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


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.


Heber Springs (1-5, 0-3)                  0   7  0  7 - 14 
Central Arkansas Christian (6-0, 3-0)     7  14  0 14 - 35 
CAC, Tyler Williams 2-yard run (Isaac Rine kick), :31
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
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

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

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).
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).
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 
INTERCEPTIONS: CAC, Jake Sheehy, Palmer Gilbrech

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.


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

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


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  


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
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).