SCORING BY QUARTERS Heber Springs 28 42 10 13 - 93 (31 ppg) Opponent 0 12 0 8 - 20 (6.7 ppg) TEAM STATS First Downs by Rush: Heber Springs 15, Opponent 10 First Downs by Pass: Heber Springs 29, Opponent 1 First Downs by Penalty: Heber Springs 0, Opponent 4 Total First Downs: Heber Springs 44, Opponent 15 Penalties: Heber Springs 18/154, Opponent 12/73 3rd-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 7/20, Opponent 3/19 4th-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 7/10, Opponent 2/4 Fumbles/Lost: Heber Springs 6/1, Opponent 4/3 Sacks/Yards Lost: Heber Springs 4/36, Opponent 0/0 Total Offense: Heber Springs 1070, Opponent 225 Total Offense Per Game: Heber Springs 356.7, Opponent 75 Rush/Yards/Avg: Heber Springs 51/308/6, Opponent 51/117/2.3 Rushing Yards Per Game: Heber Springs 102.7, Opponent 39 Passing (A/C-Yards-TD/Int): Heber Springs 44/71-762-7/0, Opponent 14/35-108-1/5 Passing Yards Per Game: Heber Springs 254, Opponent 36 Punts: Heber Springs 2/43/21.5, Opponent 9/340/37.8 INDIVIDUAL STATS OFFENSE Rushing: Gideon Tate 17/79, Weston Warden 8/70/1, Dalton Yancey 3/44/1, Parker Brown 5/40/1, Xander Lindley 2/34/1, Hayden Johnson 5/25, Liam Buffalo 4/10/1, Hud Haggard 1/9, Jacob Golden 1/5, Ladd Choate 2/5, Bryce Seigrist 1/(-6), Team 2/(-11). Passing: Liam Buffalo 42/69-691-6/0, Zachary Parker 2/2-71-1/0. Receiving: Dalton Yancey 10/195/2, Xander Lindley 7/160/2, Weston Warden 6/45, Hud Haggard 6/65/1 Parker Brown 6/188/2, Ty West 2/3, Chris Roberts 1/28. Kickoff Returns: Heber Springs, Hud Haggard 2/0, Corbin Jones 1/0, Xander Lindley 1/0. Punt Returns: Xander Lindley 1/13 Interception Returns: Parker Brown 2/46/1, Liam Buffalo 2/0, Logan Rutledge 1/0. Total Offense: Liam Buffalo 701, Gideon Tate 79, Zachary Parker 71, Weston Warden 70, Dalton Yancey 44, Parker Brown 40, Xander Lindley 34, Hayden Johnson 25, Hud Haggard 9, Jacob Golden 5, Ladd Choate 5, Bryce Seigrist (-6). All-Purpose Yards: Parker Brown 274, Dalton Yancey 239, Xander Lindley 207, Weston Warden 114, Gideon Tate 79, Hud Haggard 74, Chris Roberts 28, Hayden Johnson 25, Liam Buffalo 10, Jacob Golden 5, Ladd Choate 5, Ty West 3, Bryce Seigrist (-6). DEFENSE Sacks/Yards lost: Parker Brown 2/15, Hud Haggard 1/11, Chris Roberts 1/10 Interceptions: Liam Buffalo 2, Parker Brown 2, Logan Rutledge 1, Fumble Recoveries: Ladd Choate, Xander Lindley, Team Punts: Liam Buffalo 2/43/21.5 SCORING Parker Brown 36, Xander Lindley 22, Dalton Yancey 20, Gideon Tate 7 (4/5 XP, 1/1 FG. MADE: 25), Liam Buffalo 6, Weston Warden 6, Hud Haggard 6
Month: September 2020
Central Arkansas Fishing Report
By ARKANSAS GAME AND FISH COMMISSION
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
NOTE: Employees and contractors with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission have conducted herbicide applications to Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir through September. The herbicides will cause no harm to wildlife, people or aquatic life, but will kill gardens, flowerbeds and lawns if used on neighboring lands. By federal law, these herbicides have up to a 120-day irrigation restriction after application. The AGFC asks adjacent landowners to NOT irrigate for lawn or garden use with water from the lake until Feb. 1, 2021. The use of herbicides is necessary to control the current problems with alligatorweed and other invasive vegetation species that have infested the lake, restricting access to boathouses, ramps and fishing locations and hindering native wildlife and fish populations. For more information, please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877) 470-3309.
(updated 9-30-2020) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the lake has its normal Conway stain and is at a normal level. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are also good. Try crappie minnows or go with a jig in white/chartreuse or black chartreuse. Baby shad is another good bait. Black bass are good. Spinnerbaits, plastic worms, Gitzits, frogs, buzzbaits and tube jigs are all working. Catfishing is good. Stink bait continues to be the go-to, along with nightcrawlers, goldfish, dough bait and trotlines baited with bass minnows and those other mentioned offerings.
(updated 9-16-2020) Angler Dennis Charles reports that bass are excellent all hours of the day. Anglers are finding success using anything in the box. Bream are slow all over. Crappie are showing their fins along the grass lines. Catfish can be found all over; go to deep water for your best chances.
Little Red River
(updated 9-30-2020) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the river remains clear and low with minimum generation in the afternoons. The last two days the schedule has been one unit for 2 hours beginning at 4 p.m. Rainbows are taking small flies in the 18-to-20-inch range with mayfly nymphs, emergers and midge pupa being good choices. Small tippet and good presentations are required in the low-water conditions. The river is the lowest it has been in some time, so use care when motoring. The rocks always win!
(updated 9-30-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood reports that trout are good on Rooster Tails, Buoyant Spoons, small maribou jigs and No. 5 countdowns.
(updated 9-30-2020) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said the Little Red River is receiving a couple hours of afternoon generation each day. This pattern provides wading opportunities on the upper river in the mornings and lower river in the afternoons. For fly-fishing, Lowell recommends midges, pheasant tails, hare’s ears, sowbugs and streamers. Cotton candy colored bodies on chartreuse jigheads are recommended for Trout Magnet spin-fishing. Be safe while enjoying the river. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501.362.5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 459.88 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl).
(updated 9-30-2020) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry lake is at 459.87 feet msl, down from normal level of 462.54 feet msl by 2.67 feet. “I hope everyone learned something from the electronics tip and have used it this past week. Just keep using those. Practice makes perfect.” Tommy says black bass are schooling at every chance they can on top and down as well. Big groups from large to small chasing bait all over the lake. Loner fish and structure fish can be caught dragging something or moving baits, and lots of fish are shallow. Crappie are eating well day in, day out even with cold fronts. Troll crankbaits, jigs and/or use live bait. Walleye have not got in our boat, but some are being caught dragging something or on crankbaits or caught under schooling fish. Catfish are being caught but are a little slow some days, as they are in transition as well. Some are being caught under schooling fish. Bream and black salties are working well. Bream are doing their thing as the moon starts down; lots to be caught on a lot of different baits. Hybrid bass and white bass are eating on and off all day and night; use spoons, inline spinners, Largo Muskie baits, swimbaits and topwater plugs all over the lake. Just stay with shad; fish are close from 35-60 feet.
(updated 9-30-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says the water is clear and a little low. Bass are fair on drop-shot in 15 feet of water. Also use Carolina rigs, and try a topwater bait early in the morning or late in the evening. Walleye are good. Drop-shotting and nightcrawlers is working on the main and secondary points in 15 feet of water
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 9-30-2020) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the water is clearing up. It’s at a normal level this week. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie have fallen off; this week had poor reports. Black bass are good around the shoreline. Use a plastic worm. Catfishing is good. Chicken liver is working nicely, and trotlines baited with shad, goldfish or worms are taking their share.
NOTE: Employees and contractors with the AGFC have conducted herbicide applications to Overcup through September. The herbicides cause no harm to wildlife, people or aquatic life, but will kill gardens, flowerbeds and lawns if used on neighboring lands. By federal law, these herbicides have up to a 120-day irrigation restriction after application. The AGFC asks adjacent landowners to NOT irrigate for lawn or garden use with lake water until Feb. 1, 2021. The use of herbicides is necessary to control the current problems with alligatorweed and other invasive vegetation species that have infested the lake and, if left uncontrolled, could restrict access to boathouses, ramps and fishing locations and hinder native wildlife and fish populations.
(updated 9-30-2020) Randy DeHart at Lakeview Landing (501-354-5309) said the lake is fairly clear and has taken a jump upward with the level 6-8 feet high. Crappie are fair and appear to be moving up. Fish with minnows or with black/chartreuse jigs. Black bass are fair on crankbaits. Catfishing is good; Randy reports that the AGFC recently stocked 1,200 channel cats into Overcup. Bream are slowing down and reports are poor.
(update 9-30-2020 ) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-977-0303) had no report.
‘Wings Over Arkansas’ takes flight for birdwatchers
By RANDY ZELLERS/Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
LITTLE ROCK – With the fall migration of many bird species beginning, birdwatching enthusiasts and educators are just as excited as the most avid waterfowl hunter, and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has a great way to bring more birders into the watchable wildlife ranks. After 20 years the AGFC’s Wings Over Arkansas program has been revamped and is ready to share the outdoors with more people than ever before.
The program rewards birdwatchers for the number of different species they document in their birdwatching adventures with special certificates of recognition and pins they can display as they move up in the ranks.
“There are six levels of advancement to the program,” Kirsten Bartlow, Watchable Wildlife Program coordinator for the AGFC, said. “You start at 25 species with the Carolina chickadee level, and top out at the swallow-tailed kite level when you record 300 separate species sightings.”
Participants in this free program receive an Arkansas Bird checklist as well as a free Arkansas Backyard Birds pocket guide to help them identify common species in The Natural State.
“We also have a brochure filled with handy information to help you get started, including links to popular websites and apps to make your birding efforts more rewarding,” Bartlow said. “Smartphones were not as prevalent as they are today when the program was last updated, so we’re excited about telling people about all these resources at their fingertips.”
Bartlow worked with Karen Rowe, the AGFC’s Nongame Migratory Bird Program coordinator, to refine the list for the program and help beginning birders with the species they are most likely to encounter.
“It is not a complete list of every bird ever confirmed in Arkansas,” Rowe said. “We removed those species that had 10 or less recorded occurrences in the state to cut down on confusion for beginning birders. The complete list is curated by the Arkansas Audubon Society, and we include a link to it in the program documents for interested people.”
According to Bartlow, the program is great entertainment for people from all walks of life. Educators can also adapt the materials to their classroom studies to help engage with students who may be learning on virtual platforms. Bartlow has seen great success introducing everyone from school-aged children to retired individuals at assisted-living communities to the outdoors with the help of the program.
“Everyone can enjoy birdwatching,” Bartlow said. “Whether you get out and visit parks and remote areas, or just want to sit by a window and watch a bird feeder, you can find many species of birds to participate in the program.”
Bartlow says the new Arkansas Backyard Birds pocket guide is filled with new, colorful images of the most common species found in Arkansas and interesting tidbits about their behavior and habits.
“The pocket guide, brochures and publications were all given a fresh new look by AGFC Graphic Artist Kristen Hodges, so even if you’ve participated in the program before, you may want to order a new book just to see the new look,” Bartlow said.
Visit www.agfc.com/wingsoverar for more information on the program and downloadable materials, or you may call 501-223-6352 to request free printed guidebooks and brochures to get started.
Alligator harvest sets state mark
By JIM HARRIS/Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
MONTICELLO – Arkansas hunters harvested more alligators than ever before in the 2020 alligator season, which was held the third and fourth weekends in September in three hunting zones in the lower half of the state. Included in that harvest was the longest alligator taken since the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission began setting an annual alligator hunting season.
Collectively, 170 alligators were taken in the state on both public and private land. The previous record for alligator harvest was the 98 taken in the 2017 season, according to Mark Barbee, an AGFC wildlife regional supervisor in southeast Arkansas and coordinator of the alligator hunt.
“This has been our first season going to a quota system for our private land hunting and it went great,” Barbee said. “People followed the protocol. Everybody did what was asked to make it a successful hunt. You couldn’t have asked for better weekends to hunt either with the weather. The nights were cool and the days did not get too hot. So, the season went great and the weather was perfect for it as well.”
An alligator believed to be the longest ever harvested in Arkansas – and definitely the longest since the state has had an alligator season – was taken on Merrisach Lake near Arkansas Post last weekend. The AGFC does not maintain an official state record on alligators but has recorded data on length since beginning the annual alligator harvest in 2007.
Travis Bearden, Gary Bearden, Cody Bearden and Tommy Kelley took an alligator that measured a half-inch shy of 14 feet and weighed 800 pounds. The length and weight were verified by AGFC personnel. The Bearden clan – Travis with his dad and one of his brothers – and Kelley were hunting from a boat and spotted the gator in the water of one of Merrisach’s coves.
Travis Bearden said, “We had gone there the week before. I went with my other brother and some other friends but we didn’t get one. I don’t know if the cold front had messed with them or what. My other brother had gone back to Florida. I had invited them all back, but going out two weekends in a row with everybody having family is tough for folks. They were definitely bummed they couldn’t make it again.”
Kelley was back, though, along with Travis’ dad and another brother. “Our expectations weren’t real high. But we were only out there two hours before we saw him and were able to get close enough to harpoon him. We had no idea how big it was. You can see their eyes but you can’t see their whole body under the water.”
Then, the fun really began. The alligator “was pulling us around like we had a motor on the boat. We didn’t get it to the boat until 11 o’clock before we could shoot it.”
Bearden had been on a hunt with friend John Spradlin to take an alligator that was 10 feet, 2 inches in 2015. He said, “Once you get one, all the wait is worth it. It can be grueling waiting it out, though.
“Just having them, my dad and brother, with me was special,” he said. “It was my dad’s first alligator. We camped at Merrisach and a lot of bowhunters were there. My dad was walking around telling story after story to stranger after stranger. When another person came up, he’d tell them about it.”
Alligator hunting is by permit only in Arkansas. The AGFC issued 38 public hunting permits, with hunting allowed only on designated areas of the Dr. Lester Sitzes III Bois D’Arc WMA, Sulphur River WMA, Little River below Millwood Lake, Millwood Lake, Lake Erling and the Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex. All other public areas are closed to alligator hunting.
The AGFC created more opportunity for hunters pursuing alligators on private land this year. Hunters who own or had permission to hunt on private lands within the three Alligator Management Zones were able to hunt through a quota-based system similar to private land elk hunting and bear hunting in Arkansas. They were required to obtain a permit through the AGFC’s online licensing system. Harvested gators had to be reported as soon as possible to the AGFC.
“We don’t want to go over the quota, but with the call-in system, it is like with the bears,” Barbee said. “People called in each day to see it was open, they were told the zones were still open for that day and they went out hunting. To my knowledge, there were no violations of the harvest.”
In Management Zone 1, in southwestern Arkansas, 72 total alligators were harvested. Eight were taken on public land and 64 were harvested on private land. In Zone 2 in the middle south portion of the state (there are no public permits issued), three alligators were taken. In Management Zone 3, which includes Merrisach Lake and all of southeast Arkansas, 95 total alligators were harvested, with nine of those being taken on public land. The harvest on private land was six more total than the planned quota for the zones.
“We had planned on a total harvest limit of 164 gators for public and private land,” Barbee said. “We harvested 170. So we’re looking at six animals over. That’s acceptable.”
Zone 3 reached its quota on Saturday night of the first weekend. Zone 1’s quota was not reached until Saturday of the second weekend.
He added, “I’ve talked to a lot of hunters this year, and all were supportive of the quota system. It worked out well for everybody.”
Panthers battle, fall to Jackrabbits
By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY
LONOKE — Heber Springs lost to Lonoke in the 2-4A Conference football opener 47-31 Friday, but the Panthers earned the respect of head coach Todd Wood for their reaction to adversity in the second half.
Heber Springs (0-1 conference, 1-3 overall) led 6-0, 12-7 and 19-14 before the Lonoke (1-0 conference, 3-1 overall) finished the second quarter by scoring three consecutive touchdowns for a 35-19 halftime lead. The Jackrabbits maintained a two-score advantage throughout the second half.
“We are never going to give up,” Wood said. “I told the players after the game they made me proud of how they played late in the game. We had a few letdowns, but we picked it up at times and played aggressively. We played with a lot of fire in the fourth quarter. We need to play that way for the entire game.”
Heber Springs reached the 300-yard passing mark for the second straight game. Matthew Cook completed 23-of-42 passes for 293 yards and four touchdowns with three interceptions. Hunter Kent connected on 2-of-3 passes for 66 yards and one touchdown.
Nathan McKee led the receivers with eight receptions for 162 yards and two touchdowns.
“We have been working on the new plays for three weeks,” Wood said. “We got an opportunity to show what we could do with the new plays. But the fun part is we didn’t show everything.”
Lonoke freshman Bradon Allen started at quarterback in place of Spence Pepper. Allen rushed 23 times for 74 yards and scored three touchdowns. He completed 6-of-19 passes for 210 yards and one touchdown.
Ja’coree Womack led the Jackrabbits’ running game with 20 carries for 115 yards and scored two touchdowns.
Wood said the defense had some good moments.
“We received a boost with the return of Preston Roberson at defensive end,” he said. “(Kenan) Sneed made good plays. Jackson West did a fantastic job of getting into Lonoke’s backfield and made things happen.”
Heber Springs received the opening kickoff and scored on the game’s second play from scrimmage. Cook lateraled to Kent, who suddenly stopped and connected on a 56-yard touchdown pass to Isaac King for a 6-0 lead with 11:17 left in the first quarter.
Lonoke earned its first lead after Deon Campbell’s interception set up a first down at the Heber Springs 43. The Panthers forced the Jackrabbits later into a fourth-and-one at the 18. Womack broke free and scored with 6:31 left in the first quarter. Tom Boatright kicked the extra point, giving a 7-6 lead to Lonoke.
Heber Springs regained the advantage on Kent’s 2-yard touchdown carry, which capped an 8-play, 60-yard drive, for the 12-7 with 3:27 to go in the quarter.
Lonoke converted a fumble recovery at the Panther 38 yard-line into its next score, Allen’s 22-yard run. Boatright’s successful kick returned the lead to Lonoke, 14-12, with 11:44 left in the first half.
Heber Springs struck back quickly, taking the lead three plays later. McKee caught a 45-yard touchdown pass from Cook. Gus Hannah kicked the extra point for a 19-14 lead with 10:02 remaining in the first half.
“The game went back and forth early,” Wood said. “We got the lead, then lost the lead, and we got the lead back.”
Lonoke seized momentum by scoring three touchdowns before halftime, two after fourth-down stops and a pick six before halftime.
Womack scored on a 22-yard run with 7:21 left, and Anthony Parks ran for the 2-point conversion. Parks returned an interception 100 yards for a score, and Boatwright kicked the extra point. Allen’s 5-yard run finished the scoring flurry as Lonoke held a 35-19 halftime lead.
“Two of the touchdowns was because of our tackling,” Wood said. “We had a letdown during the final three minutes because of frustration and fatigue. I challenged them at halftime that we would come back and overcome those things.”
Lonoke took a 41-19 lead midway through the third quarter on Allen’s 35-yard pass to Chaston Dockery. The Panthers scored before the end of the quarter on Cook’s 32-yard pass to Diego Rubio.
Heber Springs trailed 41-25 going into the fourth quarter.
Each team scored a touchdown during the final quarter. Allen had a 2-yard scoring carry with 11:51 left for Lonoke. McKee caught a 52-yard touchdown pass from Cook for the Panthers.
HIGH SCORING GAMES
Friday night's game between Lonoke and Heber Springs produced the third most combined points in the series between the two schools. 2011 - 109 (Heber Springs 63, Lonoke 46) 2013 - 97 (Lonoke 63, Heber Springs 34) 2020 - 78 (Lonoke 47, Heber Springs 31) 1992 - 77 (Lonoke 49, Heber Springs 28) 2016 - 69 (Heber Springs 48, Lonoke 21) 2008 - 68 (Lonoke 47, Heber Springs 21) 2014 - 64 (Heber Springs 40, Lonoke 24) 2017 - 63 (Heber Springs 41, Lonoke 22) 1942 - 56 (Lonoke 53, Heber Springs 3) 2007 - 53 (Lonoke 35, Heber Springs 18)
SCORING Heber Springs (1-3, 0-1) 12 7 6 6 - 31 Lonoke (3-1, 1-0) 7 28 6 6 - 47 FIRST QUARTER Heber Springs, Hunter Kent to Isaac King 56-yard pass (run failed), 11:17 Lonoke, Ja'coree Womack 18-yard run (Tom Boatright kick), 6:31 Heber Springs, Matthew Cook to Kent 1-yard pass (run failed), 3:27 SECOND QUARTER Lonoke, Bradon Allen 22-yard run (Boatright kick), 11:44 Heber Springs, Cook to Nathan McKee 44-yard pass (Gus Hannah kick), 10:02 Lonoke, Womack 23-yard run (Anthony Parks run), 7:21 Lonoke, Parks 100-yard interception return (Boatright kick), 4:33 Lonoke, Allen 3-yard run (run failed), :32 THIRD QUARTER Lonoke, Allen to Chaston Dockery 35-yard pass (run failed), 7:58 Heber Springs, Cook to Diego Rubio 32-yard pass (pass failed), 1:58 FOURTH QUARTER Lonoke, Allen 2-yard run (kick failed), 11:51 Heber Springs, Cook to McKee 52-yard pass (pass failed), 6:07 TEAM STATS First Downs by Rush: Heber Springs 5, Lonoke 9 First Downs by Pass: Heber Springs 10, Lonoke 5 First Downs by Penalty: Heber Springs 0, Lonoke 2 Total First Downs: Heber Springs 15, Lonoke 16 Third-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 1/12, Lonoke 3/13 Fourth-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 3/6, Lonoke 3/7 Red-Zone Conversions: Heber Springs 1/2, Lonoke 3/3 Time of Possession: Heber Springs 22:06, Lonoke 25:54 Fumbles/Lost: Heber Springs 4/3, Lonoke 4/2 Turnovers: Heber Springs 6, Lonoke 2 Points Off Turnovers: Heber Springs 6, Lonoke 21 Penalties: Heber Springs 5/42, Lonoke 6/42 Plays/Total Offense/YPP: Heber Springs 66/377/5.7, Lonoke 69/340/4.9 Rushing: Heber Springs 24/18/.8, Lonoke 50/211/4.2 Passing: Heber Springs 23/42-359-5/3, Lonoke 6/19-129-1/0 Sacked/Yards Lost: Heber Springs 3/24, Lonoke 1/11 Punts: Heber Springs 2/63/31.5, Lonoke 3/82/27.3 Inside 20: Heber Springs 0, Lonoke 0 INDIVIDUAL STATS OFFENSE RUSHING: Heber Springs, Hunter Kent 3/27, Nathan McKee 1/23, Diego Rubio 3/10, Isaac King 1/8, Matthew Cook 15/(-14), Team 1/(-36). Lonoke, Ja'coree Womack 20/115, Bradon Allen 23/74, Anthony Parks 3/27, Latrell Burnett 1/2, Landon Jones 3/(-2), Team 1/(-5). PASSING: Heber Springs, Matthew Cook 21/39-293-4/3, Hunter Kent 2/3-66-1/0. Lonoke, Bradon Allen 6/19-129-1/0 RECEIVING: Heber Springs, Nathan McKee 8/162, Hunter Kent 5/67, Isaac King 4/73, Diego Rubio 3/39, Matthew Cook 1/10, Gus Hannah 1/8, Kenan Sneed 1/(-1). Lonoke, Landon Jones 3/63, Chaston Dockery 1/35, Anthony Parks 1/23, Ja'coree Womack 1/8. TOTAL OFFENSE: Heber Springs, Matthew Cook 279, Hunter Kent 93, Nathan McKee 23, Diego Rubio 10, Isaac King 8. Lonoke, Bradon Allen 203, Ja'coree Womack 115, Anthony Parks 27, Latrell Burnett 2, Landon Jones (-2). PUNT RETURNS: Heber Springs, Hunter Kent 1/17 KICK RETURNS: Heber Springs, Diego Rubio 3/30, Nathan McKee 2/22, Hunter Kent 1/34, Kenan Sneed 1/9. Lonoke, Romel Rankin 2/22, Latrell Burnett 1/7, Deon Campbell 1/0, Cody Amato 1/0. FUMBLE RETURNS: None INTERCEPTION RETURNS: Lonoke, Anthony Parks 1/100, Deon Campbell 1/34 ALL-PURPOSE YARDS: Heber Springs, Nathan McKee 207, Hunter Kent 145, Isaac King 81, Diego Rubio 79, Gus Hannah 8, Kenan Sneed 8, Matthew Cook (-4). Lonoke, Anthony Parks 150, Ja'coree Womack 123, Bradon Allen 74, Landon Jones 61, Chaston Dockery 35, Deon Campbell 34, Romel Rankin 22, Latrell Burnett 9 SCORING: Heber Springs, Nathan McKee 12, Diego Rubio 6, Isaac King 6, Hunter Kent 6, Gus Hannah 1 (1/1 XPA). Lonoke, Bradon Allen 18, Ja'coree Womack 12, Anthony Parks 8, Chaston Dockery 6, Tom Boatright 3 (3/4 XPA) DEFENSE PUNTS/YARDS/AVERAGE/INSIDE THE 20: Heber Springs, Matthew Cook 2/63/31.5. Lonoke, Ayden Rowton 3/82/27.3 SACKS/YARDS LOST: Heber Springs, Matthew Cook .5/11, Hunter Kent .5/11. Lonoke, Latrell Burnett 1/9, Dalynn Waits 1/8, Seth Sherman 1/7. Fumble Recoveries: Heber Springs, Matthew Cook, Chris Smith. Lonoke, Tayler Coffey, team 2. Interceptions: Lonoke, Anthony Parks, Deon Campbell, Chaston Dockery.
GAMEDAY: Heber Springs opens conference play at Lonoke
By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY
Heber Springs lost to two of the state’s top-ranked 3A teams in non-conference, but that will not have an effect on the 2-4A Conference football opener Friday.
The Panthers (1-2) will start the chase for a conference championship at Lonoke (2-1). Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
“I told the team after last week’s game (a 42-6 win against Dover) we will start with a clean slate against Lonoke,” Heber Springs head coach Todd Wood said. “We used the non-conference games as a learning experience. Winning the conference title is our goal. It is a new season, and we hope to put things together like last week.”
Heber Springs broke out of its offensive slump. The Panthers more than doubled its total offense and committed no turnovers. Heber Springs had eight turnovers in the first two games.
Matthew Cook completed 16-of-22 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns in his first start at quarterback. Heber Springs rushed for 134 yards with six receivers catching passes.
“Scoring on our first drive gave us confidence,” Wood said. “Hopefully, it will grow and we keep improving. We challenged the players before the Dover game to execute better, and they did.”
Wood said the decision to start Cook at quarterback was one of the keys to the success of the offense.
“Cook will get better at quarterback,” Wood said. “Matthew passes well, and he is also a good runner. Cook did a good job of throwing to more than one receiver.”
Wood also said the offensive linemen showed improvement.
“The line played better,” Wood said. “We did a better job of protecting the quarterback.”
Quarterback Spence Pepper and running back Ja’coree Womack lead Lonoke’s offense. The Jackrabbits played Newport even for three quarters before the Greyhounds pulled away by scoring four fourth-quarter touchdowns.
“Lonoke has a lot of good athletes and speed like Newport and Harding Academy,” Wood said. “We will be playing a well-coached team again. Playing those teams helped in preparing for this game.”
The defense also had its best performance. Dover gained 65 of its 110 yards on the final drive. Wood said lineman Thad Bray, inside linebacker Kenan Sneed, cornerback Easton Cusick and safety Conner Riddle led the way.
Wood said the defense is ready for the challenge against Lonoke.
“The quarterback is not only a good runner, but a good passer,” he said. “Lonoke tries to balance its offense between the run and pass. It is going to be a challenge for our defense. We must stop big plays, keep them contained and tackle well.”
- Kickoff: 7 p.m. at Lonoke
- Admission: $5
- 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. You can listen live here.
CONFERENCE SCOREBOARD WEEK 3
- Heber Springs 42, Dover 6
- Central Arkansas Christian 32, Carlisle 6
- Dardanelle 34, Clinton 14
- Trumann 27, Southside Batesville 0
- Valley View 56, Bald Knob 24
- Newport 47, Lonoke 19
- Stuttgart, Covid canceled with DeWitt
- Little Rock Mills, bye
CONFERENCE SCHEDULE WEEK 4
- Heber Springs (1-2) at Lonoke (2-1)
- Southside Batesville (1-2) at Stuttgart (2-0)
- Bald Knob (2-1) at Little Rock Mills (1-2)
- Central Arkansas Christian (3-0) at Clinton (0-3)
The Series: Lonoke leads the all-time series, 14-10
The two teams first meet in 1931, a 25-0 victory by the Jackrabbits in Lonoke. The schools would play eight times between 1931 and 1942 with the Panthers lone victory coming in 1933, 19-0. The two teams wouldn’t meet again for almost 50 years when the two schools were both part of the 5AA-North conference for the 1991-92 cycle with the Jackrabbits winning both of those conference contests. Fourteen years later in 2006, Heber Springs and Lonoke would again be placed in the same conference (the 4A-2). Since 2006, the Panthers have won nine out of 14 contests, including five straight in the series before Lonoke won last season.
Junior Panthers improve to 3-0 on season
By PHILIP SEATON
With Lonoke starting quarterback Bradon Allen moved up to the senior high team, the Heber Springs Junior Panthers took full advantage of his absence scoring 33 first-half points en route to a 40-6 victory over Lonoke Thursday night at Panther Stadium.
Heber Springs improved to 3-0 on the season, but more importantly opened 2-4A conference play with a victory.
“We had a great game,” Heber Springs coach James Ortiz said. “We were prepared. We watched a lot of film during the week. Our guys were focused. We were ready to win and that’s all there is to it.”
In Allen’s absence, the Panthers were able to limit Lonoke to 21 yards of total offense, including 1 of 4 passing for one yard.
Freshman Xander Lindley had a big night scoring three times and finishing with 166 all-purpose yards for Heber Springs.
After Liam Buffalo opened the scoring for the Panthers with a 6-yard run to make it 6-0 with 5:12 left in the first quarter, Lindley would score the next three times Heber Springs had possession – a 27-yard run with 3.2 seconds left in the first, a 23-yard reception with 6:53 in the second and a 37-yard reception with 2:51 left in the half – as the Panthers built a 26-0 lead.
Lindley also had a hand in Heber Springs’ next score after he recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff to give the Panthers the ball on the Lonoke 40. Three plays later, Weston Warden raced 31 yards to make it 33-0 (after the Gideon Tate PAT kick) with 2:07 left in the half.
Lonoke managed to get on the board late in the half on a seven-play, 61-yard drive that Tripp Sullivan capped off with a 1-yard run with no time left on the clock. Lonoke picked up it’s only first downs of the night on the drive with two those coming on runs and three coming on Panther penalties.
Heber Springs got on the board again on its first possession of the second half as Zachary Parker connected with Dalton Yancey on a 52-yard scoring pass to make it 40-6. Tate added the PAT.
Buffalo was effective on the night for the Panthers completing 11 of 15 pass attempts for 170 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Lindley caught five of the Buffalo offerings for 139 yards while Yancey added four receptions for 74 yards.
Warden paced Heber Springs on the ground with 56 yards while Tate rushed for 42 yards as the Panthers finished with 369 yards of total offense.
Heber Springs will travel to Stuttgart for a 7 p.m. contest on Thursday with the Ricebirds.
Lonoke 0 6 0 0 - 6 Heber Springs 12 21 7 0 - 40 FIRST QUARTER Heber Springs, Liam Buffalo 6-yard run (Pass failed), 5:12 Heber Springs, Xander Lindley 27-yard run (Pass failed), 3.2 SECOND QUARTER Heber Springs, Buffalo to Lindley 23-yard pass (Buffalo to Lindley pass), 6:53 Heber Springs, Buffalo to Lindley 37-yard pass (Pass failed), 2:51 Heber Springs, Weston Warden 31-yard run (Gideon Tate kick), 2:07 Lonoke, Tripp Sullivan 4-yard run (Pass failed), :00 FOURTH QUARTER Heber Springs, Zachary Parker to Dalton Yancey 52-yard pass (Tate kick), 5:08 TEAM STATS First Downs by Rush: Heber Springs 6, Lonoke 2 First Downs by Pass: Heber Springs 9, Lonoke 0 First Downs by Penalty: Heber Springs 0, Lonoke 3 Total First Downs: Heber Springs 15, Lonoke 5 Penalties: Heber Springs 7/53, Lonoke 4/20 3rd-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 2/6, Lonoke 1/5 4th-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 3/4, Lonoke 0/0 Fumbles/Lost: Heber Springs 2/0, Lonoke 2/2 Sacks/Yards Lost: Heber Springs 2/17, Lonoke 0/0 Total Offense: Heber Springs 369, Lonoke 21 Rush/Yards/Avg: Heber Springs 22/147/6.7, Lonoke 16/20/1.3 Passing (A/C-Yards-TD/Int): Heber Springs 12/16-222-3/0, Lonoke 1/4-1-0/1 Punts: Heber Springs 0/0, Lonoke 4/145/36.3 INDIVIDUAL STATS OFFENSE Rushing: Heber Springs, Weston Warden 4/56, Gideon Tate 10/42, Xander Lindley 1/27, Parker Brown 1/8, Liam Buffalo 1/6, Jacob Golden 1/5, Ladd Choate 2/5, Hayden Johnson 1/4, Bryce Seigrist 1/(-6). Lonoke, Kemarcus Jones 1/18, Zhorion Gipson 6/14, Tripp Sullivan 9/(-12). Passing: Heber Springs, Liam Buffalo 11/15-170-2/0, Zachary Parker 1/1-52-1/0. Lonoke, Tripp Sullivan 1/4-1-0/1. Receiving: Heber Springs, Xander Lindley 5/139, Dalton Yancey 4/74, Weston Warden 2/3, Parker Brown 1/6. Lonoke, Zhorion Gipson 1/1. Kickoff Returns: Heber Springs, Hud Haggard 1/0. Lonoke, Kemarcus Jones 3/21, Tripp Sullivan 2/18, Alex Whiting 1/7, J.T. Stuart 1/1. Total Offense: Heber Springs, Liam Buffalo 176, Weston Warden 56, Zachary Parker 52, Gideon Tate 42, Xander Lindley 27, Parker Brown 8, Jacob Golden 5, Ladd Choate 5, Hayden Johnson 4, Bryce Seigrist (-6). Lonoke, Kemarcus Jones 18, Zhorion Gipson 14, Tripp Sullivan (-11). All-Purpose Yards: Heber Springs, Xander Lindley 166, Dalton Yancey 74, Weston Warden 59, Gideon Tate 42, Parker Brown 14, Liam Buffalo 6, Jacob Golden 5, Ladd Choate 5, Hayden Johnson 4, Bryce Seigrist (-6). DEFENSE Sacks/Yards lost: Heber Springs, Hud Haggard 1/11, Parker Brown 1/6 Interceptions: Heber Springs, Logan Rutledge 1/0. Fumble Recoveries: Ladd Choate, Xander Lindley. Punts: Lonoke, Tripp Sullvian 4/145/36.3 Kicking: Heber Springs, Gideon Tate (2/2 XP)
Heber Springs’ 7th-Graders move to 2-1
By PHILIP SEATON
The Heber Springs seventh-grade football team improved to 2-1 on the season with a 14-6 victory over Lonoke Thursday night at Panther Stadium.
With a late start, the two teams played only one half of football.
Heber Springs struck first as Gavin Widner scored on a 20-yard run with 15:08 to play to make it 6-0 in favor of the Panther Cubs. Emmett Dwyer connected with Cooper Holmes for the 2-point conversion.
After a Maddox Shumate interception gave the Panther Cubs the ball at the Lonoke 29, Eli Buffalo – playing in his first game of the season – rushed 18 yards to the Lonoke 11 before Jacob Haskett carried it over from there to make it 14-0 with 37 seconds left.
Lonoke added a score the buzzer as J.T. Stuart connected with Cameron Hooten for a 16-yard touchdown pass.
Heber Springs will be on the road Thursday when the Panther Cubs travel to Stuttgart.
Heber Springs golf team readies for conference tourney
By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY
The Heber Springs High School girls’ and boys’ golf teams survived the challenge of an altered schedule because of COVID-19.
The two teams are ready for the next step, the 4-4A Conference Tournament at the Morrilton Country Club Tuesday. The top two teams will advance to the state tournament.
“We played 10 matches because of COVID and weather,” Heber Springs coach Gaye Stark said. “We didn’t play multiple teams because of COVID and only competed against four conference schools all season. We hope to play well and see what happens.”
Seniors Hope Evans and Ellie Riddle lead the Lady Panthers. Freshmen Megan Bull and Macy Evans are the other two golfers.
“Hope and Ellie have been good mentors to the younger golfers,” Stark said. “They took them under their wings and showed them what they needed to do at the tournaments.”
Stark believes the team will challenge for a state tournament berth.
“Clarksville and Ozark are the teams to beat,” she said. “I’m pleased with the progress of all four golfers. We will see how it goes at the tournament.”
Senior Cooper Schalchin, sophomore Easton Cusick and freshman Ladd Choate will compete on the boys’ team.
“Cooper is the leader for the other golfers,” Stark said. “We will face tough teams at the tournament. I’m not sure how we stack up going into the tournament, but I expect us to play well.”
Panthers break nonconference streak
BY LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY
Heber Springs followed a formula of good execution with no turnovers and opened the door for success.
The Panthers doubled the total offense of the first two games and committed no turnovers in a 42-6 win against Dover at Panther Stadium on Friday and in the process ended an eight game, regular season nonconference losing streak.
Heber Springs (1-2) completed the nonconference schedule and will switch its focus to the 2-4A Conference opener at Lonoke next weekend.
“Good execution has been our goal every game,” Panther head coach Todd Wood said. “We can be a good team when putting things together. We wanted to play a complete game and answered the call. Sometimes when a team is 0-2, it will shut down, but we didn’t do that against Dover.”
Heber Springs gained 444 yards — 134 rushing and 310 passing — and converted 7-of-8 third-down plays.
“We have not done anything on first drives in the first two games and that was important to start this game,” Wood said. “It was a big relief for the team when we did that. We also learned what can happen when you hang onto the ball.”
Wood decided early last week to give senior Matthew Cook his first start at quarterback. Cook had been the backup for the first two games. He completed 16-of-22 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns against the Pirates.
“I challenged Matthew,” Wood said. “We put him in there and proud of his efforts. He gave our offense a different look.”
Cook admitted a case of the nerves in the beginning, but but he said it went away quickly.
“I never started at quarterback before, but I knew I was ready after a good week of practice,” Cook said. “All of the credit goes to my offensive line and the receivers.”
Six Heber Springs receivers caught passes (Hunter Kent 6-44, Nathan McKee 5-80, Diego Rubio 3-66, Isaac Smith 3-29, Easton Cusick 2-79 and Kenan Sneed 1-12).
“It was nice to spread the ball around and not just throw to one or two players,” Wood said. “We want to spread the joy around and be balanced. We wanted to make the defense defend the entire field.”
Cook said the short-range passing game helped him to be more comfortable and sent the offense in motion.
“Scoring on the first drive showed what we can do when we stick together,” he said. “I was looking to throw to all of my receivers.”
Wood also said he was pleased with the play of the defense.
“We played more aggressive on,” he said. “We started the game too flat, and I challenged them to become hitters and take it to Dover.”
Heber Springs took the lead with an 11-play, 90-yard drive for its first touchdown. The Panthers overcame two holding penalties as Kent scored on a 14-yard run with 4:37 left in the first quarter.
A fourth-down stop set up another touchdown before the end of the quarter. Isaac King caught a 10-yard scoring pass and Cook ran for a 2-point conversion, increasing the Panthers’ lead to 14-0 going into the second quarter.
Heber Springs struck again as Cook scored on a 2-yard carry with 6:27 left in the first half. Cook’s touchdown capped a 5-play, 80-yard drive. Chandler Webber kicked the conversion for a 21-0 lead.
The Panthers finished the second quarter with a 10-play, 78-yard touchdown drive. Diego Rubio caught a 36-yard scoring pass from Cook as Heber Springs led 27-0 at halftime.
“It was better atmosphere at halftime than the first two games,” Wood said. “I told them the game was not over. We didn’t want to be satisfied by playing only well only in the first half.”
Heber Springs sent the sportsmanship rule into motion by scoring on a 4-play, 64-yard drive following the second half kickoff. McKee caught a 17-yard touchdown pass with 10:46 remaining in the third quarter. Kent ran for a 2-point conversion.
Rubio’s 19-yard scoring run provided the Panthers’ fourth-quarter touchdown.
Dover avoided a shutout when Kenny Ketcherside scored on a 37-yard run with 3:41 to play.
Due to COVID restrictions, only 100 fans from Heber Springs will be allowed to attend. Those wanting to attend the game in Lonoke must pick up a voucher at the school and then pay at the gate in Lonoke.
SCORING Dover (0-4) 0 0 0 6 - 6 Heber Springs (1-2) 14 13 8 7 - 42 FIRST QUARTER Heber Springs, Hunter Kent 14-yard run (pass failed), 4:37 Heber Springs, Matthew Cook to Isaac King 10-yard pass (Cook run), 7.4 SECOND QUARTER Heber Springs, Cook 2-yard run (Chandler Webber kick), 6:27 Heber Springs, Cook to Diego Rubio 36-yard pass (kick blocked), 50.9 THIRD QUARTER Heber Springs - Cook to Nathan McKee 17-yard pass (Kent run), 10:46 FOURTH QUARTER Heber Springs, Diego Rubio 19-yard run (Webber kick), 11:40 Dover, Kenny Ketcherside 37-yard run (run failed), 3:45 TEAM STATS First Downs by Rush: Heber Springs 6, Dover 5 First Downs by Pass: Heber Springs 10, Dover 0 First Downs by Penalty: Heber Springs 0, Dover 0 Total First Downs: Heber Springs 16, Dover 5 Third-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 7/8, Dover 4/8 Fourth-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 1/1, Dover 0/1 Red-Zone Conversions: Heber Springs 5/5, Dover 0/0 Time of Possession: Heber Springs 23:57, Dover 24:03 Fumbles/Lost: Heber Springs 0/0, Dover 1/0 Turnovers: Heber Springs 0, Dover 0 Points Off Turnovers: Heber Springs 0, Dover 0 Penalties: Heber Springs 7/70, Dover 5/55 Plays/Total Offense/YPP: Heber Springs 44/444/10.1, Dover 29/110/3.8 Rushing: Heber Springs 22/134/6.1, Dover 25/113/4.5 Passing: Heber Springs 16/22-310-3/0, Dover 2/4-(-3)-0/0 Sacks/Yards Lost: Heber Springs 0/0, Dover 0/0 Punts: Heber Springs 0/0, Dover 4/171/42.8 Inside 20: Heber Springs 0, Dover 2 INDIVIDUAL STATS OFFENSE RUSHING: Heber Springs, Diego Rubio 9/42/4.7, Hunter Kent 3/32/10.7, Matthew Cook 5/23, Nathan McKee 2/19, Jackson West 2/15, Isaac King 1/3. Dover, Kaleb Williams 15/55/3.7, Kenny Ketcherside 5/45/9, Dawson Branch 5/13. RUSHING RUNS OF 30+: Dover, Kenny Ketcherside (1) RUSHING RUNS OF 20+: Dover, Kaleb Williams (1) RUSHING RUNS OF 10+: Heber Springs, Hunter Kent (2), Diego Rubio (1) PASSING: Heber Springs, Matthew Cook 16/22-310-3/0. Dover, Kaleb Williams 2/4-(-3)-0/0 RECEIVING: Heber Springs, Nathan McKee 5/80, Diego Rubio 3/66, Isaac King 3/29, Easton Cusick 2/79, Hunter Kent 2/44, Kenan Sneed 1/12. Dover, Dawson Branch 2/(-3) TOTAL OFFENSE: Heber Springs, Matthew Cook 333, Diego Rubio 42, Hunter Kent 32, Nathan McKee 19, Jackson West 15, Isaac King 3. Dover, Kaleb Williams 52, Kenny Ketcherside 45, Dawson Branch 10. PUNT RETURNS: Heber Springs, Hunter Kent 2/35. KICK RETURNS: Heber Springs, Hunter Kent 1/40, Easton Cusick 1/0. Dover, Jon Greathouse 4/27, Brantley Craig 1/12, Jeremiah Mercer 1/7, Kaleb Williams 1/7 FUMBLE RETURNS: None INTERCEPTION RETURNS: None ALL-PURPOSE YARDS: Heber Springs, Hunter Kent 151, Diego Rubio 108, Nathan McKee 99, Easton Cusick 79, Isaac King 32, Matthew Cook 23, Jackson West 15, Kenan Sneed 12. Dover, Kaleb Williams 62, Kenny Ketcherside 45, Jon Greathouse 27, Brantley Craig 12, Dawson Branch 10, Jeremiah Mercer 7. SCORING: Heber Springs, Diego Rubio 12, Matthew Cook 8, Hunter Kent 8, Nathan McKee 6, Isaac King 6, Chandler Webber 2 (2/3 XP/XPA). Dover, Kenny Ketcherside 6 DEFENSE PUNTS/YARDS/AVERAGE/INSIDE THE 20: Heber Springs, None. Dover, Kaleb Williams 4/171/42.8/2