Junior Panthers take bark out of Bald Knob

Heber Springs’ Weston Warden (2) celebrates with teammate, Logan Rutledge (1), after Rutledge scored a third-quarter touchdown in a 28-6 win over Bald Knob. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

HEBER SPRINGS – Neither rain nor penalties nor the Bald Knob Bulldogs could stop the Heber Springs junior Panthers from earning their fifth win of the season with a 26-8 victory Thursday night at Panther Stadium.

Liam Buffalo rushed for a touchdown, passed for two more, and helped lead the defensive effort with two interceptions as Heber Springs improved to 5-2 on the season.

Buffalo’s two picks were part of defensive effort that held Bald Knob to 72 yards of total offense, with 54 yard of that coming on the final drive of the game against the Panther second-team defense. Freshman Jacob McMullin recorded one sack and spent most of the night in the Bulldog backfield as Heber Springs held Bald Knob to 13 yards rushing on 20 attempts.

Lightning had canceled the seventh-grade contest in the second half and helped lead to a delay of the kickoff by 15 minutes as the two teams played in a steady rain in the first half.

The elements couldn’t stop the Panthers on their first drive. After forcing a three-and-out on defense, Buffalo scampered 57 yards on second down to put the ball on the Bulldog 3. A pair of carries forced the Heber Springs back a yard, before Buffalo would score from the 4 on third down.

Buffalo would finish the night with 104 yard rushing on six attempts, his fourth 100-yard rushing performance of the season. The ninth-grader would connect with Carter Julian for the 2-point conversion to make it 8-0 with 3:02 left in the opening quarter.

Heber Springs would add to it’s advantage on its next possession after a Buffalo picked-off a fourth-down pass attempt by Bald Knob’s Dakota Shoebottom at the Panther 39. Seven plays later, Buffalo would hit Ty West for an 11-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-0 with 5:32 left in the half.

Heber Springs was penalized nine times for 83 yards on the night including for 18 yards on a holding penalty on the 2-point conversion attempt.

The Bulldogs had their best drive of the first half on their next possession moving from their own 40 to the Panther 12, aided by a 13-yard run by Shoebottom and a 15-yard penalty against Heber Springs. But Buffalo intercepted another Shoebottom attempt at the Panther 7 and returned it 17 yards.

West had an 11-yard reception on the ensuing drive but the Panthers couldn’t mount a scoring threat as the half ended with Heber Springs up 14-0.

The Panthers took the second-half kickoff and handed the ball off to Weston Warden to reach the Bulldog 10 as the freshman carried five times for 42 yards. Then the penalty flag came out as Heber Springs had four attempts at first-and-goal as two Panther penalties and one Bald Knob penalty forced the unique situation. Warden would score from the 4 make it 20-0 with 3:52 left in the third quarter.

The Heber Springs defensive unit forced Bulldogs to a three-and-out and a loss of 18 yards thanks in part to the McMullin sack.

The Panthers would take over at the Bald Knob 30 and six plays later would make it 26-0 after Buffalo hit Logan Rutledge in the end zone for the score.

The Bulldogs would use a seven-play, 54-yard drive against the second-team defense to get on the scoreboard late in the contest to set the final score at 26-8.

BALD KNOB AT HEBER SPRINGS
OCTOBER 14, 2021 
Bald Knob        0   0   0   8 -  8 
Heber Springs    8   6   6   6 - 26
FIRST QUARTER 
HS - Liam Buffalo 4-yard run (Buffalo to Carter Julian pass), 3:02
SECOND QUARTER 
HS - Buffalo to Ty West 4-yard pass (pass failed), 5:32
THIRD QUARTER 
HS - Weston Warden 4-yard run (pass failed), 3:52
FOURTH QUARTER 
HS - Buffalo to Logan Rutledge 3-yard pass (pass failed), 6:30
BK - Jerry Tidwell 4-yard run (Dakota Shoebottom run), 2:14
TEAM STATISTICS 
FIRST DOWNS: HS 12, BK 6
RUSHES-YARDS: HS 25/191, BK 20/13
PASSING YARDS: HS 65, BK 59
TOTAL OFFENSE: HS 256, BK 72
COMP-ATT-INT: HS 6-12-0, BK 4-6-2
FUMBLES: HS 0, BK 0
PENALITIES-YARDS: HS 9/83, BK 3/17
PUNTS-AVERAGE: HS 0, BK 1/18
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS 
RUSHING: HS, Liam Buffalo 6/104, Weston Warden 11/56, Cooper Holmes 3/21, Seth Dudeck 1/13, Logan Rutledge 2/5, Carter Julian 1/(-3), Team 1/(-5). Hunter Burleson 8/6, Garrett Swindle 2/4, Jerry Tidwell 4/4, Dakota Shoebottom 6/(-1). 
PASSING: HS, Buffalo 6/12-65-2/0. BK, Shoebottom 4/6-59-0/2
RECEVING: HS, West 3/32, Rutledge 2/18, Warden 1/15. BK, Garrett Swindle 3/48, Mika Comer 1/11.
KICKOFF RETURNS: BK, Jaeden Kuhn 1/0.
PUNT RETURNS: None
INT RETURNS: Buffalo 2/17
FUMBLE RETURNS: None
PUNTS: BK, Swindle 1/18

HEBER SPRINGS JUNIOR HIGH SCHEDULE

(All Games Start at 7 p.m.)

Aug. 26 – Heber Springs 32, Clinton 28

Sep. 09 – Harding Academy 36, Heber Springs 16

Sep. 16 – Heber Springs 26, Dover 12

Sep. 23 – Heber Springs 34, Lonoke 12 *

Sep. 28 – Heber Springs 42, Stuttgart 32 *

Oct. 07 – Central Arkansas Christian 30, Heber Springs 14 *

Oct. 14 – Heber Springs 26, Bald Knob 8 *

Oct. 21 – at Southside Batesville *

Oct. 28 – at Clinton *

(* – Denotes Conference Contest)

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