Monteri0 May will never forget his first win as head baseball coach at Heber Springs High School.
Garrett Hudspeth pitched the final two innings and hit a bloop single to drive home the winning run in the bottom of the eighth as the Panthers defeated Pottsville 8-7 in a 4-4A Conference game at the Heber Springs Sports Complex.
Hudspeth struck out five batters with one walk in relief of starter J.T. Spears.
Heber Springs picked up its first win in three games. The Panthers lost to conference foe Morrilton in the season opener and to Clinton in non-conference play.
Heber Springs loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the eighth. Kenan Sneed hit a groundball against a drawn-in infield and Matthew Cook, who started the inning with a single, was thrown out at the plate for the second out.
Hudspeth hit a blooper behind second base that Pottsville shortstop Matthew Moore failed to catch as Xander Lindley scored from third base.
“We will take it anyway we can,” May said. “I told the players before the game we were going to fight every pitch, win every inning and let the outcome play out. I’m proud of how these guys completed with dedication every day. It paid off in this game.”
Heber Springs struggled at the plate during Thursday’s game at Clinton, and May challenged his team to reverse that trend.
“We want to swing through every pitch and try and stay away from check swings,” May said. “We wanted to put the ball in play. We struck out too much against Clinton and wanted to reduce that.”
Spears allowed seven hits and seven runs (one earned run) and struck out six batters in six innings.
“J.T. first met me in January and told said he had been working on pitching for the last year,” May said. “He said that he was going to be one of our best pitchers. He showed that in this game. I told him if he could throw strikes, he could become a good pitcher. We didn’t play great defense behind him, but he kept battling.”
May hoped to get five or six innings from Spears and then give the ball to Hudspeth.
“I told Garrett earlier in the day he will close out the game and be the leader that his teammates think he is,” May said.
Pottsville built a 4-1 lead by scoring one run in the top of the first inning and three runs in the second.
Heber Springs responded with three runs in its half of the second inning. The Panthers loaded the bases with one out as Cook scored from third base on an error. Spears then came home on an infield out. Lindley scored on Sneed’s RBI single to left field.
Pottsville increased its lead to 5-3 in the third inning.
Heber Springs led for the first time by scoring four runs in the bottom of the fourth. Conner Riddle scored on a bases-loaded walk to Cole Payton. Cook hit a 2-run single, scoring Sneed and Hudspeth, as the Panthers led, 6-5. Payton later came home on an error.
Pottsville tied the game at 7-7 in the fifth.
“This was a good win,” May said. “The field was wet and more rain was starting to come down. We hope to build on this and keep rolling along.”
Heber Springs (1-1 conference, 1-2 overall) is scheduled to play at Clarksville on Tuesday and return home to host Dardanelle on Friday in conference games.
Pottsville 131 020 00–7 7 5 Heber Springs 030 400 01–8 9 4 Pottsville hitters — Aiden Owens single, double 1 RBI; Zach Gray single, double; Cade Linker double, 2 RBIs; Easton Stevens single 1 stolen base. Pottsville pitchers — Matthew Moore 5 hits, 7 earned runs, 4 strikeouts, 5 walks in 4.2 innings; Jacob McCurry 2 hits, 0 runs, 3 strikeouts, 1 walk in 1 inning; Caden Caruthers 2 hits, 1 earned run, 2 strikeouts, 1 walk in 1.2 inning. Heber Springs hitters — Matthew Cook 2 singles, 2 RBIs, 1 stolen base; Garrett Hudspeth single, 1 RBI; Kenan Sneed single, 1 RBI; Conner Riddle single, 1 RBI; John McBroome single; Gage Buford single; J.T. Spears single; Xander Lindley single; Cole Payton 1 RBI. Heber Springs pitchers — J.T. Spears 7 hits, 7 runs, 1 earned run, 6 strikeouts in 6 innings; Garrett Hudspeth (W, 1-0) 0 hits, 0 runs, 5 strikeouts, 1 walk in 2 innings.
Clinton scored 26 unanswered second-half points as Heber Springs fell to the Yellowjackets, 40-28, in the season finale for both teams at Panther Stadium on Thursday.
Heber Springs (6-2) led 21-14 at the half, and had appeared to stop Clinton (7-1) on a fourth-and-12 play from the Panther 38 on the Yellowjackets first possession of the second half, but a pass interference call went against the Panthers giving Clinton a fresh set of downs at the 23. Three plays later, Billy Standlee plunged in for a 2-yard score to make it 21-20 (the 2-point conversion was no good) with 4:10 left in the third quarter.
The Panthers were posed to respond with a score of their own after Liam Buffalo connected with Parker Brown on a 30-yard strike to move the ball to the Clinton 16. After a 13-yard run by Buffalo, the Panthers reached the Clinton 3 before two lost-yardage running plays and an incomplete pass forced a fourth-down play from the 8. Clinton’s Zane Widener stepped in front of the Buffalo pass in the end zone and raced 101 yards to put Clinton up 26-21 with 1:51 to play in the third.
On the Panthers next possession, Widener again picked off Buffalo this time racing 65 yards for the score to make it 34-21 with 7:43 to play.
Buffalo, who passed for 1,787 yards and 22 touchdowns on the season, had another pass intercepted on Heber Springs’ next possession by Standlee. Six plays later, Payton Sellers scored on a 23-yard run to push the Yellowjacket to 40-21.
On the ensuing kickoff, Brown — who has scored touchdowns by receiving, rush and interception return this season — added a kickoff return for a score when he raced 82 yards for the games final score.
Brown finished with 212 all-purpose yards while Widener had 277 all-purpose yards.
Buffalo was 21 of 34 passing for 239 yards and three touchdowns, all coming in the first half.
Buffalo’s first strike to Weston Warden covered 14 yards and put Heber Springs up 7-0 with 4:48 remaining in the first quarter after Gideon Tate converted the PAT kick.
Heber Springs went up 13-6 when Buffalo connected with Dalton Yancey for 25-yard scoring strike with 6:05 left in the half.
Lindley’s 18-yard scoring reception and Yancey’s 2-point run put the Junior Panthers up 21-14 at the break.
CLINTON AT HEBER SPRINGS
Junior High Football
October 29, 2020
at Panther Stadium
Clinton 6 8 12 14 - 40
Heber Springs 7 14 0 7 - 28
Heber Springs, Liam Buffalo to Weston Warden 14-yard pass (Gideon Tate kick), 4:48
Clinton, Zane Widener 1-yard run (run failed), 40.9
Heber Springs, Buffalo to Dalton Yancey 25-yard pass (pass failed), 6:05
Clinton, Payton Sellers 3-yard run (Widener run), 2:29
Heber Springs, Buffalo to Xander Lindley 18-yard pass (Yancey run), 2:29
Clinton, Billy Standlee 2-yard run (run failed), 4:10
Clinton, Widener 101-yard interception return (run failed), 1:51
Clinton, Widener 65-yard interception return (Widener run), 7:43
Clinton, Payton Sellers 23-yard run (pass failed), 3:25
Heber Springs, Parker Brown 82-yard kickoff return (Tate kick), 3:10
First Downs by Rush: Heber Springs 7, Clinton 11
First Downs by Pass: Heber Springs 11, Clinton 0
First Downs by Penalty: Heber Springs 1, Clinton 1
Total First Downs: Heber Springs 19, Clinton 12
Penalties: Heber Springs 8/70, Clinton 4/35
3rd-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 1/7, Clinton 6/9
4th-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 3/5, Clinton 2/2
Fumbles/Lost: Heber Springs 1/0, Clinton 1/0
Sacks/Yards Lost: Heber Springs 0/0, Clinton 0/0
Rush/Yards/Avg: Heber Springs 13/81/6.2, Clinton 38/222/5.8
Passing (A/C-Yards-TD/Int): Heber Springs 21/34-239-3/3, Clinton 2/2-20-0/0
Total Offense: Heber Springs 320, Clinton 242
Punts: Heber Springs 0/0, Clinton 1/26
Rushing: Heber Springs, Liam Buffalo 10/82, Xander Lindley 1/15, Weston Warden 1/(-5), Team 1/(-11). Clinton, Zane Widener 19/111/1, Payton Sellers 15/94/2, Billy Standlee 3/19/1, Dawson Maynard 1/(-2).
Passing: Heber Springs, Liam Buffalo 21/34-239-3/3. Clinton, Zane Widener 2/2-20-0/0.
Receiving: Heber Springs, Parker Brown 8/97, Xander Lindley 6/65/1, Weston Warden 3/36/1, Dalton Yancey 2/31/1, Hud Haggard 2/10. Clinton, Billy Standlee 2/20.
Kickoff Returns: Heber Springs, Parker Brown 3/115/1, Xander Lindley 1/14, Dalton Yancey 1/0, Chris Roberts 1/0. Clinton, Payton Sellers 1/0, Bryson Littell 1/0, Zayden Brainard 1/0.
Interceptions: Clinton, Zane Widener 2/166/2, Billy Standlee 1/0.
Total Offense: Heber Springs, Liam Buffalo 321, Xander Lindley 15, Weston Warden (-5), Team (-11). Clinton, Zane Widener 131, Payton Sellers 94, Billy Standlee 19, Dawson Maynard (-2).
All-Purpose Yards: Heber Springs, Parker Brown 212, Xander Lindley 94, Liam Buffalo 82, Weston Warden 31, Dalton Yancey 31, Hud Haggard 10. Clinton, Zane Widener 277, Payton Sellers 94, Billy Standlee 39, Dawson Maynard (-2).
SACKS/YARDS LOST: None
PUNTS: Clinton, Zane Widener 1/26
INTERCEPTIONS: Clinton, Zane Widener 2, Billy Standlee 1
KICKING: Heber Springs, Gideon Tate (2/2 XP)
Parker Brown scored three times as Heber Springs held off Southside Batesville, 34-32, in junior high action Thursday night at Panther Stadium.
Heber Springs improved to 6-1 on the season with the win and will look claim the second spot in the conference standings when they host Clinton next Thursday night in the season finale.
Against Southside, Heber Springs was in control of the contest after Brown scored on a 44-yard run with 5:09 to play. Gideon Tate’s PAT kick made it 34-16.
But on the ensuing kick off, Southside’s Seth Case returned it 96 yards for a score to make it 34-24 after Kaleb West ran in the 2-point conversion with 4:47 to play.
Heber Springs managed a first down on its next possession as Weston Warden ran for 6 and Brown followed with a 7-yard carry. But the drive would stall and the Southerners would take over on their own 31 with 1:48 left.
Southside Batesville moved down the field on a 10-play, 69-yard drive as West scored on 2-yard run at the buzzer. West would run in the 2-point conversion to set the final score at 34-32.
The Southerners ground-oriented offense kept the ball away from the Panthers most of the night (52 offensive plays to 26 for Heber Springs), but when the Panthers got the ball they took advantage of it.
After the two teams traded possessions, Heber Springs would go up 7-0 with 2:20 left in the opening quarter after Liam Buffalo scored on a 2-yard quarterback keeper. The touchdown was set up after Buffalo, who was 13 of 15 passing on the night for 183 yards and two touchdowns, connected with Xander Lindley for a 68-yard pass completion to put the ball on the Southside 2.
The Southerners responded with a 63-yard drive that Case capped off with a 2-yard touchdown run. Case, who finished the night with 30 carries for 162 yards and two touchdowns, carried the ball into the end zone for the 2-point conversion to give Southside Batesville the 8-7 advantage with 6:17 left in the half.
Three plays later, Buffalo found Brown for a 39-yard touchdown pass and after Buffalo connected with Dalton Yancey for the 2-point conversion, Heber Springs led 15-8 with 5:19 left in the second quarter.
Southside Batesville was methodically marching the ball down the field again before Brown stepped in front of the first Southerner pass attempt of the night and returned it 62 yards for a score. The 2-point conversion failed and Heber Springs led 21-8 with 2:10 left in the half.
The halftime buzzer ended a Southside Batesville drive at the Panther 11 as Heber Springs led at the break, 21-8.
The Southerners took the opening kickoff of the second half and used a 12-play, 60-yard drive that took 5:26 off the clock to close the gap to 21-16. Case scored on a 1-yard run and West ran in the 2-point conversion.
Lindley caught four passes for 93 yards on the night for Heber Springs including a 10-yard scoring strike from Buffalo with 7:50 left in the game to make it 27-16. The 2-point conversion attempt failed. The scoring play finished off an eight-play, 55-yard drive for Heber Springs as Buffalo was 6 for 7 on the drive for 55 yards hitting four different receivers (Warden, Lindley, Yancey and Brown).
Brown finished with 173 all-purpose yards for Heber Springs while Case had 278 for the Southerners.
In total offense, Southside had 272 yards to the Panthers 264, but the Heber Springs averaged 10.2 yards per play to the Southerners 5.2.
BALD KNOB – Heber Springs overcame a sluggish start to improve to 5-1 on the season with a 29-8 victory over Bald Knob in junior high football action Thursday night.
The Panthers, 3-1 in 2-4A play, trailed 8-7 late in the first half before scoring 22 unanswered to pull away from the Bulldogs. Liam Buffalo, who was 19 of 27 passing for 288 yards and four touchdowns, hit Parker Brown over the middle for a 57-yard scoring strike with 35.4 seconds left in the half. Buffalo connected with Xander Lindley for the 2-point pass to give Heber Springs a 15-7 advantage at the break.
From that point on, the Panther defense took control.
Bald Knob finished the night with 192 yards of total offense on the night, with the majority of that came in the first half, but Heber Springs limited the Bulldogs to 22 yards in the second half and forced three Bald Knob turnovers over that span (fumble recoveries by Axley Davis and Hayden Johnson, and an interception by Dalton Yancey).
Yancey’s interception set up the first score of the second half for the Panthers. Taking over on their own 32, Heber Springs used an 11-play, 68-yard drive to go up 22-8 when Buffalo connected with Yancey for a 3-yard touchdown pass with 42.6 seconds left in the quarter. Gideon Tate, who was three-for-three on PAT kicks on the night, kicked the extra point to make it 22-8. Buffalo was nine of 10 passing on the drive using five different receivers (Tate, Hud Haggard, Brown, Lindley and Yancey – who also had a first-half fumble recovery).
Another turnover set up the next score for Heber Springs in the fourth quarter, Brown sacked Bald Knob quarterback James Holder forcing the fumble. Johnson picked up the ball but was tripped up after a seven-yard return to put the ball on the Bulldog 34.
Heber Springs showed a different look on the next drive with Brown lined up in the “Wildcat” formation. A 12- and 8-yard run by Brown moved the ball to the Bulldog 14. A backwards pass attempt to Buffalo was mishandled on third down forcing a fourth-and-14 from the Bald Knob. But on fourth down, Buffalo took the snap connected with Lindley for the 26-yard touchdown pass.
Lindley finished the night six receptions for 104 yards and two touchdowns, including a 13-yard reception with 2:02 left in the first quarter that put Heber Springs up 7-0.
Bald Knob’s score came with 1:26 left in the first half as Holder connected with Garrett Swindle for an 8-yard touchdown pass. Javen Smith ran in the 2-point conversion.
The Panthers finished with 300 yards of total offense on the night. Brown led Heber Springs with 127 all-purpose yards (79 receiving, 21 rushing and 27 returns).
Bald Knob’s Jameson Hillis led all rushers with 75 yards on 20 carries. But as a team, the Bulldogs finished the night with 67 yards on the ground on 28 attempts.
Heber Springs will host Southside Batesville on Thursday at Panther Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Liam Buffalo passed for more than 300 yards and Parker Brown had three touchdown receptions as Heber Springs improved to 4-1 on the season with a 49-26 victory over Central Arkansas Christian Thursday at Panther Stadium in 2-4A junior high play.
The two teams combined for 755 yards of total offense (417 for Heber Springs and 238 for CAC), but early on it was defensive stand that help put the Panthers on the scoreboard first.
After the Mustangs took the opening kickoff and drove from their own 36 to the Panther 17, Heber Springs stopped the drive on fourth down as Grayson Wilson’s pass attempt fell short for the Mustangs.
Four plays later, Buffalo connected with Dalton Yancey for a 70-yard touchdown strike. Gideon Tate kicked the PAT and Heber Springs led 7-0 with 1:30 left in the opening quarter.
After the two team traded three-and-outs, CAC took the ground on the Panther 47 and used an 11-play (all rushes), 5:39 drive, to pull within a point at 7-6 with 1:22 left in the half. The 2-point conversion failed.
Heber Springs wasn’t finished in the half as Buffalo took the snap at the buzzer rolled to his left and found Hud Haggard in the back of the end zone for the score. A Buffalo 24-yard run had set-up the score, but the key play on the drive came on the play before as Buffalo connected with Xander Lindley on a fourth-and-1 from the CAC 45 for a 13-yard completion.
The Panthers would go up 21-6 to start the second half when Buffalo connected with Brown for a 27-yard touchdown with 6:09 left in the third. But the key play on the drive came on a fourth-and-1 from the Panther 25 when Buffalo hit Yancey for a 37-yard, first-down pass completion.
That six-play drive would be the longest of the second half until the waning seconds of the game as the two teams traded scoring jabs with one exception.
Wilson would connect with Caden Rhoads for a 41-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-12 with 4:18 left in the third.
On the ensuing kick off, Lindley returned it 81 yards for the quick answer at the 4:06 mark.
A minute later, Wilson hit Renalson Sullivan for a 55-yard touchdown reception for make it 28-18 with 3:06 left in the third.
With 55.5 seconds left in the quarter, Buffalo found Brown for a 30-yard scoring play putting the Panthers up 35-18 to start the fourth.
On a fourth-and-12 from the Panther 40 on the ensuing drive, Wilson connected with Vance Strange for a 10-yard completion, but the Panthers held and four plays later Heber Springs would go up 42-18 as Buffalo again found Brown this time for a 60-yard score to make it 42-18 with 6:08 to play.
Wilson connected with Sullivan again, this time for a 35-yard touchdown pass, to make it 42-26 with 4:40 left in the contest.
Heber Springs would go the ground and pick up the final points of the game as Tate would score on a 15-yard run with 2:22 left. Tate added the PAT kick to finish the night a perfect seven-for-seven.
Buffalo , who had 344 yards of total offense, finished the night completing 15 of 25 passes for 304 yards and five touchdowns. Brown caught seven of those passes for 142 yards and three scores while Yancey had four receptions for 128 yards and a score.
For CAC, Wilson was 10 of 19 passing for 231 yards and five touchdowns. Sullivan finished with five receptions for 129 yards and three touchdowns to pace the Mustangs.
Heber Springs will look to improve to 3-1 in conference play on Thursday when the Panthers travel to Bald Knob for a 7 p.m. kickoff.