Moving forward became the theme throughout the week at football practice for the Heber Springs Panther football team.
Heber Springs (0-1 2-4A Conference, 1-3 overall) will host undefeated Stuttgart (1-0 conference, 3-0) at 7 p.m. Friday.
Central Arkansas Christian and Bald Knob joined Stuttgart and Lonoke at the top of the conference standings after the first weekend of play.
Heber Springs held leads of 6-0, 12-7 and 19-14 against Lonoke. The Jackrabbits broke up a competitive game by scoring three touchdowns late in the second quarter in the 47-31 win against the Panthers.
Stuttgart shut out Southside Batesville 42-0 in its conference opener.
“I told the players that we need to build on the positives,” Heber Springs head coach Todd Wood said. “We are keeping that attitude going into Friday’s game.”
Quarterback Pate Kleinbeck and running back Cedric Hawkins lead Stuttgart’s offense. Kleinbeck has completed 24-of-46 passes for 500 yards and six touchdowns in three games. Hawkins is the team’s leading rusher with 149 yards on 15 carries and scored two touchdowns, plus a 96-yard kickoff return for a score.
Seven receivers have caught passes, led by Arlie Lee, who has 10 catches for 207 yards and three touchdowns.
“Stuttgart has speed, size and will take advantage of your mistakes,” Wood said. “We need to do a better job of protecting the ball (14 turnovers in four games) and play with more focus on defense. Our effort was encouraging against Lonoke. We are beginning to understand that we never quit, regardless of the score or situation in a game.”
Increased production by the Heber Springs offense started two games ago when Matthew Cook became the starting quarterback. Cook has completed 39-of-61 passes for 603 yards and seven touchdowns.
The return of Nathan McKee, who had been sidelined by an injury, also gave the offense a boost. McKee has caught 13 passes for 242 yards and three touchdowns in the last two games.
“McKee had a great game at Lonoke, and I hope that will continue,” Wood said. “It was only the second start for Matthew at quarterback. He made some mistakes, but he also did a lot of good things.”
Wood said one of the keys to Friday’s game will be more production from the running game. The Panthers rushed for 18 yards against Lonoke.
“We need to control the line of scrimmage,” he said. “We must be able to run the ball successful.”
Wood said preventing big plays and winning the turnover battle are areas that also need improvement.
“We stressed the importance during the week of containing the other team’s offense,” he said. “We need to do a better job of tackling and win the turnover battle.”
Kickoff: 7 p.m. at Panther Stadium
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: Stuttgart leads the all-times series, 10-3. The two teams first meet in 2006 when the Ricebirds dropped from class 5A down to 4A and were placed in the same conference with Heber Springs. Stuttgart won the first four meetings before the Panthers claimed a 20-14 win in 2010.
W L CP W L PS PA
Stuttgart 1 0 13 3 0 120 12
Lonoke 1 0 13 3 1 168 105
Central Arkansas Christian 1 0 12 4 0 147 83
Bald Knob 1 0 6 3 1 130 78
Little Rock Mills 0 1 0 1 3 86 119
Heber Springs 0 1 0 1 3 85 143
Southside Batesville 0 1 0 1 3 61 125
Clinton 0 1 0 0 4 70 201
Friday, September 25
Central Arkansas Christian 47, Clinton 35
Stuttgart 42, Southside Batesville 0
Lonoke 47, Heber Springs 31
Bald Knob 14, Little Rock Mills 8
Friday, October 2
Little Rock Mills at Central Arkansas Christian
Stuttgart at Heber Springs
Clinton at Southside Batesville
Lonoke at Bald Knob
STUTTGART -Stuttgart took advantage of three Heber Springs turnovers and used a persistent ground game to hand the junior Panthers a 28-14 setback Thursday night.
It was the first lost on the season for Heber Springs (3-1, 1-1).
Stuttgart rushed 40 times for 241 yards with the bulk of that coming from DeVontae Clark (22 carries for 85 yards) and quarterback Landon Melynchuck (11 carries for 108 yards).
The game was scoreless early on as Stuttgart threatened early after the Ricebirds’ Trez Hammond picked off Heber Springs’ Liam Buffalo at the Panther 41 and returned it 27 yards. But the Heber Springs defense stiffened stopping the scoring threat as Parker Brown sacked Melynchuck for an 11-yard loss on fourth down.
Four straight incompletions by Heber Springs gave the Ricebirds the ball back at the Panther 27, and three plays later Melynchuck rushed 11 yards for the score to make it 6-0 Stuttgart with 23 seconds left in the opening quarter. The 2-point conversion failed.
Heber Springs responded to go up 7-6 on its next drive. A five-play, 42-yard drive was capped off when Buffalo connected with Weston Warden for a 19-yard touchdown pass. Gideon Tate added the PAT kick with 7:05 left in the half.
An 11-yard touchdown run by Melynchuck with 3:22 left in the second quarter put Stuttgart up 12-7. After another interception by the Stuttgart defense, Clark would score on a 10-yard run to put the Ricebirds up 20-7 at the half.
Heber Springs threatened in the third quarter but Buffalo was picked off by Matthew Luster at the Ricebird 3 with 2:43 left in the quarter. Five plays later, Clark would push his way into the end zone to make it 28-7 (after the Ricebirds completed the 2-point conversion on a run by Hammond) with 1:12 left in the third.
The Panthers would add a late score as Buffalo connected with Dalton Yancey on an 18-yard pass with 2:24 left in the contest. Tate added the PAT kick.
Buffalo finished the night 12 of 29 passing for 122 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.
The Panthers will look to bounce back on Thursday when they host Central Arkansas Christian at Panther Stadium.
STUTTGART – The Heber Springs 7th-Grade Panthers improved to 3-1 on the season with an 8-0 win over Stuttgart on Thursday.
The Panther Cubs got all of the points they would need on their first possession of the game. After forcing Stuttgart to a three-and-out on defense, Heber Springs took over possession in their own territory before Eli Buffalo broke off a 30-yard run to put the ball at the Stuttgart 25. Two plays later, Emmett Dwyer connected with Lucas Garcia for a 25-yard touchdown pass to make it 6-0 with 16:37 left in the first half. Dwyer connected with Buffalo for the 2-point conversion.
Heber Springs’ threatened to score again in the second half after Seth Dudeck picked off a Stuttgart pass attempt near midfield, but the Panther Cubs were unable to score.
Heber Springs’ returns to action on Thursday when they host Central Arkansas Christian at Panther Stadium. Kickoff is set for 5:30 p.m.
Heber Springs claims first win, 28-27, over Stuttgart
October 4, 2019
STUTTGART – Heber Springs used a fourth-quarter touchdown and a late interception to claim its first win of the season with a 28-27 victory over Stuttgart Friday night.
The win over Stuttgart broke a five-game losing streak — the Panthers longest streak since the 2013, but more importantly kept Heber Springs (1-1, 1-4) in the 4A-2 conference race.
Heber Springs won despite committing 13 penalties for a 103 yards and having the ball for only 18 minutes, but won the turnover battle for the first time all season as Nathan McKee intercepted Stuttgart quarterback Pate Kleinbeck with 1:51 at the Ricebird 43 to seal the win.
It was McKee that also played in a part in the Panthers first score as Adam Martin connected with the junior for a 39-yard scoring strike with 4:44 to play in the opening quarter. Jackson Harrod added the PAT kick.
On the Ricebirds’ ensuing possession, Heber Springs got the first turnover of the game as Fate Berry picked off Kleinbeck near midfield. But on the next play, Martin was intercepted giving Stuttgart the ball at the Panther 48.
The Ricebirds used an 11-play drive to tie things up at 7-all with 10:50 to play before the half as Kleinbeck sneaked in from the 1. Stuttgart was aided on the drive by a 15-yard personal foul penalty on Heber Springs, but the big play came on fourth-and-8 from the Panther 34 when Kleinbeck connected with Rhett Bohanan for a 19-yard completion.
It didn’t take long for the Panthers to answer as Tri Johnson took the ensuing kickoff and raced 62 yards to put the ball on the Stuttgart 12. Three plays later Julio Rubio, who led the Panthers on the ground with 81 yards on 15 carries, raced into the end zone from the 7 with 9:28 to play in the half.
Stuttgart appeared to answer the score three plays later but Arlie Lee, who had 12 receptions for 125 yards, fumbled as he was getting ready to cross the goal line and Landon Johnson pounced on the football to end the threat.
Taking over the 20, Heber Springs went backwards thanks in part to three penalties and a one-yard loss on a first-down rush by Martin, forcing a punt from the Panther 14.
After a short punt, Kleinbeck raced 31 yards to the Panther 6. But the penalty bug bit the Ricebirds as a pair of infractions pushed the ball back to the 20 before Kleinbeck found Lee on third down for the tying touchdown with 4:28 left in the second quarter.
The two teams traded possessions before Heber Springs got the ball back with 1:10 left in the half at the Panther 41. Martin found McKee for 22 yards, Cook for 11 yards before reeling off an 18-yard run. After a one-yard loss on a pass, Martin scrambled 17 yards to put Heber Springs up 21-14 at the half after the Harrod kick.
(Videos by Billy Smallwood)
Heber Springs took the ball to start the second half but couldn’t muster anything offensively giving the ball back to Stuttgart.
The Ricebirds then consumed almost five minutes of the third-quarter clock with a 13-play, 71-yard drive as Kleinback connected with Blake Book for a 13-yard scoring strike. The big play of the drive came on a third-and-15 from the Stuttgart when the Panthers were called for pass interference to extend the possession.
After a three-and-out by Heber Springs, Stuttgart took over on the Panther 46. Eight plays later, Jaeshawn Williams plunged in from the 1 to give the Ricebirds their first lead of the night with 1:01. On the PAT attempt, Heber Springs was flagged for being offsides but instead of letting the kick continue, which sailed through the uprights, the officials whistled the ball dead. The ensuing kick was short leaving Stuttgart up 27-21.
The two teams traded possessions before the Panthers took possession of the ball on their own 11 with 9:38 to play. A 44-yard pass completion from Martin to Cook put the ball in Ricebird territory at the 43. Two plays later, Martin scrambled and found Landon Johnson, who made the catch at the Stuttgart 5 getting one foot down. Two plays later, Julio Rubio scored from the 1 and Harrod converted the PAT kick to give the Panthers a 28-27 with 7:24 to play.
After the Panther defense forced a three-and-out on the ensuing Stuttgart possession, aided by a Kaden Hughes sack for a loss of 10 yards, Heber Springs appeared to be marching downfield to put the game out of reach after Landon Johnson carried the ball 20 and 8 yards to the Ricebird 7, but the drive fizzled on fourth down with 2:10 left setting up Stuttgart’s final attempt to win the game.
Martin finished the night 9-of-13 passing for 162 yards while rushing for 76 yards.
Heber Springs returns to action Friday night when they host Central Arkansas Christian at 7 p.m. at Panther Stadium. CAC dropped a 38-35 decision to Little Rock Mills last Friday after leading that contest in the fourth quarter.
HOMECOMING: It was Stuttgart’s homecoming contest on Friday with the Ricebird queen and her court honored before the game. Heber Springs will have its homecoming on October 25 when they host Southside Batesville.
SOMETHING ABOUT 28: The win at Stuttgart was the only the second time Heber Springs has won on the Ricebirds home field. Heber Springs’ first win in the series at Stuttgart came in 2011 by a score of 28-21.
CONFERENCE THIRD-DOWN WOES: Since Heber Springs has entered conference play, the Panthers have only converted four out of 25 third-down attempts, including one of nine against Stuttgart.
SHORT PUNTS: Adam Martin is averaging close to 40 yards a punt this season, but both times one his punts has went for fewer than 30 yards the opposing team has scored on ensuing drive including Friday night.
SAME AS LAST YEAR: Heber Springs started the 2018 season with an identical 1-4 record but went on to win six-in-a-row before losing in a second-round playoff contest.
Heber Springs (1-1, 1-4) 7 14 0 7 - 28
Stuttgart (0-2, 0-5) 0 14 13 0 - 27
Heber Springs - Adam Martin to Nathan McKee 39-yard pass (Jackson Harrod kick), 4:44
Stuttgart - Pate Kleinbeck 1-yard run (Paulo Palomino kick), 10:50
Heber Springs - Julio Rubio 7-yard run (Harrod kick), 9:28
Stuttgart - Kleinbeck to Arlie Lee 20-yard pass (Palomino kick), 4:28
Heber Springs - Martin 17-yard run (Harrod kick), :30
Stuttgart - Kleinbeck to Blake Book 13-yard pass (Palomino kick), 5:55
Stuttgart - Jaeshawn Williams 1-yard run (Kick failed), 1:01
Heber Springs - Rubio 1-yard run (Harrod kick), 7:24
OFFENSERUSHING: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 16/76/4.8, Julio Rubio 15/81/5.4, Team 3/(-6)/(-2), Landon Johnson 2/28/14, Tri Johnson 1/(-2)/(-2). Stuttgart, Jaeshawn Williams 19/84/4.4, Pate Kleinbeck 10/(-6)/(-.6), Jaxson Robinson 6/28/4.7, Mitchell Stovesand 3/19/6.3, Arlie Lee 1/3/3.
RUSHING RUNS OF 30+: Stuttgart, Pate Kleinbeck (1).
RUSHING RUNS OF 20+: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio (1), Landon Johnson (1). Stuttgart, Pate Kleinback (1), Jaeshawn Williams (1).
RUSHING RUNS OF 10+: Heber Springs, Adam Martin (3), Julio Rubio (2), Landon Johnson (1). Stuttgart, Jaeshawn Willimas (2), Pate Kleinbeck (1), Jaxson Robinson (1), Mitchell Stovesand (1).
PASSING: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 9/13-162-1/2. Stuttgart, Pate Kleinbeck 21/39-180-2/2, Blake Book 1/1-15-0/0.
RECEIVING: Heber Springs, Nathan McKee 3/58/19.3, Matthew Cook 2/55/27.5, Fate Berry 2/15/7.5, Landon Johnson 1/35/35, Julio Rubio 1/(-1)/(-1). Stuttgart, Arlie Lee 12/125/10.4, Mitchell Stovesand 4/24/6, Rhett Bohanan 3/41/13.7, Blake Book 1/9/9, Jaeshawn Williams 1/(-2)/(-2), Tymir Coppins 1/(-2)/(-2).
RECEPTIONS OF 40+: Heber Springs, Matthew Cook (1).
RECEPTIONS OF 30+: Heber Springs, Matthew Cook (1), Landon Johnson (1), Nathan McKee
RECEPTIONS OF 20+: Heber Springs, Matthew Cook (1), Landon Johnson (1), Nathan McKee (1). Stuttgart, Arlie Lee (1).
TOTAL OFFENSE: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 238, Julio Rubio 81, Landon Johnson 28, Tri Johnson (-2), Team (-6). Stuttgart, Pate Kleinbeck 174, Jaeshawn Willaims 84, Jaxson Robinson 28, Mitchell Stovesand 19, Blake Book 15, Arlie Lee 3.
PUNT RETURNS: Heber Springs, Nathan McKee 1/11.
KICK RETURNS: Heber Springs, Tri Johnson 2/72/36, Lawrence Baureis 1/10/10, Jackson West 1/10/10. Stuttgart, Merritt Coker 2/19/9.5, Arlie Lee 1/14/14, Mitchell Stovesand 1/9/9, Devon Stigger 1/9.
FUMBLE RETURNS: None
INTERCEPTION RETURNS: Heber Springs, Nathan McKee 1/10, Fate Berry 1/2. Stuttgart, Merritt Coker 1/8, Rhett Bohanan 1/7.
ALL-PURPOSE YARDS: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio 80, Nathan McKee 79, Adam Martin 76, Tri Johnson 70, Landon Johnson 63, Matthew Cook 55, Fate Berry 17, Lawrence Baureis 10, Jackson West 10, Team (-6). Stuttgart, Arlie Lee 142, Jaeshawn Williams 84, Mitchell Stovesand 52, Rhett Bohanan 48, Jaxson Robinson 28, Merritt Coker 27, Devin Stigger 9, Blake Book 9, Tymir Coppins (-2), Pate Kleinback (-6).
DEFENSE TACKLES (Shared/Solo/Total): Heber Springs,Landon Johnson 11/3/14, Diego Rubio 11/1/12, Fate Berry 7/4/11, Nathan McKee 5/3/8, Kaden Hughes 3/1/4, Hunter Kent 4/0/4, Lawrence Bauries 3/1/4, Matthew Cook 3/1/4, Dalton McCollum 2/0/2, Jackson West 2/0/2, Nicholas Hitchcock 2/0/2, Tristan Thissen 1/1/2, Julio Rubio 1/0/1, Preston Jones 0/1/1, Spencer Evans 1/0/1, Harley Hannah 1/0/1.
TACKLES FOR LOSS: Heber Springs, Landon Johnson 3, Diego Rubio 2, Kaden Hughes 2, Lawrence Baureis 2, Fate Berry 1, Nicholas Hitchcock 1, Spencer Evans 1, Harley Hannah 1.
SACKS/YARDS LOST: Heber Springs, Kaden Hughes 1/10, Diego Rubio 1/5, Fate Bery .5/-3, Landon Johnson .5/-3, Matthew Cook .5/-3.
INTERCEPTIONS: Heber Springs, Nathan McKee, Fate Berry. Stuttgart, Merritt Coker, Rhett Bohanan.
FUMBLE RECOVERIES: Heber Springs, Landon Johnson.
PUNTING: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 3/90/30. Stuttgart, Rhett Bohanan 4/128/32
PUNTS INSIDE 20: Heber Springs, Adam Martin (1). Stuttgart, Rhett Bohanan (1).
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
W L CP W L PS PA
Lonoke 1 0 13 2 2 138 135
Southside Batesville 1 0 13 3 1 144 101
Riverview 1 0 10 3 1 133 117
Bald Knob 1 0 7 1 3 42 113
Central Arkansas Christian 0 1 0 2 2 128 122
Little Rock Mills 0 1 0 1 3 66 91
Heber Springs 0 1 0 0 4 109 145
Stuttgart 0 1 0 0 4 98 161
Friday, September 27
Lonoke 32, Heber Springs 12
Bald Kno 14, Little Rock Mills 7
Southside Batesville 43, Stuttgart 21
Riverview 29, Central Arkansas Christian 19
Friday, October 4
Heber Springs at Stuttgart
Southside Batesville at Riverview
Bald Knob at Lonoke
Central Arkansas Christian at Little Rock Mills
HEBER SPRINGS COACH WILL COX
THE SERIES: Stuttgart leads the all-times series, 10-3. The two teams first meet in 2006 when the Ricebirds dropped from class 5A down to 4A and were placed in the same conference with Heber Springs. Stuttgart won the first four meetings before the Panthers claimed a 20-14 win in 2010.
LAST TIME IN STUTTGART: The last time these two teams meet in Arkansas County, Stuttgart claimed a 20-7 victory on September 29, 2017. Heber Springs is 1-5 in games played in Stuttgart. The Panthers lone win came in 2011 with a 28-21 victory. The 28 points in that contest was the most points the Panthers have scored on the Ricebirds home turf.
WINLESS: This will be the first time Stuttgart and Heber Springs have played where both teams were winless.
0-4: The last time Heber Springs started the season with four consecutive losses was in 2013, Steve Janski’s final season as head coach. The Panthers finished that season with a record of 2-8, before that you would have to go back to the 2003 season when the Panthers started on 0-4 on their way to a winless campaign.
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.
100-YARD STREAK: In the loss to Lonoke last week, it was the first time since a week 2 loss to Greenbrier in 2018 (a span of 13 games) that the Panthers failed to have a back rush for 100 yards or more. That was also the last time the Panthers were held to fewer than 20 points in a game.
SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: HARLEY HANNAH
Heber Springs 28 20 13 48 - 109 (27.3)
Opponent 25 35 42 43 - 145 (36.3)
First Downs by Rush: Heber Springs 54, Opponent 35
First Downs by Pass: Heber Springs 22, Opponent 35
First Downs by Penalty: Heber Springs 2, Opponent 4
Total First Downs: Heber Springs 78, Opponent 75
Third-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 31/57 (54.4), Opponent 12/35 (34.3)
Fourth-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 10/18 (55.6), Opponent 3 /6 (50)
Red-Zone Conversions: Heber Springs 9/10 (9 tds), Opponent 14/16 (13 tds, 1FG)
Fumbles/Lost: Heber Springs 8/6, Opponent 5/1
Turnovers: Heber Springs 10, Opponent 2
Points Off Turnovers: Heber Springs 13, Opponent 21
Penalties/Yards: Heber Springs 28/187, Opponent 26/211
Plays/Total Offense/YPP: Heber Springs 268/1632/6.1, Opponent 209/1390/6.7
Rushing: Heber Springs 189/1042/5.5, Opponent 136/609/4.8
Rushing Per Game: Heber Springs 260.5, Opponent 152.3
Passing: Heber Springs 41/78-589-4/3, Opponent 53/85-761-10/1
Passing Per Game: Heber Springs 147.3, Opponent 190.3
Sacks/Yards Lost: Heber Springs 10/68, Opponent 7/33
Punts: Heber Springs 9/369/41, Opponent 13/446/34.3
RUSHING (ATT/YARDS/PER ATTEMPT/PER GAME/TDS): Adam Martin 85/465/5.5/116.3/2, Julio Rubio 82/397/4.8/99.3/7, Landon Johnson 26/122/4.7/30.5/3, Nathan McKee 1/6/6/1.5/0.
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 3
RUNS OF 10+: Adam Martin 14, Julio Rubio 10, Landon Johnson 3
100-YARD RUSHING GAMES: Adam Martin 3, Julio Rubio 2
PASSING (ATT/COMP-YARDS-TDS/INT): Adam Martin 41/78-589-4/3
250-YARD PASSING GAMES: Adam Martin 1
RECEIVING (REC/YARDS/PER CATCH/TDS): Julio Rubio 9/122/13.6, Matthew Cook 8/86/10.8, Nathan McKee 7/75/10.7/1, Fate Berry 6/100/16.7/1, Hunter Kent 4/32/8, Tri Johnson 4/150/37.5/2, Landon Johnson 3/14/4.7
100-YARD RECEIVING GAMES: Tri Johnson 1, Julio Rubio 1
TOTAL OFFENSE (OFFENSE/PER GAME): Adam Martin 1054/263.5, Julio Rubio 397/99.3, Landon Johnson 122/30.5, Nathan McKee 6/1.5
KICKOFF RETURNS: Matthew Cook 4/62/15.5, Tri Johnson 4/53/13.3, Hunter Kent 3/46/15.3, Julio Rubio 3/44/14.7, Levy Phillips 2/14/7, Nathan McKee 1/11/11, Diego Rubio 1/13/13, Harley Bresnahan 1/ 6, Jackson West 1/1, Tristan Thissen 1/0.
PUNT RETURNS: Nathan McKee 1/ 3, Tri Johnson 1/(-3)
INTERCEPTION RETURNS: Dalton McCollum 1/4
FUMBLE RETURNS: None
ALL-PURPOSE YARDS (YARDS/PER GAME): Julio Rubio 563/140.8, Adam Martin 465/116.3, Tri Johnson 200/66.7, Matthew Cook 148/37, Landon Johnson 136/34, Fate Berry 100/25, Nathan McKee 95/23.8, Hunter Kent 78/26, Levy Phillips 14/4.5, Diego Rubio 13/3.3, Harley Bresnahan 6/1.5, Dalton McCollum 4/1, Jackson West 1/.3
TACKLES (ASST/SOLO/TOTAL): Fate Berry 32/11/43, Landon Johnson 12/9/21, Lawrence Baureis 9/8/17, Levy Phillips 10/7/17, Hunter Kent 8/8/16, Kaden Hughes 10/5/15, Matthew Cook 12/3/15, Tri Johnson 6/5/11, Harley Bresnhan 6/3/9, Dalton McCollum 4/4/8, Julio Rubio 5/1/6, Jackson West 4/2/6,Nathan McKee 3/2/5, Diego Rubio 1/3/4, Trent Barnes 1/1/2, Preston Jones 1/1/2, Devon Doxey 2/0/2, Nathan Hitchcock 2/0/2, Jackson Harrod 1/0/1, Tristan Thissen 0/1/1, Gus Hannah 1/0/1.
TACKLES FOR LOSS: Fate Berry 8, Landon Johnson 7.5, Kaden Hughes 2.5, Levy Phillips 2, Tri Johnson 1, Harley Bresnahan 1.
SACKS/YARDS LOST: Levy Phillips 1/ 5, Kaden Hughes 1/ 4, Harley Bresnahan 1/ 4, Tri Johnson 2/ 18, Fate Berry 2.5/18, Julio Rubio .5/9
INTERCEPTIONS: Dalton McCollum 1
FUMBLE RECOVERIES: Nathan McKee 1
PUNTING (No./Yards/Avg./Inside20): Adam Martin 9/369/41/1
SCORING: Julio Rubio 54 (9 tds), Landon Johnson 18 (3 tds), Jackson Harrod 13 (13-14 PAT), Adam Martin 12 (2 td), Tri Johnson 12 (2 td), Fate Berry 6 (1 td), Nathan McKee 6 (1 td)
SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: LEVY PHILLIPS
MARKEDTIME.COM PLAYERS OF WEEK
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
JUNIOR HIGH FOOTBALL
The Heber Springs Panther junior high team fell to 0-4 on the season with a 28-0 setback to Stuttgart Thursday night at Panther Stadium. Heber Springs travels to Central Arkansas Christian on Thursday.
The Heber Springs seventh-grade team suffered its first loss of the season Thursday night with a 20-6 loss to Stuttgart. Heber Springs sets at 3-1 on the year.
PANTHER SPORTS THIS WEEK
Monday, October 7 – 4A State Boys Golf Tournament at Red Apple
Tuesday, October 8 – Cross Country at Bald Knob
Tuesday, October 8 – 4A State Boys Golf Tournament at Red Apple
Tuesday, October 8 – Volleyball vs. Clarksville, 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, October 10 – Volleyball at Joe T. Robinson, 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, October 10 – 7th-Grade Football at CAC, 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, October 10 – Junior Football at CAC, 7 p.m.
HEBER SPRINGS – Heber Springs trailed by 16 or more points three different times in the third quarter, but it took Stuttgart killing the final 4:19 of the contest to hold off the Panthers and claim a 36-33 4A-2 victory Friday night at Panther Stadium.
Heber Springs trailed, 36-19, when Dalton Hall broke free for a 44-yard touchdown run with 27.5 seconds left to play in the third quarter to make it 36-26.
After the Panther defense stopped the Ricebirds on a fourth-and-9 play on the Heber Springs 11 with 9:59 to play, Heber Springs would pull to within a field goal on an Adam Martin 10-yard touchdown run with 4:19 to go.
But Stuttgart (3-1, 2-0), picked up three first downs on its ensuing possession to kill the clock and preserve the victory.
“I couldn’t be more proud of how they played,” Heber Springs coach Darren Gowen said of his team. “We made mistake after mistake, but we played so hard that we could make up for it.
“The offense played awful in the first half and that’s my fault. I didn’t get them ready to go. But in the second half, we made a few adjustments, the defense kept us in the game and we just didn’t do quite enough to get it done.”
The Panthers rushed for 221 yards on 35 attempts led Blaze Nelson’s 116 yards on 20 carries. Nelson finished with two touchdowns along with Martin, while Hall added another score to go with 54 yards on the ground.
Stuttgart’s David Walker did most of the damage for the Ricebirds. The senior finished with 111 yards rushing on 17 carries with three touchdowns and also added 96 yards on four receptions.
“He is a difference maker,” Gowen said of Walker. “A guy that can run like that, jump over people, at 240 pounds that just tough. Our young men, they just look so small compared to him but they just got after him all night long.”
Heber Springs fell to 1-4 overall with the loss and 1-1 in the conference. The Panthers will look to bounce back on Friday when they travel to Mustang Mountain in North Little Rock to tangle with Central Arkansas Christian. The Mustangs are 2-0 in conference play, joining Stuttgart as the only two remaining teams unbeaten in the 4A-2.
“We came up short, but we got after it, and that’s all I can ask them to do,” Gowen said. “We still have a lot of football left to go. We’ll get back to work and go see what we can do.”
It didn’t take long for Stuttgart to get on the board. The Ricebirds took the opening kickoff and moved the ball from their own 37 and jumped out on top, 7-0, with 9:26 left to playing in the opening quarter. A big two-play sequence did in the Panthers on the drive. On third-and-9 from the Heber Springs 47, Stuttgart quarterback Tim Johnson connected with Davion Grayham to push the ball to the Panther 24. On the next play, a personal foul penalty against the Panthers moved the ball to the Heber Springs 13 where Walker would take the next two carries before powering his way from the 1 to score.
On Heber Springs’ first possession of the contest, Nelson carried 12 yards to give the Panthers a first down. Three plays later, the Panthers picked up another first down on a third-and-4 play, but a fumble gave the ball back to the Ricebirds with 6:34 to play in the first quarter.
But the Panther defense stiffened, forcing a three-and-out and a Stuttgart punt from its own 45. Walker got off a nice kick for the Ricebirds and got a friendly roll. When it the ball finally stopped, it was on the Heber Springs 5.
On the first play from scrimmage, Martin dropped back to the 1 and attempted to hook up with Rocky Finney in the end zone for a double pass, but the ball was off target and rolled out of the back of the end zone for a safety to make it 9-0 Stuttgart with 5:19 to play.
Stuttgart took the free kick from the Panthers and put together an 11-play drive that put the ball on the Panther 18, but Johnson coughed up the football and Matthew Cook pounced on the ball for Heber Springs on its own 27 with 16 seconds left in the opening quarter.
The two teams almost mirrored each other in the second quarter.
First it was the Panthers. Heber Springs moved the ball from its own 27 to the Stuttgart 26 as Martin connected with Tri Johnson first for a 16-yard completion and then three plays later with Nelson on a 14-yard strike. But the drive stalled and the Panthers turned the ball over on downs.
Stuttgart followed by getting a big pass play on second-and-25 from its own 11 as Johnson hit Walker for a short pass and Walker did the rest for a 45-yard gain. Fate Berry brought down Walker on a touchdown-saving tackle. The Ricebirds reached the Panther 22 before they too stalled and turned the ball over downs.
Both teams followed with three-and-out possessions and Heber Springs took over on its own 9 with 1:46 to play in the first half. On the first play of the drive, the Panthers coughed up the football and Walker recovered it for Stuttgart on the Heber Springs 2. Walker would then follow with a 2-yard run to make it 16-0 with 1:31 to go before halftime.
Heber Springs would respond. After Finney picked up 19 yards on the ensuing return, the Panthers would get another big play from the senior. He caught a short pass from Martin, made a Ricebird defender miss and raced 44 yards before being run out of bounds at the Stuttgart 12. Four plays later, Martin would keep the ball and plunge in from the 3. The Panthers went for two, but were stopped and trailed 16-6 with 32.9 seconds left to play in the first half.
“We probably chased some points early that I shouldn’t have and been down one (near the end of the game), maybe go for two late,” Gowen said. “but it is what is.
“I can’t be more proud of these kids. These kids don’t quit. Panthers don’t quit.”
NOT LOOKING GOOD
The second half didn’t start off well for the Panthers.
First, the Stuttgart defense forced Heber Springs to a three-and-out on the Panthers first possession. Then, it was Walker again. After taking over near midfield after the punt, the senior ran through tacklers and raced 52 yards on the Ricebirds second play from scrimmage in the second half to give Stuttgart a 22-6 lead with 9:39 to play in the third. The kick attempt was no good for Stuttgart.
“PANTHERS DON’T QUIT”
Heber Springs took the kickoff from its own 38, marched down field and responded. On fourth-and-1 from the Panther 47, Martin kept the ball on quarterback sneak to move the chains. Back-to-back first downs followed for Heber Springs as Martin connected with Berry for an 11-yard gain and Nelson ran for 10 more yards. Two plays, Martin found Johnson for a 16-yard completion and Nelson finished off the drive with a 7-yard run with 7:09 to play in the quarter to make it 22-12. The two-point conversion was no good.
DOWN BY 17
The Ricebirds responded with a nice drive of their own. Taking over on its own 37, Stuttgart moved the ball to the Panther 11, thanks in part to a 33-yard run by Walker. On third-and-3 at the 11, Samuel Hilborn and Tanner Tillman held Quin Nelson to a two-yard gain to force a fourth-and-1. But Nelson would follow with an eight-yard run and then punch it into the end zone one play later to give Stuttgart a 29-12 advantage with 3:01 to play in the third.
WILD THREE MINUTES
It took the Panthers 23 seconds to respond to the Ricebirds. After a 30-yard kickoff return by Nelson, Heber Springs took over on its own 47. From there, Nelson showed he wasn’t finished taking the handoff and racing 47 yards for the score to make it 29-19 after the Julian Cameron PAT kick.
However, two plays and 16 seconds later, the Ricebirds were back up by 17 points. First Derrick Amos ran for 21 and then Johnson connected with Grayham for a 22-yard touchdown pass to make it 36-19 at the 2:22 mark of the third.
After a 15-yard kickoff return and a six-yard run by Nelson, Martin would connect with Johnson for seven yards and a first down. Two plays later, Hall would take the ball, find a seam and outrace a pair of Ricebird defenders to make a 36-26 game with 27.5 seconds left to play in the quarter.
BIG DRIVE, BIG HIT
After the Ricebirds turned the ball over on downs, Heber Springs took over on its own 11 with 9:59 to play. Martin would find Finney for a first-down catch before Nelson would carry the ball four straight times for 28 yards and a pair of first downs.
A penalty against the Panthers pushed the ball back five yards. Martin would then scramble for a 12-yard gain before stepping out of bounds, but a late hit against Stuttgart would tack on 15 more yards. Another personal foul penalty against the Ricebirds would push the ball to the Stuttgart 12. Two plays later, Martin would find paydirt after scrambling to his right, reversing field to his left for the 10-yard touchdown run to make it 36-33 with 4:19 to play.
The Panthers needed the ball back, but Stuttgart didn’t oblige. On first down, Walker was stopped for a one-yard loss by Berry and Hall. But on the next play, Johnson dumped a pass to Walker, who gained 28 yards and a first down.
Walker again did in Heber Springs on third-and-2 with a three-yard run and another first down.
Three plays later, and the Panthers out of timeouts, Walker carried for five more yards on a third-and-3 to seal the win for the Ricebirds.
Rushing: Heber Springs – Heber Springs, Blaze Nelson 20-116-2, Adam Martin 10-46-2, Dalton Hall 4-54-1, Landon Johnson 1-5. Stuttgart, David Walker 17-111-3, Quin Nelson 12-24-1, Derrick Amos 9-59, Tim Johnson 5-3, Team 3-(-14), Tyion Berry 1-7, Kobe Robinson 1-1.
Passing: Heber Springs – Adam Martin 11-17 147 0-0, Rocky Finney 0-1 0 0-0. Stuttgart: Tim Johnson 11-22 169 1-0, Mitchell Stovesand 1-1 31 0-0.
Receiving: Heber Springs – Tri Johnson 5-64, Rocky Finney 2-54, Blaze Nelson 1-14, Fate Berry 1-11, Dalton Hall 1-4, Matthew Cook 1-0. Stuttgart – David Walker 4-96, Davion Grayham 4-77-1, John Hoskyn 1-15, Quin Nelson 1-7, Rhett Bohanon 1-5, Derrick Amos 1-0.
4A Panthers battle 5A Eagles; Heber Springs opens with Clinton
August 27, 2019
By Philip Seaton
VILONIA – Unofficially it was a 21-7 first-team loss to Vilonia in an Arkansas Activities Association benefit scrimmage on Tuesday at Phillip D. Weaver Stadium, but for Heber Springs coach Will Cox, he saw enough to come away happy with his teams performance.
“I thought there were some bright spots,” Cox said. “We saw some guys step up and play.”
Heber Springs finished with 202 yards of total offense in an abbreviated first half of play that saw the teams start at the 30-yard line without any kickoffs or punts.
Panther senior quarterback Adam Martin was 14-of-24 passing for 155 yards including a 7-yard touchdown pass to junior Matthew Cook right before the half to put the Panthers on the board. Returning all-conference performer Tri Johnson was Martin’s favorite target with five receptions for 84 yards.
With all-state running back Blaze Nelson and his 2,000 yards plus rushing gone from last season, senior Landon Johnson took on the bulk of the load rushing eight times for 40 yards.
“You know what you are going to get with Landon,” Cox said. “The effort you get on game day is the same effort you get every day. He’s a guy that worked out twice every day during the offseason. You know what you are going to get with him. He’s really reliable and he showed everybody else what we know about him.”
While there were some bright spots, there were some things that Cox said his team needed to work on before they open their season against Clinton on Sept. 6 at home in the Battle of the Little Red.
Among those were some dropped passes that could have led to touchdowns and missed blocks on offense, and some missed tackles and bad angles on defense that lead to Vilonia pilling up 319 yards of total offense with the majority of those coming on a screen pass that turned into a 97-yard touchdown.
“It was a lot of first opponent mistakes, but that is stuff that we can clean up” Cox said. “I told the guys that this is going to be great film for us.We are going to learn a lot from this film. It was a great opportunity to learn tonight.”
Vilonia sophomore quarterback Austin Myers was 9-of-10 passing for 266 yards and three touchdowns.
“That’s a very good Vilonia team,” Cox said of the 5A Eagles. “They are deep. They are big. They are going to have a good season. Our guys competed against them.”
SECOND HALF: The two teams played a 10 minute second-half period with the second teams. Vilonia outscored Heber Springs, 20-0, over that stretch, but senior running back Levy Phillips did show some promise during that stretch.
“(He) came in and got some good runs for us,” Cox said, “that shows that we have some depth at the running back position which is good.”
LET’S PLAY TWO: Cox said that is exciting to see that his team loves to love to play. “They can’t get enough,” he said. “ If I could let them play another game tonight, they would.”
BIG NUMBERS: While Heber Springs has 43 players on the roster, Vilonia had 83 dressed out Tuesday night and that will be the most any team dresses out against the Panthers this season. Heber Springs has the third most players out in the 4A-2 with Southside Batesville leading the way with 51 and Bald Knob with 44. Other opponents by the numbers: Clinton (37), Greenbrier (61), Harding Academy (46), Lonoke (37), Stuttgart (37), Central Arkansas Christian (40), Riverview (33) and Little Rock Mills (20).
NO CONTACT: Both quarterbacks were off limits in regards to being tackled and were downed by touch. Martin and second-team quarterback John McBroome wore a red no contact jersey.
EXTRA POINT: Jackson Harrod connected on the lone extra point for Heber Springs. The Panthers will be looking to replace the graduate Julian Cameron, who connected on a state record 100 extra points. Cameron is battling for a starting position at Arkansas Tech.
NEW COACH: Will Cox was named interim head coach over the summer after former head coach Darren Gowen left at the end of the school year in the spring to pursue other opportunities in northwest Arkansas. Gowen has since been named the offensive coordinator at Gravette. Cox was co-defensive coordinator last season with E.G. Dew.
NEW ASSISTANTS: Former Greenbrier Panther Chase Roberts is the new junior high coach and will assist on the senior high team. Roberts was the head coach of the eight-man team at Pattonsburg (Missouri) High School last season. Roberts led his team to a 10-2 record last season. Also joining the staff is Hunter Davis. Davis coached at Star City last season. He will also be the head senior girls track coach.
NEXT YEAR: Heber Springs’ 2020 schedule has been set. Riverview is moving down to Class 3A while Clinton will be moving back up to 4A. The Yellowjackets will replace Riverview in week 9 in conference. The Panthers will open at home in 2020 against Newport followed by a road date at Harding Academy before wrapping up nonconference play at home against Dover. Heber Springs athletic director Brad Reese said he attempted to schedule Riverview for a nonconference date but the Searcy school opted for a game with Bauxite instead.
GLOWING REVIEW: Former Heber Springs coach Bill Buckner made an appearance on the sidelines on Tuesday night to catch some of the action. Buckner, who has since retired after years of coaching in the area with stops at Quitman, Greenbrier and Vilonia among others, was impressed with what he saw from the Panthers. “Tell the people of Heber Springs that they have a good football team,” he said.
OPENING DRIVE: 10 plays, 36 yards. Highlights: Adam Martin 10-yard run, Landon Johnson 14- and 13-yard runs. Result: Turnover on downs.
SECOND DRIVE: 10 plays, 68 yards. Highlights: Adam Martin to Tri Johnson for 34-yard completion. Result: Stopped on fourth-and-goal at the 1.
THIRD DRIVE: 5 plays, 20 yards. Result: Fictional punt.
FOURTH DRIVE: 10 plays, 70 yards: Highlights: Adam Martin to Landon Johnson for 12- and 25-yard pass completions. Result: Touchdown.
INDIVIDUAL STATS (First-half only)
Rushing: Heber Springs, Landon Johnson 8-40; Julie Rubio 5-5; Adam Martin 5-2. Vilonia, Draven Smith 7-43; Seth Kick 1-5; Austin Myers 1-3; Tyler Moran 1-2.
Passing: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 14-24-155-1-0. Vilonia, Austin Myers 9-10-266-3-0.
Receiving: Heber Springs, Tri Johnson 5-84; Landon Johnson 3-45; Matthew Cook 3-13-1; Landon Barbee 1-8; Nathan McKee 1-6; Hunter Kent 1-(-1). Vilonia, Tyler Moran 4-127-1; Jamison Hinsley 2-40-1; Kannon Bartlett 1-45; Draven Smith 1-38; Corbin Watson 1-24-1.
TEAM (First-half only)
Rushing: Heber Springs 18-47; Vilonia 10-53
Passing: Heber Springs, 14-24-155-1-0; Vilonia 9-10-266-3-0