Quitman seniors ready to carry team to title

Quitman senior Carson Rackley goes up for a shot against Earle in 2A semifinal action on Saturday. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

March 9, 2020

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

QUITMAN – Four Quitman seniors joined teammates on the practice floor at the Bulldog Complex Monday in preparation for Thursday’s Class 2A girls’ basketball tournament championship game.

The Lady Bulldogs (30-3) earned their third appearance during the past four years in the state final.

Quitman, which defeated Earle in the Saturday’s semifinals, will play at 6 p.m. Thursday against defending state champion Melbourne (33-2) at the Hot Springs Convention Center.

The four senior starters — Autumn Johnson, Halle Bennett, Carson Rackley and Lucy Holland — watched the 2017 championship when the Lady Bulldogs defeated Hector. Quitman lost to Earle in the 2018 championship game.

The senior players recalled those games, but they said the focus will be on Melbourne.

“We were on the 2017 team, but this will be a different experience,” Johnson said. “We want to win a title for the team by playing. I’m proud how far the team has come this season. We are focused and ready to play.”

Johnson said doubts remained throughout the season up to the state tournament if Quitman would reach the championship game again. She said one of the team’s goals was to prove that it could.

Quitman senior Autumn Johnson looks to get past her defender in 2A Semifinal action on Saturday in Quitman. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

“We proved that we could get back to the championship game and that was something big to this team,” Johnson said. “We made the 2017 starters work hard in practice. The older players made us work hard, too. The seniors played together since the third grade, and we have amazing team chemistry.”

Holland said the Lady Bulldogs won three tough games last week, but the goal is to win one more game.

“We have three days to get ready,” she said. “We know what we need to do. Some people thought we might not make it, but our coach (Tim Hooten) believed in us and players believed in each other.”

Holland said previous championship experience will help, but Thursday’s game will be different.  

“The experience will help us because we know what it is like to win it and know how it feels not to win,” Holland said. “The nerves will still be there, but we know what it will take to win.”

Rackley, like the other three seniors, realizes win or lose Thursday’s game will be the final time to step on the court together.

“Most seniors don’t experience this as their final game,” she said. “I will never forget the regional championship game when we trailed until scoring with 15 seconds left in the game and won. The older players always pushed us when we were younger. It helped to make us better players.”

Bennett also voiced confidence that the team will do well against Melbourne.

“We know what to expect and how to deal with the atmosphere,” she said. “We are excited about Thursday’s game.”

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Quitman advances to 2A state title game

The Quitman Lady Bulldogs defeated Earle on Saturday, 40-28, to advance to the 2A state championship game this week in Hot Springs. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

March 7, 2020

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

QUITMAN – Defense, not a high-scoring offense, opened the door for a return to the Class 2A state championship basketball game for the Quitman Lady Bulldogs.

Earle was held to single digit in three of four quarters as Quitman advanced to the state final for the third time in four seasons with a 40-28 win at the Bulldog Complex Saturday.

Quitman (30-3) will meet Melbourne (33-2) at Bank OZK Arena in Hot Springs at 6 p.m. Thursday. The Bearkats punched their ticket with a 68-54 win against Des Arc in the other semifinal on Saturday at Quitman.

“It was a defensive game between two good teams,” Quitman coach Tim Hooten said. “Both teams reacted against the physical play. We did a good job of getting into defensive position and drew charges. That slowed down Earle. It is a defensive accomplishment to hold Earle to 28 points.

“We got good play off the bench when we got into foul trouble during the second half. They may have been out of positions at times, but they got the rebounds and took good care of the ball. They played their roles.”

Quitman’s Taylor Hooten. PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHELLE McCARTY

Hooten hinted after Friday’s quarterfinal win against Marmaduke how defense would be a key against Earle. He also said scoring back-to-back field goals in the final seconds of the first half was important.
“The girls did it on their own,” said Hooten when asked about that sequence. “We jumped passes and scored. I told the girls earlier to play a little off Earle’s players because of their speed. Those two field goals gave us a big lift at halftime.”

Taylor Hooten led Quitman in scoring with 11 points while post player Lucy Holland also finished in double figures with 10. Carson Rackley had nine points but her play was limited because of foul trouble during the second half, but Holland shouldered part of the load during Rackley’s absence.

“Our defense pulled us through,” Rackley said. “I was in foul trouble, but my teammates picked it up. I never care about how many points I score, but my only concern is getting the win. I try to be a good cheerleader from the bench when that happens.”

Quitman’s Lucy Holland looks to go up for a shot against Earle’s Kaliyah Washington. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

Holland downplayed her role during the second half and credited her teammates for their performance.

“Someone has to step in when that happens,” she said. “We can’t rely on just one player to do it all.”

Rackley and Holland said the team welcomed an opportunity to play in the state tournament at home. They also said part of the motivation was getting redemption from last year’s performance against Earle at the state tournament in Carlisle.

“We came into the tournament confident and knew Earle was there,” Rackley said. “We benefited from playing at home and in front of our fans.”

Holland agreed.

“I knew it would be Earle and us in the semifinals,” she said. “The seniors realized every game could be our last one. Our crowd and community are the best around. Our fans had a great effect on us. It will be great to play our final game on the biggest stage. It will be the greatest feeling in the world.”

Earle took a 2-0 lead early in the first quarter, but Quitman answered by scoring seven consecutive points and led 7-2 going into the second quarter.

Quitman’s Halle Bennett looks to penetration past Earle’s T’asja Hughey. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

The Lady Bulldogs maintained the lead and struck quickly in the final 10 seconds for a momentum lift. Rackley scored on an inside move and then Taylor Hooten intercepted the inbound pass and made a shot at the buzzer for the 20-14 halftime lead.

Tim Hooten said the message to his players during halftime was simple.

“We were missing too many shots and taking too many shots in a panic,” he said. “We needed to relax, so we could shoot better. We did that in the third quarter.”

Quitman controlled the second half. The Lady Bulldogs built a 29-22 lead by the end of the third quarter and never challenged for the remainder of the game.

Hooten said preparation for Melbourne will begin on Monday.

“We lost to them early in the season,” he said. “We are a different team now.”

EARLE VS. QUITMAN 
Class 2A Semifinals at Quitman
March 7, 2020
Earle (30-7)   2  12  8   6 - 28
Quitman (30-3) 7  13  9  11 - 40
EARLE SCORING (28): Colbi Maples 12, Elaijha Brown 8, T’asja Hughey 6, Tiara Rogers 2
QUITMAN SCORING (40): Taylor Hooten 11, Lucy Holland 10, Carson Rackley 7, Halle Bennett 7, Gracie Smith 2, Haley Trawick 2, Autumn Johnson 1

 
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Pangburn falls to Earle in 2A quarterfinals

Pangburn’s Cade McKee goes up for a shot against Earle on Friday in Quitman. Pangburn led at the half but fell to Bulldogs, 73-42. PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHELLE McCARTY

March 6, 2020

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

QUITMAN – Pangburn held the lead during most of the first half, but Earle’s second-half scoring outburst became too much for the Tigers to overcome.

Earle (20-9) trailed 27-24 at halftime and returned with a 21-6 third-quarter scoring run and defeated Pangburn 73-42 in the Class 2A state tournament quarterfinals at the Bulldog Complex.

Luke Rolland scored 17 points for Pangburn, while Cade McKee finished with 10 points. Rholly Davis led Earle with a game-high 19 points. Jermayne Johnson scored 17 points, followed by Donnie Warren with 15 points and Donnie Cheers had 11 points.

McGee made 2-of-2 free throws and Alex Langley hit 1-of-2 free throws as Pangburn led 8-5 midway through the first quarter. Rolland tied the game at 8-8 with a 3-pointer, but the Tigers regained the lead on another 3-pointer by Rolland.

Cheers scored late in the quarter and reduced Pangburn’s lead to 11-10 going into the second quarter.

The score was tied twice early in the second quarter before Pangburn regained the lead on Jadyn Ramsey’s field goal. Earle rallied for a 20-19 lead before back-to-back 3- pointers by Rolland and Brenden Grayum, giving the Tigers a 25-20 lead.

Pangburn maintained the lead and held a 27-24 advantage at halftime.

The tide turned midway through the third quarter with the game tied at 31-31. Earle had a 14-2 scoring run and pulled away to a 45-33 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Earle outscored the Tigers 28-6 during the fourth quarter.

Pangburn finished the season with a record of 24-15.

PANGBURN-EARLE BOXSCORE
Class 2A Quarterfinals
at QUITMAN
Pangburn  11 16  6  9 - 42
Earle     10 14 21 28 - 73
PANGBURN SCORING (42): Luke Rolland 17, Cade McKee 10, Tanner Galyan 8, Brenden Grayum 3, Jadyn Ramsey 3, Alex Langley 1.
EARLE SCORING (73): Rholly Davis 19, Jermayne Johnson 17, Donnie Warren 15, Donnie Cheers 11, Nick Mathis 6, Devin Johnson 5. 



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Quitman runs past Marmaduke, advances to 2A semifinals

Quitman’s Autumn Johnson drives past a Marmaduke defender during class 2A senior girls state quarterfinal action in Quitman. The Bulldogs defeated the Hounds, 71-37, to move into Saturday’s semifinals.

March 6, 2020

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

QUITMAN – Friday turned into another day at the office for the Quitman Lady Bulldogs.

The Lady Bulldogs controlled from start to finish and defeated the Marmaduke Lady Greyhounds 71-37 in the quarterfinals of the Class 2A state basketball tournament at the Bulldog Complex.

Quitman (29-3) will meet Earle (30-6) at 6 p.m. today with the winner advancing to the state championship game at the Hot Springs Convention Center next weekend. Earle defeated Conway Christian 59-41 in Friday’s quarterfinals.

“It was nothing different than what we did in games during the entire season,” Quitman coach Timothy Hooten said. “We were very accurate on shooting 3-pointers. Every game we play, I tell the girls to play like it is a championship game, so when we get to the championship game, it will be like another game.”

Carson Rackley was one of four Quitman players scoring in double figures with 17 points. Autumn Johnson had 15 points, while Taylor Hooten and Lucy Hooten each finished with 13 and 12 points, respectively.

The Lady Bulldogs made nine 3-pointers, led by Johnson and Hooten, who each had three. Halle Bennett, Gracie Smith and Rackley each made a 3-pointer.

Quitman’s Carson Rackley goes up for a shot against Marmaduke’s Zoe Massey during 2A state senior girls quarterfinal action at Quitman. PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHELLE McCARTY

Reesa Hampton, who made four 3-pointers, led Marmaduke with 16 points. Heidi Robinson, one of the team’s leading scorers on the season, was held to five points no 3-pointers.

“I told the girls to challenge Robinson to shoot 3-pointers,” Hooten said. “We didn’t want Hampton shooting 3-pointers, but she did. When Robinson picked up her fourth foul, they put a smaller girl into the game, and we took advantage of the mismatch inside.”

Holland made a jumper to break a 2-2 tie early in the first quarter. Quitman increased its lead and took an 18-9 advantage going into the second quarter.
Smith’s 3-pointer gave the Lady Bulldogs a double-digit lead at 24-11 with less than six minutes left in the first half. The two teams played even for the remainder of the quarter as Quitman led 33-20 at halftime.

Quitman outscored Marmaduke 22-15 during the third quarter and held a 55-35 lead going into the fourth quarter.

“The third quarter has been a big quarter most of the season,” Hooten said. “We came out and played at a higher level of intensity.”

Quitman finished the game on a 16-2 scoring run.

The Lady Bulldogs will get a familiar state tournament opponent in Earle, also the Lady Bulldogs. Earle ended Quitman’s season last year in the state quarterfinals with a 70-58 decision, cost Quitman a chance to repeat as state champions in 2018 with a 48-43 setback in the 2A finals while the Cleburne County Lady Bulldogs downed Earle 49-44 in the semifinals before going on to win the 2A state title in 2017

“Saturday is going to be a great game,” Hooten said. “We don’t have the size like recent seasons, but our posts still play good defense and know how to take charges. We will be ready to play Earle.”

QUITMAN-MARMADUKE BOXSCORE
Marmaduke  9 11 15  2 - 37
Quitman   18 15 22 16 - 71
MARMADUKE SCORING (37): Reesa Hampton 16, Karlin Gilliam 5, Heidi Robinson 5, Angel Johnson 5, Maranda Bear 3, Tori Sutherland 2, Zoe Massey 1.
QUITMAN SCORING (71): Carson Rackley 17, Autumn Johnson 15, Taylor Hooten 13, Lucy Holland 12, Halle Bennett 7, Gracie Smith 3, Erin Stephens 2, Haley Trawick 2.  

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Lady Panthers finish top 10 at state indoor track meet; Panthers compete

February 28, 2020

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

FAYETTEVILLE — Competing at less than full strength didn’t keep the Heber Springs Lady Panthers from finishing among the top 10 at the Class 4A indoor track and field meet.

The Lady Panthers were third in two relays, placed in five other events and captured seventh place at Randal Tyson Track Center Friday.

Three Heber Springs athletes were sidelined by injuries, while a fourth athlete missed the competition because of the flu.

“I’m pleased with the effort,” Heber Springs first-year coach Hunter Davis said. “We showed that we can still compete for a state championship without all of our athletes available.”

The 4×400- and 4×800-meter relay teams each finished third. McKenzie Bacerra, Vallie Cantrell, Samantha Gilley and Jillian Herring had a time of 4:44.66 in the 4×400 relay. Sydney Buffalo, Taylor Hammons, Cantrell, and Bacerra had a time of 11:13.30 in the 4×800 relay.

“The relay teams performed well and give us optimism for the season,” Davis said. “Jillian just came from basketball and stepped in and ran well. We had to piece our relays together. I expected our relays to do a little better, but it was a learning experience. We will do better during the outdoor season.”

Freshman Jaylea Hooten finished fifth in the high jump (4-10) and sixth in the 60-meter hurdles (10.90).

Cantrell was fourth in the 3200-meter run (13:45.95) and ninth in the high jump (4-4).

Buffalo captured seventh in the 1600-meter run (6:32.35) and eighth in the 3200-meter run (14:24.78).

Hammons finished sixth in the 1600-meter run (6:23.28).

In the 800-meter run, Becerra was seventh (2:53.44) and Sophie Lawrence claimed eighth (2:51.95).

HEBER SPRINGS SENIOR GIRLS RESULTS
4A-4 STATE INDOOR MEET
at Fayetteville
60-meter dash: 13. Natalie Buffalo, 8.72; 18. Jillian Herring, 9.37.
200-meter dash: 13. Natalie Buffalo, 29.57; 17. Jillian Herring, 31.97.
400-meter dash: 11. Katherine Rojas, 1:08.03; 14. Ellie Riddle, 1:09.49.
800-meter run: 7. McKenzie Becerra, 2:51.44; 9. Sophie Lawrence, 2:51.95.
1600-meter run: 6. Taylor Hammons, 6:23.28; 7. Sydney Buffalo, 6:32.35.
3200-meter run: 4. Vallie Cantrell, 13:45.95; 8. Sydney Buffalo, 14:24.78.
60-meter hurdles: 6. Jaylea Hooten, 10.90; 11. Samantha Gilley, 11.45.
4x400-meter relay: 3. Heber Springs (McKenize Bacerra, Vallie Cantrell, Samantha Gilley, Jillian Herring), 4:44.66.
4x800-meter relay: 3. Heber Springs (Sydney Buffalo, Vallie Cantrell, Taylor Hammons, McKenzie Bacerra), 11:13.30.
High jump: 5. Jaylea Hooten, 4-10; 9. Vallie Cantrell, 4-4.
Long jump: 14. Natalie Buffalo, 14-0.
Triple jump: 12. Katherine Rojas, 28-4.
Shot put: 15. Brooklyn Barnes, 24-8.5; 17. Autumn Stewart, 13-5.5. 

SENIOR BOYS
The Heber Springs Panthers placed one athlete and two relay teams among the top 10 at the Class 4A Indoor track and field meet Friday.

Dalton McCollum finished seventh in the 400-meter dash with a time of 55.44.

McCollum, Dalton Scoggins, Brad Baker and Nathan Poff captured sixth place in the 4×800-meter relay with a time of 9:23.10.

Colt Allen, Landon Leisenring, Luke Greenwald and Morgan Saltman were ninth in the 4×400-meter relay with a time of 4:02.45.

“They gave their best and performed well for the first meet,” Heber Springs coach Dale Cresswell said. “We got good performance from McCollum and Dalton Scoggins in the 400-meter dash. I believe they will do better as the season goes. The relay teams also ran well. I believe they can get under four minutes soon and 3:45 by the conference meet.”

Heber Springs will compete at the Searcy Relays on March 12 at Lion Stadium.

HEBER SPRINGS SENIOR BOYS RESULTS
4A-4 STATE INDOOR MEET
at Fayetteville 
60-meter dash: 22. Landon Johnson, 7.82; 27. Jacob Smith, 8.16.
200-meter dash: 18. Landon Johnson, 25.06; 26. Alex Roy, 26.56.
400-meter dash: 7. Dalton McCollum, 55.44; 13. Dalton Scoggins, 57.18.
800-meter run: 11. Parker Hill, 2:15.82; 15. Brad Baker, 2:21.67.k
1600-meter run: 11. Nathan Poff, 5:11.44; 22. Brad Baker, 5:24.45.
3200-meter run: 13. Mason Harris, 12:17.30; 14. Reagan Buell, 12:43.22.
60-meter hurdles: 13. Scott Shatterly, 10.69; 18. Trent Nantz, 11.64.
4x400-meter relay: 9. Heber Springs (Colt Allen, Landon Leisenring, Luke Greenwald, Morgan Saltman), 4:02.45.
4x800-meter relay: 6. Heber Springs (Dalton McCollum, Dalton Scoggins, Brad Baker, Nathan Poff), 9:23.10.
High jump: 11. Bent McClain, 5-2.
Long jump: 17. Payton Fry, 15-10; 20. Evan Burgess, 14-2.
Triple jump: 13. Brad Baker, 34-7.5; 18. Trent Nantz, 33-5.24.
Shot put: 17. Landon Johnson, 29-11; 18. Brandon Tate, 29-1.  


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Panthers top West Side in baseball opener

Heber Springs first baseman Cole Peyton steps off the bag after an out during Monday’s game against West Side. PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHELLE McCARTY

March 2, 2020

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

Heber Springs withstood a mid-game surge by the West Side Greers Ferry and claimed a 7-5 win in the baseball season opener at the Heber Springs Sports Complex Monday.

The Panthers built a 4-0 lead before the Eagles tied the game at 4-4 in the top of the fourth inning.

Heber Springs took the lead with one run in the bottom of the inning and added two runs in the sixth. West Side scored one run in the seventh.

Heber Springs used five pitchers with Austin Winchester earning the win in relief. Garrett Hudspeth struck out the final two batters in the seventh for the save.

“We were nervous last week if we could play this game because of predicted weather problems,” Heber Springs coach Scott Bramlett said. “It was good to get the win. One thing the guys did well was to play hard throughout the game.”

Bramlett liked how the defense performed.

“We turned two double plays,” he said. “When West Side scored four runs in the fourth, it came from walking batters. We must do a better job of throwing strikes and also hit the ball better.”

Heber Springs was held to four hits, all singles.

The Panthers were scheduled to play at Dover in the 4-4A Conference opener today and intended to use more than one pitcher against the Eagles, who advanced to the Class 1A state tournament semifinals last season.

“We were trying to keep within 30 pitches, so they can pitch at Dover,” Bramlett said. “I was impressed with Winchester, who shut them down in the sixth inning. We came back with our best pitcher (Hudspeth), who struck out the final two batters in the seventh.”

Heber Springs took the lead in the bottom of the first inning. Hudspeth hit a single, advanced on an infield out and scored on Matthew Cook’s hit to right field.

The Panthers added three runs in the second. Cole Payton started the inning by reaching on an error, Adam Martin was hit by a pitch and Alec Kelley walked to load the bases. Cole Payton scored on a passed ball and then Hudspeth hit a 2-run single, increasing the lead to 4-0.

West Side tied the game in the fourth inning. Ashton Carr walked and scored on Ashton Klepko’s double. Kiepko, who advanced to third on an overthrow, crossed the plate on an error. Jared Cothren and Travis Gentry each hit RBI singles to tie the game.

Heber Springs regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Fate Berry walked and was replaced by courtesy runner Levy Phillips, who scored from third base on an infield out for the 5-4 lead.

The Panthers added two runs in the sixth when Kelley and Hudspeth each scored on passed balls.

“We drew walks and did a good job of running the bases,” Bramlett said. “We did a good job of putting the ball in play.”

West Side scored one run in the seventh as Gentry came home on a bases-loaded walk to Gage Fetterman.

Bramlett expects another close game at Dover today.

“Dover will be ready for us,” he said. “We need to bring our best and get a conference win.”

West Side returns to action on Thursday when it travels to Calico Rock for a nonconference contest.

LINESCORE/HIGHLIGHTS
West Side Greers Ferry 000 400 1 - 5 5 2
Heber Springs          130 102 x - 7 4 2
WEST SIDE GREERS FERRY OFFENSIVE HIGHLIGHTS: Travis Gentry 2 singles, 1 RBI, 3 stolen bases; Ashton Klepko double, 1 RBI; Jared Cothren single, 1 RBI; Dax Hipp single; Gage Fetterman 1 RBI; Brenton Hipp 1 stolen base.
HEBER SPRINGS OFFENSIVE HIGHLIGHTS: Garrett Hudspeth 2 singles, 2 RBIs, 1 stolen base; Matthew Cook single, 2 RBIs; Gage Buford single; Alec Kelley 1 stolen base; Cole Payton 1 stolen base.
WEST SIDE PITCHING: Jared Cothren 0 hits, 2 runs, 1 earned run in .1 inning; Travis Gentry 1 hit, 1 run, 1 earned run, 1 strikeout, 2 walk in .2 inning; Colby Stout (0-1) 0 hits, 1 run, 3 strikeouts, 3 walks in 1.1 inning; Dax Hipp 0 hits, 0 runs in .2 inning; Asa Carr 0 hits, 2 runs, 3 strikeouts, 3 walks in 1 inning; Brenton Knapp 0 hits, 0 runs, 2 strikeouts in 1 inning.
HEBER SPRINGS PITCHING: Gage Buford 1 hit, 0 runs, 1 strikeout, 3 walks in 2 innings; Alec Kelley 1 hit, 3 runs, 3 earned runs, 1 strikeout, 3 walks in 1.1 inning; Mathew Cook 2 hits, 1 run, 1 earned run, 2 strikeouts, 2 walks in 1.2 inning; Austin Winchester (1-0) 1 hit, 1 run, 1 earned run, 3 strikeouts, 3 walks in 1.1 inning; Garrett Hudspeth (1 save) 0 hits, 0 runs, 2 strikeouts in .2 inning.  
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Goldman added to Panther Den of Honor

Former Heber Springs coach Johnette Goldman with her plaque presented to her after being inducted into the Panther Den of Honor on Friday. PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHELLE McCARTY

February 28, 2020

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

Johnette Goldman arrived on the Heber Springs High School campus 39 years ago with little fanfare.

But it was a different atmosphere at the Panther Den Friday when Goldman was inducted into the Panther Den of Honor on Friday.

Goldman, who coached girls’ basketball, cross country and track and field, led the Lady Panthers to nine state championships and state runner-up 14 times in cross country and track and field.

Heber Springs won 32 conference championships during Goldman’s tenure. She retired at the end of the 2019-20 school year.

“I appreciate the Panther Den of Honor award and induction,” Goldman said. “I appreciate Heber Springs giving me 39 years of great memories. I appreciate (the late and retired superintendent) Dr. (John) Vandiver and (retired athletic director) coach (Dennis) DeBusk for hiring two gals (Goldman and former girls’ basketball coach Joni Hamby in 1980).”

Head boys’ track and field coach Dale Cresswell was a freshman when she arrived. She didn’t coach the boys’ athletes at that time, but left an influence on Cresswell.

“I always looked up to her and proud that she is going into the Den of Honor,” Cresswell said. “When competing as an athlete here, I noticed what her team did and learned from it. I respected her for everything she did.”

Goldman said all of the success was not just her, but others who helped to make it happen.

“It was all of the athletes,” Goldman said. “They made the difference. Jade asked me to marry him in 1985, and he always supported me. He stayed in the background for a long time. Coach (Harold) Wilson was father of the track program of Heber Springs and taught me everything. He made a difference in students’ lives, just like coach Cresswell does today.”

Goldman’s list of accomplishments is long. She, along with Wilson and Cresswell, are members of the Arkansas Track and Field Hall of Fame.

“All of the people made Heber a great place,” Goldman said. “I’ve been blessed with athletes who would do the extra. I remember Susie Storm was one of the best in the two-mile and she sacrificed one year for the team. She was willing to help in another event for us to get a higher state ranking. Susie finished second, but she went on and competed at the Air Force Academy and protected our nation for 20 years.”

Goldman was more than a coach. She received the 2014 Distinguished Citizens Award from the Arkansas House of Representatives.

“When you talk about Johnette, she is a legend of track in Heber Springs,” Cresswell always tries to the best for the kids, not only on the track, but in the real world.”

With all of the athletic accomplishments, she remembers the team when preparing for the classroom. Goldman was a mathematics teacher.

“Christy Thomas and I first became buddies in college,” Goldman said. “We were been buddies in math for a long time. We spent many nights doing lesson plans. She kept me going many times.”

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Hammons signs with Lyon College

February 10, 2020

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

Heber Springs senior Taylor Hammons signed a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics soccer letter-of-intent with Lyon College at the Panther Den Monday.

Hammons will start for the fourth consecutive year when the Lady Panthers open the season at Harding Academy on Feb. 24.

“I was looking at Harding University two years ago before everything changed,” Hammons said. “I’ve decided not to play in college. I visited Lyon College and it was a positive experience. The visit helped to change my mind. It was a calling for me to go there.”

Hammons scored 17 goals last season and average one goal per game during her career with 11 assists. She earned all-conference honors twice and named to the all-state team in 2018.

“Taylor has meant a lot to our program,” Heber Springs coach Drew Lawrence said. “She is our senior leader and helps in guiding the younger players. Taylor is a hard work. You need that type of a player on a team.”

Hammons began soccer on a third grade team in a youth league. Later, she played at Greenbrier in a fall league before high school.  

Hammons said she looks forward to her senior season and expects the team to have success.

“We will have ups and downs, but I always know my teammates will back everyone up,” she said. “We lost two starters from last year’s team, but we will have a good team. We have a lot of senior starters returning.”

After the season, Hammons plans to switch her focus to Lyon College.

“One of my goals will be to improve my overall soccer skills,” she said. “I need to improve my footwork and working on that.”

Hammons is fourth Panther athlete to sign with the Batesville school in the past two seasons. She joins soccer teammate Libby Stutts (who signed to play basketball at Lyon) earlier this spring and Blaze Nelson (football) and Nicholas Chaney (baseball) who signed last year.

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Wood starts work as new coach for Panthers

February 7, 2020

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

New Heber Springs High School head football coach Todd Wood wasted little time before getting to work.

Wood took the program’s reins Monday (Feb. 3) and spent most of the day in in-service training for teachers. He greeted the players for the first time on Tuesday (Feb. 4) and began the transition.

New Heber Springs head football coach Todd Wood. LARRY McCARTY PHOTO

“Tuesday was the first day with the students,” said Wood, who also will teach social studies. “We have a lot of work ahead of us. I met with coaches Monday about what we want to do and put everything in place.”

Wood said it will take time, but he expressed confidence that players will accept the changes.

“We will be learning the players’ abilities for the next few weeks,” he said. “I need to learn names and put them with faces. We will be working on putting players in the right positions.”

Wood was defensive coordinator at Russeville High School and talked with David Farr, a former head coach of the Panthers and a member of the Russeville staff.

“Coach Farr was very valuable from the beginning when I expressed interest in the job,” Wood said. “He told me the community, school and kids would be great. He is the one who showed me what to expect and said the kids were dedicated to play well and hard workers.”

Wood said players will participate in spring sports, but he hopes to include them in the transition as much as possible.

“Spring ball is not far away,” Wood said. “We need to immediately start teaching a different philosophy of offense and defense. We need to get the players into a learning situaton as fast as possible.”

Wood said extra meetings may be necessary.

“We have our offseason going on and work primarily in the weight room,” he said. “We will be trying to get those guys working on our game plan. We want all of the guys involved.”

Wood was the defensive coordinator at Pulaski Academy from 2003-2016 and said the Panthers will play similar offensive and defensive schemes. The Bruins won six state titles during that time frame.

“I spent 23 years at Pulaski Academy and that had the biggest impact on my coaching philosophy,” Wood said. “I will fit the offense to the players and put them in the best position to win. We plan to utitize the entire field and spread the defense out. It will take a lot of work and we will learn how to play with dicipline.”

Wood plans a familiar approach on defense.

“We want to fit our defense to whatever a team’s offense,” he said. “We will play an aggressive defense with different coverages in the secondary.”

Wood said players will participate in summer camps and also play 7-on-7, but the focus will be on preparing for the start of the season in September.

“We will re-evaluate everything in June and keep the focus on us,” Wood said. “We will learn where to line up and what we need to do. I don’t want the team to be unprepared. Our goal is have a good grasp of the offense and defense before the start of the season.”

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Panthers fall to Subiaco Academy

Heber Springs’ Zach Thomas goes up for a shot against Subiaco Academy Friday night at the Panther Den. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

February 7, 2020

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

A second-quarter scoring blitz proved too much for the Heber Springs Panthers against Subiaco Academy at the Panther Den Friday.

After Dalton McCollum’s field goal gave Heber Springs a 12-11 lead early in the second quarter, the Trojans seized control with a 17-4 scoring run and defeated the Panthers 54-23 in a 4-4A Conference basketball game.

Heber Springs was held to five points during the final two quarters.

The Panthers, who played with five players at Dardanelle in the previous games, dressed out seven players against Subiaco Academy. Gus Hannah remained sidelined because of the flu and Ryan Crocker was unable to play because of a wrist injury. Zach Thomas and Logan Monahan, who missed the Dardanelle game because of the flu, played for the first time in a week.

“We were running out of gas and juice by halftime,” Heber Springs coach Chad Johnson said. “Garrett Hudsepth injured his knee early in the second half. If we had been a healthy team, it would have been more of a competitive game at the end.”

Heber Springs led for the first time on Adam Martin’s 3-pointer during the opening quarter, 5-4.

Hudspeth scored to increase it the Panther advantage before three consecutive lead changes.

Subiaco Academy led 11-10 going into the second quarter and increased it to 28-16 by halftime.

The Trojans pulled away after going on an 18-2 scoring run and took a 46-18 lead into the fourth quarter.

McCollum scored six points for Heber Springs. Conner King and Matthew Kremers each had 12 points for Subiaco Academy.

Johnson said his team continued the battle against fatigue and lack of depth. He liked how his team played at Dardanelle with only five healthy players.

“The players played with a lot of heart, dug deep and showed a lot of character,” Johnson said. “Dardanelle parents told me how they were impressed how our players competed.”

Heber Springs (1-11 in conference, 1-21 overall) will complete the regular season at Morrilton and host Clarksville on Friday. The conference tournament is scheduled at Dardanelle on Feb. 17-22.

“Both games will be very challenging,” Johnson said. “We lost by five points at Clarksville.”

February 7th
SUBIACO ACADEMY AT HEBER SPRINGS
Subiaco Academy 11 17 18 8 - 54
Heber Springs   10  6  2 5 - 23
SUBIACO ACADEMY SCORING (54): Conner King 12, Matthew Kremers 12, Ivan Martijn 9, Paul Niba 6, Johnathan Mercera 5, John Ho 4, Jude Percy-Allen 2, Justin Luidens 2, Nathan Nguyen 2.
HEBER SPRINGS SCORING (23): Dalton McCollum 6, Adam Martin 5, Wyatt Sanders 4, Austin Winchester 3, Garrett Hudspeth 2, Logan Monahan 2, Zach Thomas 1. 

February 4th
HEBER SPRINGS AT DARDANELLE
Heber Springs  9  12  13  13 - 47
Dardanelle    19  14  15  19 - 67
HEBER SPRINGS SCORING (47): Wyatt Sanders 18, Dalton McCollum 12, Adam Martin 10, Garrett Hudsepth 5, Austin Winchester 2
DARDANELLE SCORING (67): Blake Chambers 17, Tristan Broadway 12, Sam Williams 8, JT Meling 8, Marteez Jackson 6, Chris Martin 6, Clayton Potter 4, Jordan Metcalf 2, Titus Spencer 2, Nathaniel Griffiths 2

January 31
HEBER SPRINGS AT OZARK
Heber Springs  7  3  10  9 - 29
Ozark         17 17  14 12 - 60
HEBER SPRINGS SCORING (29): Dalton McCollum 13, Wyatt Sanders 6, Austin Winchester 5, Gus Hannah 3, Garrett Hudspeth 2
OZARK SCORING (60): Corbin Pelts 12, Jaxson Harris 11, Sebastian Ross 10, Ethan Dorrough 9, Keystan Durning 7, Wyatt Clauson 4,Tanner Bailie 3, Kayden McAnally 2, Kirkland Quinton 2
,              Conference Season
Morrilton          9-3     17-8
Ozark              9-3     16-8
Dardanelle         9-3     22-3
Pottsville         8-4     10-10
Clarksville        6-6     10-14
Subiaco Academy    5-7      9-14
Heber Springs      1-11     1-21
Dover              1-11     5-20  
HEBER SPRINGS SENIOR BOYS BASKETBALL
2019-2020 SCHEDULE RESULTS
RECORD: 1-21
4A-4 RECORD: 1-11
November 21 - Riverview 68, Heber Springs 36
November 26 - Clinton 71, Heber Springs 35
December 3 - Conway St. Joseph 44, Heber Springs 21 #
December 5 - South Side Bee Branch 50, Heber Springs 49 #
December 10 - Heber Springs 37, Dover 32 ^
December 12 - South Side Bee Branch 64, Heber Springs 53
December 13 - Marshall 69, Heber Springs 43
December 16 - White County Central 65, Heber Springs 43
December 20 - Ozark 69, Heber Springs 34 ^
December 26 - Rose Bud 68, Heber Springs 65 (OT) *
December 27 - Batesville 72, Heber Springs 60 *
December 28 - Mayflower 66, Heber Springs 41 *
January 7 - Pottsville 59, Heber Springs 26 ^
January 10 - Subiaco Academy 47, Heber Springs 28 ^
January 14 - Dardanelle 70, Heber Springs 13 ^
January 17 - Clarksville 38, Heber Springs 32 ^
January 21 - Morrilton 58, Heber Springs 43 ^
January 24 - Dover 55, Heber Springs 50 ^
January 28 - Pottsville 68, Heber Springs 49 ^
January 31 - Ozark 60, Heber Springs 29 ^
February 4 - Dardanelle 67, Heber Springs 47 ^
February 7 - Subiaco Academy 54, Heber Springs 23 ^
February 11 - at Morrilton ^
February 14 - Clarksville (Senior Night) ^
February 17 - 4A-4 District at Dardanelle

(# - Denotes Conway St. Joseph Tournament)
(^ - Denotes 4A-4 conference contest) 
(* - Steve Landers' Cowboy Chevrolet Holiday Classic at Heber Springs)
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