Pirates, Cox return to Panther Stadium

Heber Springs senior running back Diego Rubio gets a block from teammate Hunter Kent(1) in last week’s loss at Harding Academy. Also picture, Harding Academy’s Cooper Welch (45). PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

BY LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

It’s not a one-game football season, but Friday’s nonconference finale may set the tone going into conference play.

Heber Springs hopes to take a step forward and build momentum for the 2-4A Conference opener with a win against Dover at Panther Field. Kickoff is scheduled at 7 p.m.

The Panthers (0-2) played two of the top ranked Class 3A teams in the first two games — No. 1 Harding Academy and No. 4 Newport.

Dover (0-3) lost its first three games by a combined score of 126-22 to Hector, Atkins and Salem.

“We will be looking for growth against Dover,” Heber Springs head coach Todd Wood said. “We want to settle into the way we want to play on offense and defense during the conference games. We want a win and also show improvement in all areas.”

Dover head coach Will Cox said it was mixed emotions coming back to Panther Stadium. Cox coached the last two years at Heber Springs and was the interim head coach last season.

“Three coaches I worked with closely are still on staff,” Cox said. “I was very close to coach (Drew) Lawrence, (E.G.) Dew and (Hunter) Davis. It will be different being on the other side of the field. But it’s going to be exciting to be back in Heber.”

Cox said emphasis is on the game against the Panthers.

“Our focus will be on ourselves and  building the Dover program in the right way,” he said. “It probably helped with preparation because I coached some of Heber’s players in the past. Those guys can make plays. I’ve got a lot of respect for all of those guys and know what they are capable of doing.”

Heber Springs is averaging 150 yards of offense and four turnovers through two games. Wood plans more personnel changes for Friday’s game, in an attempt fore more production.

“We must have better execution,” Wood said. “We have not had it for an entire game yet. You can’t give up the ball as many times we did in the last two games (eight turnovers) and win.”

Wood noticed more positives in practice and hope it carries over to the game.

“We had good practices,” he said. “We are continuing to learn and trying to figure everything out. It was a positive week.”

Heber Springs senior Matthew Cook at quarterback last week against Harding Academy. Cook is expected to start at quarterback tonight against Dover. Also pictured for Heber Springs is Tristan Thissen (56) blocking a Wildcat defender. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

Wood said Matthew Cook, who was the backup for the first two games, will start at quarterback. Sophomore Conner Riddle, who completed 6-of-7 passes for 47 yards against Harding Academy in the second half, also is expected to play.

“Conner played well, but he still has a long way to go,” Wood said. “He is still learning the offense.”

Sophomore Isaac King, who started at safety, played receiver in the second half and may play a bigger role against Dover.

“Isaac stepped in for Nathan McKee at safety and also caught passes (6-47),” Wood said. “He will probably start again at safety and at receiver.”  

Wood said changes are planned for the  offensive and defensive line.

“We don’t have much depth and the injuries are affecting us,” he said. “(Preston) Roberson will probably not play because of a bad back for the second straight week.”

The injury list increased with the loss of Gus Hannah, and Wood said Chris Smith is questionable on the line. Payton Owens is expected to play against Dover, along with the return of McKee.

Dover will depend on Dawson Branch and Brantley Craig from its version of a winged offense. Craig is expected to start at quarterback. The Pirates also will utilize the talents of Jon Greathouse.

“It has been a juggling act,” Cox said when asked about Dover’s offense. “Dawson and Branley have played quarterback. Branley is a dynamic player with speed and settling into the offense.”

Cox said one of the keys to the game will be the play of Dover’s defense.

“We need to tackle well and create turnovers,” he said. “We need to do what is necessary to pick up a win.”

Wood said the Panthers played balanced offenses in the first two games, but Dover will be a different challenge with emphasis on the running game.

“Dover established its running game,” Wood said. “We must do a better job of going to the ball and play more aggressive on defense.”

NOTEBOOK

RADIO/VIDEO STREAMING: 101.9 The Lake. Billy Morgan will handle play-by-play with Lance Hamilton providing the color commentary. Pregame begins at 6:45 with kickoff at 7 p.m. 

Heber Springs vs. Dover 
The Series 
Dover leads 6-3
LAST MEETING: 1997 in Heber Springs, Heber Springs 32, Dover 7
LAST WEEK: Heber Springs lost to Harding Academy, 45-6; Dover lost to Salem, 46-0
TONIGHT: This will be the 10th time these two teams have played each other. The first meeting was in 1987, a 20-14 nonconference victory for Heber Springs. The teams would split four nonconference games from 1987-90, with Dover winning in 1988 (13-7) and 1989 (14-6) and the Panthers winning in 1990, 40-0.
OLD CONFERENCE FOES: The next time Dover and Heber Springs would meet on the gridiron would come in the 1993 season when the Panthers and Pirates meet as members of the 4AA-East conference for three seasons, with Dover winning all three. The two teams would remained paired in the new 5AA-North conference for two seasons (1996-1997) with the teams splitting those two games. 
HIATUS: Tonight's game is the final nonconference contest for the Panthers and Pirates. Newport and Dover replaced Greenbrier and Clinton (now in the same conference). Heber Springs has lost to Newport (45-6) and Harding Academy (45-6) while Dover has lost to Hector, 30-8 in week 0; Atkins, 48-14, in week 1; and Salem, 46-0 in week 2. Dover is idle next week after conference-foe Subiaco Academy opted to play 8-man football this season giving the Pirates the opportunity to play four nonconference games.  
NONCONFERENCE WOES: Heber Springs has lost eight consecutive regular-season nonconference games. The Panthers last regular season nonconference win came on Sept. 15, 2017, at Panther Stadium against Harding Academy, 35-14. 
LOSING STREAK: Dover has lost 13 consecutive games. The Pirates last win came on Nov. 1, 2018 with a 46-42 victory over Waldron.  

-- Notes by Philip Seaton

Heber Springs’ Martin signs with Arkansas Tech

February 5, 2020

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

Quarterback Adam Martin capped his Heber Springs High School football career by signing a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II letter-of-intent with Arkansas Tech at the Panther Den Tuesday.

Martin, who started the final two games of his freshman season and the past three years, led the Panthers to a 21-17 record, four playoff appearances and a share of a conference championship.

Overall, Martin completed 387-of-662 passes for 5,051 yards and 42 touchdowns. He rushed for 2,042 yards and scored 30 touchdowns.

“I’m very excited, like Russellville and excited what the future will hold,” said Martin when asked about selecting Arkansas Tech. “I’m ready to start working on my football career in Russellville. I like the coaches who kept in touch with me throughout the process. They were honest and treated me like family.”

Will Cox, who was interim head coach last season for the Panthers, said Martin was one of the key parts on offense. Martin was responsible for 54 percent of the team’s touchdowns and 64 percent of the team’s total offense.

In 2019, Martin completed 139-of-232 passes for 1,627 yards and 13 touchdowns. He was the team’s second-leading rusher with 864 yards and scored 11 touchdowns. Martin also handled the punting duties.

“I only coached Adam during the past two years, but he played well beyond his years,” Cox said. “He took pride in how he played. I’m happy he is getting this opportunity. His stats are incredible and only tells part of the story. Adam always put our offense in good position to be successful.”
Cox said he never doubted Martin would play college football and said his new coach will learn quickly how valuable of a player he is.

Heber Springs’ Adam Martin waits to sign his letter-of-intent with Arkansas Tech University. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

“I told every coach once he gets in your program, you would see why,” Cox said. “Adam is the best high school quarterback I ever coached. His best attributes are leadership and he holds himself to a higher standard than others.”

Martin is expected to compete for playing time next season for the Wonder Boys, who tied for eighth place with East Central Oklahoma in the Great American Conference last season during head coach Kyle Shipp’s first season.

“Most likely, I will probably be redshirted, but that decision will not be made until after the August camp,” he said. “I’m looking forward to getting to Tech. Coach Shipp takes pride in being a Wonder Boy (player and assistant coach before becoming head coach). The program is going in the right direction.”

Martin was one of three quarterbacks signed.

“I’m excited about all of the kids that we’re signing,” Shipp said. “I feel like it’s a very good class from top to bottom. This class is a building block to where we want to get to in the future. Along with our returning class we feel like this group will have the chance to be special.”

Martin said he is ready for the challenge and compared it to when he was summoned to the varsity during his freshman year for the Panthers.

“I already was playing junior high basketball and coach (Darren) Gowen came and told me I was going to be playing more football,” Martin said. “I learned a lot in those games. I have so many memories, but two of the highlights were winning at Southside Batesville during my junior year and defeating Riverview at senior night last season.”

Martin said it was special to play on the same field as his father, Danny.

Adam Martin poses with father, Danny, in front of the Heber Springs High School class of 1981 class portrait. Danny was a 1981 graduate of Heber Springs. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

“I built a lot of relationships in the locker room and the community,” he said. “It also was special playing where my dad and uncles did.”

Martin continues to play for the Heber Springs basketball team and will compete for the baseball squad before heading to Russellville.

“Learning a new playbook will be the first challenge,” he said. “I need to become more physically because Division II football is a different game than high school. I want to get it up to their standards.”

Martin will join former teammate, Julian Cameron, at Tech. Cameron signed with the Wonder Boys last spring and redshirted this past season.

Martin is also the fifth Panther football player in the past three seasons to sign to play college football joining Cameron (Arkansas Tech), Blaze Nelson (Lyon College), J.J. Bray (Southwest Baptist, Mo.) last year and Jacob Bremmon (Hendrix) in 2018.

RELATED ARTICLE: Arkansas Tech announces 2020 signing class

Adam Martin with his family.

ADAM MARTIN INTERVIEW

HEBER SPRINGS COACH WILL COX

FORMER HEBER SPRINGS COACH DARREN GOWEN

Wood named new head coach at Heber Springs

January 20, 2020

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

Todd Wood, the defensive coordinator at Russellville High School since 2017, became the new leader of the Heber Springs Panther football program at Monday night’s school board meeting.

Wood was hired on a vote of 3-2. Kevin Thomas, Dr. Ryan Buffalo and Bryce Farmer voted in favor of Wood, while Judy Crowder and Jason Jones voted no.

Wood was one of six candidates interviewed by a five-member search committee and Superintendent Dr. Alan Stauffacher. Wood is expected to be on campus Wednesday and begin his duties on Feb. 3. He also will teach social studies.

Wood was the defensive coordinator at Pulaski Academy from 2003-2016. The Bruins won six state titles during that time frame. He also a baseball coach at Pulaski Academy.

Wood and five other candidates were interviewed in December and then again in January. The position became vacant in July when Darren Gowen resigned to accept another coaching position. Assistant coach Will Cox was interim head for the 2019 season.

“We started this process in the summer when coach Gowen resigned,” Stauffacher said. “We are ready to move forward.”

Stauffacher said Wood will work with a contract to finish the spring semester before he will have a new contract for the 2020-21 school year.

Wood is the first football coach hired that had not previously served on the coaching staff since Steve Janski in 2005 and only the third head coach hired outside of the program since 1974, joining John Richardson in 1989. Richardson came to Heber Springs from Huntsville.

The Panthers will open their 99th football season against Newport in September.

(Editor’s Note: Philip Seaton contributed to this article.)

Panthers expect to name new football coach Monday

January 20, 2020

BY LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

The search for Heber Springs’ next head football coach will end Monday night when a recommendation will be presented to the school board during its meeting.

Six candidates were interviewed by Superintendent Dr. Alan Stauffacher and a five-member search committee in December and then again in January.
The position became vacant in July when Darren Gowen resigned to accept another coaching position. Assistant coach Will Cox was named interim head coach for the 2019 season.

Athletic director Brad Reese, high school principal Marc Griffin, former school board member Richard Whybrew, current board member Dr. Ryan Buffalo and coach Jay Bishop comprise the committee.

Monday’s meeting is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. in the school district’s central office.

Interviews for Heber Springs football coach continue Wednesday

January 7, 2020

BY LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

A second round of interviews with Heber Springs High School head football coaching candidates will be held on Wednesday.

The five-member search committee met last week after the initial interviews of six candidates in December.

Assistant coach Will Cox was named interim head coach in July, replacing Darren Gowen, who resigned in June.

Heber Springs finished the season at 4-7.

Superintendent Dr. Alan Stauffacher earlier said he expected a recommendation for the school board’s January 20 meeting. Stauffacher said the recommendation may be delayed.

Athletic director Brad Reese, high school principal Marc Griffin, former school board member Richard Whybrew, current board member Dr. Ryan Buffalo, coach Jay Bishop and Stauffacher comprise the committee.

Heber Springs hands out postseason awards

2019 Heber Springs Panther Football Award winners, front, from left, Hunter Kent, Matthew Cook, Lawrence Baureis, Landon Johnson and Nathan McKee. Back, from left, Julio Rubio, Harley Hannah, Preston Jones, Adam Martin and Fate Berry. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

December 17, 2019

The Heber Springs High School football awards banquet was held at the Heber Springs High School cafeteria.

Head coach Will Cox and the coaching staff presented the following awards for the 2019 season:

All-State: Adam Martin

Honorable Mention All-State: Julio Rubio, Fate Berry and Landon Johnson

All-Conference: Nathan McKee, Hunter Kent, Matthew Cook and Harley Hannah.

Team MVP: Landon Johnson

Offensive MVP: Adam Martin

Defensive MVP: Fate Berry

Panther Award: Lawrence Baureis

Seth Decker Award (Outstanding Sophomore): Preston Jones

The 2019 Heber Springs football seniors, front, from left, Hunter Griffin, Adam Martin, Lawrence Baureis, Landon Johnson and Spencer Evans. Middle, from left, Nate Dearmond, Dalton McCollum, Levy Phillips, Brandon Tate, Julio Rubio. Back, from left, Kaden Hughes, Harley Hannah, Fate Berry. Not pictured: Jackson Harrod. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

VIDEO

Note: The video starts with Hunter Kent receiving his all-conference award.

2019 HEBER SPRINGS FINAL FOOTBALL STATS

Heber Springs 61 103  54 83 - 301 (27.4)  
Opponent      60 125 104 73 - 362 (32.9)  

TEAM  
First Downs by Rush: Heber Springs 113, Opponent 120  
First Downs by Pass: Heber Springs 69, Opponent 73  
First Downs by Penalty: Heber Springs 9, Opponent 12  
Total First Downs: Heber Springs 191, Opponent 205  
Third-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 64/135 (47.4), Opponent 44/117 (37.6)  
Fourth-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 13/35 (37.1), Opponent 18/34 (52.9)  
Red-Zone Conversions: Heber Springs 27/36 (75) (27 tds), Opponent 33/44 (75) (31 tds, 2 FG)  
Fumbles/Lost: Heber Springs 19/10, Opponent 17/9  
Turnovers: Heber Springs 20, Opponent 14  
Points Off Turnovers: Heber Springs 48, Opponent 56 
Penalties/Yards: Heber Springs 90/673, Opponent 78/764 
Plays/Total Offense/YPP/PER GAME: Heber Springs 676/3883/5.7/353, Opponent 655/3909/6.0/355.4  
Rushing: Heber Springs 432/2244/5.2, Opponent 458/2239/4.9 
Rushing Per Game: Heber Springs 204, Opponent 203.6  
Passing: Heber Springs 139/238-1648-13/10, Opponent 136/223-1708-24/5 
Completion Percentage: Heber Springs 51.9, Opponent 61.0
Passing Per Game: Heber Springs 148.9, Opponent 155.3 
Sacks/Yards Lost: Heber Springs 20/107, Opponent 13/75  
Punts: Heber Springs 30/1176/39.2, Opponent 29/975/33.6
Blocked Punts: Heber Springs 1 
 
INDIVIDUAL  
OFFENSE  
RUSHING (ATT/YARDS/PER ATTEMPT/PER GAME/TDS): Julio Rubio 185/1154/6.2/100.4/16, Adam Martin 176/845/4.8/76.8/11, Landon Johnson 55/259/4.7/23.6/5, Levy Phillips 6/28, Nathan McKee 3/14, Diego Rubio 1/2, Tri Johnson 1/(-2), Team 7/(-52)  
RUNS OF 50+: Julio Rubio 2, Adam, Martin 2 
RUNS OF 40+: Julio Rubio 4  Adam Martin 2
RUNS OF 30+: Julio Rubio 6, Adam Martin 3  
RUNS OF 20+: Julio Rubio 12, Adam Martin 8, Landon Johnson 1 
RUNS OF 10+:  Julio Rubio 29, Adam Martin 23, Landon Johnson 4, Levy Phillips 1 
100-YARD RUSHING GAMES: Julio Rubio 6, Adam Martin 4   
PASSING (ATT/COMP-YARDS-TDS/INT): Adam Martin  139/238-1648-13/10       
250-YARD PASSING GAMES: Adam Martin 1  
RECEIVING (REC/YARDS/PER CATCH/TDS): Nathan McKee 30/350/11.7/4, Landon Johnson 25/269/10.8/2, Matthew Cook 23/198/8.6/1, Hunter Kent 18/221/12.3/3, Fate Berry 15/202/13.5/1, Julio Rubio 13/155/11.2, Tri Johnson 12/208/17.3/2, Jackson West 1/18, Dalton McCollum 1/9, Diego Rubio 1/8  
100-YARD RECEIVING GAMES: Hunter Kent 1, Tri Johnson 1, Julio Rubio 1  
TOTAL OFFENSE (OFFENSE/PER GAME): Adam Martin 2497/227, Julio Rubio 1154/104.9, Landon Johnson 259/23.6, Levy Phillips 28, Nathan McKee 14, Diego Rubio 2, Tri Johnson (-2), Team (-51)  
KICKOFF RETURNS: Tri Johnson 8/170/21.3, Nathan McKee 7/87/12.4,  Hunter Kent 7/52/7.4, Matthew Cook 6/62/10.3,  Jackson West 6/47/7.8, Levy Phillips 4/37/9.3, Diego Rubio 4/85/21.3,  Julio Rubio 3/44/14.7,  Lawrence Baureis 1/10, Harley Bresnahan 1/ 6, Adam Martin 1/6, Tristan  Thissen 1/0.  
PUNT RETURNS: Nathan McKee 3/12, Tri Johnson 1/(-3) 
INTERCEPTION RETURNS: Nathan McKee 3/54, Dalton McCollum 1/4, Fate Berry 1/2  
FUMBLE RETURNS: Matthew Cook 1/4 
ALL-PURPOSE YARDS (YARDS/PER GAME): Julio Rubio 1236/112.4, Adam Martin 851/77.4, Landon Johnson 527/47.9, Nathan McKee 483/43.9, Tri Johnson 373/57.3, Matthew Cook 264/26.4, Hunter Kent 302/27.5, Fate Berry 204/18.6, Diego Rubio 99/9, Jackson West 65/5.9, Levy Phillips 65/5.9,  Dalton McCollum 13, Lawrence Baureis 10 Harley Bresnahan 6  
DEFENSE  
TACKLES (ASST/SOLO/TOTAL): Fate Berry 75/30/105, Landon Johnson 75/28/103, Diego Rubio 47/14/61, Kaden Hughes 37/16/53, Nathan McKee 36/16/52,  Hunter Kent 32/13/45, Lawrence Baureis 32/13/45, Matthew Cook 31/9/40, Nicholas Hitchcock 29/8/37,  Levy Phillips 27/14/41, Jackson West 24/4/28, Julio Rubio 13/7/20, Dalton McCollum 11/7/18, Tri Johnson 9/5/14, Harley Bresnhan 7/4/11, Trevor Weathers 8/1/9, Preston Jones 3/2/5, Harley Hannah 3/2/5, Jackson Harrod 4/1/5,  Hunter Griffin 3/1/4, Devon Doxey 3/1/4, Tristan Thissen 1/2/3, Trent Barnes 2/1/3, Adam Martin 3/0/3, Nate Dearmond 1/1/2, Spencer Evans 2/0/2, Gus Hannah 1/0/1.  
TACKLES FOR LOSS: Fate Berry 15, Landon Johnson 15.5, Kaden Hughes 11.5, Diego Rubio 7, Nicholas Hitchcock 6.5, Julio Rubio 9, Lawrence Baureis 7, Levy Phillips 2, Jackson West 2, Tri Johnson 1.5,  Hunter Griffin 1, Harley Bresnahan 1, Devon Doxey 1, Nathan McKee 1  
SACKS/YARDS LOST: Fate Berry 4/28, Kaden Hughes 4/24,  Tri Johnson 2.5/22, Diego Rubio 1.5/5, Levy Phillips 1/ 5, Harley Bresnahan 1/ 4, Julio Rubio .5/9, Landon Johnson 1/3, Matthew Cook .5/3, Nicholas Hitchcock .5/4. 
INTERCEPTIONS:  Nathan McKee 3, Dalton McCollum 1, Fate Berry 1  
DEFENSIVE FUMBLE RECOVERIES: Hunter Kent 2, Diego Rubio 3, Nicholas Hitchcock 2, Nathan McKee 1, Landon Johnson 1,    
BLOCKED PUNTS: Kaden Hughes 1
PUNTING (No./Yards/Avg./Inside20): Adam Martin 29/1143/39.4/8, Matthew Cook 1/33/33
SCORING: Julio Rubio 96 (16 tds), Adam Martin 66 (11 td), Jackson Harrod 37 (37-41 PAT, 0-1 FG), Landon Johnson 36 (6 tds), Nathan McKee 24 (4 td), Hunter Kent 18 (3 td), Tri Johnson 12 (2 td), Fate Berry 6 (1 td), Matthew Cook 6 (1 td) 

Interviews begin today for Heber Springs football coach

December 18, 2019

BY LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

A five-member search committee, along with Superintendent Dr. Alan Stauffacher, will interview six candidates to become the next head football coach at Heber Springs High School Wednesday.

Athletic director Brad Reese, high school principal Marc Griffin, former school board member Richard Whybrew, current board member Dr. Ryan Buffalo and coach Jay Bishop comprise the committee.

Stauffacher said the plan is to conduct the first round of interviews before Christmas and possibly calling for second interviews either in late December or early January. He said the committee’s goal is to have a recommendation ready for the Jan. 20 school board meeting.

Assistant coach Will Cox was named interim head coach in July, replacing Darren Gowen, who resigned in June.

“The committee and I met twice and reviewed the applications,” Stauffacher said. “We decided on who would be interviewed and possibly the best fit for the job. We plan to keep our options open. We wanted to do the first round of interviews before Christmas, and then we will look at where we are at that point.”

The search process began following the completion of the football season in mid-November.

“I’m pleased with the six candidates,” Stauffacher said. “We are looking for a quality person to lead the football program. We also want a coach who wants to be at Heber Springs, become vested into the community and build the program. We want a coach with high energy and a proven record. Those are some of the qualities we are looking for in the next coach.”

If a new coach is hired at the January school board meeting, Stauffacher hopes to have him on campus by late February or possibly early March.

“The holiday may delay it, but I believe we can have a recommendation by the next board meeting,” Stauffacher said. “We will have to wait and see how the process goes.”

Panther PostGame

Heber Springs’ season closes at Shiloh Christian

Heber Springs’ Landon Johnson running with the ball Friday night at Shiloh Christian. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

November 15, 2019

By PHILIP SEATON

SPRINGDALE – Shiloh Christian used a quick-strike, precision passing game and took advantage of four Heber Springs turnovers to end the Panthers season with a 62-27 victory Friday night in a first-round 4A playoff game.

The 27 points scored by Heber Springs was the most points Shiloh Christian (11-0) has allowed to an opponent all season.

Heber Springs finishes the season with a 4-7 record while Shiloh Christian advanced to the second round where the Saints will host Pocahontas Friday night.

It was the final game for 14 Panther seniors, who made three consecutive playoff appearances and won a share of a 4A-2 conference crown in 2017. Two of those seniors, Adam Martin (15 carries for 118 yards) and Julio Rubio (14 carries for 108), closed out their careers rushing for more than 100 yards on the night.

Senior Eli Reece was 26 of 32 for 395 yards passing with seven touchdowns for Shiloh Christian as the Saints needed only 36 seconds to take a 6-0 lead after Reece connected with Logan Raben for a 45-yard score. The 2-point conversion failed.

On the Panthers first possession, Heber Springs moved from their own 15 to their 49 after a pair of first-down runs by Rubio, the first for 23 and second for 11, but the drive fizzled at the Shiloh Christian 43 and the Panthers turned the ball over on downs.

The Saints didn’t waste much time going up 14-0 moving 57 yards on four plays in 39 seconds as Reece connected with Truitt Tollett for the score and Cam Wiedemann for the 2-point conversion.

Heber Springs responded as Rubio went 41 yards on second down to put the ball the Saint 18. Two players later Martin ran the ball in from the 14 with 6:44 to play in the opening quarter. Jackson Harrod’s kick made it 14-7 Shiloh.

The Saints drove to the Panther 14 before the Heber Springs defense stopped the Saints on a fourth-and-1 with 3:37 left in the first quarter.

The Panthers picked up a pair of first downs on their next drive, the second coming after Martin connected with Hunter Kent for eight yards on third-and-7 from the Heber Springs 28, but a holding penalty on a Landon Johnson run on the next play put Heber Springs in the hole for the series forcing the game’s only punt, a Martin 56-yarder on the first play of the second quarter.

From there Shiloh Christian marched 93 yards in 1:35 in five plays to go up 21-7 after Reece connected with Tollett again for a 34-yard score.

The Saints attempted an onside kick and recovered it after the ball after it bounced a Panther at the 50. Two plays and 20 seconds later the Saints would go up 28-7 after Reece found Tollett yet again for a 33-yard touchdown.

The Panthers pulled to within two scores on the ensuing drive after recovering the onside-kick attempt on their own 49. Martin rushed for nine yards for a first down at the Shiloh 32 and passed for another first down connecting with Nathan McKee for an eight-yard completion. Three plays later, Martin again connected with McKee, this time for a 16-yard touchdown with 5:45 left in the first half. The kick failed making it 28-13.

Shiloh Christian need only 90 seconds to respond as Reece found tight end Beau Cason for an eight-yard touchdown pass making it 35-13.

The Panthers kept it a two-score game on their next possession after Martin kept the snap, went off tackle and out ran a trio of Saint defenders for a 57-yard touchdown run to make it 35-20 with 2:12.

Shiloh Christian was driving for another apparent score before Kent stepped in front the Reece pass attempt at the Panther 20 for the interception, but after picking up 28 yards on the return, Kent had the ball knocked free and the Saints recovered. Seven plays later and with 16 seconds left in the half, Reece found Cason for a 17-yard scoring strike to make it 42-20 at the half.

Shiloh Christian put the game out of reach with a pair of third-quarter touchdowns and invoke the Arkansas Activities Association 35-point Mercy Rule. The Panthers did score a late touchdown as Rubio plunged in from the 3 to set the final score.

HEBER SPRINGS COACH WILL COX

GAME NOTES

LEGEND IN THE HOUSE: Heber Springs High graduate and former Panther head coach Dennis DeBusk, who also served as the first head coach in Shiloh Christian history, was on the Heber Springs sidelines for the first half Friday night. DeBusk is retired and lives in Springdale.

LEGEND IN THE HOUSE TOO: Heber Springs High graduate and former Arkansas Razorback Braylon Mitchell was at the game with his family Friday night to catch Heber Springs (see video).

RARE PICK: Hunter Kent’s second-quarter interception of Shiloh Christian Eli Reece was only the third time this season the senior has been picked off.

BOOK-END CENTURY MARKS: Seniors Julio Rubio and Adam Martin opened the season by both rushing for more than 100 yards against Clinton and only accomplished it one another time this season, in the season-ending loss at Shiloh Christian.

DEFENSIVE ACTION: Senior quarterback Adam Martin played on the defense for the first time this season against Shiloh Christian. With the Saints vaunted spread passing attack, Martin was in the secondary.

ADAM MARTIN

IT’S HEBER SPRINGS: The public address announcer at Shiloh Christian made the mistake before kick off by calling saying “Herber Springs Panthers.” It was the only time he made the mistake on the night.

LIGHTS OUT: The stadium at Shiloh Christian uses LED lights and before kick off, the lights were turned off right before the Saint football team ran throw a lighted entrance to come onto the field.

ROUGH NIGHT FOR THE 4A-2: Central Arkansas Christian was the only conference team to advance to the second round of the playoffs. Riverview fell to DeWitt for the second time this season, 44-15. Southside Batesville lost to Star City, 47-20. Pea Ridge downed Lonoke, 49-13, and Central Arkansas Christian topped Gentry, 49-20. The Mustangs will travel to Joe T. Robinson Friday night for a second-round match-up.

SCORING

Heber Springs (4-7)                 7  13   0   7  - 27    
Shiloh Christian (11-0)            14  28  14   6  - 62

FIRST QUARTER
Shiloh - Eli Reece to Logan Raben 45-yard pass (pass failed), 11:24
Shiloh - Reece to Truitt Tollett 2-yard pass (Reece to Cam Wiedemann pass), 8:06
Heber Springs - Adam Martin 14-yard run (Jackson Harrod kick), 6:44    
SECOND QUARTER    
Shiloh - Reece to Tollett 34-yard pass (Keaton Carter kick), 10:14
Shiloh - Reece to Tollett 33-yard pass (Carter kick), 9:53
Heber Springs - Martin to Nathan McKee 16-yard pass (kick failed), 5:45
Shiloh - Reece to Beau Cason 8-yard pass (Carter kick), 4:15
Heber Springs - Martin 57-yard run (Harrod kick), 2:12
Shiloh - Reece to Cason 17-yard pass (Carter kick), :16
THIRD QUARTER    
Shiloh - Reece to Tollett 1-yard pass (Carter kick), 8:19
Shiloh - Carter 40-yard interception return (Carter kick), 7:11
FOURTH QUARTER
Shiloh - Ben Baker 44-yard run (kick blocked), 10:49
Heber Springs - Julio Rubio 3-yard run (Harrod kick), 4:50

TEAM STATS

First Downs by Rush: Heber Springs 13, Shiloh 10
First Downs by Pass: Heber Springs 5, Shiloh 19
First Downs by Penalty: Heber Springs 2, Shiloh 1
Total First Downs: Heber Springs 20, Shiloh 30
Third-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 8/14, Shiloh 2/4
Fourth-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 1/4, Shiloh 0/1
Red-Zone Conversions: Heber Springs 2/2, Shiloh 4/5
Time of Possession: Heber Springs 29:39, Shiloh 18:21
Fumbles/Lost: Heber Springs 3/2, Shiloh 0/0
Turnovers: Heber Springs 4, Shiloh 1   
Points Off Turnovers: Heber Springs 0, Shiloh 28
Penalties: Heber Springs 9/75, Shiloh 7/65
Plays/Total Offense/YPP: Heber Springs 64/356/5.6, Shiloh 51/639/12.5
Rushing: Heber Springs 37/260/7.0, Shiloh 24/242/10.1
Passing: Heber Springs 13/27-96-1/2, Shiloh 27/33-397-7/1
Sacks/Yards Lost: Heber Springs 0/0, Shiloh 1/11
Punts: Heber Springs 1/56, Shiloh 0/0
Inside 20: Heber Springs 1, Shiloh 0

INDIVIDUAL STATS

OFFENSE 
RUSHING: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 15/118/7.9/2, Julio Rubio 14/108/7.7/1, Landon Johnson 3/20/6.7, Nathan McKee 2/8, Levy Phillips 2/7, Team 1/(-1). Shiloh Christian, Cam Wiedemann 10/110/11, Ben Baker 3/77/25.7/1, Truitt Tollett 3/31/10.3, Hayden Brasuell 2/18, Eli Reece 1/7, Logan Raben 1/6, Ben Walton 1/2, Jacob Solomon  Elias Hewitt 1/1,  1/(-1), Team 1/(-9).
RUSHING RUNS OF 50+: Heber Springs, Adam Martin (1) 
RUSHING RUNS OF 40+: Heber Springs, Adam Martin (1), Julio Rubio (1). Shiloh Christian, Ben Baker (1).
RUSHING RUNS OF 30+: Heber Springs, Adam Martin (1), Julio Rubio (1). Shiloh Christian, Ben Baker (1), Truitt Tollett (1).
RUSHING RUNS OF 20+: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio (2), Adam Martin (1). Shiloh Christian, Cam Wiedemann (3), Ben  Baker (1), Truitt Tollett (1). 
RUSHING RUNS OF 10+: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio (4), Adam Martin (3). Shiloh Christian, Cam Wiedemann (5), Ben Baker (3), Truitt Tollett (1), Hayden Brasuell (1).
PASSING: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 13/27-96-1/2, Shiloh Christian, Eli Reece 26/32-395-7/1, Kyle Cason 1/1-2-0/0 
RECEIVING: Heber Springs, Nathan McKee 5/70/1, Landon Johnson 4/8, Hunter Kent 2/10, Fate Berry 1/8, Matthew Cook 1/0. Shiloh Christian, Truitt Tollett 11/178/16.2/4, Cam Wiedemann 5/57, Luke Hutchinson 4/59, Beau Cason 4/37/2, Logan Raben 1/45/1, Hunter Mason 1/19, Sawyer Shankle 1/2  
TOTAL OFFENSE: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 214, Julio Rubio 108, Landon Johnson 20, Nathan McKee 8, Levy Phillips 7, Team (-1). Shiloh Christian, Eli Reece 402, Cam Wiedemann 110, Ben Baker 77, Truitt Tollett 31, Hayden Brasuell 18, Logan Raben 6, Ben Walton 2, Kyle Cason 2, Elias Hewitt 1, Jacob Solomon (-1), Team (-9).
PUNT RETURNS: None.
KICK RETURNS: Heber Springs, Diego Rubio 2/48, Jackson West 2/8, Matthew Cook 2/0, Nathan McKee 1/8, Adam Martin 1/6, Hunter Kent 1/0. Shiloh Christian, Keaton Carter 2/23, Beau Cason 1/36, Ben Baker 1/32. 
FUMBLE RETURNS: Heber Springs, Diego Rubio 1/4 (offensive)
INTERCEPTION RETURNS: Heber Springs, Hunter Kent 29. Shiloh Christian, Keaton Carter 40.
ALL-PURPOSE YARDS: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 124, Julio Rubio 108, Nathan McKee 86, Diego Rubio 52, Hunter Kent 39, Landon Johnson 28, Fate Berry 8, Jackson West 8, Levy Phillips 7. Shiloh Christian, Truitt Tollett 209, Cam Wiedemann 167, Ben Baker 109, Beau Cason 73, Keaton Carter 63, Luke Hutchinson 59, Logan Raben 51, Hunter Mason 19, Hayden Brasuell 18, Eli Reece 7, Ben Walton 2, Sawyer Shankle 2, Elias Hewitt 1, Jacob Solomon (-1).   

GAME SCENES

Panther GameDay

Heber Springs marches to northwest Arkansas to battle Saints

  • Kickoff: 7 p.m. at Shiloh Christian
  • Admission: $5 (No passes accepted)
  • Radio: Lance Hamilton with handle the play-by-play with Jamey Riddle providing the color on KSUG 101.9 The Lake. Panther Pregame begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by the game.  Listen Live Link

LAST WEEK

Heber Springs tops Mills, heads to playoffs

FINAL 4A-2 STANDINGS

                            W L CP  W L  PS  PA   
Riverview                   5 2 52  7 3  337 278 
Southside Batesville        5 2 54  7 3  340 246
Central Arkansas Christian  5 2 59  7 3  296 220       
Lonoke                      5 2 47  6 4  293 297
Heber Springs               4 3 41  4 6  274 300        
Bald Knob                   3 4 13  3 7  160 310                 
Stuttgart                   1 7 13  1 9  238 341
Little Rock Mills           0 8  0  0 10 202 264    

Friday, November 1
Central Arkansas Christian 34, Bald Knob 6
Heber Springs 49, Riverview 35
Lonoke 35, Stuttgart 28
Southside Batesville 50, Little Rock Mills 23

Thursday, November 7
Lonoke 26, Riverview 14
Central Arkansas Christian 28, Stuttgart 6

Friday, November 8
Bald Knob 27, Southside Batesville 22
Heber Springs 28, Little Rock Mills 14

PLAYOFFS: No. 1 Riverview hosts Bauxite, No. 2 Southside Batesville hosts Star City, No. 3 CAC hosts Gentry, No. 4 Lonoke travels to Pea Ridge and No. 5 Heber Springs travels to Shiloh Christian.

NEXT WEEK: The winner of the Shiloh Christian/Heber Springs contest will face the winner of the Pocahontas/Gravette in a second-round playoff contest. If Shiloh Christian wins, they will be at home regardless of the opponent. If Heber Springs wins, they would travel to Pocahontas if the Redskins win or would host Gravette if the Lions win.

CONSECUTIVE STREAK: Heber Springs has qualified for the playoffs for six straight seasons, and 13 out of the last 14 years.

HEBER SPRINGS COACH WILL COX

GAME NOTES

THE SERIES: Heber Springs leads 2-1

SERIES HISTORY: The two teams first met during the 2011 season opener. Heber Springs defeated Shiloh Christian, 36-17, in a game played at the Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville. The Panthers also faced the Saints in a first-round playoff game in 2011 at Panther Stadium – a 48-35 Heber Springs victory. Shiloh Christian would return to Panther Stadium in 2016 for a second-round playoff contest, a 42-7 Shiloh Christian victory. This will be the Panthers first contest at the “Field of Champions.”

WEBPAGE: The Shiloh Christian football team has an “official” website. www.shilohchristianfootball.com

PANTHER CONNECTION: The first football coach in Shiloh Christian history was Heber Springs High School graduate and former head coach Dennis DeBusk. DeBusk, who went 71-53 as head coach at Heber Springs from 1976 through 1987, coach the Saints from 1989-1995 compiling a mark of 38-35 (though the team had to forfeit 8 wins from the 1994 campaign due to an ineligible player). DeBusk was followed as head coach at the school by current Auburn coach Gus Malzahn.

STATE TITLES: Shiloh Christian has won seven state titles since launching its football program in 1989.

SHILOH BY THE NUMBERS: The Saints are averaging 308 passing yards per game and another 124 on the ground. Senior quarterback Eli Reece is 184 out of 252 passing for 2,676 yards with 27 touchdowns and only two interceptions. Reece’s favorite target has been senior Truitt Tollett, who has caught 82 passes for 1,336 yards and 21 touchdowns. Junior Cam Wiedemann is the Saints leading rusher with 584 yards on 91 carries with 12 touchdowns while senior Logan Raben has rushed for 11 scores.

FOUR TO GO: Heber Springs senior Julio Rubio needs four yards rushing to top the 1,000-yard mark on the season.

TEAM STATS (THROUGH 10 GAMES)

Heber Springs 54 90 54 76 - 274 (27.4)  
Opponent      46 97 90 67 - 300 (30)  

TEAM  
First Downs by Rush: Heber Springs 100, Opponent 110  
First Downs by Pass: Heber Springs 64, Opponent 54  
First Downs by Penalty: Heber Springs 7, Opponent 11  
Total First Downs: Heber Springs 171, Opponent 174  
Third-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 56/121 (46.2), Opponent 42/113 (37.1)  
Fourth-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 12/31 (38.7), Opponent 18/33 (54.5)  
Red-Zone Conversions: Heber Springs 25/34 (73.5) (25 tds), Opponent 29/39 (74.4) (27 tds, 2 FG)  
Fumbles/Lost: Heber Springs 16/8, Opponent 17/9  
Turnovers: Heber Springs 16, Opponent 13  
Points Off Turnovers: Heber Springs 48, Opponent 28 
Penalties/Yards: Heber Springs 81/598, Opponent 71/699 
Plays/Total Offense/YPP: Heber Springs 612/3527/5.8, Opponent 604/3270/5.4  
Rushing: Heber Springs 395/1984/5.0, Opponent 434/1997/4.6 
Rushing Per Game: Heber Springs 198.4, Opponent 199.7  
Passing: Heber Springs 126/211-1542-12/8, Opponent 109/190-1311-17/4 
Completion Percentage: Heber Springs 59.7, Opponent 57.4
Passing Per Game: Heber Springs 154.2, Opponent 131.1 
Sacks/Yards Lost: Heber Springs 20/107, Opponent 12/64  
Punts: Heber Springs 29/1120/38.6, Opponent 29/975/33.6
Blocked Punts: Heber Springs 1 
 
INDIVIDUAL  
OFFENSE  
RUSHING (ATT/YARDS/PER ATTEMPT/PER GAME/TDS): Julio Rubio 176/996/5.7/99.6/15, Adam Martin 161/727/4.5/72.7/8, Landon Johnson 52/239/4.6/23.9/5, Levy Phillips 4/21, Nathan McKee 1/6, Diego Rubio 1/2, Tri Johnson 1/(-2), Team 6/(-51)  
RUNS OF 50+: Julio Rubio 2, Adam, Martin 1 
RUNS OF 40+: Julio Rubio 3  Adam Martin 1
RUNS OF 30+: Julio Rubio 5, Adam Martin 2  
RUNS OF 20+: Julio Rubio 10, Adam Martin 7, Landon Johnson 1 
RUNS OF 10+:  Julio Rubio 25, Adam Martin 24, Landon Johnson 4, Levy Phillips 1 
100-YARD RUSHING GAMES: Julio Rubio 5, Adam Martin 3   
PASSING (ATT/COMP-YARDS-TDS/INT): Adam Martin 126/211-1542-12/8      
250-YARD PASSING GAMES: Adam Martin 1  
RECEIVING (REC/YARDS/PER CATCH/TDS): Nathan McKee 24/274/11.4/3, Matthew Cook 22/198/9/1, Landon Johnson 21/261/12.4/2, Hunter Kent 16/211/13.2/3, Fate Berry 14/194/13.9/1, Julio Rubio 13/145/11.2, Tri Johnson 12/208/17.3/2, Jackson West 1/18, Dalton McCollum 1/9, Diego Rubio 1/8  
100-YARD RECEIVING GAMES: Hunter Kent 1, Tri Johnson 1, Julio Rubio 1  
TOTAL OFFENSE (OFFENSE/PER GAME): Adam Martin 2269/226.9, Julio Rubio 996/99.6, Landon Johnson 239/23.9, Levy Phillips 21, Nathan McKee 6, Diego Rubio 2, Tri Johnson (-2), Team (-51)  
KICKOFF RETURNS: Tri Johnson 8/170/21.3, Nathan McKee 6/79/13.2,  Hunter Kent 6/52/8.7, Matthew Cook 4/62/15.5, Julio Rubio 3/44/14.7, Levy Phillips 4/37/9.3, Jackson West 4/39/9.8, Diego Rubio 2/37/18.5, Lawrence Baureis 1/10, Harley Bresnahan 1/ 6, Tristan  Thissen 1/0.  
PUNT RETURNS: Nathan McKee 3/12, Tri Johnson 1/(-3) 
INTERCEPTION RETURNS: Nathan McKee 2/26, Dalton McCollum 1/4, Fate Berry 1/2  
FUMBLE RETURNS: Matthew Cook 1/4 
ALL-PURPOSE YARDS (YARDS/PER GAME): Julio Rubio 1078/107.8, Adam Martin 727/72.7, Landon Johnson 499/49.9, Nathan McKee 397/39.7, Tri Johnson 373/57.3, Matthew Cook 264/26.4, Hunter Kent 263/26.3, Fate Berry 196/19.6, Diego Rubio 47/4.7, Jackson West 57/5.7, Levy Phillips 58/5.8, Lawrence Baureis 10/1, Harley Bresnahan 6/1, Dalton McCollum 13/1.3,   
DEFENSE  
TACKLES (ASST/SOLO/TOTAL): Fate Berry 73/26/99, Landon Johnson 70/26/96, Diego Rubio 47/13/60, Kaden Hughes 31/14/45, Hunter Kent 29/11/40, Nathan McKee 33/13/46, Levy Phillips 24/11/35, Lawrence Baureis 30/10/40, Matthew Cook 27/7/34, Nicholas Hitchcock 27/8/35, Jackson West 22/4/26, Tri Johnson 9/5/14, Dalton McCollum 11/5/16, Julio Rubio 13/6/19, Harley Bresnhan 6/4/10, Trevor Weathers 8/1/9, Preston Jones 2/2/5, Harley Hannah 3/2/5, Hunter Griffin 3/1/4, Devon Doxey 3/1/4, Tristan Thissen 1/2/3, Trent Barnes 2/1/3, Jackson Harrod 3/1/4, Nate Dearmond 0/1/1, Spencer Evans 1/0/1, Gus Hannah 1/0/1.  
TACKLES FOR LOSS:  Fate Berry 15, Landon Johnson 15.5, Kaden Hughes 11.5, Diego Rubio 7, Nicholas Hitchcock 6.5, Julio Rubio 9, Lawrence Baureis 7, Levy Phillips 2, Jackson West 2, Tri Johnson 1.5,  Hunter Griffin 1, Harley Bresnahan 1, Devon Doxey 1, Nathan McKee 1  
SACKS/YARDS LOST:  Fate Berry 4/28, Kaden Hughes 4/24,  Tri Johnson 2.5/22, Levy Phillips 1/ 5, Harley Bresnahan 1/ 4, Diego Rubio 1.5/5, Julio Rubio .5/9, Landon Johnson 1/3, Matthew Cook .5/3, Nicholas Hitchcock .5/4. 
INTERCEPTIONS: Dalton McCollum 1, Nathan McKee 2, Fate Berry 1  
DEFENSIVE FUMBLE RECOVERIES: Hunter Kent 2, Diego Rubio 3, Nicholas Hitchcock 2, Nathan McKee 1, Landon Johnson 1,    
BLOCKED PUNTS: Kaden Hughes 1
PUNTING (No./Yards/Avg./Inside20): Adam Martin 28/1087/38.8/7, Matthew Cook 1/33/33
SCORING: Julio Rubio 90 (15 tds), Adam Martin 54 (9 td), Landon Johnson 36 (6 tds), Jackson Harrod 34 (34-37 PAT, 0-1 FG), Hunter Kent 18 (3 td), Nathan McKee 18 (3 td), Tri Johnson 12 (2 td), Fate Berry 6 (1 td), Matthew Cook 6 (1 td) 

MARKEDTIME.COM PLAYERS OF WEEK

WEEK 10 vs LITTLE ROCK MILLS

OFFENSE – Adam Martin. DEFENSE – Nathan McKee

WEEK 9 vs RIVERVIEW

OFFENSE – Hunter Kent. DEFENSE – Diego Rubio

WEEK 8 vs SOUTHSIDE BATESVILLE

OFFENSE – Julio Rubio. DEFENSE – Diego Rubio

WEEK 7 vs. BALD KNOB

OFFENSE – Landon Johnson. DEFENSE – Fate Berry

WEEK 6 vs. CAC

OFFENSE – Julio Rubio. DEFENSE – Kaden Hughes

WEEK 5 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

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Panther PostGame

Heber Springs tops Mills, heads to playoffs

Heber Springs’ Hunter Kent (21) and Nathan McKee (22) celebrate a touchdown against Mills Friday night. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

November 8, 2019

By PHILIP SEATON

LITTLE ROCK – With a playoff berth and seeding secured for Heber Springs, the Panthers took care of business Friday night with a 28-14 victory over Little Rock Mills.

Earlier in the week the drama had been taken out of Friday’s night game when the Arkansas Activities Association ruled that the Comets had used an ineligible player forcing the Mills to forfeit all four of their wins, including all three conference contests. That ruling assured that the Panthers would be in the playoffs regardless of the outcome of Friday’s game.

Friday night Adam Martin passed for two touchdowns and ran for another while Nathan McKee caught one of those touchdown passes and also had an interception in the win.

The two teams traded possessions to open the contest before the Panthers took over on their own 47 driving to the Mills 13 before the drive stalled on fourth down.

The Comets took over and drove to the Heber Springs 47 after converting on a fourth-and-3 play. On the next play, Lavell Carnell connected with Zack Smith for a 47-yard scoring strike to make it 6-0 after the PAT kick failed with 11:01 to play in the half.

The Panthers responded with an 11-play, 60-yard drive that Martin capped with a 5-yard touchdown run with 6:51 to play in the first half. Jackson Harrod kicked the PAT and Heber Springs led, 7-6

The Panther defense got a stop on the Comets next possession stopping Mills on a fourth-and-3 own their own 40 for a two-yard loss. On the next play, Martin found Hunter Kent in stride for a 38-yard touchdown pass with 3:31 to play in the second quarter.

Mills had a response with a 55-yard drive that Carnell finished off with a 1-yard quarterback sneak with 9 seconds left in the half. Carnell added the two-point conversion to make it 14-all at the break.

Nicholas Hitchcock recovered the onside-kick attempt for Heber Springs to start the second half, and the Panthers appeared to be marching in for a score after Martin connected with Landon Johnson for a 29-yard gain on third-and-10 to move the ball to the Mills 15. But Martin was sacked for a 6-yard loss by Shon Moore forcing a third-and-14, Heber Springs was unable to convert turning the ball over on downs at the Comet 10.

The Panther defense came up big keeping Mills pinned inside the 10, including almost recording a safety on back-to-back to plays. Punting from his own end zone, Carnell shanked the punt giving Heber Springs a short field at the Comet 13.

Four plays later Julio Rubio punched the ball in from the 2 to make it 21-14 with 6:10 left in the third quarter.

Mills’ next drive stalled the Panther 38 when McKee stepped in front of the Carnell pass attempt at the 20 returning to the 36. But Heber Springs went backwards on the ensuing drive thanks in part to holding and false start penalties.

The Panthers got another turnover as junior Diego Rubio pounced on a loose football at the Heber Springs 46, the third straight week Rubio has recovered a fumble. Back-t0-back unsportsmanlike penalties against the Comets after the fumble, which led to the ejection of Carnell, gave the Panthers the ball on the 24.

On the ensuing play, Martin connected with McKee to put Heber Springs up 28-14 with 53 seconds left in the third.

Mills threatened again with 9:06 left after Julius Graves intercepted a Martin pass attempt at the Panther 21, but the Panther defense stiffened in the red zone forcing the Comets to turn the ball over on downs at the 9.

After a three-and-out, Mills got the ball back with 4:37 left at the Panther 40 and reached the Panther 7 with 1:02 to play but an incomplete pass on fourth down sealed the win for Heber Springs.

COACH WILL COX POSTGAME COMMENTS

Heber Springs’ Matthew Cook

SCORING

Heber Springs (4-3, 4-6)                 0  14   0   0  - 14    
Little Rock Mills (0-7, 0-10             0  14  14   0  - 28    

SECOND QUARTER    
Mills - Lavell Carnell to Zack Smith 47-yard pass (kick failed), 11:01 
Heber Springs - Adam Martin 5-yard run (Jackson Harrod kick), 6:51
Heber Springs - Adam Martin to Hunter Kent 38-yard pass (Harrod kick), 3:31
Mills - Carnell 1-yard run (Carnell run), :09
THIRD QUARTER    
Heber Springs - Julio Rubio 2-yard run (Harrod Kick), 6:10
Heber Springs - Martin to Nathan McKee 24-yard pass (Harrod kick), :53
Heber Springs’ Adam Martin

TEAM STATS

First Downs by Rush: Heber Springs 6, Mills 8
First Downs by Pass: Heber Springs 9, Mills 3
First Downs by Penalty: Heber Springs 0, Mills 1
Total First Downs: Heber Springs 15, Mills 12
Third-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 4/11, Mills 4/16
Fourth-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 0/2, Mills 5/8
Red-Zone Conversions: Heber Springs 2/4, Mills 1/3
Time of Possession: Heber Springs 23:23, Mill 24:37
Fumbles/Lost: Heber Springs 0/0, Mills 2/2
Turnovers: Heber Springs 1, Mills 3   
Points Off Turnovers: Heber Springs 7, Mills 0
Penalties: Heber Springs 8/53, Mills 11/90
Plays/Total Offense/YPP: Heber Springs 57/246/4.3, Mills 64/224/3.5
Rushing: Heber Springs 28/70/2.5, Mills 41/121/2.9
Passing: Heber Springs 19/29-176-2/1, Mills 9/23-103-1/1 
Sacks/Yards Lost: Heber Springs 1/0, Mills 2/15
Punts: Heber Springs 3/94/31.3, Mills 3/82/27.3
Punts Inside 20: Heber Springs 1, Mills 0
Heber Springs’ Nathan McKee with a second-half interception return. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

INDIVIDUAL STATS

OFFENSE 
RUSHING: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio 12/39/3.3/1, Adam Martin 10/29/2.9/1, Team 4/(-10)/(-2.5), Landon Johnson 2/12/6. Mills, Lavell Carnell 16/45/2.8, Reggie Swinton II 13/41/3.2, Keilon Davis 7/34/8.0, G'Kyson Wright 5/1.
RUSHING RUNS OF 20+: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio (1) 
RUSHING RUNS OF 10+: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio (2), Adam Martin (1). Mills, Lavell Carnell (2), Reggie Swinton II (1)
PASSING: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 19/29-176-2/1. Mills, Lavell Carnell 7/14-77-1/1, G'Kyson Wright 2/9-26-0/0
RECEIVING: Heber Springs, Nathan McKee 6/62/1, Landon Johnson 5/49, Hunter Kent 3/41/1, Matthew Cook 3/10, Fate Berry 1/12, Julio Rubio 1/2. Mills, Zack Smith 5/90/1, Keilon Davis 2/5, Kammarion Slade 1/6, Eugene Hinton 1/2.
TOTAL OFFENSE: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 205, Julio Rubio 39, Landon Johnson 12, Team (-10). Mills, Lavell Carnell 122, Reggie Swinton II 41, Keilon Davis 34, G'Kyson Wright 27.
PUNT RETURNS: Mills, Keilon Davis 1/11.
KICK RETURNS: Heber Springs, Nathan McKee 1/14, Hunter Kent 1/6. Mills, Keilon Davis 2/25, Tamarion Hunter 2/12.
FUMBLE RETURNS: None 
INTERCEPTION RETURNS: Heber Springs, Nathan McKee 1/16. Mills, Julius Graves 1/14
ALL-PURPOSE YARDS: Heber Springs, Nathan McKee 92, Landon Johnson 61, Hunter Kent 47, Julio Rubio 41, Adam Martin 29, Fate Berry 12, Matthew Cook 10. Mills, Zack Smith 90, Keilon Davis 75, Lavell Carnall 45, Reggie Swinton II 41, Tamarion Hunter 12, Kammarion Slade 6, Eugene Hinton 2, G'Kyson Wright 1.  
DEFENSE 
TACKLES (Shared/Solo/Total): Heber Springs, Landon Johnson 14/1/15, Lawrence Baureis 9/1/10, Fate Berry 7/2/9, Nathan McKee 7/2/9, Nicholas Hitchcock 6/2/8, Julio Rubio 4/3/7, Diego Rubio 7/0/7, Kaden Hughes 4/1/5, Matthew Cook 2/2/4, Dalton McCollum 3/0/3, Levy Phillips 2/0/2, Hunter Kent 2/0/2, Trevor Weathers 1/0/1, Jackson Harrod 1/0/1 
TACKLES FOR LOSS: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio 6, Lawrence Baureis 4, Kaden Hughes 2, Nicholas Hitchcock 2, Landon Johnson 1, Nathan McKee 1
SACKS: Heber Springs, Diego Rubio .5, Landon Johnson .5. Mills, Eddie Brown 1/9, Shon Moore 1/6.
INTERCEPTIONS: Heber Springs, Nathan McKee. Mills, Julius Graves
FUMBLE RECOVERIES: Heber Springs, Nicholas Hitchcock, Diego Rubio
PUNTING: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 3/94/31.3. Mills, Lavell Carnall 2/33/22, G'Kyson Wright 1/38
PUNTS INSIDE 20: Heber Springs, Adam Martin (1).

ALMA MATER

FINAL 4A-2 STANDINGS

                            W L CP  W L  PS  PA   
Riverview                   5 2 52  7 3  337 278 
Southside Batesville        5 2 54  7 3  340 246
Central Arkansas Christian  5 2 59  7 3  296 220       
Lonoke                      5 2 47  6 4  293 297
Heber Springs               4 3 41  4 6  274 300        
Bald Knob                   3 4 13  3 7  160 310                 
Stuttgart                   1 7 13  1 9  238 341
Little Rock Mills           0 8  0  0 10 202 264    

Friday, November 1
Central Arkansas Christian 34, Bald Knob 6
Heber Springs 49, Riverview 35
Lonoke 35, Stuttgart 28
Southside Batesville 50, Little Rock Mills 23

Thursday, November 7
Lonoke 26, Riverview 14
Central Arkansas Christian 28, Stuttgart 6

Friday, November 8
Bald Knob 27, Southside Batesville 22
Heber Springs 28, Little Rock Mills 14

CORRECTION FROM LAST WEEK: In preparing the playoff scenarios for the 4A-2 in Friday’s game preview, the conference point was incorrect for Riverview. With the forfeits by Mills, every team that played them in conference received 13 conference points. Riverview had defeated Mills by 10, 37-27, October 11 but those adjusted points were inadvertently left out of the conference totals in Friday’s preview.

CONFERENCE CHAMPS: With Bald Knob’s win over Southside Batesville Friday night, it created a four-way tie at the top of the conference standings. As a result, Lonoke, Riverview, Southside Batesville and CAC all claim a share of the conference crown. It is the first conference title for Riverview. The fifth for CAC. The second for Southside Batesville and the 13th for Lonoke.

PLAYOFFS: No. 1 Riverview hosts Bauxite, No. 2 Southside Batesville hosts Star City, No. 3 CAC hosts Gentry, No. 4 Lonoke travels to Pea Ridge and No. 5 Heber Springs travels to Shiloh Christian.

VIDEO CLIPS

By BILLY SMALLWOOD