Panthers improve to 2-0 in the 2-4A with another shutout

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Heber Springs’ Parker Brown looks upfield after breaking the tackle attempt by Bald Knob’s Eric Williams¬†Friday night at Panther Stadium. Brown would score four touchdowns in the win. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

The Heber Springs Panthers celebrated homecoming and kept rolling and moved in position to challenge for an opportunity at winning the 2-4A Conference championship.

The Panthers (3-2 overall, 2-0 in 2-4A) scored touchdowns on their first four possessions and steamrolled over the Bald Knob Bulldogs (2-4 overall, 0-2 in 2-4A) 48-0 at Panther Stadium Friday night.

Heber Springs won its third consecutive game, including back-to-back shutouts of conference opponents. The Panthers and Harding Academy (6-0 overall, 3-0 in 2-4A).

After the nonconference win at Jonesboro Westside, Heber Springs had consecutive shutouts of conference foes Cave City and the Bulldogs. The Panthers accomplished that for the first time since the 1990 season when they shout out Dover and Dardanelle. It also was the first shutout by Heber Springs against Bald Knob since 1981.

“Bald Knob played just the way that I thought it would,” Heber Springs coach Van Paschal said. “We didn’t want to lose going into the open date because a team tends to have its head down when that happens.

“We are learning how to play and not be satisfied. The players did a good job of playing well at homecoming and dealing with the heat.”

The Panthers utilized their ground attack and outgained Bald Knob 223-50 yards in total offense. Heber Springs had 194 yards rushing and held the Bulldogs to a minus 78 yards. Bald Knob had an advantage of 78-29 yards in passing.

Senior Parker Brown rushed for 115 yards on three carries, scoring two touchdowns for the Panthers. Brown also had two punt returns for scores, 65 and 45 yards.

Senior Corbin Jones had two of the Heber Springs defense’s four quarterback sacks, plus five quarterback hurries. Jordan Tidwell was credited with two quarterback hurries. The Panthers had six other lost-yardage tackles. Bald Knob committed five turnovers, leading to two Panther touchdowns. Eli Buffalo returned an interception 42 yards for a score. Liam Buffalo and Weston Warden also had interceptions. Carter Julian and Brodie Basford each recovered a fumble.

“The kids played hard throughout the game,” Paschal said when talking about the shutout. “We got out of the gate early. I would like to finish the game a little bit different than we did. But I’m very proud of how we played and expect more improvement in future games.”

Heber Springs, which won the opening toss and elected to receive, dominated the first quarter. The Panthers had 137 yards, all rushing, on 12 plays, while the defense held Bald Knob to a minus three yards on 11 plays. Brown rushed for 115 of the 137 yards and scored three of the four touchdowns.

Heber Springs drove 65 yards on seven plays, with Brown putting the first points on the scoreboard by scoring on a 28-yard run with 9:39 left in the first quarter. Gideon Tate kicked the extra point for the 7-0 lead.

After a three-and-out and a Bulldog punt, the Panthers turned to Brown again. Brown broke free and ran for a 53-yard touchdown with 7:27 to go. Tate’s conversion kick increased the lead to 14-0.

Special teams set up the next score when Basford blocked Micah Story’s punt and Julian recovered at the Bald Knob 8-yard line. Liam Buffalo scored on a 3-yard keeper, plus Tate’s successful kick, increased Heber Springs’ lead to 21-0 with 4:45 remaining.

Brown capped the offensive explosion by returning a punt 65 yards for the touchdown with 2:50 left. The Panthers took a 27-0 lead into the second quarter.

“It helps when you have a cushion (scoring on first four possessions) and the players continue to do everything we ask them to do,” Paschal said. “Parker had a heck of a night.”

Defense controlled the next quarter as Eli Buffalo’s 42-yard interception return and Tate’s conversion kick with 4:34 remaining gave Heber Springs a 34-0 halftime lead.

The sportsmanship rule went into effect when Brown returned a second punt 45 yards for a touchdown with 5:58 left in the third quarter. Chase Dill kicked the extra point for a 41-0 lead.

Xander Lindley threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Elijah Jones for the final touchdown with 4:55 to play. Paul Krause kicked the extra point.

Heber Springs will have two weeks in preparing for Lonoke (3-3 overall, 2-1 in 2-4A) at home on Oct. 13, the first of three games against teams in the top half of the standings.

The Panthers will play back-to-back road games at Stuttgart (Oct. 20) and Harding Academy (Oct. 27) before finishing the regular season at home against Riverview on Nov. 3.

“We will start focusing on Lonoke beginning Tuesday,” Paschal said. “We will be adding a few new things on offense and defense.”

Paschal concluded by saying the Panthers will focus on only one game at a time during the three-game stretch.

GAME NOTES

STOPPING THE DOG: Second fewest rushing yards allowed to a Bald Knob team with 29. The fewest is a school record minus 31 set on Sept. 16, 2011.

CATCHING A BONE: The three interceptions by the defense were the most since Oct. 5, 2018, when the Panthers recorded three at Central Arkansas Christian. The Panthers now have picked off three or more passes in game 40 times in school history. The school record for most interceptions in a game is 5 set at Harding Academy on Oct. 5, 1962.

BIG DOG: On Friday against Bald Knob, Parker Brown set a school record with most punts returned for a touchdown in game with two. His two punt returns for a score also tied him with Rickey Pilkington with most punts returned for a touchdown in a season at two. Pilkington scored his in 1968 games against DeValls Bluff and Vilonia. Pilkington has also had a punt return for a touchdown against England in 1967 which gives him a school record three career punt returns for scores. Pierce Mitchum is the only Panther in school history to have more than one punt returned for a touchdown. Mitchum recorded his against Stuttgart in 2016 and at Newport in 2015. Of note, Brown would have tied the career mark Friday night but he a punt return for a score called back against Jonesboro Westside last season because of a penalty.

Brown’s 65-yarder for a score Friday is tied for the 13th longest in school history and the longest punt return since Mitchum’s 66-yarder against Stuttgart in 2016. Jerry Todd holds the score record with a 93-yarder set against Batesville “B” in 1963.

Brown also set the single game record for most punt return yards in a game with 115. Mark Hoffman previously held the mark with 112 yards set at Mountain View in 1980. Parker finished with 225 all-purpose yards which places him in the top 50 all-time in recorded school history. Jacob Bremmon holds the all-purpose yards in game record with 421 set in a playoff game at Gravette in 2017.

GAME 5 
BALD KNOB AT HEBER SPRINGS 
SENIOR HIGH 
September 29, 2023 
TEAM STATS TIME OF POSSESSION: Heber Springs 21:26, Bald Knob 26:34 
TOTAL FIRST DOWNS: Heber Springs 7, Bald Knob 9 
BY RUSH: Heber Springs 6, Bald Knob 7 
BY PASS: Heber Springs 1, Bald Knob 1 
BY PENALTY: Heber Springs 0, Bald Knob 1 
TEAM RUSHING: Heber Springs 34/194/5.7, Bald Knob 28/29/1.0 
TEAM PASSING: Heber Springs 1/3-29-1/0, Bald Knob 12/22-78-0/3 
TOTAL OFFENSE: Heber Springs 37/223/6.0, Bald Knob 50/107/2.1 
3RD CONVERSION: Heber Springs 2/6, Bald Knob 3/13 
4TH CONVERSION: Heber Springs 2/3, Bald Knob 1/3 
RED-ZONE: Heber Springs 1/2, Bald Knob 0/0 
TURNOVERS: Heber Springs 1, Bald Knob 5 
POINTS OFF TURNOVERS: Heber Springs 14, Bald Knob 0 
FUMBLES/LOST: Heber Springs 1/1, Bald Knob 2/2 
PENALTIES: Heber Springs 9/60, Bald Knob 6/51 
KICKOFF RETURNS: Heber Springs 0/0, Cave City 5/44/8.8 
PUNT RETURNS: Heber Springs 2/110, Bald Knob 0/0 
PUNTS: Heber Springs 2/88, Bald Knob 5/101/20.2/1 
PUNTS INSIDE 20: Heber Springs 1, Bald Knob 0 
SACKS: Heber Springs 4/27, Bald Knob 0 
TACKLES FOR LOSS: Heber Springs 11/42, Bald Knob 8/25 
INDIVIDUAL STATS 
RUSHING: Heber Springs, Bryce Seigrist 11/30/2.7, Liam Buffalo 7/28/1, Parker Brown 3/115/2, Team 3/(-5), Weston Warden 2/(-8), Nate Eaton 2/3, Gideon Tate 1/31, Xander Lindley 1/0. Bald Knob, Bohn Hickmon 13/20, James Holder 13/7, Hunter Burleson 1/2, Dakota Shoebottom 1/0. 
PASSING: Heber Springs, Liam Buffalo 0/2-0-0/0, Xander Lindley 1/1-29-1/0. Bald Knob, James Holder 12/22-78-0/3
RECEIVING: Heber Springs, Elijah Jones 1/29/1. Bald Knob, Brady Johnston 5/44, Bohn Hickmon 4/12, Eric Williams 2/22, Micah Story 1/0. 
KICKOFF RETURNS: Heber Springs, none. Bald Knob, Brady Johnston 2/33, Eric Williams 2/10, Micah Story 1/1.
PUNT RETURNS: Heber Springs, Parker Brown 2/110/2 
INTERCEPTION RETURNS: Heber Springs, Eli Buffalo 1/42/1, Weston Warden 1/17 
FUMBLE RETURNS: Carter Julian 1/25, Bald Knob, Adrian Williams 1/12 
ALL-PURPOSE YARDS: Heber Springs, Parker Brown 225 
PUNTING: Heber Springs, Gideon Tate 2/88. Bald Knob, Garrett Swindle 4/101, Team 1/0/1 blk 
SCORING
PAT KICKS: Gideon Tate 4/5, Chase Dill 1/1, Paul Krause 1/1 
FIELD GOALS: None 
POINTS: Parker Brown 24, Liam Buffalo 6, Elijah Jones 6, Eli Buffalo 6, Gideon Tate 4, Chase Dill 1, Paul Krause 1
DEFENSIVE STATS 
SACKS: Team Total (4). 
INDIVIDUAL SACK TOTAL: Corbin Jones 2, Brodie Basford 1, Carter Julian 1, Luke Elliot 1, Jordan Tidwell 1, Nate Eaton 1. 
FUMBLE RECOVERIES: Carter Julian, Brodie Basford 
FORCED FUMBLES: Brodie Basford, Jordan Tidwell 
INTERCEPTIONS: Liam Buffalo, Eli Buffalo, Weston Warden 
PBU: Corbin Jones, Eli Buffalo, Weston Warden 
QB HURRIES: Corbin Jones 5, Jordan Tidwell 2, Xander Lindley 
BLOCKED PUNTS: Brodie Basford 
TACKLES (U/A/TFL - TOTAL) 
Liam Buffalo 3 2 0 5
Weston Warden 5 1 0 6 
Brodie Basford 3 6 2 9 
Luke Elliott 1 2 2 3 
Emmett Dwyer 4 0 0 4 
Corbin Jones 3 4 4 7 
Carter Julian 1 2 2 3 
Eli Buffalo 2 2 0 4 
Jordan Tidwell 4 0 3 4 
Xander Lindley 2 0 0 2 
Elijah Jones 1 1 0 2 
Nate Eaton 2 1 2 3 
Gavin Mize 2 0 0 2 
Jacob McMullin 0 1 0 1 
Parker Brown 1 1 0 2 
Greg Williams 1 0 0 1

Panthers open conference play with shutout win

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Sophomore Bryce Seigrist fights for some his 131 yards rushing on the night in Heber Springs’ 42-0 victory at Cave City. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

By PHILIP SEATON
MarkedTime.com Publisher

CAVE CITY – Senior Parker Brown touched the ball four times and scored twice, but it was a sophomore that did most of the work on the ground as Heber Springs mercy-ruled Cave City, 42-0, in the 2-4A opener for both schools.

In coach Van Paschal’s flexbone system, the fullback is an important part of making the offense move and sophomore Bryce Siegrist stepped into that role and rushed for 131 yards on 16 carries. The former junior high quarterback replaced another sophomore, Eli Buffalo, who had been out most of the week due to an illness.

Seigrist averaged 8.2 yards per attempt and scored once. He also had an 80-yard touchdown called back due to a holding penalty.

“He took a while to figure it out, Eli had been sick most of the week, so we were like, ‘Hey who wants to play fullback?’,” Paschal said. “Here he comes all 99 pounds of him or whatever, but he is tough.”

After rushing for a school-record yards per attempt the previous week against Jonesboro Westside, the Panthers rushed for 297 yards on 27 attempts with four touchdowns. They averaged 11 yards per carry, which tied for the fifth-best all time in school history.

Heber Springs (2-2, 1-0) forced a season-high four turnovers including recovering the onside kick attempt to start the game, as senior Logan Lozeau pounced on the football at the Panther 46.

A 23-yard run by quarterback Liam Buffalo highlighted the short drive, but Panthers committed their only turnover of the night as junior Weston Warden, who appeared to have crossed the goal line, fumbled the ball that went out of the back of the endzone.

Heber Springs’ defense allowed a first down on the ensuing drive but buckled up forcing a punt from the Caveman 41. Brown returned that punt 39 yards to the Cave City 19. Two penalties almost stalled the drive, but Liam Buffalo connected with Brown for the 17-yard touchdown pass. Gideon Tate’s kick made it 7-0 with 5:34 left in the opening quarter. Tate was a perfect five-for-five on PATs on the night.

Liam Buffalo got the ball back for the Panthers just over two minutes later picking off a Levi Jones pass after the Cave City junior was pressured from lineman Jacob McMullin.

On the first play after the turnover, Heber Springs took at 14-0 lead as Brown raced 32 yards for the score at the 3:26 mark of the first quarter.

The Panthers weren’t finished in the first quarter as sophomore Nate Eaton recovered a Cave City fumble at the Caveman 38 with 2:12 to play in the opening stanza.

After a seven-yard run by Liam Buffalo, Siegrist darted up the middle for a 31-yard touchdown with 1:29 left in the first for a 21-0 advantage for the Panthers.

Cave City (0-4, 0-1) picked up its second first down of the game as the first quarter came to close, but the Panthers forced a turnover on downs to get the ball back for the offense. Of the seven plays of the Cavemen drive, junior transfer Brodie Basford had two solo stops and assisted on three more. Basford finished the night with a team-high 16 total tackles.

“He plays hard,” Pascal said. “Coming from day one, he was, ‘I want to play linebacker’ and now he is playing it well.”

Liam Buffalo connected with senior Xander Lindley three plays later to make it 28-0 with 9:06 left in the half.

Cave City picked up another first down but was forced to punt from its own 34. The Cavemen attempted a trick play as punter Millie Beller attempted to run with the ball, but Eaton had her and the play figured out, tackling the Cave City senior for an eight-yard loss. Warden would score from there, taking the ball 26 yards for the touchdown giving the Panthers a 35-0 lead and the Arkansas Activities Association’s Mercy-Rule in effect with 5:38 left in the first half.

Brown forced a fumble on Cave City’s first play after the ensuing kickoff with Carter Julian recovering the ball at the Caveman 39.

The drive stalled and Tate attempted a 51-yard field goal, which would have been yard short of the school record 52-yarder by Nick James set back in 1998. The kick was on target but fell about five yards short.

Cave City took possession on its own 20 with 3:34 to play in the second quarter. The Cavemen reached the Panther 47, but Eaton put the exclamation point on the first half by sacking Jones to end the half.

The only thing left to decide in the second half was to see if Heber Springs’ defense could record the shutout.

Cave City almost took that off table early taking the second-half kickoff and reaching the Panther 4. But Warden punched the ball free on third-and-goal and Jordan Tidwell landed on the ball in the endzone with 1:13 remaining in the third, putting the ball on the Panther 20.

Seigrist took the fullback dive and raced 80 yards for the score, but a holding penalty negated the long score. However, that penalty only temporarily slowed down Heber Springs. The Panthers would use a 10-play drive that sophomore Emmett Dwyer capped off with a 38-yard touchdown run. Chase Dill came on to hit the extra point kick to make it 42-0 with 4:12 remaining in the contest.

Heber Springs picked up its first shutout in conference play since 2018, when they did the trick at Southside Batesville, 21-0.

Defensive coordinator Kevin Youngbloods’ defense held Cave City to 124 yards of total offense, including limiting the Cavemen to 87 yards rushing on 43 attempts.

“From day one that I got here, I told coach Youngblood if we can’t stop ’em, it doesn’t matter how many points that we score,” Paschal said. “It’s a priority. It’s going to continue to be a priority.

“We are still trying to get everybody where we want, and it’s not 100 percent, but it’s getting closer. I am proud of them.”

Heber Springs will face Bald Knob next week in a homecoming contest at Panther Stadium.

“We have to watch film, evaluate and see what we did right and what we have to fix to get better on every given play, and have the kind of effort,” Paschal aid. “You can tell they are excited right now and I hope that we can ride that wave, but Bald Knob is going to better football team than ones we played the last two weeks.

“They (his team) are smart enough to know that. We are going to have to play hard, get some breaks and make some things happen.”

GAME 4
HEBER SPRINGS AT CAVE CITY
SENIOR HIGH
September 22, 2023
TEAM STATS
TIME OF POSSESSION: Heber Springs 16:34, Cave City 31:26
TOTAL FIRST DOWNS: Heber Springs 13, Cave City 13
BY RUSH: Heber Springs 12, Cave City 9
BY PASS: Heber Springs 1, Cave City 2
BY PENALTY: Heber Springs 0, Cave City 2
TEAM RUSHING: Heber Springs 27/297/11.0, Cave City 43/87/2.0
TEAM PASSING: Heber Springs 2/2-47-2/0, Cave City 3/6-47-0/1
TOTAL OFFENSE: Heber Springs 29/343/11.8, Cave City 49/124/2.5
3RD CONVERSION: Heber Springs 4/5, Cave City 2/9
4TH CONVERSION: Heber Springs 0/0, Cave City 1/4
RED-ZONE: Heber Springs 1/2, Cave City 0/1
TURNOVERS: Heber Springs 1, Cave City 4
POINTS OFF TURNOVERS: Heber Springs 21, Cave City 0
FUMBLES/LOST: Heber Springs 1/1, Cave City 5/3
PENALTIES: Heber Springs 6/67, Cave City 3/24
KICKOFF RETURNS: Heber Springs 0/0, Cave City 5/55/11.0
PUNT RETURNS: Heber Springs 1/39, Cave City 0
PUNTS: Heber Springs 0/0, Cave City 1/27
PUNTS INSIDE 20: Heber Springs 0, Cave City 0
SACKS: Heber Springs 1/14, Cave City 0
TACKLES FOR LOSS: Heber Springs 13/50, Cave City 4/9
INDIVIDUAL STATS
RUSHING: Heber Springs, Bryce Seigrist 16/131/1/8.2, Liam Buffalo 3/29, Parker Brown 2/55/1, Weston Warden 2/42/1, Nate Eaton 2/8, Emmett Dwyer 1/38/1, Team 1/(-6). Cave City, Shawn Walling 16/31, Matthew King 12/45, Kenny Stephens 4/10, Levi Jones 5/5, Devonyeah Berry 4/10, Miller Beller 1/(-8), Team 1/(-6).
PASSING: Heber Springs, Liam Buffalo 2/2-47-2/0. Cave City, Levi Jones 3/6-37-0/1.
RECEIVING: Heber Springs, Xander Lindley 1/30/1, Parker Brown 1/17/1. Cave City, Shawn Walling 2/28, Christopher Robinson 1/9.
KICKOFF RETURNS: Heber Springs, none. Cave City, Devonyeah Berry 2/3, Shawn Walling 1/29, Kenny Stephens 1/22, Matthew King 1/(-3).
PUNT RETURNS: Heber Springs, Parker Brown 1/39
INTERCEPTION RETURNS: Heber Springs, Liam Buffalo 1/2
ALL-PURPOSE YARDS: Heber Springs, Bryce Seigrist 131, Parker Brown 111
PUNTING: Heber Springs, none. Cave City, Millie Beller 1/27.
SCORING
PAT KICKS: Gideon Tate 5/5, Chase Dill 1/1
FIELD GOALS: Gideon Tate 0/1 (51 NG)
POINTS: Parker Brown 12, Bryce Seigrist 6, Weston Warden 6, Emmet Dwyer 6, Xander Lindley 6, Gideon Tate 5, Chase Dill 1.
DEFENSIVE STATS
SACKS: Nate Eaton
FUMBLE RECOVERIES: Nate Eaton, Carter Julian, Jordan Tidwell
FORCED FUMBLES: Weston Warden, Parker Brown, Brodie Basford
INTERCEPTIONS: Liam Buffalo
PBU: Logan Rutledge
QB HURRIES: Dyce Young (2), Jacob McMullin, Jordan Tidwell, Brodie Basford
TACKLES (U/A/TFL - TOTAL)
Liam Buffalo    6 1 2 7
Brodie Basford 11 5 6 16
Emmett Dwyer    2 2 0 4
Carter Julian   6 1 0 7
Luke Elliott    1 2 0 3
Jordan Tidwell  2 0 0 2
Nate Eaton      4 3 1 7
Gavin Mize      0 2 0 2
Jacob McMullin  0 3 0 3
Elijah Jones    1 0 0 1
Weston Warden   1 3 1 4
Dyce Young      1 3 0 4
Parker Brown    2 1 0 3
Logan Lozeau    1 0 0 1
Logan Rutledge  1 1 1 2
Caleb Carr      1 0 0 1
Xander Lindley  2 0 0 2

-

Panthers claim first win in convincing fashion

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Heber Springs sophomore Eli Buffalo runs for a 17-yard gain the second quarter in the Panthers, 42-8, win at Jonesboro Westside. Buffalo would score on the next play. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

By PHILIP SEATON
MarkedTime.com Publisher

JONESBORO – The Heber Springs Panthers used a big second quarter and a historic night running the football to crush Jonesboro Westside, 42-8.

The win by the Panthers was their first of the season in three attempts and the first by coach Van Paschal at Heber Springs.

“To me, it’s big for the kids,” Paschal said. “The community, knowing what I have seen since I have come to Heber, the people want a good football program, and they’ve expressed that me. The kids have been doing the things that we have asked, going from 22 kids to 41 to 42 now, it’s a work in progress, but it’s exciting to win.”

The win also broke a seven-game losing streak by the Panthers dating back to last season, the longest such streak since 2004, and dropped the Warriors to 0-3 on the year.

After a Gideon Tate touchback on the opening kickoff for the Panthers, Westside picked up a pair of first downs, thanks in part to three Heber Springs penalties, to move the ball to the Panther 44. But three consecutive tackles by linebacker Brodie Basford, including the last two for a loss, stopped the Warriors on fourth down.

Heber Springs rushed only 20 times on the night but picked up 347 yards and averaged 17.4 yards per carry. That 17.4 yards is the highest average in school history, surpassing the previous best of 14 yards per rushing attempt set on Nov. 4, 2010, at Cave City.

Juniors Weston Warden and quarterback Liam Buffalo rushed for career bests, each topping the century mark and each scoring two touchdowns, as the Heber Springs scored six rushing touchdowns on the night.

The first of those six came on the Panthers first possession. Warden ripped off a 35-yard run followed by an 8-yard run by Eli Buffalo, before Parker Brown scored from the 9 with 6:54 left in the first quarter. Tate added the kick to make it 7-0.

Westside then killed the rest of the first-quarter clock moving the ball from their own 29 on a 14-play drive that was stopped on the Panther 2. Sophomore Emmett Dwyer brought down Warrior halfback Weston Watlington on fourth down with 10:01 remaining in the half.

Heber Springs would make the most of those 10 minutes scoring 28 points thanks in part to two Warrior turnovers (a Jordan Tidwell fumble recovery and a Bryce Siegrist interception).

“I told coach (Kevin) Youngblood, if you can’t stop ’em it don’t matter,” Paschal said. “It’s all about defense, getting better on defense and hopefully, we are, we can and we’ll get better.”

Eli Buffalo carried the ball twice for 13 yards, before Liam Buffalo raced 85-yards to make it 14-0 at the 8:26 mark.

After the Tidwell recovery at the Warrior 21, sophomore Eli Buffalo used two carries to score his first career touchdown. Tate’s kick made it 21-0 with 7:38 showing on the clock.

Siegrist’s interception put Heber Springs at the Panther 48. Warden ripped off a 46-yard run and two plays later, Liam Buffalo scored from the 2 with 3:49 left before the half.

After a three-and-out forced by the Heber Springs defense, the Panthers used less than minute to drive 71 yards as Warden burst down the sidelines for a 65-yard scoring run with 31 seconds remaining in the first half.

Coming out of the break with a 35-0 lead, and a continuous running clock due to the Arkansas Activities Association’s Mercy Rule, Heber Springs added one more score as Warden scored on a 19-yard run to make it 42-0 on its first possession of the second half. Back-up kicker Chase Dill added the PAT kick.

Paschal was able to empty the bench the remainder of the game as Gavin Mets avoided the shutout for the Warriors by scoring on a three-yard run with three minutes left. Colton Carter passed to Riley Carter for the 2-point conversion.

“That’s a big deal,” Paschal said of being able to play the reserves for most of the second half. “They work hard. They are scout team guys doing what they do and it’s always good to get them on the field.”

After making the move from fullback to linebacker for the game, Basford led the Panther defense with 10 tackles, including six solo tackles.
Warden finished with 165 yards rushing while Liam Buffalo had 113.

“We got a lot better tonight,” Paschal said.

HEBER SPRINGS AT JONESBORO WESTSIDE
SENIOR HIGH
September 15, 2023
TEAM STATS
TIME OF POSSESSION: Heber Springs 12:05, Westside 35:55
TOTAL FIRST DOWNS: Heber Springs 11, Westside 13
BY RUSH: Heber Springs 10, Westside 10
BY PASS: Heber Springs 0, Westside 1
BY PENALTY: Heber Springs 1, Westside 2
TEAM RUSHING: Heber Springs 20/347/17.4, Westside 41/139/3.4
TEAM PASSING: Heber Springs 0/1-0-0/0, Westside 1/3-50-0/1
TOTAL OFFENSE: Heber Springs 21/347/16.5, Westside 44/189/4.3
3RD CONVERSION: Heber Springs 0/1, Westside 4/8
4TH CONVERSION: Heber Springs 0/0, Westside 0/2
RED-ZONE: Heber Springs 4/4, Westside 1/2
TURNOVERS: Heber Springs 0, Westside 2
POINTS OFF TURNOVERS: Heber Springs 14, Westside 0
FUMBLES/LOST: Heber Springs 0/0, Westside 1/1
PENALTIES: Heber Springs 8/55, Westside 5/70
KICKOFF RETURNS: Heber Springs 1/26, Westside 3/77/25.7
PUNT RETURNS: Heber Springs 1/0, Westside 0
PUNTS: Heber Springs 1/28, Westside 2/58
PUNTS INSIDE 20: Heber Springs 1, Westside 0
SACKS: Heber Springs 0/0, Westside 0
TACKLES FOR LOSS: Heber Springs 5/16, Westside 1/1
INDIVIDUAL STATS
RUSHING: Heber Springs, Eli Buffalo 8/59/7.4/1, Weston Warden 4/165/2, Liam Buffalo 4/113/2, Nate Eaton 2/(-1), Parker Brown 1/9/1, Bryce Siegrist 1/2. Westside, Gavin Mets 19/65/1, Hunter Drummonds 5/26, Clay McMellon 5/7, Colton Carter 5/0, Gavin Dodson 3/21, Jacob Crawford 1/9, Weston Watlington 3/11.
PASSING: Heber Springs, Liam Buffalo 0/1-0-0/0. Westside, Colton Carter 1/3-50-0/1, 
RECEIVING: Heber Springs, none. Westside, Jordan Hall 1/50
KICKOFF RETURNS: Heber Springs, Logan Rutledge 1/26
PUNT RETURNS: Heber Springs, Parker Brown 1/0
INTERCEPTION RETURNS: Heber Springs, Bryce Siegrist 1/3
ALL-PURPOSE YARDS: Heber Springs, Weston Warden 165, Liam Buffalo 113
PUNTING: Heber Springs, Gideon Tate 1/28. Westside, Gavin Dodson 2/58
SCORING
PAT KICKS: Gideon Tate 5/5, Chase Dill 1/1
FIELD GOALS: None.
POINTS: Liam Buffalo 12, Weston Warden 12, Liam Buffalo 6, Parker Brown 6, Gideon Tate 5, Chase Dill 1.
DEFENSIVE STATS
SACKS: None
FUMBLE RECOVERIES: Jordan Tidwell
FORCED FUMBLES: None
INTERCEPTIONS: Bryce Siegrist
PBU: None
QB HURRIES: Bryce Siegrist, Dyce Young
TACKLES (U/A/TFL - TOTAL)
Parker Brown   1 1 1 2
Jacob McMullin 1 1 0 2
Brodie Basford 6 4 2 10
Weston Warden  5 0 0 5
Corbin Jones   2 4 0 6
Bryce Siegrist 2 0 0 2
Logan Lozeau   0 1 0 1
Luke Elliott   2 4 0 6
Dyce Young     1 2 0 3
Axley Davis    1 0 0 1
Emmett Dwyer   2 0 0 2
Liam Buffalo   2 0 0 2
Gavin Mize     0 2 0 2
Nate Eaton     1 1 0 2
Logan Rutledge 0 1 0 1
Zachary Parker 1 0 0 1
Cade James     0 1 0 1
Jordan Tidwell 1 0 0 1
Elijah Jones   1 0 0 1

Junior Cats open conference play with victory at Riverview

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Heber Springs kicker Golden Tate kicks off against Riverview in junior high action in Searcy. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

By PHILIP SEATON
MarkedTime.com Publisher

SEARCY – Heber Springs opened 2-4A conference play with a 22-14 victory over Riverview in junior high action at Raider Stadium.

Heber Springs (2-2) rushed for 202 yards while holding Riverview to 16 yards rushing and 39 total yards of offense.

However, the Raiders did have some success in the return game taking three kickoffs back for 119 yards, including a 58-yard return by R.J. Pruitt on the opening kick of the game.

Pruitt’s return set the Raiders up at the Panther 11 and two plays later, Riverview had the lead after Zayshawn Greer scored from 2. Heber Springs stopped the 2-point conversion attempt with 6:20 showing on the first-quarter clock.

It the Panthers less than 35 seconds to respond. Taking over after a failed onside-kick attempt at the Raider 48, Josiah Riggs ran for a first down to the 30-yard line then on the next play, Aiden Isom raced 30 yards for the score. The 2-point conversion failed, and the score was tied at 6-all with 5:48 remaining in the first quarter.

The score would remain that way until the second quarter. Heber Springs’s defense had stopped the Raiders at the Panther 16 with 7:13 left in the half. Heber Springs then used a 15-play drive to chew up most of the second-quarter clock as quarterback Lachlan Tubbs kept for a three-yard score. While Tubbs got the touchdown, Landon Brown did most of the work on the drive carrying the ball nine times for 36 yards. The 2-point conversion failed with :51 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

It didn’t take long for the Raiders to respond after Tyeler Hart returned the kickoff 41 yards to put the ball at the Panther 26. After a three-yard run, Braxton Hobbs connected with Brody Hawkins for the game-tying touchdown. Hobbs’ 2-point conversion gave the Raiders a 14-12 lead with 25 seconds left in the half.

Heber Springs was not finished striking just as quick. A three-yard run by Isom moved the ball to the Panther 40, then Tubbs connected with Riggs, who ran 60 yards for a score. Brown ran in the 2-point conversion to give the Panthers a 20-14 advantage at the break.

There would be no touchdowns in the second half, but a long Heber Springs drive did eventually result in points.

With 1:02 remaining in the third quarter, the Panthers took over on the Raider 42. Heber Springs then used a 13-play drive that moved the ball 40 yards, but more importantly took 6:27 off the game clock.

After Brown was stopped short on a fourth-and-goal from Raider 2, the Heber Springs defense stopped Hobbs in the end zone for the safety.

The Panthers failed to move on the ball after ensuing the free kick, but Rhett Herring picked off a Hobbs pass attempt and returned it to the Raider 15 as the game ended.

HEBER SPRINGS AT RIVERVIEW
JUNIOR HIGH
September 14, 2023
TEAM STATS
TIME OF POSSESSION: Heber Springs 22:01, Riverview 9:59
TOTAL FIRST DOWNS: Heber Springs 12, Riverview 2
BY RUSH: Heber Springs 8, Riverview 1
BY PASS: Heber Springs 2, Riverview 1
BY PENALTY: Heber Springs 2, Riverview 0
TEAM RUSHING: Heber Springs 43/202/4.7/2, Riverview 18/26/1.4/1
TEAM PASSING: Heber Springs 3/4-98-1/0, Riverview 1/3-23-1/1
TOTAL OFFENSE: Heber Springs 47/300/6.4, Riverview 21/49/2.3
3RD CONVERSION: Heber Springs 3/8, Riverview 1/5
4TH CONVERSION: Heber Springs 1/5, Riverview 0/1
TURNOVERS: Heber Springs 1, Riverview 1
FUMBLES/LOST: Heber Springs 3/1, Riverview 0/0
PENALTIES: Heber Springs 12/73, Riverview 5/45
RETURNS: Heber Springs 2/26, Riverview 3/119
PUNTS: Heber Springs 0/0, Riverview 2/22
SACKS: Heber Springs 1/20, Riverview 1/3
TACKLES FOR LOSS: Heber Springs 4/27, Riverview 4/12
INDIVIDUAL STATS
RUSHING: Heber Springs, Landon Brown 18/60/3.3, Aiden Isom 14/98/7.0/1, Lachlan Tubbs 7/9/1.3/1, Josiah Riggs 4/35. Riverview, Braxton Hobbs 7/(-2), Zayshawn Greer 3/3, Ryan Lamb 2/3, R.J. Pruitt 1/0, Brody Hawkins 5/12
PASSING: Heber Springs, Lachlan Tubbs 3/4-98-1/0. Riverview, Braxton Hobbs 1/3-23-1/1
RECEIVING: Heber Springs, Josiah Riggs 2/73/1, Aiden Isom 1/25. Riverview, Brody Hawkins 1/23/1
KICKOFF RETURNS: Riverview, 3/119/39.7, R.J. Pruitt 1/58, Tyeler Hart 1/41, Brody Hawkins 1/20
PUNT RETURNS: Heber Springs, Aiden Isom 1/1
INTERCEPTION RETURNS: Heber Springs, Rhett Herring 1/25
ALL-PURPOSE YARDS: Heber Springs, Aiden Isom 124, Josiah Riggs 108

7TH-GRADE FOOTBALL: Heber Springs 30, Riverview 12

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Heber Springs’ Lane Bradley picks up big yards for the Heber Springs seventh-grade Panthers against Riverview. The Cubs improved to 2-1 on the season with a 30-12 victory at Raider Stadium in Searcy on Thursday night. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

5A Southside humbles Cats in nonconference tilt

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Heber Springs defenders Zachary Parker (12), Jacob McMullin (25), Weston Warden (bottom of pile) and Jordan Tidwell (arm pictured) bring down Southside Batesville’s Gabe Witt. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

By PHILIP SEATON
MarkedTime.com Publisher

SOUTHSIDE BATESVILLE – Heber Springs traveled to one of the favorites of the 5A-East conference and were handed a 49-10 setback by Southside Batesville in nonconference play.

The Southerners (3-0) led 28-3 at the half and held the Panthers (0-2) to 11 first-half yards of total offense and minus nine yards rushing.

“I told coach (Southside Batesville coach Kenny) Simpson that they have a good chance to win that conference,” Heber Springs coach Van Paschal, who coached at 5A-East member Wynne last season, said after the game. “They are a good football team. Ain’t no doubt about it.”

The Southerners dominated from the start.

Heber Springs took the opening kickoff on its own 29 and moved the ball for a first down on a fourth-and-2 play, but a penalty pushed the Panthers back forcing a punt.

Gideon Tate’s 42-yard punt switched the field for the Panthers, but Southside Batesville used their senior-laden line to march 74 yards in nine plays to take a 7-0 lead after Louis Calhoun ran 19 yards for the score. Joel Busby added the PAT kick at the 6:02 mark of the first quarter.

A sack stalled the Panthers on their next possession, and the Southerners struck quickly as Savion Hall connected with Seth Case for a 47-yard touchdown pass with 2:30 to play in the opening quarter. Busby’s PAT made it 14-0.

Heber Springs fumbled the ball five times on the night and lost three of them, including on its next possession as Brady Wood recovered the ball for Southside Batesville at the Panther 35.

Three plays later, Calhoun would score from the 1 to push the Southerner lead to 21-0 with 1:36 to play in the opening quarter.

The Panthers went backwards on their next possession. A 45-yard punt by Tate that pinned Southside Batesville inside their own 20-yard line, but the Southerners used a 12-play, 81-yard drive that used 4:39 of the second quarter to a 28-0 advantage. Gabe Witt scored from the 5-yard line with 7:08 left before the half.

Heber Springs put together its best drive on their next possession. Starting on the Southerner 48 after a failed onside-kick attempt, the Panthers marched to the Southside Batesville 8. Junior Weston Warden rushed for 33 yards on five carries and caught a 20-yard pass from junior Liam Buffalo to highlight the drive. The drive stalled after five-yard loss and senior Gideon Tate came on the field and kicked his first career field goal drilling the 30-yarder to make it 28-3 with 1:45 to play in the half.

Despite the good end to first half by the Panthers, Southside would dominate the third quarter using a 12-play drive to make it 35-3 after Isaac Wallis scored from the 4. A Heber Springs fumble gave the Southerners a short field to push the score to 42-3. Witt scored from the 4 for Southside Batesville.

Another Panther fumble with 1:44 left in the third quarter gave Southside Batesville the ball on the Panther 25 and Trey Allen connected with Tyler Myers on an 11-yard touchdown pass on the fourth quarter with a continuous running clock.

With the second-teamers on the field, Heber Springs used a 65-yard drive to set the final score. Nate Eaton (13 yards), Emmett Dwyer (12 yards), Elijah Jones (21 yards) and Bryce Siegrist (16 yards) each had first-down carrying runs to move the ball to the Southerner 3. Eaton would get the touchdown from there with 4:47 showing on third-quarter clock. Tate added the PAT to set the final score.

“Would have liked to have played better tonight,” Paschal said. “We have to watch film, fix things. I told the kids if we were 2-0 in nonconference that’s great, but really doesn’t affect the conference race so we are 0-2, and we have got to work.”

Heber Springs travels to Jonesboro Westside Friday night to close out nonconference action.

HEBER SPRINGS AT SOUTHSIDE BATESVILLE
SENIOR HIGH
September 8, 2023
TEAM STATS
TIME OF POSSESSION: Heber Springs 21:19, Southside 26:41
TOTAL FIRST DOWNS: Heber Springs 7, Southside 23
BY RUSH: Heber Springs 6, Southside 18
BY PASS: Heber Springs 1, Southside 4
BY PENALTY: Heber Springs 0, Southside 1
TEAM RUSHING: Heber Springs 34/78/2.3, Southside 54/298/5.5
TEAM PASSING: Heber Springs 1/1-20-0/0, Southside 7/9-105-2/1
TOTAL OFFENSE: Heber Springs 35/98/2.8, Southside 63/403/6.4
3RD CONVERSION: Heber Springs 1/7, Southside 6/10
4TH CONVERSION: Heber Springs 1/1, Southside 3/3
RED-ZONE: Heber Springs 2/2, Southside 6/6
TURNOVERS: Heber Springs 3, Southside 1
POINTS OFF TURNOVERS: Heber Springs 0, Southside 21
FUMBLES/LOST: Heber Springs 5/3, Southside 2/0
PENALTIES: Heber Springs7/51, Southside 7/50
KICKOFF RETURNS: Heber Springs 6/37/6.2, Southside 2/32
PUNT RETURNS: Heber Springs 0, Southside 1/4
PUNTS: Heber Springs 3/120/40, Southside 0
PUNTS INSIDE 20: Heber Springs 1, Southside 0
SACKS: Heber Springs 0/0, Southside 2/15
TACKLES FOR LOSS: Heber Springs 3/7, Southside 11/47
INDIVIDUAL STATS
RUSHING: Heber Springs, Liam Buffalo 8/(-10), Brodie Basford 7/8, Weston Warden 6/28, Nate Eaton 3/18/1, Parker Brown 3/(-12), Bryce Siegrist 2/24, Emmett Dwyer 2/10, Elijah Jones 1/21, Logan Rutledge 1/(-6), Team 1/(-3). Southside Batesville, Gabe Witt 11/53/2, Louis Calhoun 10/74/2, Seth Case 7/41, Savion Hall 9/78, Isaac Wallis 5/40/1, Braden Simpson 3/14, Nick Lopez 3/4, Zach Johnston 1/(-2), Trey Allen 1/(-4).
PASSING: Heber Springs, Liam Buffalo 1/1-20-0/0. Southside Batesville, Savion Hall 6/8-94-1/1, Trey Allen 1/1-11-1/0
RECEIVING: Heber Springs, Weston Warden 1/20. Southside Batesville, Jaylon Jennings 1/1, Braden Simpson 2/34, Seth Case 1/47/1, Louis Calhoun 1/1, Isaac Wallis 1/11, Tyler Myers 1/11/1.
KICKOFF RETURNS: Heber Springs, Logan Rutledge 3/28, Weston Warden 1/6, Bryce Siegrist 1/3
ALL-PURPOSE YARDS: Heber Springs, Weston Warden 54
PUNTING: Heber Springs, Gideon Tate 3/120/40.0/1. LONG: 45
SCORING
PAT KICKS: Gideon Tate 1/1, Southside 7/7
FIELD GOALS: Gideon Tate 1/1. MADE: 30
POINTS: Nate Eaton 6, Gideon Tate 4
DEFENSIVE STATS
SACKS: Southside 2/15
FUMBLE RECOVERIES: None
FORCED FUMBLES: None
PBU: Eli Buffalo
QB HURRIES: None
TACKLES (U/A/TFL - TOTAL)
Carter Julian  5 5 0 10
Parker Brown   4 2 0 6
Logan Lozeau   1 0 0 1
Bryce Siegrist 3 2 1 5
Eli Buffalo    6 2 0 8
Weston Warden  2 3 0 5
Jacob McMullin 4 3 0 7
Luke Elliott   2 0 0 2
Zachary Parker 2 2 0 4
Nash Farmer    0 1 0 1
Jordan Tidwell 3 0 0 3
Logan Rutledge 1 0 0 1
Nate Eaton     2 1 2 3
Corbin Jones   1 1 0 2
Emmett Dwyer   1 0 0 1
Greg Williams  1 1 0 2
Elijah Jones   2 2 0 4
Gauge Owens    1 0 0 1

Junior Panthers claim win over Jonesboro Westside

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Heber Springs’ Aiden Isom gets tackled in the air by Jonesboro Westside’s Aiden Turner after a leaping over a Warrior defender in junior high action at Panther Stadium PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

By PHILIP SEATON
MarkedTime.com Publisher

The Heber Springs Panthers claimed their first win of the season with a 24-14 in junior high action at Panther Stadium.

Coach Curtis Shannon’s team improved to 1-2 on the season with the win in the final nonconference contest for Heber Springs.

The game didn’t start well for the Panthers as Jonesboro Westside took the opening kickoff and after three plays, had an 8-0 advantage. Hunter Kaja scored on a 41-yard run and then Ashton Henson added the 2-point conversion with 6:02 left in the opening quarter for that lead.

The Panthers then reeled off 24 unanswered to take control of the contest.

Heber Springs’ first score came on its first possession of the contest.

After Aiden Isom return Westside’s ensuing kickoff 12 yards, the Panthers started on their own 34 then used a 12-play drive the ended on the last play of the quarter with Landon Brown’s 1-yard touchdown run. Brown added the 2-point conversion to tie things up at 8-all.

The teams traded possession before the Warriors turned the ball late in the first half on their own 25 as Rhett Herring recovered the loose football.

Lachlan Tubbs picked up five yards on the first play after the turnover, then Isom raced 20 yards for the touchdown. Brown’s 2-point conversion gave Heber Springs a 16-8 advantage with 52.3 seconds left in the second quarter.

The Panthers weren’t done in the first half after Josiah Riggs picked off a Kaden Purvis pass attempt at the Westside 34 with 18.5 seconds left in the first half. A 15-yard penalty against the Warriors moved Heber Springs closer. An 8-yard pass to from Tubbs to Riggs and an incomplete pass left the Panthers with one final play before the half, Isom capitalized for Heber Springs with a 15-yard scoring run. Brown added the 2-point conversion and the Panthers led 24-8 at the break.

Neither team would mount much of a scoring threat in the second half until late in contest when Westside’s Purvis would score on a 19-yard run with 2:29 to play.

After a failed 2-point conversion, the Warriors recovered the ensuing onside kick at the Panther 48. A 27-yard pass play and 6-yard run put the ball on the Panther 10 with just over a minute to play, but a holding penalty and back-to-back to tackles for loss by Heber Springs ended the scoring threat.

JONESBORO WESTSIDE AT HEBER SPRINGS
JUNIOR HIGH
September 7, 2023
TEAM STATS
TIME OF POSSESSION: Heber Springs 15:30, Westside 15:30
TOTAL FIRST DOWNS: Heber Springs 6, Westside 7
BY RUSH: Heber Springs 6, Westside 5
BY PASS: Heber Springs 0, Westside 1
BY PENALTY: Heber Springs 0, Westside 1
TEAM RUSHING: Heber Springs 33/191/5.8/3, Westside 27/138/5.1/2
TEAM PASSING: Heber Springs 1/5-8-0/0, Westside 2/4-30-0/1
TOTAL OFFENSE: Heber Springs 38/199/5.2, Westside 31/168/5.4
3RD CONVERSION: Heber Springs 5/9, Westside 0/6
4TH CONVERSION: Heber Springs 2/3, Westside 3/3
TURNOVERS: Heber Springs 2, Westside 2
FUMBLES/LOST: Heber Springs 4/2, Westside 2/1
PENALTIES: Heber Springs 6/73, Westside 7/70
RETURNS: Heber Springs 4/36, Westside 3/24
PUNTS: Heber Springs 0/0, Westside 2/60
SACKS: Heber Springs 0/0, Westside 0/0
TACKLES FOR LOSS: Heber Springs 8/27, Westside 4/10
INDIVIDUAL STATS
RUSHING: Heber Springs, Landon Brown 10/29/1, Lachlan Tubbs 9/38, Aiden Isom 6/79/2, Josiah Riggs 3/27, Brody Loethen 3/10, Tanner Graham 1/10, Team 1/(-3). Jonesboro Westside, Kaden Purvis 14/35/1, Ashton Henson 5/30, Hunter Kaja 4/53/1, Brody Rorex 3/19, Kason Carter 1/1.
PASSING: Heber Springs, Lachlan Tubbs 1/5-8-0/0. Jonesboro Westside, Kaden Purvis 2/4-30-0/1.
RECEIVING: Heber Springs, Josiah Riggs 1/8. Jonesboro Westside, Logan Fleming 1/27, Landon Henson 1/3.
KICKOFF RETURNS: Heber Springs, Aiden Isom 2/33. Jonesboro Westside, Aiden Turner 2/12, Brody Rorex 1/12
PUNT RETURNS: Heber Springs, Aiden Isom 2/3
PUNTS: Jonesboro Westside, Kason Carter 2/60
ALL-PURPOSE YARDS: Heber Springs, Aiden Isom 115

7TH-GRADE FOOTBALL: Heber Springs 36, Jonesboro Westside 6

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Heber Springs’ Luke Turney looks for running room late in the seventh-grade Panthers, 36-6, win over Jonesboro Westside. The Cubs improved to 1-1 on the season with the win. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

Clinton takes bragging rights with win over Heber Springs

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Heber Springs junior quarterback Liam Buffalo fights to stay inbounds Friday night against Clinton. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

By PHILIP SEATON
MarkedTime.com Publisher

Senior Parker Brown scored four touchdowns and finished with 318 all-purpose yards, but it was not enough as Clinton downed Heber Springs, 42-29, in the season-opener for the Panthers at Panther Stadium.

Heber Springs (0-1) was done in by four fumbles on offense and three touchdowns by Yellowjacket senior Zane Widener.

“We did a lot of great things tonight but four fumbles, you are not going to win many games, you are not going to beat a good football team,” Heber Springs coach Van Paschal said.

Paschal, the winningest active coach in the state, was hired in late May and spent the summer rebuilding the roster all the while installing a new offensive and defensive scheme.

In a scrimmage at Beebe on August 15th, fumbles also plagued the Panthers in that game.

“Our guys were resilient and fought hard,” Paschal said. “We have stuff to fix. Offensively we have to fix fumbles with the quarterback-fullback exchange, we have to be able to pick up some blitzes, we didn’t do that late, but I have to look at film for that stuff.”

Clinton (2-0) had opened the season in week zero 49-7 win over Cave City while the Panthers were idle.

That game experience showed early as the Yellowjackets raced out to a 14-0 advantage with only 5:20 played in the first quarter.

Clinton scored on its first possession driving 71 yards on nine plays as Widener scored on a 38-yard run with 8:29 left in the first quarter. The Clinton senior then added to the 2-point conversion to make it 8-0.

The Panther defense appeared to hold Clinton twice on the drive, but on a third-and-10 from the Clinton 29, Brodie Dufrene connected to Dawson Burgess for a 17-yard pass for a first down. On a fourth-and-1 from the Panther 46, Dufrene was able to push for the first down on a quarterback sneak.

After a three-and-out on Heber Springs’ first offensive series, Clinton struck quickly with a 46-yard touchdown pass from Dufrene to Widener to make it 14-0 after the 2-point conversion failed at the 6:40 mark of the first.

Asked if not playing a week zero game hurt his team, Paschal said that it didn’t.

“We needed time,” he said. “We are still putting in the offense. We are still putting in the defense.”

The offense showed what is capable of on the Panthers next possession.

After a pair of short runs, Brown took the ball from his slotback position receive some key blocks on the edge by Weston Warden and Seth Dudeck and raced 58 yards to put the Panthers on the board. Gideon Tate’s PAT kick made it 14-7 with 5:28 left in the opening quarter.

Jacob McMullin threw Clinton’s Brayson Littell for a three-yard loss on third down forcing a Yellowjacket punt on their next possession. Widener boomed a 46-yarder pinning the Panthers at their own 11.

A pair of runs by fullback Brodie Basford, including a 17-yarder, gave Heber Springs a first-and-10 at the Panther 34. The drive appeared to stall but on third-and-11, Buffalo connected with Brown in stride for a 67-yard touchdown pass. Tate’s kick made it 14-all with 48.1 seconds left in the first quarter.

“That’s what makes this offense so deadly is when you can throw it like he (Buffalo) can,” Paschal said.

The momentum had completely switched to the Heber Springs sideline as the first-year Panther defensive coordinator’s Kevin Youngblood’s defense held again as McMullin sacked Dufrene for an 11-yard loss on a fourth-and-2 from the Panther 42 with 11:01 left in the half.

But that momentum swing was short-lived as Heber Springs fumble on its first play giving the ball back to Clinton. Three-and-half minutes later Dufrene would score on a quarterback sneak to make it 22-14 at the successful 2-point conversion by Byston Venable.

Another fumble by the Panthers at the 4:41 mark of the second quarter gave the Yellowjackets the ball at the Clinton 40. With 23 seconds left in the half, Dufrene connected with Burgess for a 19-yard scoring strike. Widener added the 2-point conversion to make it 30-14 at the half.

“I really didn’t know what to expect,” Paschal said. “I had people ask me, ‘What do you think?’, and I’ll be honest with you, I won’t know until we play. We had a little blip over at Beebe, but it wasn’t enough of a game, game to figure it out.

“I know we have heart. I know we have a chance, and they are pretty good football team. They do what they do well. They are well-coached, and I knew that when I saw them play Cave City and they hit your right in the mouth and did they ever do it. We never quit, and I have to hang my hat on that. Felt like we played hard.”

They showed some of that “heart” quickly in the second half. Heber Springs took the second-half kick-off and on the second play from scrimmage, Brown took the ball and raced 70-yards for a score 58 seconds into the second half. Tate’s kick cut the deficit to 30-21.

The score would remain that way until late in the third quarter when Widener would score on a 6-yard run. The 2-point conversion failed making it 36-21 Clinton with 34.1 seconds left in the stanza.

However, the Panthers would not wait to respond. On third-and-19 from the Heber Springs 25, Buffalo would keep for 22 yards and a first down and then connect with Brown again, this time for a 53-yard touchdown. Basford scored the 2-point conversion, and the Panthers were within a score at 36-29 with 10:48 left.

Clinton would then chew off almost five minutes driving deep into Panther territory before McMullin would force the football from the hands from Venable, then recover it at the Heber Springs 5 with 5:30 to play.

Runs by Basford and Brown for 14 and 8 yards moved the ball to the 27, but a fumble cost the Panthers again as Widener scooped up the ball and ran 13 yards to the Panther 17. Five plays later Zack Hunt-Gonzalez would seal the win for Clinton with a three-yard plunge to make it 42-29.

The Panthers moved the ball to the Clinton 34 as time expired.

The win by Clinton extended its streak to eight games in the series, it’s longest win streak in the rivalry game dating back to 1939.

“As a coach, you put the blinders on you,” Paschal said of dropping a contest to a big rival. “You study film. You just work. You will probably have to move some guys around. It sometimes takes three weeks, maybe four to get it where you want, but we have to look at personnel and look see how we played. Then we have to coach them up and do a better job of that.”

The overflow crowd was the largest since the opener against Clinton in 2019.

“Great crowd, great atmosphere,” Paschal said. “They were rowdy. Hope that they keep coming and following this football team and supporting these kids. They are great kids, they really are.”

Brown’s career-high 318 all-purpose yards are the seventh-most by a Panther in recorded school history. Jacob Bremmon’s 421 yards at Gravette in 2017 are the most followed by Chandler Marquardt’s 410 at Pottsville in 2013.

With Brown recording 100-plus yards rushing and 100-plus yards receiving in the same game, it marks only the sixth time that has happened in school history. Justin Davidson was the first to do it at Ozark in 1997. Clint Ligon did at Pea Ridge in 2012, Chandler Marquardt did it twice in 2013 (at Pottsville and at Stuttgart) while Julio Rubio was the last to accomplish the feat against Harding Academy in 2019.

Heber Springs (0-1) will travel to Southside Batesville on Friday for a nonconference contest.

“The road doesn’t get easier,” Paschal said. “We’ve got Southside. They do the same stuff (as Clinton), and they do it probably better. We have to re-group and get better.”

 

CLINTON AT HEBER SPRINGS
SENIOR HIGH
September 1, 2023
TEAM STATS
TIME OF POSSESSION: Heber Springs 17:25, Clinton 30:35
TOTAL FIRST DOWNS: Heber Springs 10, Clinton 19
BY RUSH: Heber Springs 8, Clinton 3
BY PASS: Heber Springs 2, Clinton 3
BY PENALTY: Heber Springs 0, Clinton 0
TEAM RUSHING: Heber Springs 35/254/7.3, Clinton 61/243/4.0
TEAM PASSING: Heber Springs 3/4-127-2/0, Clinton 7/8-127-2/0
TOTAL OFFENSE: Heber Springs 39/381/9.8, Clinton 69/370/5.4
3RD CONVERSION: Heber Springs 5/8, Clinton 6/13
4TH CONVERSION: Heber Springs 0/0, Clinton 4/5
TURNOVERS: Heber Springs 4, Clinton 1
POINTS OFF TURNOVERS: Heber Springs 0, Clinton 22
FUMBLES/LOST: Heber Springs 4/4, Clinton 4/1
PENALTIES: Heber Springs 8/60, Clinton 5/50
KICKOFF RETURNS: Heber Springs 5/37/7.4, Clinton 1/0
PUNT RETURNS: Heber Springs 1/10, Clinton 1/4
FUMBLE RETURNS: Heber Springs 0, Clinton 1/13
PUNTS: Heber Springs 2/59, Clinton 2/80
PUNTS INSIDE 20: Heber Springs 0, Clinton 1
SACKS: Heber Springs 3/28, Clinton 1/7
TACKLES FOR LOSS: Heber Springs 8/38, Clinton 7/21
INDIVIDUAL STATS
RUSHING: Heber Springs, Brodie Basford 12/57/4.8, Liam Buffalo 10/24, Parker Brown 8/148/18.5/2, Weston Warden 5/25. Clinton, Zane Widener 19/129/6.8/2, Zack Hunt-Gonzalez 16/75/4.7/1, Bryston Venable 11/55/5, Brodie Dufrene 10/(-30)/1, Brayson Littell 5/14. 
PASSING: Heber Springs, Liam Buffalo 3/4-127-2/0. Clinton, Brodie Dufrene 7/8-127-2/0.
TOTAL OFFENSE: Parker Brown 8/148, Liam Buffalo 14/152, Brodie Brasford 12/57, Weston Warden Warden 5/25.
RECEIVING: Heber Springs, Parker Brown 2/120/2, Seth Dudeck 1/7. Clinton, Dawson Burgess 4/38/1, Zane Widener 1/46/1, Brayson Littell 1/37, Eli Henson 1/6.
KICKOFF RETURNS: Heber Springs, Parker Brown 3/40/13.3, Xander Lindley 1/0, Logan Rutledge 1/(-3). Clinton, Zack Hunt-Gonzalez 1/0.
PUNT RETURNS: Heber Springs, Parker Brown 1/10. Clinton, Colton Warren 1/4.
FUMBLE RETURNS: Clinton, Zane Widener 1/13
ALL-PURPOSE YARDS: Heber Springs, Parker Brown 318. Clinton, Zane Widener 188.
PUNTING: Heber Springs, Gideon Tate 2/59, Zane Widener 2/70
SCORING
PAT KICKS: Gideon Tate 3/3
2-POINT CONVERSION: Heber Springs 1/1, Clinton 3/6
POINTS: Parker Brown 24, Gideon Tate 3, Brodie Basford 2
DEFENSIVE STATS
SACKS: Xander Lindley 1, Jacob McMullin 1, Corbin Jones 1
FUMBLE RECOVERIES: Jacob McMullin 1
FORCED FUMBLES: Jacob McMullin 1
TACKLES (U/A/TFL - TOTAL)
Bryce Siegrist 3 0 0 3
Parker Brown   4 1 0 5
Joenah Cordell 2 3 0 5
Eli Buffalo    4 1 0 5
Luke Elliott   4 8 1 12
Jacob McMullin 7 4 2 11
Xander Lindley 8 2 2 10
Carter Julian  4 4 0 8
Corbin Jones   7 2 3 9
Weston Warden  4 2 1 6
Jordan Tidwell 0 4 1 4
Logan Lozeau   1 1 0 2
Liam Buffalo   0 1 0 1
Zachary Parker 2 0 0 2