Panther GameDay: Statewide audience awaits Panthers


Heber Springs wasted no time on correcting mistakes from previous games during a short work week.

The Panthers (0-1 in 2-4A Conference, 1-2 overall) will enter Moseley Stadium in Stuttgart and challenge defending conference champion Ricebirds at 7 p.m. Thursday in a statewide televised game on KARZ (Channel 42, Little Rock).

“We made numerous mistakes (blocking) for the past two weeks and worked on correcting them,” Heber Springs coach Todd Wood said. “The same problems from the Dover game popped up against Lonoke. It’s the responsibility of the coaching staff and myself to show them how to fix the problems.”

The Panthers only completed 5-of-14 passes for 56 yards against Lonoke and had 14 plays that were for lost yardage. A majority of the plays were quarterback sacks.

“We’ve been working on different ways to protect the quarterback,” Wood said. “We’re trying to give the quarterback more time in the passing game. We gave up too many sacks against Lonoke. The sacks kept putting us in bad situations.”

Stuttgart trailed 18-7 late in the third quarter at Southside Batesville last week before scoring two touchdowns during the fourth quarter for a 21-18 win.

Southside recovered the ensuing kickoff after its third touchdown at the Stuttgart 27-yard line. The Ricebirds held and started the comeback when Cedric Hawkins caught a 32-yard scoring pass from quarterback Tymir Coppins.

Stuttgart regained possess with 9:11 left in the game and drove 65 yards on 14 plays. Coppins ran for the game-winning with 3:09 to play.

Coppins completed 17-of-24 passes for 172 yards and rushed 10 times for 52 yards and one touchdown. Hawkins also was efficient in the running game with 89 yards on nine carries and scored one touchdown. He caught four passes for 73 yards and one touchdowns.

“Stuttgart wants to establish the run, but it also throw the ball effectively,” Wood said. “They have a good running combination with the quarterback (Coppins) and running back (Hawkins). We will need to be in the right place and do our assignments to be successful. Stuttgart is explosive, and one of the keys is to limit the number of explosive plays.”

Sophomore Parker Brown leads the Panthers in rushing, receiving and scoring through three games.

Heber Springs  hopes for a more versatile offense against Stuttgart. Sophomore Parker Brown has been a one-man show through three games. Brown leads the Panthers rushing with 36 carries for 273 yards and scored three touchdowns. He has caught five passes for 220 yards and three touchdowns.

Senior center Zach Thomas returned last week after being sideline with illness. Wood said Thomas performed well with only one day of practice and his return gave a boost to the offensive line.

“My fear was he might be rusty with snaps, but he wasn’t,” Wood said. “He blocked well.

Wood expects a better overall performance by his line against the Ricebirds.

“Stuttgart plays a 4-3 and is very aggressive,” he said. “They love to blitz and play man-to-man in the secondary. Stuttgart is fast and physical. We must find ways to put pressure on them with our offense.”

Wood also believes the defense is steadily improving and that will continue on Thursday.

“The linebackers played well,” Wood said. “Kenan Sneed had 15 tackles, including four for losses. Jackson West made good plays at outside linebacker. Hayden Johnson continues to play well.”

Heber Springs will play on television for a first time in more than a decade. Wood expects his players will not be affected by that atmosphere.

“To the players, it will be a game once it starts,” he said. “We will the cameras do its job and not be concerned about it. The players will focus on the task at hand.”

  • Kickoff: 7 p.m. at Stuttgart
  • Television: KARZ Channel 42
  • 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.  Streaming available on The Lakes’ YouTube channel.

THE SERIES: Stuttgart leads the all-times series, 11-4. The two teams first meet in 2006 when the Ricebirds dropped from class 5A down to 4A and were placed in the same conference with Heber Springs. Stuttgart won the first four meetings before the Panthers claimed a 20-14 win in 2010.


                            W L CP  W L PS  PA 
Little Rock Mills           1 0 13  4 0 188  97 
Lonoke                      1 0 13  4 0 147  67                     
Clinton                     1 0 13  2 2 110 116 
Stuttgart                   1 0  3  3 1 124  93  
Heber Springs               0 1  0  1 3  65  78  
Bald Knob                   0 1  0  0 4  55 139
Central Arkansas Christian  0 1  0  2 2 117 171   
Southside Batesville        0 1  0  2 2 124  62 

Friday, September 24 
Lonoke 36, Heber Springs 14
Stuttgart 21, Southside Batesville 18
Clinton 50, Central Arkansas Christian 20
Little Rock Mills 56, Bald Knob 33
Thursday, September 30
Heber Springs at Stuttgart
Friday, October 2 
Central Arkansas Christian at Little Rock Mills
Southside Batesville at Clinton
Bald Knob at Lonoke

Senior Spotlight: Payton Owens


Senior offensive-defensive lineman Payton Owens cherishes the opportunity of following the footsteps of his grandfather and play for the Heber Springs Panthers.

Owens, the grandson of Verlon Abram, returns at right guard and playing more of a role as the nose guard on defense in the 100th year of Heber Springs football.

Abram, who was selected to the 1960s All-Decade team at offensive tackle, played for the Panthers from 1967-69 and was one of the leaders  on the offensive and defensive lines. He had 12 tackles against Clinton and 11 against DeValls Bluff during the 1968 season.

Owens welcomes the challenge of keeping the family legacy alive.

“It’s special to be part of the 100th Panther team and play for the same school as my grandfather,” Owens said. “I’m working to stay in good physical condition so I can continue to play both ways. I like playing in the trenches. I want to make sure to block my guy as far away from the play as possible.”

Even with the 1-2 start to the season, Owens and his teammates hope to put more wins on the board by the end of the season.

“I’m trying to play the best I can because we don’t have many linemen,” Owens said. “The mentality of the offensive and defensive linemen is to play hard and make this the best year it can be.”

Heber Springs will play at Stuttgart in a statewide television game on Thursday. Owens likes his team’s chances to be successful.

“I feel good going into the game,” Owens said. “I like the new things (blocking schemes) we’re working on. I feel we have a good chance to win.”

Quarterback battle goes to Heber Springs

Heber Springs’ Liam Buffalo races toward a second-half touchdown in Tuesday night at Panther Stadium. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

In a dueling battling of quarterbacks Tuesday night, Heber Springs’ Liam Buffalo was just a little better as the Panthers claimed a 42-32 victory over Stuttgart in 2-4A junior high action at Panther Stadium.

Heber Springs improved to 4-1 on the season, and 2-0 in conference play, with the win in game that was scheduled for a Tuesday night instead of the normal Thursday night due to the two senior high teams playing Thursday for a statewide television.

Buffalo passed for 207 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 147 yards on 16 carries and added three more scores. Stuttgart ninth-grader DeVontae Clark rushed for 272 yards on 14 carries with five touchdowns.

While Buffalo finished with 347 yards of total offense to Clark’s 291 yards, it was the Stuttgart freshman that struck first racing 90 yards to put the Ricebirds up 6-0 with 5:15 left in the first half.

Heber Springs responded less than 30 seconds later when Buffalo connected with Weston Warden for a 53-yard touchdown with 4:47 left in the second quarter.

Clark and Buffalo traded touchdown runs (12 yards for Clark and 4 yards Buffalo) in the half but Stuttgart led 14-12 at the break as Clark converted the 2-point conversion after his scoring run.

Heber Springs took the second-half kickoff and marched 66 yards on seven plays as Buffalo scored on run from the 1. Warden had his second consecutive 100-yard receiving night catching five passes for 159 yards, including receptions of 31 and 21 yards on the drive.

The Panthers 18-14 advantage at the 3:30 mark of the third quarter didn’t last as Clark raced 56 yards on the second play of the drive to give the Ricebirds a 20-18 lead.

Heber Springs quickly pushed the ball down the field on first-down runs by Warden and Buffalo and two Seth Dudeck pass receptions. The first for 13 yards and the last an 11-yard scoring strike. Buffalo hit Warden for the 2-point conversion and the Panthers led 26-20 with 39.7 seconds left in the third quarter.

The Panther defense would force Stuttgart to a three-and-out before adding another score on a 50-yard touchdown run by Buffalo. After a successful 2-point conversion by Buffalo, Clark would responded 22 seconds later to make it 34-26 with 4:42 left in the game.

After a 23-yard kickoff return by Logan Rutledge, Buffalo connected with Carter Julian for no gain before finding Warden for a 43-yard touchdown pass. Rutledge ran in the 2-point conversion to make it 42-26 with just over four minutes left.

Stuttgart’s Jawyan Terry returned the ensuing kickoff 28 yards and would have scored but was brought down by Emmitt Dwyer. However, three consecutive runs by Clark would make it a 10-point game at 42-32 with 3:09 left.

Heber Springs would pick up a pair of first downs to end the contest.

Warden finished with 202 all-purpose yards for the Panthers.

SEPTEMBER 28, 2021 
Stuttgart            0  14   6  12 - 32
Heber Springs        0  12  14  16 - 42 
S - DeVontae Clark 90-yard run (pass failed), 5:15
HS - Liam Buffalo to Weston Warden 53-yard pass (run failed), 4:47
S - Clark 12-yard run (Clark run), 2:09
HS - Buffalo 4-yard run (run failed), :22
HS - Buffalo 1-yard run (run failed), 4:32
S - Clark 56-yard run (pass failed), 3:50
HS - Buffalo to Seth Dudeck 11-yard pass (Buffalo to Warden pass), :39.7
HS - Buffalo 50-yard run (Buffalo run), 5:04
S - Clark 57-yard run (pass failed), 4:42
HS - Buffalo to Warden 43-yard pass (Logan Rutledge run), 4:12
S - Clark 4-yard run (run failed), 3:09
RUSHES-YARDS: HS 25/190, S 22/292
COMP-ATT-INT: HS 9-16-0, S 3-5-0
PUNTS-AVERAGE: HS 1/50, S 3/34.7
RUSHING: HS, Liam Buffalo 16/147, Weston Warden 9/43. Stuttgart, DeVontae Clark 14/272, Jawyan Terry 7/20, Damariya Lee 1/0. 
PASSING: HS, Buffalo 9/16-207-3/0. Stuttgart, Clark 2/4-9-0/0, Hayden Prine 1/1-36-0/0
RECEVING: HS, Warden 5/159, Seth Dudeck 3/48, Carter Julian 1/0. Stuttgart, Quaterion Johnson 2/9, Peyton Thompson 1/36
KICKOFF RETURNS: HS, Logan Rutledge 2/27. S, Terry 1/28, Johnson 2/20, Orion Talley 1/11.
PUNTS: HS, Buffalo 1/50. Stutgart, Prine 3/104


(All Games Start at 7 p.m.)

Aug. 26 – Heber Springs 32, Clinton 28

Sep. 09 – Harding Academy 36, Heber Springs 16

Sep. 16 – Heber Springs 26, Dover 12

Sep. 23 – Heber Springs 34, Lonoke 12 *

Sep. 28 – Heber Springs 42, Stuttgart 32 *

Oct. 07 – at Central Arkansas Christian *

Oct. 14 – Bald Knob *

Oct. 21 – at Southside Batesville *

Oct. 28 – at Clinton *

(* – Denotes Conference Contest)

Panther Cubs come up short against Stuttgart

Heber Springs quarterback Lachlan Tubbs manages to get a pass off despite being corralled by a Stuttgart defender Tuesday night at Panther Stadium. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

The Heber Springs seventh-grade Panthers dropped a 6-0 decision to Stuttgart Tuesday night at Panther Stadium.

After a scoreless first half, Stuttgart took the ball on the opening drive of the second half and scored on a 58-yard touchdown run by Cordaro Berry. The 2-point conversion failed.

Heber Springs took over on its own 30, consumed most of the second half clock and reached the Ricebird 15 before a fumble ended the drive with just over two minutes to play.

Stuttgart killed the clock for the win.


(All Game Times are 5:30 p.m.)

Aug. 26 – Clinton 16, Heber Springs 14

Sep. 09 – at Harding Academy (Canceled)

Sep. 16 – Heber Springs 16, Dover 6

Sep. 23 – Lonoke 20, Heber Springs 6

Sep. 28 – Stuttgart 6, Heber Springs 0

Oct. 07 – at Central Arkansas Christian

Oct. 14 – Bald Knob

Oct. 21 – at Southside Batesville

Oct. 28 – at Clinton

Panthers fall in conference opener to ‘Rabbits

Heber Springs’ Parker Brown and Dalton Yancey celebrate a first-half Panther touchdown. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO


Lonoke converted two first-half Heber Springs turnovers into touchdowns and pulled away during the second half to claim a 36-14 win in the 2-4A Conference football opener for both teams at Panther Stadium Friday.

Heber Springs (0-1 in conference, 1-2) had four turnovers for the game — three interceptions and a lost fumble. The Jackrabbits (1-0 conference, 4-0) lost two fumbles.

“We need to fix our offense,” Heber Springs coach Todd Wood said. “Right now, we are having hard time figuring out how to take care of things up front (offensive line). We will work on that in practice next week. If we don’t fix it, it could be a long season.”

Lonoke wore down the Panther defense by keeping possession for almost 27 of minutes, including 16 of 24 minutes during the second half.

“We got good effort from the players,” Wood said. “I’m proud of the defense hanging in there, and it never quit fighting. They were on the field for the majority of the second half.”

Heber Springs sophomore running back Parker Brown rushed for more than 100 yards for the second time in three games. He ran for 163 yards on 22 carries and scored both touchdowns. Quarterback Xander Lindley, also a sophomore, completed 4-of-13 passes for 56 yards and rushed 18 times for 31 yards

Heber Springs had 14 lost-yardage plays on 59 snaps, but Panthers did record 14 first downs.

Spencer Pepper started at quarterback for the Jackrabbits in place of Bradon Allen, who was sidelined because of an injury. Pepper, who started last year at quarterback, had been used at running back and receiver this season, but he occasionally was inserted as the wildcat quarterback.

Pepper completed 7-of-12 passes for 131 yards and one touchdown. He rushed 13 times for 74 yards and scored two touchdowns.

Latrell Burnett and Landon Jones also played a major role in Lonoke’s offense. Burnett had 74 yards rushing on 11 attempts and scored one touchdown. Landon Jones caught four passes for 103 yards and one touchdown.

“We knew he (Pepper) would be the quarterback before the game,” Wood said. “He is more of a scat back, but he could throw deep. Our secondary did a good job overall defending the pass.”

Late in the first quarter, Brown’s 28-yard run gave the Panthers a first down at the Lonoke 32-yard line. The game-changing play came three plays later. Jones intercepted a Lindley pass and returned it 77 yards for a Lonoke touchdown with 5:02 remaining in the first quarter. Tom Boatright kicked the extra point for the 7-0 lead.

The Jackrabbits increased their lead midway through the second quarter after recovering a fumble at the their 35-yard line. Pepper capped a 5-play, 65-yard drive by scoring on a 36-yard run with 8:11 left in the first half. Boatright kicked the extra point for the 14-0 lead.

Lonoke scored its third touchdown on a 7-play, 68-yard drive. Pepper connected on passes to Jones and Chaston Dockery put the Jackrabbits in scoring position. Burnett scored on an 8-yard carry with 3:49 to go in the first half for the 20-0 lead.

Heber Springs responded quickly by driving 57 yards on four plays for its first score. Dalton Yancey’s 18-yard pass reception from Lindley set up Brown’s 32-yard touchdown run with two minutes remaining. A low snap spoiled the conversion as the Panthers trailed 20-6 at halftime.

Lindley rushed for 10 yards and a first down on the Panthers’ opening drive of the second half. Lonoke’s defense held on the next three plays and forced a punt.

Lonoke started the drive at the 20-yard line, but a holding penalty on first down moved the ball to the 10. Two plays later, Pepper passed to Jones at the 15-yard line and completed the 89-yard scoring play with 8:56 left in the third quarter. Boatright kicked the conversion for a 27-6 lead.

Heber Springs reached the end zone for the second time early in the fourth quarter. Brown capped the five-play drive by scoring on an 8-yard run with 11:17 left in the game. Lindley ran for the 2-point conversion, pulling the Panthers with 27-14.

Lonoke recorded a safety after Lindley retrieved a high snap in the end zone with 10:05 to play. Jones returned the free kick 60 yards for a touchdown, but a penalty wiped out the score. Pepper capped a 40-yard drive by scoring on a 3-yard carry with five minutes left. Boatright kicked the extra point.

Heber Springs will have a short week as the Panthers will play at Stuttgart in a game Thursday that will be telecasted statewide on KARZ (Channel 42, Little Rock). The Ricebirds began the conference schedule with a come-from-behind 21–18 win at Southside Batesville.

SEPTEMBER 23, 2021 
Lonoke (3-1, 1-0)              7  13   7   9 - 36
Heber Springs (1-2, 0-1)       0   6   0   8 - 14 
L - Landon Jones 77-yard interception return (Tom Boatright kick), 5:02
L - Spencer Pepper 35-yard run (Boatright kick), 8:11
L - Latrell Burnett 8-yard run (kick failed), 3:50
HS - Parker Brown 32-yard run (run failed), 2:00
L - Pepper to Jones 90-yard pass (Boatright kick), 8:56
HS - Brown 8-yard run (Xander Lindley run), 11:17
L - Safety, snap into end zone, 10:05
L - Pepper 3-yard run (Boatright kick), 5:00
FIRST DOWNS: HS 14, Lonoke 16
RUSHES-YARDS: HS 44/201, Lonoke 34/217
PASSING YARDS: HS 56, Lonoke 131
COMP-ATT-INT: HS 5/14-3, Lonoke 7/17-0
TOTAL OFFENSE: HS 257, Lonoke 348
FUMBLES: HS 1, Lonoke 2
PENALITIES-YARDS: HS 4/20, Lonoke 7/88
PUNTS-AVERAGE: HS 2/40, Lonoke 3/36.7
RUSHING: HS, Parker Brown 22/163, Xander Lindley 18/31, Gideon Tate 3/19, Team 1/(-12). Lonoke, Spencer Pepper 13/74, Latrell Burnett 11/74, Landon Jones 5/36, Jamarrion Johnson 3/24, Jalon Branscomb 1/15, Team 1/(-6).
PASSING: HS, Lindley 5/14-56-0/2, Easton Cusick 0/1-0-0/1. Lonoke, Pepper 7/17-131-1/0
RECEVING: HS, Gus Hannah 2/27, Dalton Yancey 1/18, Austin Winchester 1/12, Brown 1/(-1). Lonoke, Jones 4/103, Chaston Dockery 3/25, Burnett 1/4.
KICKOFF RETURNS: HS, Brown 3/47, Jackson West 1/18. Lonoke, Jones 1/35
INTERCEPTION RETURNS: Lonoke, Jones 1/77, Burnett 1/25, Tom Boatright 1/11.
PUNTS: Heber Springs, Lindley 2/80. Lonoke, Boatright 3/110.

HSHS All-Decade Team: 2010s

The 2010s era of Heber Springs football was the most successful decade in school history with one perfect regular season, an outright conference title and two more that were shared. The decade also saw the Panthers reach the playoffs nine out of 10 seasons.

The 2010 season saw Steve Janski’s Panthers open with wins over Mountain View and Harding Academy before falling to Bald Knob and, in the conference opener, to Lonoke. A win over Stuttgart would follow with a setback at Marianna-Lee, before the Panthers would win four straight to close the regular season. A loss at Joe T. Robinson ended Heber Springs’ season with a 7-5 mark.

History would be made in 2011 as the Panthers opened the season by dominating defending 4A state champion Shiloh Christian, 36-17, in the opener at Reynolds’ Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville. Heber Springs would put 49 on Harding Academy, 55 on Bald Knob and 63 on Lonoke, before winning at Stuttgart 28-21. No team in the regular season would get to less than two touchdowns the rest of the way as the Panthers completed a perfect regular season and the school’s first outright conference title sine 1979. The second-ranked Panthers would defeat Shiloh Christian again in a first-round playoff match-up at Panther Stadium before falling to Farmington to finish at 11-1 on the year. The 11 wins are the most in school history.

The 2012 team, opened with a loss to Pottsville and had a week 2 game at Harding Academy canceled after weather delays in the first half. A win over Gentry would make the Panthers 1-1 heading into conference play. Heber Springs would not repeat as conference champions finishing 2-4A play at 4-3, closing the regular season with a loss to new conference member Pine Bluff Dollarway. The Panthers would rebound in the playoffs downing Star City and Pea Ridge to reach the quarterfinals of the playoffs. Highland ended the Panthers season leaving Heber Springs with a 7-5 mark.

Janski’s last season at Heber Springs, 2013, would see the Panthers claim wins over Marianna-Lee and Southside Batesville but finish with a 2-8 mark.

Assistant coach David Farr was promoted to head coach for the 2014 campaign. The Panthers would down Clinton and Harding Academy in nonconference play before finishing 5-2 in conference play. The Panthers would drop Crossett in first-round playoff contest before seeing their season at Warren the following week to finish 8-4.

The offseason would see Farr take a job at Maumelle and long-time assistant coach Darren Gowen promoted to head coach. Heber Springs would open the 2015 season with a win over Clinton before falling to Greenbrier and Harding Academy in nonconference play. The Panthers would finish conference play at 4-3 to earn a playoff spot, but Star City would end Heber Springs’ season at 5-6.

The 2016 season saw Heber Springs start 0-3 in nonconference play before bouncing back to finish 6-1 in the 2-4A and earning a share of the conference title and the number 1 seed. After a first-round playoff bye, Shiloh Christian would end the Panthers season at 6-5.

In 2017, Heber Springs would open at 1-2 before earning another share of the 2-4A crown with a 6-1 conference mark. The three-way tie left the Panthers as the No. 3 seed where they would win a thrilling playoff contest at Gravette before falling at Gosnell to finish at 8-4. With the Panthers earning a share of the conference title, it was the first time since the 1979-1980 seasons that the Panthers had won at least a share of the conference title in back-to-back seasons. Those two teams joined the 1975-1976 teams as the only ones to accomplish that feat in school history.

The 2018 team attempted to be the first to win at least of share of a conference title in three consecutive seasons. After starting the season 0-3, Heber Springs would finish conference play at 6-1 but Stuttgart would win the crown with a 7-0 conference mark. The Panthers dominated former conference foe Pocahontas in first-round playoff match-up before losing at Rivercrest to finish 7-5.

Gowen would step down as head coach in the spring of 2019 to take a position in northwest Arkansas and Will Cox was promoted for the upcoming season. Heber Springs would fall to Clinton and Harding Academy in the final seconds in nonconference play, as well to Greenbrier, to start 0-3. The Panthers would finish conference play at 4-3 and get the No. 5 seed in the playoffs, after a four-way tie at the top. Shiloh Christian would end the Panthers season in the playoffs.

(Editor’s Note: The teams were selected based upon a vote by former players and coaches. They were asked to fill a ballot based upon positions. Players were allowed to a put a player in multiple positions (i.e. WR/DB). Votes were recorded based upon on the number of ballots a particular player was listed on. If a player was listed a multiple positions, they were still counted as being on one ballot. As with past decades, positions were kept fluid in order to ensure those that were on the most ballots would make the team. In several cases, there were players that received more votes for one position than the person selected for the all-decade team, but were on fewer ballots, and therefore did not make the team. In the previous decades, I was able to create a limit amount of all-purpose positions to cover those that may have been squeezed out of one position but were on more ballots than those who did make it (though not all-purpose positions do not mean those players were on fewer ballots, in many cases it was because a player exceled at so many positions that their votes were scattered). When it came time to do the 2010s, there were more votes cast by former players than any other decade. The votes were more varied than other decade. It created a situation were I was going to have to create a larger number of “all-purpose” positions to get everyone on the team that was going to get squeezed out because of the position that they played. So for this decade only, I created a second team. There are several players on the second team that were on more ballots than those on the first team, but I could not put them at position that did not play (an example would be if someone played WR/DB, I could not put them on the offensive line even though they were on more ballots than someone on first-team offensive line). That is just an example. Also, there is no punter on the second team, because all of those who received votes were already on the team so an extra “all-purpose” position was created in its place. And with ALL of the all-decade teams, there are some very, very good football players that didn’t make it and this decade was no exception. The hardest part of doing this was leaving out those who have contributed so much to the Panther program over the years. Coming in October, all those on any all-decade will be eligible to be voted on the all-time team that will be selected by a vote by the public).

The 2010s HSHS All-Decade Football Team

(Position, Player and Last Season Played)



WR – Clint Ligon (2012)

WR – Pierce Mitchum (2016)

OL – Jimbo Bodron (2010)

OL – J.J. Bray (2018)

OL – Andrew Davis (2011)

OL – Derrik Fisher (2012)

OL – Joseph Tharp (2010)

QB – Adam Martin (2019)

RB – Chandler Marquardt (2014)

RB – Markeyvus Mays (2011)

RB – Blaze Nelson (2018)

K – Julian Cameron (2018)

AP – Michael Ludwig (2011)


DL – Chris Hart (2017)

DL – Zach McCormick (2014)

DL – Luke McGowan (2016)

LB – Geoffrey Anderson (2011)

LB – Ethan Bly (2012)

LB – James Ketchum (2015)

LB – Mason Williams (2010)

DB – Jacob Bremmon (2017)

DB – Micah Dew (2012)

DB – Nate Dew (2016)

DB – Brooks Morgan (2012)

P – Landon Glover (2011)

AP – Hunter Chandler (2015)



WR – Andrew Hill (2010)

WR – Rocky Finney (2018)

OL – Austin Childers (2011)

OL – Harley Hannah (2019)

OL – Nate Hills (2013)

OL – Ethan Lee (2012)

OL – Dylan Platt (2015)

QB – Michael Kramer (2013)

RB – Chandler Jones (2014)

RB – Julio Rubio (2019)

RB/WR – Gunner Nelson (2012)

K – Edgar Torres (2015)

AP – Joseph Stacks (2017)


DL – Dalton Hall (2018)

DL – Harley Hooten (2012)

DL – Kody Youngblood (2014)

LB – Fate Berry (2019)

LB – Dustin Ervin (2012)

LB – Wade Gilbrech (2012)

LB – Landon Johnson (2019)

DB – Caleb Carmikle (2010)

DB – Cooper Lawrence (2013)

DB – Jesse Lawrence (2011)

DB – Dillon Spivey (2017)

AP – Brandon Loethen (2017)

AP – Ian Lowe (2013)


The 2000s HSHS All-Decade Team

The 1990s HSHS All-Decade Team

The 1980s HSHS All-Decade Team

The 1970s HSHS All-Decade Team

The 1960s HSHS All-Decade Team

The 1950s HSHS All-Decade Team

The 1940s HSHS All-Decade Team

The 1930s HSHS All-Decade Team

The 1910s/20s HSHS All-Decade Team

Senior Spotlight: Jackson West


Heber Springs outside linebacker Jackson West is another Panther or who have traveled a long road to his senior season.

West, who joined the program as a seventh-grader, hopes to make an impart in the 100th season of Heber Springs football. He also will provide depth at running back and receiver for the offense.

“We knew this would be a special season because of the 100th season of Panther football,” West said. “The players have a common goal of winning games. Everything is more upbeat.”

Heber Springs hopes the momentum built from the first shutout in almost five years will continue against Lonoke at Panther Stadium on Friday.

“We had a great game on defense,” West said. “We accomplished our team goal of holding Dover under 100 yards. We will set a new goal for the Lonoke game and work to achieve that.”

West said he and his teammates understand Lonoke will be a challenge.

“We have work to do,” he said. “But if we come out prepared to play, it will go all right.”

Panther GameDay: Panthers open 2-4A play against Lonoke


Celebration of last week’s 44-0 win at Dover quickly became short-lived for the Heber Springs Panthers.

The Panthers (1-1) turned their attention at Monday’s practice to Friday’s 7 p.m. 2-4A Conference football opener against Lonoke (3-0) at Panther Stadium.

“We had good execution for the most part against Dover,” Heber Springs coach Todd Wood said. “We accomplished our goal of fixing some areas and discovered other areas that need more work. We were going into situation that we need a win and proved that we could put points on the board, and we could stop the other team.”

Wood told his team during the Dover postgame huddle that the conference race begins the following week.

“I told them we played two nonconference games and now our focus should be on the conference games, starting with Lonoke,” Wood said. “What we do in conference play will determine if we are playing in late November and December. It’s a fresh start for all teams.”

The Jackrabbits rolled past Carlisle (54-12) in their opener and had impressive wins against Beebe (28-21) and Newport (29-20).

Quarterback Braylon Allen is the leader of the offense with multi-talented Spencer Pepper. In 2020, Pepper was the starting quarterback until an injury sidelined him. He will start at running back and occasionally move to receiver. Pepper also has been used as the wildcat quarterback.

“No. 7 (Allen) was a ninth-grader who moved up when Pepper was inured and played well,” Wood said. “He is very athletic and can throw or run. No. 5 (Pepper) is also a threat. We must know where they are at all times.”

Lonoke uses a spread attack on offense, but different than what the Panthers witnessed against Harding Academy.

“They will try and establish the run,” Wood said. “Lonoke has the capability of throwing the ball, but it wants to spread the defense. We must be careful of not just playing the run.”

Wood plans to counter with the Panther dynamic duo of quarterback Xander Lindley and running back Parker Brown. Lindley completed 12-of 18 passes for 318 yards and four touchdowns against Dover. Brown caught three passes for 220 yards, all for touchdowns.

“Parker is an athlete who makes big things happen,” Wood said. “If team concentrates just on Parker, it will up open the offense for other players. I was pleased with Parker’s play against Dover. (Easton) Cusick and (Austin) Winchester had good games, too. Austin caught the touchdown pass and ran like a bull for the last 10 yards. He showed his determination to get into the end zone.”

Wood also liked the defense’s performance. The Panthers held Dover to a minus 30 yards rushing and 23 net yards of offense.

“I was pleased with the defense’s pursuit and seeing four or five guys making tackles,” Wood said. “We want a swarming type of defense. The shutout was nice and gives confidence to the defense. One of the defensive keys against Lonoke will be keeping leverage on whoever has the ball. “

Wood said Friday’s game will set the tone for the remainder of the season.

“We want to start conference play with a win,” he said. “Lonoke was our focus this week and then we will move on to Stuttgart and Central Arkansas Christian.”

  • Kickoff: 7 p.m.
  • 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.


  • Heber Springs 44, Dover 0
  • Central Arkansas Christian 35, Mayflower 34
  • Lonoke 29, Newport 20
  • Dardanelle 42, Clinton 26
  • Bald Knob bye
  • Little Rock Mills bye
  • Southside Batesville Bye
  • Stuttgart bye


  • Heber Springs (1-1) at Lonoke (2-1)
  • Little Rock Mills (3-0) at Bald Knob (0-3)
  • Clinton (1-2) at Central Arkansas Christian (2-1)
  • Stuttgart (2-1) at Southside Batesville (2-1)

The Series: Lonoke leads the all-time series, 15-10

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 15 contests, including five straight in the series before Lonoke won in 2019 and 2020.

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Heber Springs tops Lonoke in junior high action

Heber Springs’ Weston Warden looks to get up field after taking a screen pass from Liam Buffalo Thursday night in Lonoke. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO


LONOKE – Heber Springs overcame a sluggish start to claim a 34-12 conference-opening victory over Lonoke Thursday night.

Liam Buffalo threw his first interception this season in more than 50 attempts, but that would be the only blemish for the ninth-grader on the night as he was 11 of 14 passing for 201 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 95 yards and three touchdowns on seven attempts.

Weston Warden caught five passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns including a 23-yarder with 7:34 to play in the first half to tie the game at 6-6, and an 85-yarder on a screen pass that he took the distance to give the Panthers (3-1, 1-0) a 12-6 lead with 1:13 left in the half – a lead the Panthers wouldn’t give up.

Lonoke (0-2, 0-1) struck first as Marquez Jackson took the opening kickoff 82 yards for a score to give the Jackrabbits an early 6-0 advantage.

The Panthers first drive was stalled thanks in part to a pair of 10-yard penalties and an interception by Lonoke’s Tanner Starks.

Lonoke appeared to be driving for another score reaching the Heber Springs 28, but on third-and-3, Jacob McMullin threw Lonoke quarterback J.T. Stuart for a seven-yard loss to end the Jackrabbit momentum as a fourth-down pass play came up short.

The Panthers would then drive 74 yards on 10 plays to tie things up on the Buffalo to Warden 23-yard scoring pass.

Heber Springs held Lonoke on their next possession thanks in part to tackles for loss by Luke Elliott and Buffalo.

After a 33-yard punt by Stuart, Buffalo connected with Warden, who did the rest for the 85-yard score.

McMullin, who recovered three onside kick attempts on the night, covered the onside attempt at the Panther 48. Buffalo would race 52 yards for the score with 7:11 left in the third quarter. Buffalo would connect with Logan Rutledge for the 2-point conversion to make it 20-6.

On the ensuing kickoff, Jackson would strike again return the kickoff for 74 yards to make it 20-12.

Heber Springs would use a seven-play, 57-yard drive to respond as Buffalo capped the drive with a 13-yard scoring run to make it 26-12.

The Panthers added a fourth-quarter touchdown on a 5-yard run by Buffalo and a 2-point conversion by Buffalo to set the final score.

Heber Springs returns to action Tuesday night at Panther Stadium against Stuttgart.

SEPTEMBER 23, 2021 
Heber Springs   0  12  14   6 - 32 
Lonoke          6   0   6   0 - 12 
L - Marquez Jackson 82-yard kickoff return (run failed), 7:47
HS - Liam Buffalo to Weston Warden 23-yard pass (pass failed), 7:34
HS - Buffalo to Warden 85-yard pass (run failed), 1:13
HS - Buffalo 52-yard run (Buffalo to Logan Rutledge pass), 7:11
L - Jackson 74-yard kickoff return (run failed), 6:59
HS - Buffalo 13-yard run (run failed), 3:45
HS - Buffalo 5-yard run (Buffalo run), 7:14
RUSHES-YARDS: HS 21/161, L 21/33
COMP-ATT-INT: HS 11-14-1, L 4-11-1
RUSHING: HS, Liam Buffalo 7/95, Lucas Garcia 6/49, Logan Rutledge 1/13, Carter Julian 1/7, Weston Warden 5/2, Team 1/(-5). Lonoke, D'Mar Eason 4/17, Marquez Jackson 5/14, J.T. Stuart 7/13, Will Payne 1/2, Alex Whiting 2/2, Dexter Rollason 1/(-4), Team 1/(-11).
PASSING: HS, Buffalo 11/14-201-2/1, Stuart 4/11-34-0/1
RECEVING: HS, Warden 5/124, Ty West 2/22, Julian 2/20, Seth Dudeck 1/27, Rutledge 1/8. L, Tanner Starks 1/22, Cameron Hooten 1/9, Jaden Mays 1/5, Payne 1/(-2).
KICKOFF RETURNS: L, Jackson 2/156, T.J. Terry 1/7.
INT RETURNS: HS, Caleb Carr 1/29. L, Starks 1/18
PUNTS: L, Stuart 1/33.


(All Games Start at 7 p.m.)

Aug. 26 – Heber Springs 32, Clinton 28

Sep. 09 – Harding Academy 36, Heber Springs 16

Sep. 16 – Heber Springs 26, Dover 12

Sep. 23 – Heber Springs 34, Lonoke 12 *

Sep. 28 – Stuttgart *

Oct. 07 – at Central Arkansas Christian *

Oct. 14 – Bald Knob *

Oct. 21 – at Southside Batesville *

Oct. 28 – at Clinton *

(* – Denotes Conference Contest)

Panther Cubs tripped up at Lonoke

Heber Springs’ Lachlan Tubbs looks for running room at Lonoke Thursday night. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

LONOKE – The Heber Springs Panther Cubs ran into an undefeated Lonoke 7th-Grade squad and came out with a 20-6 setback Thursday night.

Lonoke took a 14-0 lead in the halftime break with touchdown runs at the 12:40 and 1:50 mark of the first half, with a 2-point conversion coming on the latter score.

The Jackrabbits added another touchdown at the 15:04 mark of the second half before the Panthers got on the board with 31 seconds left on a 16-yard Lachlan Tubbs touchdown run. The 2-point conversion failed.

Heber Springs falls to 1-2 on the season with the loss.


(All Game Times are 5:30 p.m.)

Aug. 26 – Clinton 16, Heber Springs 14

Sep. 09 – at Harding Academy (Canceled)

Sep. 16 – Heber Springs 16, Dover 6

Sep. 23 – Lonoke 20, Heber Springs 6

Sep. 28 – Stuttgart

Oct. 07 – at Central Arkansas Christian

Oct. 14 – Bald Knob

Oct. 21 – at Southside Batesville

Oct. 28 – at Clinton