Panther Postgame

Heber Springs falls in heartbreaker, 50-49

Heber Springs’ Tri Johnson looks upfield on the opening kickoff return. Johnson picked up nine yards on the return. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

September 20, 2019

By PHILIP SEATON

HEBER SPRINGS – It was a nonconference slate of a tale of 2-point conversions.

In the opener, Heber Springs failed to convert a 2-point conversion in the final seconds to Clinton and dropped a 28-27 contest. Friday night, Harding Academy (3-0) converted a 2-point conversion with 17.9 seconds left to hand Heber Springs a 50-49 setback.

Heber Springs has started the season 0-3 three out of the past four seasons, including this season, but rebounded in conference play to go 6-1 in conference play in two of those years. The Panthers will open 4A-4 play Friday night at Panther Stadium against Lonoke (1-2).

Against Harding Academy, the fourth quarter turned into an offensive shootout with the two teams trading touchdowns.

Tied at 28-all going into the final stanza, Heber Springs struck first in the quarter with an impressive 15-play, 73-yard drive that consumed the final 3:03 of the third quarter and 2:18 of the fourth.

The Panthers were 16 out of 18 on third-down conversions on the night, including four on the drive.

On third-and-11 from the Panther 45, senior Adam Martin connected with Julio Rubio for a 12-yard completion.

Two plays later the Panthers again faced a third-down situation, this time third-and-1 from the Wildcat 34 as Martin, who rushed for 116 yards on the night, kept for a 4-yard gain on the final play of the third quarter.

After an incomplete pass on first down, Rubio picked up five yards on second down.

On third-and-5 from the 25, Martin again found Rubio for a first down.

Back-to-back 3-yard runs by Adam Martin and Landon Johnson moved the ball to the Wildcat 8.

Two plays later, Rubio would punch the ball in from the 1 to give Heber Springs a 35-28 lead with 9:42 to play, after Jackson Harrod kicked the PAT.

Harding Academy struck quickly with a five-play, 56-yard drive that took only 1:32 off the clock as Caden Sipe, who was 22-of-38 for 366 yards and six touchdowns, connected with Ty Dugger for a 23-yard touchdown strike to make 35-all.

The Panthers used a “Big Cat” play to go back on top 42-35 as Martin connected with Tri Johnson, who also had a 59-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter. This time the Johnson raced 76-yards for the score with 7:18 left.

The Wildcats needed four plays to tie things up a 42-42 with 6:07 to play as Sipe found Stone Sheffield for a 34-yard touchdown.

Heber Springs responded with an impressive 11-play, 76-yard drive to go up 49-42 which included two third-down conversions.

Facing third-and-7 from the Panther 26, Martin found Fate Berry for an 11-yard completion.

Two players later, it was another third-down for Heber Springs as Martin found Matthew Cook for a 13-yard completion on a third-and-10.

Three players later, Martin found Rubio for a 15-yard completion to move the ball to the Wildcat 24.

Martin followed with a 14-yard run to put the ball on the Wildcat 10.

On the next play, Rubio raced for paydirt to give the Panthers a 49-42 lead with 1:21 to play.

Harding Academy would go on a nine-play, 80-yard, game-winning drive as Sipe connected with Dugger for a 20-yard touchdown pass. Sipe again used his arm on the 2-point conversion, rolling to his right, he found Connor McGaha in endzone with 17.9.

Heber Springs ran out of time as Martin found Rubio for a 22-yard completion and a 29-yard reception on the games final play.

GAME NOTES

MASCOT DEBUT: The Heber Springs cheer team debuted Pablo and Piper Panther against Harding Academy for their first football game. The duo had made their first appearance at the volleyball match on Tuesday against Joe T. Robinson at the Panther Den.

Pablo and Piper Panther

WELCOME BACK: Record-setting kicker Julian Cameron was an attendance Friday night. Cameron graduated last spring after setting the state record for most consecutive PAT kicks made without a miss. He is kicking this season for Arkansas Tech University in Russellville.

BIG NUMBERS: The two teams combined for more than a thousand yards of total offense. Heber Springs had a season high 603 yards on the night.

WELCOME BACK: After missing last week against Greenbrier for concussion protocol following a non-football injury, senior all-conference performer Tri Johnson returned in a big way with two touchdown receptions and a sack on defense.

BIG CATS: Heber Springs had a season-high three “Big Cat” plays (plays of 50 yards or more) against Harding Academy. Adam Martin was involved with all three. The first was a 68-yard run by Martin to put Heber Springs up 14-0 with 2:17 left in the first quarter. In the third quarter, Martin connected with Tri Johnson for a 59-yard touchdown reception and a 76-yard scoring strike in the fourth quarter.

Dalton McCollum (9), far left, celebrates with teammates Lawrence Baureis (25) and Hunter Kent (21), after a first-quarter interception.

FIRST TURNOVER: The Panthers picked-up their first turnover of the season when senior Dalton McCollum took a pass from the Wildcat receiver for the interception. Heber Springs would score on the ensuing drive as Adam Martin found Nathan McKee for a 15-yard touchdown reception.

RED ZONE STOP: Heber Springs picked up its first red zone stop of the season in the second quarter. Opponents had been nine for nine inside the Panther 20 this season before Heber Springs got the second-quarter stop. Harding Academy had reached the Panther 16 before Tri Johnson sacked Caden Sipe for a 15-yard loss on third down forcing a Ryan Fox punt.

HEBER SPRINGS COACH WILL COX

SCORING

Harding Academy (3-0)        0  14  14  22 - 50
Heber Springs (0-3)         14   7   7  21 - 49

FIRST QUARTER
Heber Springs - Adam Martin to Nathan McKee 15-yard pass (Jackson Harrod kick), 6:22
Heber Springs - Martin 68-yard run (Harrod kick), 2:17
SECOND QUARTER
Harding Academy - Caden Sipe to Isaac Miller 34-yard pass (Ben Sloan kick), 4:54
Heber Springs - Julio Rubio 29-yard run (Harrod kick), 3:34
Harding Academy - Sipe to Connor McGaha 11-yard pass (Sloan kick)
THIRD QUARTER
Harding Academy - Stone Sheffield 33-yard run (Sloan kick), 10:52
Heber Springs - Martin to Tri Johnson 59-yard pass (Harrod kick), 5:05
Harding Academy - Sipe to Ty Dugger 26-yard pass (Sloan kick), 3:03
FOURTH QUARTER
Heber Springs - Rubio 1-yard run (Harrod kick), 9:42
Harding Academy - Sipe to Dugger 23-yard pass (Sloan kick), 8:10
Heber Springs - Martin to Tri Johnson 76-yard pass (Harrod kick), 7:18
Harding Academy - Sipe to Sheffield 34-yard pass (Sloan kick), 6:07
Heber Springs - Rubio 10-yard run (Harrod kick), 1:21
Harding Academy - Sipe to Dugger 16-yard pass (Sipe to McGaha pass), 17.9
Heber Springs Adam Martin runs for positive yardage in the first half against Harding Academy. The senior was responsible for four touchdowns. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

TEAM STATS

First Downs by Rush: Heber Springs 12, Harding Academy 5
First Downs by Pass: Heber Springs 12, Harding Academy 17
First Downs by Penalty: Heber Springs 1, Harding Academy 2
Total First Downs: Heber Springs 25, Harding Academy 24
Third-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 16/18, Harding Academy 3/7
Fourth-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 0/0, Harding Academy 0/0
Red-Zone Possessions: Heber Springs 3/3 (3 TDs), Harding 2/3 (2 TDs)
Time of Possession: Heber Springs 30:49, Harding Academy 17:11
Fumbles/Lost: Heber Springs 1/1, Harding Academy 1/0
Turnovers: Heber Springs 1, Harding Academy 1
Points Off Turnovers: Heber Springs 7, Harding Academy 7 
Penalties/Yards: Heber Springs 6/45, Harding Academy 3/30
Plays/Total Offense/YPP: Heber Springs 72/613/8.5, Harding Academy 56/486/8.7
Rushing: Heber Springs 47/251/5.3, Harding Academy 18/120/6.7
Passing: Heber Springs 18/25-362-3/0, Harding Academy 22/38-366-6/1
Sacks/Yards Lost: Heber Springs 2/21, Harding Academy 1/3
Punts: Heber Springs 3/130/43.3, Harding Academy 3/88/29.3
Punts Inside 20: Heber Springs 0, Harding Academy 2
The Heber Springs offensive line. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

INDIVIDUAL STATS

OFFENSE
RUSHING: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio 27/127/4.7, Adam Martin 17/116/6.8, Landon Johnson 3/8/2.7. Harding Academy, Stone Sheffield 13/107/8.2, Caden Sipe 5/13/2.6.
RUSHING RUNS OF 50+: Heber Springs, Adam Martin (1)
RUSHING RUNS OF 40+: Heber Springs, Adam Martin (1) 
RUSHING RUNS OF 30+: Heber Springs, Adam Martin (1). Harding Academy, Stone Sheffield (1), Caden Sipe (1).
RUSHING RUNS OF 20+: Heber Springs, Adam Martin (1), Julio Rubio (1). Harding Academy, Stone Sheffield (2), Caden Sipe (1)
RUSHING RUNS OF 10+: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio (3), Adam Martin (2). Harding Academy, Stone Sheffield (4), Caden Sipe (1).
PASSING: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 18/25-362-3/0. Harding Academy, Caden Sipe 22/38-366-6/1.
RECEIVING: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio 6/111, Matthew Cook 5/65, Tri Johnson 2/135, Fate Berry 2/23, Nathan McKee 1/15, Landon Johnson 1/8, Hunter Kent 1/5. Harding Academy, Ty Dugger 11/194, Isaac Miller 5/75, Connor McGaha 4/49, Stone Sheffield 1/34, Carter Neal 1/14.
RECEPTIONS OF 50+: Heber Springs, Tri Johnson (2).
RECEPTIONS OF 40+: Heber Springs, Tri Johnson (2)
RECEPTIONS OF 30+: Heber Springs, Tri Johnson (2), Matthew Cook (1). Harding Academy, Ty Dugger (2), Stone Sheffield (1).
RECEPTIONS OF 20+: Heber Springs, Tri Johnson (2), Julio Rubio (2), Matthew Cook (1). Harding Academy, Ty Dugger (5), Stone Sheffield (1).
TOTAL OFFENSE: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 478, Julio Rubio 127, Landon Johnson 8. Harding Academy, Caden Side 379, Stone Sheffield 107.
PUNT RETURNS: None
KICK RETURNS: Heber Springs, Matthew Cook 2/39, Tri Johnson 2/30, Levy Phillips 2/14, Jackson West 1/1, Tristan Thissen 1/0. Harding Academy, Ty Dugger 3/69, Stone Sheffield 2/39, Carter Neal 1/13, Parker Golden 1/13. 
FUMBLE RETURNS: None
INTERCEPTION RETURNS: Heber Springs, Dalton McCollum 1/4
ALL-PURPOSE YARDS: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio 238, Tri Johnson 165, Adam Martin 116, Matthew Cook 104, Fate Berry 23, Landon Johnson 16, Nathan McKee 15, Levy Phillips 14, Hunter Kent 5, Dalton McCollum 4, Jackson West 1, Tristan Thissen 0. Harding Academy, Ty Dugger 263, Stone Sheffield 180, Isaac Miller 75, Connor McGaha 49, Carter Neal 27, Parker Golden 13, Caden Sipe 13.
DEFENSE
TACKLES (Shared/Solo/Total): Heber Springs, Fate Berry 4/2/6, Levy Phillips 2/3/5, Tri Johnson 2/2/4, Landon Johnson 2/0/2, Dalton McCollum 0/2/2, Kaden Hughes 2/0/2, Hunter Kent 1/1/2, Nathan McKee 1/1/2, Jackson West 1/1/2, Lawrence Baureis 2/0/2, Tristan Thissen 0/1/1, Devon Doxey 1/0/1, Matthew Cook 1/0/1, Harley Bresnahan 1/0/1, Gus Hannah 1/0/1.
TACKLES FOR LOSS: Heber Springs, Tri Johnson 1.5, Fate Berry 1, Kaden Hughes .5
SACKS/YARDS LOST: Heber Springs, Tri Johnson 1/15, Fate Berry 1/6. Harding Academy, Cooper Welch 1/3/
INTERCEPTIONS: Heber Springs, Dalton McCollum 1/4
FUMBLE RECOVERIES: Harding Academy, Team 1/0
PUNTING: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 3/130/43.3. Harding Academy, Ryan Fox 3/88/29.3
PUNTS INSIDE 20: Harding Academy, Ryan Fox (2).
Heber Springs junior Matthew Cook gets brought down by Harding Academy defender Friday night. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

VIDEO SCENES FROM THE SIDELINES

Opening Coin Toss and Panther Run Out

Heber Springs Cheer and Dance Halftime Show

Heber Springs Band Halftime Show

Heber Springs Halftime Band Jam With Students

PHOTO GAME SCENES

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