interception led to a Panther touchdown with Finney’s first pick coming late in the first half with the Mustangs driving into Panther territory. After a 55-yard return, Nelson would run the ball into the end zone a few plays to put Heber Springs up 24-14 at the half.

The Panthers also picked up three CAC fumbles to finish the game with a season-high six takeaways.

Heber Springs returns to Panther Stadium at 7 p.m. Friday for Homecoming. The Panthers will face Bald Knob (3-3, 1-2), a 35-0 loser to Stuttgart last week.

QUICK START

The first of the six CAC turnovers came on the Mustangs first play from scrimmage as Dalton Hall stripped Watson of the football after a 10-yard run and Nelson pounced on it to give Heber Springs possession at the Mustang 48.

The Panthers first drive appeared to stall at the 41, but on fourth-and-3, Martin found Finney all alone for a 38-yard completion. 

“We saw some stuff (on film that) they were doing that we thought we could take advantage of,” Gowen said. “Rocky ran a great route, Adam found him and that got us down there. Then we scored.”

That score would come on the next play as Nelson punched it in from three yards out to put Heber Springs up, 7-0, after the Julian Cameron PAT, with 9:39 to play in the first quarter.

“I told our kids we have got to start early,” Gowen said. “We haven’t started early yet (all season).

“We come out and get a turnover on the first play, and offensively we haven’t clicked on the first drive all season, then we had to have a big play on fourth down.”

FORMER JUNIOR PANTHER 

Last season, Palmer Gilbrech was quarterbacking the Heber Springs Junior High team, but the sophomore transferred to CAC over the summer and he would lead his new team downfield on a 10-play, 74-yard drive to tie things up 7-7 with 5:10 left in the first quarter.

After connecting with Gentry Miller on a 31-yard completion to push the ball into Panther territory, CAC faced a fourth-and-9 when Finney broke up the third-down pass attempt by Gilbrech. But the sophomore used his legs for an 11-yard, first-down run, and three plays later connected with Brock Hendrix for a 19-yard score.

CHANGE OF FOOTBALLS

Neither team could hold onto the football to close out the first quarter.

Heber Springs went first. After a Hall 21-yard run had moved the ball to the CAC 38 at the 4:38 mark, the Panthers coughed it up on the next play.

Three plays later, the Mustangs would return the favor when Julio Rubio would fall on a loose football at the CAC 43 with 3:41 left in the first.

On the Panthers first play of the possession, they would again lose control of the pigskin as the Mustangs recovered it on their own 44.

After a 33-yard Gilbrech to Crews pass put the Mustangs deep in Panther territory, Nelson would recover the football for Heber Springs at the CAC 14 with 1:31 showing on the first quarter clock.

“Blaze continued to have a good night after I changed the footballs out,” Gowen said jokingly after the game. “I had slick footballs in there for those two possessions. That was my fault. I must have gave them the wrong footballs. 

“We changed that and got some sandpaper balls out.”

OLE, OLE, OLE

A large contingent of Heber Springs students made the trip to North Little Rock on Friday to follow the Panthers.

During the season, the group has used the popular soccer chant, “Ole, Ole, Ole,” to cheer on kicker Julian Cameron, who is also a member of the Panther soccer team, whenever he gets a chance to get kick.

On Heber Springs’ next possession, the students got their chance.

Nelson gained 26 yards on four carries to move the ball to the Panther 44.

Martin then connected with Hall for a 38-yard completion before the Heber Springs drive fizzled out at the Mustang 21.

Cameron came on and booted the 38-yarder through the uprights to give the Panthers a 10-7 advantage with 10:38 to play before the half.

“It’s always great to have that in your backpocket when you get inside the 30- to 25-yard line,” Gowen said. “I don’t want to settle for field goals often, but that puts us up right there.”

FOURTH-DOWN CONVERSIONS

The Mustangs responded with an 11-play, 70-yard drive to go up 17-14 with 6:54 to play in the half as Gilbrech connected with Miller for a 14-yard touchdown pass. The big play on the drive came when Gilbrech found Crews for a 24-yard, first-down pass completion on a fourth-and-6 play from the Panther 38.

Heber Springs’ did likewise on its next possession. Facing a fourth-and-2 from the Mustang 46, Nelson carried for seven yards before Martin found Finney for the 39-yard touchdown pass on the next play to put the Panthers up 17-14 with 4:06 to play in the second quarter.

The Panthers wouldn’t trail again.

PUSHING AND SHOVING

The Mustangs appeared ready to have an answer to Heber Springs’ score as they moved the ball into Panther territory.

But Finney stepped in front of a Gilbrech pass at the Panther 22 and raced to the Mustang 28 before things got a little touchy.

Both teams were flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the play continued on the Mustang sidelines as Fate Berry continued his block on the return. Those penalties offset each other, but the Mustangs were flagged an additional 15 yards after a player allegedly said something to an official.

“We had a big turnover there,” Gowen said. “Rocky steps in front of one, and Fate’s doing a great job blocking a kid (on the return). He kinda off blocks him over to the track and the kid didn’t like it.

“You never know with young kids, but Fate did a good job of keeping his cool. I just pulled him away just to let him know that we needed him stay in the game, and that we needed him next week too.”

A player ejection would have carried over to the next week.

That series of events seemed to fire-up the Panthers.

After an officials inadvertent whistle cost Nelson a nice gain on the first play from scrimmage, Martin connected with Finney to move the ball to the 2. Nelson would score on the next play to put Heber Springs up, 24-14 with 49 seconds left in the half.

SECOND-HALF STRONG

At halftime, Gowen told his team that they needed to “impose our will” on the first drive.

“We had a 10-point lead, and we could put a lot of pressure on them if we go down there and score,” he said. “If we go down and have a drive to stall or turn it over, then they go score then it’s a ballgame.”

Evidently the players were listening to their coach as the Panthers took to the ground.

Nelson picked up 17 on two carries to move the ball to the Panther 37. After a seven-yard run by Martin, Hall gained 27 to push it the Mustang 29 before Nelson would finish off the drive with a 29-yard run to put Heber Springs in control, 31-14, with 10:18 to play in the third quarter.

“We had a full house backfield with him,” Gowen said of Nelson. “He showed his speed, ran down the sideline and scored. He’s a special dude.”

ONE MORE CARRY

Nelson needs 71 more yards to top the thousand-yard rushing mark for the season, and if the football field had been longer Friday night, he might have gotten all of that on his last rushing attempt of the night.

After the Panther defense had forced the Mustangs to turn the ball over on downs with 7:24 left in the quarter at the Panther 35, Nelson ran to the left, made a defender miss, spun past two more defenders and then raced 65 yards to put Heber Springs up 38-14 at the 7:11 mark of the third.

“We were thinking we could come out and hit ‘em in the mouth,” Nelson said. “At that point, you could tell they were down on each other, they were tired and wore out.

“We just kept going.”

RUBIO TIME

After Berry picked-off a Gilbrech pass at the Panther 35, Martin found Nelson for a 13-yard gain on a screen pass before Hall carried two more times to move the ball to the Mustang 35.

From there, Julio Rubio got a chance to carry the football and five plays later he found paydirt for his first touchdown of the season on a 14-yard run with 1:22 to go in the third. Heber Springs led 45-14 at the point.

ONE-MORE PICK

Rocky Finney was not done. 

On the Mustangs’ ensuing possession, the senior stepped in front the Gilbrech pass attempt at the Panther 14 and raced 61 yards to put the ball deep in CAC territory at the 25.

“I just watched the quarterback,” Finney said. “I seen my guy in front of me, so I just focused on where he was and placed myself in the perfect position.”

Five plays later, sophomore Nicholas Hitchcock scored his first touchdown of his senior high career with a 3-yard run to make it 52-14 with 9:02 to play and invoking the Arkansas Activities Association 35-point mercy-rule, which meant a continuous running clock the rest of the contest. 

Senior Seth Dickeson connected on his first PAT kick of the season.

BIG NUMBERS

Heber Springs finished with 469 yards of total offense on the night as neither team attempted a punt.

Rocky Finney had 207 all-purpose yards on the night while Blaze Nelson finished with 192 yards of total offense.

“I haven’t been matching the intensity of my teammate, Blaze,” Finney said, “so I wanted to step up and contribute to the team as he does.”

Dalton Hall also finished over the century mark with 102 yards of total offense.

BY THE NUMBERS

TEAM

First Downs: Heber Springs 20, CAC 21

Third-Downs: Heber Springs 2-5, CAC 4-9

Fourth-Downs: Heber Springs 2-2, CAC 2-4

Rushing Att.-Yards-Avg: Heber Springs 41-326-8, CAC 26-153-5.9

Passing Att.-Comp-Yards-Int: Heber Springs 6-9-143-0, CAC 20-32-247-3

Total Offense: Heber Springs 469, CAC 393

Sacks-Yards: Heber Springs 1-7, CAC 0-0

Penalties-Yards: Heber Springs 9-65, CAC 5-50

Fumbles-Lost: Heber Springs 4-2, CAC 3-3

Punts-Avg.: Heber Springs 0-0, CAC 0-0

INDIVIDUAL

Rushing: Heber Springs, Blaze Nelson 18-180-4, Julio Rubio 9-67-1, Dalton Hall 6-65, Nicholas Hitchcock 3-15-1, Adam Martin 3-7, Team 2-(-8). CAC, Krishaun Watson 11-108-1, Blake Smith 9-25-1, Palmer Gilbrech 6-20.

Passing: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 6-9 143 1-0. CAC, Palmer Gilbrech 20-31 247 1-3, Eli Garrison 0-1 0 0-0.

Receiving: Heber Springs, Rocky Finney 3-94-1, Dalton Hall 2-37, Blaze Nelson 1-12. CAC, Brock Hendrix 5-75-1, Seth Crews 5-72, Gentry Miller 4-48, Krishaun Watson 2-11, Garrett Overstreet 1-17, Eli Jenkins 1-14, Eli Garrison 1-8, Blake Smith 1-2.

Heber Springs’ Julian Cameron sets state PAT record

November 16, 2018

Heber Springs senior Julian Cameron, front center, gets ready to sign his letter-of-intent to play college football for Arkansas Tech University on April 5, 2019, at the Panther Den in Heber Springs. Pictured, front, Julian’s parents, Amanda and Michael Cameron. Back row, from left, Heber Springs assistant football coach and head soccer coach Jay Bishop and Heber Springs head football coach Darren Gowen. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

Heber Springs senior kicker Julian Cameron closed out his high school career by kicking 100 consecutive Point After Touchdowns without a miss.

He finished his Sophomore season by hitting 11 straight, and was a perfect 40 of 40 his junior year and a perfect 36 of 36 this season. He finished his senior campaign hitting a perfect 49 out of 49.

On October 12, against Bald Knob at Panther Stadium, Julian tied and then broke the state record of 75 consecutive without a miss. The previous state record belonged to Springdale’s Alex Tejada, who connected on 75 straight without a miss during the 2004 and 2005 seasons. North Little Rock’s Savanna Milton followed that with 68 straight.

Cameron’s career on Extra Points: 128 of 132 (97 percent)
Cameron’s only kicked miss was on Sept. 23, 2016, at Lonoke
Cameron’s PAT kicks were blocked twice against Baptist Prep on Oct. 14, 2016, and once the next week on Oct. 21, 2016, at Southside Batesville.

(Note: Blocked kicks are scored as missed PAT kicks. Source for Tejada’s information the Arkansas Activities Association 2018-2019 Record Book and the Springdale Morning News. Source for Milton’s information, the Arkansas Activities Association 2018-2019 Record Book)

Heber Springs senior Julian Cameron waits for holder Adam Martin to get the ball to attempt an extra point against Pocahontas on November 9 in a 4A state playoff game at Heber Springs. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

State Records

  • Most Consecutive Extra Points Made Without A Miss (Career)
  • Extra-Point Percentage (Season) – 2017 (40 out of 40) (Tied)
  • Extra-Point Percentage (Season) – 2108 (49 out of 49) (Tied)

Also

  • Extra-Point Percentage (Career) – 4th in State History (128 of 137) (97 percent)
  • Extra Points Made (Game) – 2016 against Stuttgart – 8 (5th most)

Julian Cameron PAT KICKS

2018

  • August 31 at Clinton (4/4)
  • September 7 vs. Greenbrier (1/1)
  • September 14 at Harding Academy (3/3)
  • September 21 at Lonoke (4/4)
  • September 28 vs. Stuttgart (3/3)
  • October 5 at Central Arkansas Christian (6/6)
  • October 12 vs. Bald Knob (6/6)
  • October 19 at Southside Batesville (3/3)
  • October 26 at Riverview (6/6)
  • November 2 vs. Little Rock Mills (5/5)
  • November 9 vs. Pocahontas (4/4)
  • November 16 at Rivercrest (4/4)
  • Season: 49 out of 49 (100 percent)

2017

  • September 1 vs. Clinton (2/2)
  • September 8 at Greenbrier (3/3)
  • September 15 vs. Harding Academy (5/5)
  • September 22 vs. Lonoke (5/5)
  • September 29 at Stuttgart (1/1)
  • October 6 vs. Central Arkansas Christian (4/4)
  • October 13 at Baptist Prep (5/5)
  • October 20 vs. Southside Batesville (2/2)
  • October 27 vs. Riverview (2/2)
  • November 3 at Helena-W. Helena Central (3/3)
  • November 10 at Gravette (7/7)
  • November 17 at Gosnell (1/1)
  • Season: 40 out of 40 (100 percent)

2016

  • September 2 at Clinton (2/2)
  • September 9 vs. Greenbrier (5/5)
  • September 16 at Harding Academy (0/0)
  • September 23 at Lonoke (4/5) #
  • September 30 vs. Stuttgart (8/8)
  • October 7 at Central Arkansas Christian (5/5)
  • October 14 vs. Baptist Prep (2/4) *
  • October 21 at Southside Batesville (2/3) ^
  • October 28 at Riverview (6/6)
  • November 4 vs. Helena-WH Central (4/4)
  • Novmber 18 vs. Shiloh Christian (1/1)
  • Season: 39 out of 43 (90.7 percent)

# – Missed Kick

* – Made First Attempt, second and third attempts blocked

^ – Third attempt blocked, last miss of career