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)

FIRST TEAM

OFFENSE

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)

DEFENSE

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)

SECOND TEAM

OFFENSE

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)

DEFENSE

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)

PREVIOUS DECADES

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

HSHS All-Decade Team: 2000s

The 2000s era of Heber Springs football started with a whimper and ended with a bang.

Long-time assistant Todd Thompson would take over for Bill Buckner for the 2000 campaign as the 2AAA conference would see some changes with Hoxie joining the conference. Heber Springs would struggle through the 2000 and 2001 seasons, before breaking into the win column with an 2002 season-opening win over Little Rock Lutheran. After a loss to Clinton, the Panthers would down Lamar before entering conference play. Corning had replaced Bald Knob starting with the 2002 season.

Former Panther standout Dale Cresswell would take over as head coach for the 2003 and 2004 seasons, claiming a win against Lamar in 2004.

Former East Carolina University assistant coach Steve Janski would take over the program starting with the 2005 season and guide the team the rest of the decade.

Opening with a win over Bald Knob, the Panthers would also claim a nonconference win at Lamar. Heber Springs would break at conference losing streak on Oct. 21, 2005, with a win at Mountain View. They would follow that with a win over Yellville-Summit to finish 4-6.

The 2006 campaign saw Heber Springs shifted to the 2-4A conference joining Lonoke, Stuttgart, Marianna-Lee, Bald Knob, Southside Batesville, Mountain View and Newport. The Panthers would start the season 4-0 with wins over Clinton, DeWitt, Yellville-Summit and Lonoke, before falling to Stuttgart and Marianna-Lee in back-to-back weeks. Blowout wins over Bald Knob and Southside Batesville would follow, before Heber Springs would claim its first win over Newport. Mountain View forfeited the reminder of its season on Oct. 23 due to low player numbers giving the Panthers a 13-0 conference win. The Yellowjackets did field a “B” team that traveled to Heber Springs in week 10 so the Panthers could have a “senior night,” heading into the playoffs. The Panthers would claim their first playoff win in 27 years with a 21-12 win over Greenland. Heber Springs would finish out a 10-3 with a loss at Nashville.

The 2007 Panthers would finish the season with a 5-6 record earning the school’s first back-to-back appearance in the playoffs. In week 8, Heber Springs would set a school record with 76 points in win over Southside Batesville.

The 2008 Heber Springs would start the season 1-4 and the postseason definitely seemed in doubt as the Panthers trailed at Marianna-Lee 30-0 with 8:10 left in the first half, but Heber Springs would score 32 unanswered to claim a 32-30 win. That victory seem to propel the Panthers as they would win six straight, including playoff wins over Prairie Grove and West Fork reaching the 4A quarterfinals for the third time in school history and the first time since 1979. Heber Springs would end with an 8-5 mark.

Heber Springs’ 2009 season saw a 4-0 start, before falling at Stuttgart, 15-12, in week 4. After a win against Marianna-Lee and a loss at Bald Knob, the Panthers would five-in-a-row to advance to the 4A quarterfinals in back-to-back for the first time in school history. The Panthers would finish with a 10-3 mark.

The 2000s HSHS All-Decade Football Team

(Position, Player and Last Season Played)

OFFENSE

WR – Shane Bryant (2005)

WR – Stuart Tillman (2005)

OL – Frazier Blankenship (2007)

OL – Billy Grammar (2009)

OL – Trevor Reed (2006)

OL – Alex Witkowski (2007)

OL – Alex Wyatt (2006)

QB/P – Devin Tillman (2005)

RB – Curtis Decker (2006)

RB – Ryan Grist (2007)

RB – Braylon Mitchell (2009)

K – Antonio Romero (2008)

AP – Wes McMullen (2009)

AP – Taylor Tubbs (2004)

AP – Jacob Wilson (2004)

DEFENSE

DL – Garrett Davis (2006)

DL – Warren DeBusk (2000)

DL – Matt Fedora (2002)

DL – Ryan Palenske (2009)

LB – Michael Harmon (2005)

LB – Tanner Tubbs (2006)

LB – Jonathan West (2005)

LB – Thomas Wharton (2001)

DB – Hunter Derrick (2009)

DB – Jimmy Head (2001)

DB –Hilton Hoover (2008)

AP – David Darrell (2009)

AP – Jake Logan (2007)

AP – Zach Nelson (2009)

AP – Jacob Smithson (2002)

PREVIOUS DECADES

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

HSHS All-Decade: 1990s

The 1990s era of Heber Springs football saw the Panthers come close to several playoff berths and claim two spots as the number of playoff teams was expanded to four teams in the decade.

The first Panther team of the decade lost its opener to Harding Academy but won three straight with nonconference wins over Dover and Dardanelle, and a conference-opening win over Yellville-Summit. A loss to Mountain View was the first conference blemish, but the Panthers improved to 4-2 with a victory over Bald Knob. A nonconference loss to Pulaski Academy and conference losses to Vilonia and Greenbrier, left the Panthers playing for pride in week 10, a 31-0 victory over Clinton to finish at 5-5 on the year.

The 1991 season saw Heber Springs shifted away from conference foes that had dominated the schedule for more than 15 years as the Panthers were placed in the 5AA with England, Vilonia, Beebe, Bald Knob, DeWitt, Lonoke and Brinkley. Heber Springs started the season with a narrow setback to Clinton, 22-20, but the Panthers would struggle the rest of the way, finishing at 0-10 (the first winless campaign in school history).

John Richardson switched to classroom duties for the 1992 season and assistant coach Brad Reese was promoted to the top position. His first team won back-to-back games against Mountain View and England, but finished the season 2-8.

The 1993 squad would be placed in the 4AA-East conference along with Perryville, Yellville-Summit, Greenbrier, Mountain View, Clinton, Dover and Atkins. Heber Springs would garner wins over Perryville and Mountain View.

The Panthers rebounded in 1994. Heber Springs started the season 0-3 with close losses to Batesville and Harding Academy, before opening 4AA-East play. The Panthers would win five straight to put themselves in a good position to earn one of the two playoff spots for the conference. But Heber Springs was upset in week 9 at Dover, forcing a must-win game in week 10 at Atkins. The two teams battled but the Red Devils claimed a 6-0 win and a share of the conference title (along with Greenbrier, whose only conference was to the Panthers on Oct. 7).

With the playoffs expanded to four teams from each conference, the 1995 Panthers started the season by winning four straight. After a dropping a pair of 4AA-East contests, Heber Springs got back into playoff contention with wins over Mountain View and Clinton, but losses to Dover in week 9 and Atkins in week 10 left the Panthers in fifth place, but with a winning record at 6-4.

The 1996 Panthers again saw a conference change as Beebe, Dover, Clinton, Mountain View, Bald Knob, Yellville-Summit and Vilonia joined Heber Springs in the 5AA-North. Heber Springs would claim a nonconference win over Greenbrier but would again finish one-game short of a playoff berth with a fifth-place finish in conference play and a 4-6 overall record.

Heber Springs would get over the playoff hump in 1997, earning the schools first playoff berth in 14 seasons. The Panthers opened with wins over Atkins and Greenbrier before dropping a close contest at Highland. In the conference opener, Beebe would pull away late from the Panthers before Heber Springs would score 30 or more points in wins over Dover, Clinton and Mountain View. The Panthers would close out the season with three straight losses and in a three-way with Bald Knob and Clinton for the four-seed. Heber Springs got in based upon a conference tiebreaker and traveled to Ozark, where the Panthers season would end a cold night in Franklin County and a 5-6 record.

With Reese taking a position at Huntsville, former Greenbrier coach Bill Buckner would lead the Panthers for the 1998 campaign. The Panthers would finish the season with two nonconference wins over Greenbrier and Mountainburg, and two conference wins in the new 2AAA conference (Yellville-Summit, Mountain View, Pocahontas, Highland, Bald Knob and Clinton).

The 1999 Panthers would open the season with four-straight losses before dropping Mountain View on the road and winning at home against Pocahontas. After a loss at Highland, Heber Springs would down Mountainburg (in nonconference play), Bald Knob (43-20) and Clinton (57-18) to finish second in the 2AAA and earn the school’s first home playoff game in 20 years. Warren would handle the Panthers in the first round as Heber Springs closed the decade with a 5-6 record.

The 1990s HSHS All-Decade Football Team

(Position, Player and Last Season Played)

OFFENSE

WR – Wesley Smith (1997)

WR – Brad Sneed (1998)

OL – Scott Anderson (1998)

OL – Justin Burlison (1999)

OL – Kory Smith (1993)

OL – Guy Storm (1997)

OL – Stephen Talley (1999)

QB – Chris Lee (1994)

RB – Justin Davidson (1998)

RB – Stacy Poff (1990)

RB – Eric Smith (1993)

AP – Nat Baureis (1995)

AP – Mark Cresswell (1996)

AP – Josh Foster (1999)

AP – Jacob McCormick (1999)

DEFENSE

DL – Barry Brown (1992)

DL – David Butler (1999)

DL – Cliff Derrickson (1997)

DL – Burke Toliver (1995)

DL – Tray Wilson (1994)

LB – Tony Baldwin (1997)

LB/P – Brock Bertrand (1996)

LB – Nathan James (1998)

DB – Billy Baser (1997)

DB/K – Nick James (1998)

DB –Zeke Wilson (1998)

AP – Gil Blevins (1990)

AP – Scott Cresswell (1994)

AP – Randal Hindsley (1991)

AP – Jem Johnson (1990)

PREVIOUS DECADES

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

HSHS All-Decade Team: 1980s

The 1980s era of Heber Springs football was one of consistency at the top with Dennis DeBusk coaching the team through eight seasons of the decade.

The 1980 Panther team finished the season with an 8-2 mark and in a three-way tie for the 1AA-East crown, but missed out on a playoff spot. After opening the season with a 10-7 setback to Joe T. Robinson, Heber Springs would win eight straight setting up a week 10 showdown with Greenbrier for a chance to win back-to-back outright conference crowns. But the Faulkner County Panther squad would come out on top 24-6 to steal the playoff bid from the Panthers.

In 1981, Heber Springs would finished 7-3 and the set-up would be the same as 1980, except with nonconference losses to Beebe and Batesville, with a week 10 showdown with Greenbrier for the 1AA-East crown. Both teams entered the game at 5-0 in the conference, but Greenbrier would claim a 27-0 win, the conference title and the conference’s spot in the playoffs.

The 1982 squad would start the season 0-2 with losses at Beebe and to Harding Academy, but rebounded to win at Bald Knob and at home against Batesville. The Panthers would start conference play with a victories over Clinton and Yellville-Summit, before stumbling at Mountain View on Oct. 15, 20-14. Heber Springs would rebound with wins over Marshall and Vilonia before falling to Greenbrier, 10-6, in week 10. Though the Panthers finished in second place in the conference, Mountain View was the lone representative for the conference in the playoffs.

In 1983, Bald Knob re-joined the newly-named 5AA-North conference and the Panthers would start the season 2-1 in nonconference play. Heber Springs would not leave any doubt about a playoff spot by starting 6-0 and having clinched postseason play by week 10. A week 10 loss to Vilonia meant the Panthers had to share a conference crown with the Eagles. Heber Springs opened the season with a win over Beebe but the Badgers got revenge in the playoffs by knocking off the Panthers, 17-6.

The 1984 Panther team would finish 4-6 and 3-4 in conference play. Heber Springs still had a chance to earn one of the two playoff spots for the conference but those hopes were dashed with losses in weeks 9 and 10 ended those.

The 1985 and 1986 teams each finished at 2-8 with the 1985 squad downing Marshall and Vilonia, and the 1986 team defeating Marshall and Greenbrier.

In 1987, Heber Springs would go 2-3 in nonconference play with wins over Dover and Atkins. The Panthers would open up conference play with a thrilling 19-12 overtime win against Clinton, but would drop their final four contests to finish at 3-7.

Mountain View High School graduate John Richardson would take over as coach for the 1988 season after coming over from Huntsville. Heber Springs would start with nine straight losses before closing the season with a win over Mountain View.

In 1989, Heber Springs would again finished with a 1-9 mark, starting the season with three nonconference losses before downing Yellville-Summit in the conference opener.

The 1980s HSHS All-Decade Football Team

(Position, Player and Last Season Played)

OFFENSE

WR – Lance Perry (1980)

WR – Mark Rezanka (1983)

OL – Jim Bly (1981)

OL – Edward Gleich (1984)

OL – Wayne Hazelwood (1983)

OL – John Hoover (1980)

OL – Aaron Little (1980)

QB – Pat Dudeck (1988)

RB – Bill Mark (1982)

RB – Danny Martin (1980)

RB – Danny Stevenson (1988)

AP – Mark Hoffman (1980)

AP – Reggie Sumpter (1987)

AP – Jonathan Wallace (1984)

AP – Shannon Yates (1987)

DEFENSE

DL – Jeff Garlinghouse (1988)

DL – Brock Loftis (1981)

DL – Peyton Upton (1982)

LB – Dale Cresswell (1984)

LB – Mike Shamburger (1989)

LB – Robert Sparks (1980)

LB/K – Mike Verser (1984)

LB – Paul Reed (1981)

DB – Andy Beam (1981)

DB –Steve Logan (1983)

DB – Bill Wallace (1986)

P – Travis Moss (1984)

AP – Birch Grisso (1983)

AP –Sid Shelton (1982)

AP – Paige Upton (1982)

PREVIOUS DECADES

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

HSHS All-Decade Team: 1970s

The 1970s era of Heber Springs football started slowly but ended with a bang as the Panthers won their first outright conference title since 1952 in 1979 and also shared two other conference crowns.

Morgan Outlaw took over the program for the 1970 and 71 seasons. The Panthers went 2-6-1 in 1970 closing out the season with wins over Cotton Plant and Highland. In 1971, it was wins at Bald Knob, Greenbrier and Cotton Plant that put the final mark at 3-6.

Robert Medley led the Panthers during the 1972 and 73 seasons as they competed in the 3A-West conference with Mountain View, Bald Knob, McCrory, Beebe, Cotton Plant and Augusta. Former Panther standout Dennis DeBusk would join the staff as an assistant in 1972 as Heber Springs finished the year with a 3-3-2 mark. The Panthers tied Clinton and Bald Knob and defeated Greenbrier and Cotton Plant, and then closed out the season with a win over Cross County from the 3A-East, as the final week of the season pitted teams from the East and West to determine final District 3 standings. In 1972, the Panthers managed wins over Greenbrier and Cotton Plant to finished 2-8.

Clyde Darrough would take over the program for the 1974 and 1975 seasons. The Panthers would only manage a 2-8 campaign in 1974 with wins over Greenbrier and Marshall in conference play as Heber Springs was in the new 12A conference along with Mountain View, Clinton.

Vilonia would join the 12A conference in 1975 and the Panthers would start the season 5-0 with wins over Concord, DeValls Bluff, Salem, Greenbrier and Clinton before being tripped up in week 6 by Harding Academy. The Panthers would drop Mountain View and Marshall to set at 7-1 but a week 9 loss to Vilonia cost Heber Springs and outright conference title. Following a tough nonconference loss to Bald Knob in week 10, McCrory would end the Panthers season in the first round of the playoffs (the first playoff berth since the 1952 season).

Darrough left following the 1975 season and DeBusk was promoted to head coach. The Panthers would go 8-3 and claim another share of the 12A crown, falling to Don Campbell’s Corning Bodcats in a first round playoff contest.

The 1977 season saw the Panthers keep the same conference foes but with a new conference name, the 1AA-East. Heber Springs would go 8-2 but back-t0-back losses to Greenbrier and Clinton cost the Panthers a chance at postseason play. Heber Springs downed Pulaski Academy, North Pulaski, Bald Knob in nonconference play before closing the season with a win over Augusta.

The 1978 squad would finish at 5-5 overall and 3-3 in conference play (Yellville-Summit joined the conference in 1978) as the Panthers would claim nonconference wins over Bald Knob and Pulaski Academy.

The 1979 season would be an historic one for the Panthers. Heber Springs would win an outright 1AA-East crown with a 6-0 record and earn the school’s first playoff victory. The Panthers started the season 3-0 with wins over Joe T. Robinson, Harding Academy and Bald Knob, before Beebe tripped up Heber Springs in week 4. The Panthers would lose again until McCrory stopped the Panthers in the second round of the playoffs.

The 1970s HSHS All-Decade Football Team

(Position, Player and Last Season Played)

OFFENSE

WR – David Brown (1979)

WR – Mark Duncan (1971)

OL – John Bergin (1975)

OL – Steve Butler (1972)

OL – Steve Crumpler (1976)

OL – John Davis (1976)

OL – Joe Bob Powell (1979)

QB – Louis Lee (1973)

RB – Curtis Henry (1978)

RB – Larry Kennedy (1975)

RB – Layne Tubbs (1977)

K – Russ Olmstead (1976)

AP – Brock Duckworth (1972)

AP – Buster Gaylor (1977)

AP – John Hvasta (1978)

DEFENSE

DL – Donald Elslander (1974)

DL – Mike Greene (1978)

DL – Billy Lindsey (1972)

DL – Roger Logan (1977)

DL – Jackie McPherson (1977)

LB – Terry Bittle (1979)

LB – Ronnie Martin (1977)

LB – Mason Reed (1979)

DB – Steve Plant (1973)

DB – Carl Cox (1975)

DB – Lance Lincoln (1978)

P – Ben Caston (1976)

AP – Thomas Heigle (1970)

AP –Bruce (Barker) Swan (1973)

AP – Bo Verser (1971)

PREVIOUS DECADES

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

HSHS All-Decade Team: 1960s

The 1960s era of Heber Springs football saw the game change with more liberal substitution rules and the Panthers coming close to pair of conference championships.

Bill Rosa took over coaching duties from Cecil Alexander for the 1960 season and the Panthers finished with a 1-7 mark, defeating Newport “B” in week 6.

James Staggs would take over in 1961 with a young assistant coach Isaac Witt helping out. After starting the season 0-3, the Panthers would close out the season by winning five in a row and finishing their first winning season since 1952. Heber Springs would down Carlisle, Harding Academy in 2B action, Searcy “B”, Cotton Plant and Beebe.

The next season, 1962, would see another new coach on the sidelines for the Panthers as former Arkansas Razorback fullback Darrell Williams (whose twin brother Jarrell would win 261 games and four state championships as a head coach at Springdale) took over the coaching duties, with Witt remaining as an assistant. The 1962 season also saw the opening of the current Panther Stadium as McCrory won the first game at the new field, 7-6. After downing Clinton, 13-7 on the road, the Panthers returned home for a week 3 contest with the coach Harold Horton-led Bald Knob Bulldogs. The match-up of former Razorback teammates would go to the Bulldogs but the Panthers would four out of their last six to finish with a winning record.

The Panthers fifth coach in as many seasons, Russell Sims, took over in 1963 — with Witt still in an assistant’s role. Heber Springs finished the season with a 3-7-1 mark, tying McCrory in the opener and downing Newport “B”, Beebe and Batesville “B”.

Sims and Witt stayed together in 1964 and led the Panthers to an historic 9-win season (the most wins in school history until 1979). The Panthers would meet Hazen in the next to last week of the season in match-up of ranked teams to determine the champion for district 2B. The Hornets would claim a 13-12 victory to earn the title.

With the success, Sims and Witt both left with Sims taking over the Mountain Home program. Richard Whybrew and former Clinton standout Stanley Stanton would lead the program for the 1965 and 1966 seasons. The Panthers would manager only two wins in each season, downing Clinton and Cotton Plant in 1965 and Cotton Plant and DeValls Bluff in 1966.

Witt would return for the 1967 season, this time as head coach, as Heber Springs would finish 1-9-1, downing Marshall in week two and tying Hazen in week 9.

Jim Patchell would join Witt’s staff for the 1968 and 1969 seasons as the Panthers would close out the decade by going 7-2 in 1968 and 7-3 in 1969. The 1968 squad lost a heartbreaker to Hazen, 12-7, in the final game of the season that would have earned the Panthers their second conference title.

After two decades in the 2B, Heber Springs moved up a classification as the school begin to grow in the late 1960s. The 1969 team was placed in the 2A-South but did not play a conference schedule. Instead, many newer programs that would later be conference rivals began football programs, including Mountain View, Vilonia, Highland, Marshall and Greenbrier; and the Panthers feasted on those programs going 9-0 against those schools.

The 1960s HSHS All-Decade Football Team

(Position, Player and Last Season Played)

OFFENSE

WR – Dennis DeBusk (1965)

WR – Dwight Olmstead (1968)

OL – Verlon Abram (1969)

OL – Wayne Bailey (1964)

OL – Charles Bradford (1960)

OL – John Cunningham (1965)

OL – James Robert DeBusk (1967)

QB – Rickey Pilkington (1968)

RB – Ronnie Lewellyn (1968)

RB – Bubba Ramsey (1961)

RB – Ernie Longing (1963)

K/AP – Jim Patchell (1962)

AP – Freddie Clayton (1964)

AP – Larry Robinson (1968)

DEFENSE

DL – Thurman Clark (1964)

DL – Joe Paul Daves (1962)

DL – Eddie Lacy (1968)

DL – Robert Walters (1966)

LB – David Lay (1968)

LB – Don Lucy (1964)

LB – Bill Cook (1961)

DB/P – Jerry Todd (1964)

DB – Wain Westerman (1968)

DB – Dan Verser (1963)

DB – Jeff Long (1964)

AP – Whit Birdsong (1969)

AP – Terry Lynn (1969)

AP – Gene McFarland (1962)

PREVIOUS DECADES

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

HSHS All-Decade Team: 1950s

The 1950s era of Heber Springs football saw some success in the early part of the decade, some struggles in the middle part of the decade and a rebirth with a familiar face in the latter part of the decade as players still played both ways.

New coach Leland Myers guided the Panthers to one of the best marks in school history in 1950 with a 6-2-1 record. Heber Springs opened the season with a loss to Augusta but won six straight with wins over Clinton, Bald Knob, Ola, Cotton Plant, Arkansas School for the Deaf and Sloan-Hendrix. The tie came on Nov. 24 over a heavily-favored Morrilton squad. A loss to McCrory on Thanksgiving closed out the season.

The Panthers would win five games in 1951, the best two-year stretch in school history up that point, with wins over Mountain Home, Harding Academy, Hickory Ridge, Arkansas School for the Deaf and Clinton.

Former Heber Springs Panther standout Robert Fisher would take over as coach in 1952 guiding the Panthers to their first conference title in school history with a 5-3-1 mark — it would be 23 years before Heber Springs would win another conference title. The Panthers defeated Augusta, Harding Academy and Cotton Plant to earn the conference crown and also picked up victories over Mountain Home and Hickory Ridge. On Nov. 21, the Panthers traveled to Earle for a Class B playoff game (with only eight teams in the playoffs at the time). Heber Springs had two weeks off before the game while the Bulldogs had beaten county-rival West Memphis a week earlier and handed the Panthers a 25-6 setback. A Thanksgiving Day loss five-days later to McCrory set the final mark.

A new coach took over the reigns of the Panther program in 1953. Bernis Duke would go on to hall of fame career winning a state basketball title at Newport and later coaching the Oral Roberts University (in Tulsa, Okla.) tennis team for 33 years. Duke was inducted into the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Hall of Fame in 2002 and the ORU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010 — the tennis center on the ORU campus is named in his honor, but at Heber Springs his only attempt at coaching football resulted in a one-win campaign in 1953 (a win over the “B” team from Conway).

The 1954 squad had the same fate as the 1953 squad, a single win over the “B” team from Conway. The assistant coach for that squad, Elmer Gathright, would also have building named after him, the basketball gymnasium at West Side High School in Greers Ferry.

In 1955 and 1956, another future Hall-of-Famer took over the reigns of the football program as Bald Knob High School graduate Carl Steward would guide the program to a 4-14 mark (a pair of wins over Bradford, a win over Conway “B” and Clinton). Steward would later make his mark as a track coach and a track official.

The decade closed with another HSHS graduate, Cecil Alexander, guiding the program for three season. Alexander, who had starred on the gridiron at Hendrix College after graduating from HSHS, would guide the program for the rest of the decade going 9-12-4. His first squad in 1957 defeated Harding Academy, Bradford and “B” teams from Batesville and Jacksonville to finish 4-4. In 1958, the Panthers would go 3-3-3 with wins over Newport “B”, Augusta and Sylvan Hills and ties with Carlisle, Mabelvale and Conway “B”. His 1959 squad would beat Clinton and Harding Academy and tie Danville.

The 1950s HSHS All-Decade Football Team

(Position, Player and Last Season Played)

End – Pete Benbrook (1950)

End – Sherlon Martin (1959)

Line – Elwood Cooper (1952)

Line – Roy Ferguson (1953)

Line – Dale Ramsey (1951)

Line – Richard Stark (1951)

Line – Tommy Whitaker (1952)

Back – Cecil Alexander (1952)

Back – Mickey Barnett (1951)

Back – Jimmy Davis (1952)

Back – Victor Davis (1959)

Back – Jerry Pilkington (1950)

Back – Keith Pilkington (1957)

All-Purpose – Lovell Davis (1953)

All-Purpose – Jim Alexander (1958)

PREVIOUS DECADES

The 1940s HSHS All-Decade Team

The 1930s HSHS All-Decade Team

The 1910s/20s HSHS All-Decade Team

HSHS All-Decade Team: 1940s

The 1940s era of Heber Springs football was one of uncertainty at both home and abroad.

The start of the decade saw the Panthers struggle to keep the program afloat because of financial reasons. A late push to raise the monies needed allowed the team to have a 1940 season, but without a dedicated coach, school superintendent Ben Lincoln stepped into the role of head coach. Fortunately for the Panthers, Lincoln had previously served as the head coach at Blytheville and was a former standout at what is now Ouachita Baptist University. Lincoln’s Panthers set a school record with six wins in 1940 with two wins over Bald Knob and wins over Cotton Plant, Clinton, England and Dardanelle. The Panthers started that season with losses to Cabot, Morrilton and Lonoke before winning six out of their last eight, falling to Conway and Batesville.

Lincoln would take a job in the Pocahontas district following the 1940-1941 school and principal R.A James would guide the team for the next two seasons. With World War II consuming most of the countries resources, high school football was put on the backburner by 1943, though the Panthers did manage to break out the pads for a Senior/Freshman versus the Juniors/Sophomores contest in 1943.

By 1944, the Panthers resumed playing other teams across the state, but still without the services of a coach. First Baptist Church pastor J. Paul Palmer stepped into the role for the 1944 and 45 seasons as the Panthers would go 2-11-2 over that span with victories over Morrilton and Dardanelle and ties with Pocahontas and Clinton.

For the 1946 season, recent HSHS graduate Henry Clay Kelley filled out the role as head coach managing a pair of wins over Cabot before the program was shuttered for the 1947 and 1948 seasons for financial reasons.

By 1949, the Panthers were ready to hit the field again and by now the Arkansas Activities Association had set-up conferences and Heber Springs played a conference schedule for the first time as a member of the 2B conference with Augusta and Cotton Plant under coach Bob Wilkinson. The Panthers would go 2-7-1 in their first season back with wins over Ola and Cotton Plant and a tie with Clinton.

The 1940s HSHS All-Decade Football Team

1945 – Eugene Cain

1942 – Robert Fisher

1940 – Hubert Holland

1944 – Tom Holland

1941 – Virlon James

1940 – Pete Jenkerson

1949 – Bob Jenkins

1943 – Henry Clay Kelley

1946 – Maurice Love

1943 – Leon McAnear

1941 – Ed Olmstead

1942 – Eugene Pate

1942 – Lee Roy Plummer

1941 – Dwain Smith

PREVIOUS DECADES

The 1930s HSHS All-Decade Team

The 1910s/20s HSHS All-Decade Team

HSHS All-Decade Team: 1930s

The 1930s era of Heber Springs football was one that saw a great turmoil with the onset of the Great Depression. Through the struggles of the day, the Panthers continued to march on as the town was slowly growing, thanks in part to the Missouri and North Arkansas railroad.

The railroad helped develop one of the Panthers first rivals of the day, the Harrison Goblins. The two teams tied in their first meeting in 1930 at Harrison and then would each win at home over the early part of the decade. Though Heber Springs would continue to tangle with larger schools such as Conway, Searcy, Batesville and Morrilton, more and more schools were starting to add football and some modern rivals would first appear during the decade including Bald Knob and Clinton.

The best team of the decade was the 1935 squad under coach Hollis Ward. The Panthers would go 5-3-1 that season with wins over Cabot, Cotter, Judsonia, the Arkansas School for the Deaf and an independent team made up of former HSHS players and community members that played games across the state. The Panthers tie was a homecoming contest against Harrison.

The 1930s HSHS All-Decade Football Team

1933 – Elgin Barnett

1937 – Elmer Beasley

1933 – Phillip Bowen

1936 – Carl Holmes

1936 – Wendall Holmes

1935 – Paul Ivy

1934 – Clois Ray Morton

1933 – Otto Murphree

1932 – Jack Patterson

1937 – Joe Robbins

1934 – Tom Robbins

1933 – Ed Speed

1938 – Charles Smith

1935 – Weston Taylor

1935 – Guy Ward

PREVIOUS DECADES

The 1910s/20s HSHS All-Decade Team

HSHS All-Decade Football Team: 1910s/1920s

The 2021 season marks the 100th season of Heber Springs High School football. In honor of that feat, we here at MarkedTime.com are recognizing some of the great athletes that have roamed the halls of Heber Springs High School over that span with the naming of all-decade football teams.

The teams were selected by a panel after extensive local, and statewide, research was done. They are listed in alphabetical order with the last season that they played. No positions were listed because in the early days of Panther football, the players would often play different positions. In one game, they may have started on the line and the next in the backfield.

Heber Springs fielded its first football team in 1913, the same year the school district first offered 12 grades. Prior to that, the highest course offering for a student in Heber Springs was an 11th-grade education. For reasons, either not yet discovered or lost to time, the district would not offer a 12th-grade education level until the 1921-22 school year, which would continue to this day.

With the return of a 12th-grade education, the Panthers would return to the gridiron for the 1921 campaign. Neill Reed had the distinction of playing on the first Panther football team in 1913 and coaching the second one in 1921.

Success was limited in the first decade of Panther football, outside of the unbeaten first season of 1913, the Panthers would not win more than three games in a season during the decade. Heber Springs High School was one of the smallest football playing schools in the state at the time and with no conference schedule that the Panther teams enjoy today, Heber Springs played larger teams such as Conway, Searcy, North Little Rock, Batesville, Russellville and the University of Central Arkansas “B” team, among others.

A toughness, no-quit and take on all challengers, developed in those first teams and many members of this first all-decade team would later use lessons learned on the gridiron to help transform the community of Heber Springs into the town that you know today.

The 1910s/1920s HSHS All-Decade Football Team

1928 – Elmo “Shem” Barnett

1922- Odie Barnett

1929 – James Cheek

1927 – Victor Dickson

1928 – Ward Harness

1926 – Theodore Hodges

1923 – Ted Liles

1913 – Cloy Morton

1928 – Gaston Mullens

1922 – Foley Nunnally

1913 – Ralph Olmstead

1913 – Vern Olmstead

1913 – Neill Reed

1923 – Wayne Stark

1928 – Neil Thomason