Panther 7th-Graders fall in opener

Heber Springs’ Dyce Young (56) breaks off a long run against Harding Academy Thursday night in seventh-grade football action. Heber Springs’ Grady Turley (24) and Emmett Dwyer (34) and Harding Academy’s Catcher Smith (2) and Cam Pryor (19) also pictured. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO


The Heber Springs Panthers dropped a 22-14 decision to Harding Academy on Thursday in the season opener for the seventh-grade squad at Panther Stadium.

Heber Springs (0-1) led 14-6 after Seth Dudeck returned a Wildcat fumble 26 yards for touchdown with 12:42 to play in the contest, but Harding Academy scored 16 straight to pull out the win.

The Panthers struck first as Jacob Haskett scored on a 10-yard run with 11:29 to play in the first half. Dyce Young plunged over for the 2-point conversion and Heber Springs led 8-0.

Harding Academy answered at the 6:53 mark of the first stanza with a 53-yard run by quarterback Cam Pryor to make it 8-6, after the Panthers stopped the 2-point conversion.

Heber Springs’ Jacob Haskett attempts to avoid the tackle of Harding Academy’s Cam Pryor in seventh-grade football action Thursday night at Panther Stadium. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

Heber Springs moved the ball deep into Wildcat territory late in the first half as a 22-yard run by Young and a 41-yard pass play as Emmett Dwyer connected with Cooper Holmes, but the drive ended when Harding Academy’s Jack Roberts intercepted the Panthers pass attempt at the Wildcat 8 with 37 seconds left in the half.

Heber Springs’ first drive of the second half also got deep into Wildcat territory after a 28-yard run by Haskett and an 18-yard reception by Holmes, but another interception stopped the drive. A couple plays later, Dudeck picked up the loose Wildcat football and rushed in for what would be the Panthers final score.

Harding Academy would tie the game with 8:01 left to play on an 83-yard run by Roberts and the 2-point run by Pryor. 

The Wildcats would score the go-ahead touchdown with 1:55 to play on a 36-yard run by Pryor. Roberts added the 2-point run to set the final score. 

Heber Springs will return to action on Thursday when they travel to Dover.

Heber Springs’ Emmett Dwyer looks upfield against Harding Academy Thursday night at Panther Stadium. Heber Springs’ Gavin Widner (6) and Harding Academy’s Josiah Swindle (70), also pictured. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

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