Panther PostGame

Heber Springs turns the lights out on Bald Knob, 34-7

Heber Springs’ Nathan McKee, front, celebrates a first-quarter touchdown with teammate Matthew Cook in a 34-7 Panther win on Friday. Cook scored on the play. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

October 18, 2019

BALD KNOB – Heber Springs set the tone on its first possession and kept it going until the final whistle with a convincing 34-7 victory over Bald Knob Friday night.

The win by the Panthers improved their record to 2-5 on the season, but more importantly moved their conference mark to 2-2 on the year keeping their playoff hopes alive.

Heber Springs won the toss and took the football to start the game. Taking over on their own 15, the Panthers put together one of their best drives of the season marching downfield with a mixture of Adam Martin through the air and Julio Rubio on the ground. Rubio carried the ball six times on the drive for 32 yards while Martin complete seven of eight pass attempts for 60 yards including the last one of the drive, a 10-yard scoring strike to junior Matthew Cook. That play capped off a 15-play, 85-yard drive that took almost five minutes off the first quarter clock.

Bald Knob appeared to be poised to respond after Tyrese Dinwiddie returned the kickoff 24 yards to the Bulldog 42. Six plays later, Bald Knob had a first-and-Goal from the Panther 10, but the Panther defense stiffened forcing a turnover on downs at the 1.

Martin was able to coax Bald Knob to jump offsides twice, in-between an eight-yard run by Rubio, to push the ball to the Panther 19. Heber Springs then continued to chew up clock and march the ball downfield on a 13-play, 99-yard drive that Rubio capped off with a 2-yard touchdown run with 11:32 to play in the first half. Jackson Harrod kicked the PAT to make it 14-0. The big plays both came on third as Rubio ran 26 yards from the Bald Knob 41 to the 15. After a holding penalty, Martin converted another third down by hitting Nathan McKee for a 15-yard completion.

Bald Knob again reached the Panther red zone on its ensuing possession with a 13-play, 62-yard drive, but again the Heber Springs’ defense stiffened forcing another turnover on downs at the Panther 3.

Disaster almost struck on the ensuing Panther possession as Martin was intercepted at the 32 by Colton Collins, who returned the ball to the Panther 17. Yet again, the Heber Springs defense rose to the challenge stopping the Bulldogs pushing them back to Panther 23, thanks in part to intentional grounding call on the Bulldog quarterback on third down.

The Panthers took over on their own 18 with 3:04 left in the half and used a 11-play drive to go up 21-0 with 24.9 seconds left in the first half as Landon Johnson ran the ball in from the 3. The big play on the drive came early as the Panthers faced a third-and-6 from the Panther 22 when Martin found Fate Berry for a 20-yard completion. Martin also connected with McKee for gains of 8, 11 and 13 yards with the latter moving the ball to the Bulldog where Johnson ran the ball in.

After a 41-yard kickoff return to start the second half, Bald Knob quickly got on the board to make it game again with a six-play, 45-yard drive that Josh Clark finished off with a 3-yard run with 9:27 to play in the third quarter.

But Heber Springs responded on its first possession of the second stanza with Diego Rubio setting the tone. The junior returned the kickoff from the Panther 27 to the Bulldog 49. Seven players later, Martin connected with Landon Johnson for a 5-yard touchdown pass with 7:08 to play in the third. The snap was high on the PAT attempt. The big play came on third down from the Bulldog 37 when Martin scrambled for a 15-yard gain and was hit by Bulldog defender after he had stepped out of bounds.

The score would remain 27-7 until late in the contest when Kaden Hughes blocked a Bulldog punt giving the Panthers a short field at the Bald Knob 14. Five plays later, Landon Johnson ran the ball in from the 2 for his third score of the night to make it 34-7 with 2:30 to play.






BLOCKED PUNT: Heber Springs recorded its first blocked punt of the season when Kaden Hughes was able to get to Bald Knob punter Leason Pierce. The Panthers didn’t recover the loose ball, but did take over deep in Bulldog territory leading to Heber Springs’ final score.

Heber Springs’ Nathan McKee, Landon Johnson and Kaden Hughes bring down Bald Knob’s Josh Clark late in the fourth quarter Friday night. Clark had covered a blocked punt before being brought down by the Heber Springs defenders. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

CENTURY MARK: Julio Rubio rushed for 166 yards, his third time this season to rush for 100 yards or more. His tied for the team lead with Adam Martin.

CLOSING THE GAP: The Panthers win was the 23rd time Heber Springs has defeated Bald Knob. The Bulldogs still lead the all-time series, 37-23-2, but Heber Springs has won seven out of the last nine meetings.

THIRD-DOWN: After struggling in conference play on third-down conversions, Heber Springs was 10 of 14 against Bald Knob. It was the Panthers highest conversion rate since their final nonconference contest against Harding Academy.

RED-ZONE DEFENSE: Opponents had scored 20 out of 24 times (87 percent) when they reached inside the Panther 20-yard line. Friday night against Bald Knob, Heber Springs held the Bulldogs to one score out of five trips into the Panther red zone.

TURNOVERS: Heber Springs recorded one turnover Friday night. On the season, the Panthers are -10 in takeaways.

Heber Springs quarterback Adam Martin. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO


Heber Springs (2-2, 2-5)      7  14   6   7  - 34    
Bald Knob (2-2, 2-5)          0   0   7   0  -  7    

Heber Springs - Adam Martin to Matthew Cook 10-yard pass (Jackson Harrod kick), 7:03  
Heber Springs - Julio Rubio 2-yard run (Harrod kick)
Heber Springs - Landon Johnson 3-yard run (Harrod kick)
Bald Knob - Josh Clark 3-yard run (Brendan Roberts kick). 9:27
Heber Springs - Martin to Landon Johnson 4-yard pass (pass failed), 7:08
Heber Springs - Landon Johnson 2-yard run (Harrod kick), 2:30
Heber Springs’ Hunter Kent. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO


First Downs by Rush: Heber Springs 12, Bald Knob 12   
First Downs by Pass: Heber Springs 9, Bald Knob 2   
First Downs by Penalty: Heber Springs 0, Bald Knob 0   
Total First Downs: Heber Springs 21, Bald Knob 13   
Third-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 10/14, Bald Knob 4/10   
Fourth-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 1/2, Bald Knob 0/4   
Red-Zone Possessions: Heber Springs 5/6, Bald Knob 1/5     
Time of Possession: Heber Springs 24:38, Bald Knob 23:22  
Fumbles/Lost: Heber Springs 1/0, Bald Knob 0/0    
Turnovers: Heber Springs 1, Bald Knob 0    
Points Off Turnovers: Heber Springs 0, Bald Knob 0     
Penalties/Yards: Heber Springs 5/40, Bald Knob 7/58   
Plays/Total Offense/YPP: Heber Springs 68/434/6.4, Bald Knob 60/239/3.9   
Rushing: Heber Springs 43/249/5.8, Bald Knob 44/207/4.7 
Passing: Heber Springs 18/25-185-2/1, Bald Knob 7/16-32-0/0    
Sacks/Yards Lost: Heber Springs 0/0, Bald Knob 0/0  
Punts: Heber Springs 1/48/48, Bald Knob 2/36/18   
Punts Inside 20: Heber Springs 0, Blad Knob 0
Blocked Punts: Heber Springs 1 
Heber Springs’ Jackson Harrod with the PAT kick. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO


RUSHING: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio 23/166/7.2, Landon Johnson 10/32/3.2, Adam Martin 8/48/6, Diego Rubio 1/2/2, Levy Phillips 1/1. Bald Knob, Josh Clark 16/63/3.9, Johnson Capps 9/66/7.3, Bradyn Cline 8/40/5, Marcus McGahee 5/34/6.8, Leason Pierce 4/23, Team 2/(-19).     
RUSHING RUNS OF 40+: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio (1) 
RUSHING RUNS OF 30+: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio (1)
RUSHING RUNS OF 20+: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio (2). Bald Knob, Johnson Capps (1), Marcus McGahee (1).
RUSHING RUNS OF 10+: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio (5), Adam Martin (2). Bald Knob Johnson Capps (2), Josh Clark (1), Marcus McGahee (1).
PASSING: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 18/25-185-2/1. Bald Knob, Johnson Capps 6/14-35-0/0, Leason Pierce 1/2-(-3)-0/0.
RECEIVING: Heber Springs, Nathan McKee 7/67, Matthew Cook 4/25, Landon Johnson 3/31, Fate Berry 2/34, Jackson West 1/18, Tri Johnson 1/10. Bald Knob, Tyrese Dinwiddie 4/12, Colton Collins 1/18, Josh Clark 1/5, Matthew Smith 1/(-3).   
TOTAL OFFENSE: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 233, Julio Rubio 166, Landon Johnson 32, Diego Rubio 2, Levy Phillips 1. Bald Knob, Johnson Capps 101, Josh Clark 63, Bradyn Cline 40, Marcus McGahee 34, Leason Pierce 20, Team (-19). 
KICK RETURNS: Heber Springs, Diego Rubio 1/24, Hunter Kent 1/-4. Bald Knob, Josh Clark 2/53, Tyrese Dinwiddie 3/52, Colton Collins 1/11.  
INTERCEPTION RETURNS: Bald Knob, Colton Collins 1/15 
ALL-PURPOSE YARDS: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio 166, Nathan McKee 67, Landon Johnson 63, Adam Martin 48, Fate Berry 34, Diego Rubio 26, Matthew Cook 25, Jackson West 18, Tri Johnson 10, Levy Phillips 1, Hunter Kent (-4).
TACKLES (Shared/Solo/Total): Heber Springs, Fate Berry 7/5/12, Landon Johnson 11/1/12, Nathan McKee 6/2/8, Kaden Hughes 3/4/7, Hunter Kent 6/1/7, Jackson West 5/1/6, Diego Rubio 4/1/5, Nicholas Hitchcock 3/2/5, Levy Phillips 3/1/4, Lawrence Baureis 3/0/3, Preston Jones 2/0/2, Devon Doxey 1/1/2, Dalton McCollum 1/0/1, Trent Barnes 1/0/1. 
TACKLES FOR LOSS: Heber Springs, Kaden Hughes 2, Landon Johnson 1, Devon Doxey 1.
INTERCEPTIONS: Bald Knob, Colton Collins 1 
PUNTING: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 1/48/48. Bald Knob, Leason Pierce 1/36/36, Team 1/0/0.  
BLOCKED PUNTS: Heber Springs, Kaden Hughes 1  
Heber Springs receiver Matthew Cook fights for yards against Bald Knob. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

PLAYOFFS: Riverview is the only team from the conference that has clinched a playoff spot leaving four more up for grabs. Riverview can clinch a share of its first ever football conference title with a win against Bald Knob at home and a Heber Springs win against Southside Batesville. No teams have been eliminated from playoff contention so far, but that could change Friday night if Stuttgart falls to Little Rock Mills.


                            W L CP  W L PS  PA   
Riverview                   4 0 36  6 1 246 189 
Southside Batesville        3 1 28  5 2 220 176     
Lonoke                      2 2 15  3 4 211 227
Heber Springs               2 2 14  2 5 177 203        
Bald Knob                   2 2  8  2 5 113 212      
Little Rock Mills           2 2  8  3 4 145 172    
Central Arkansas Christian  1 3 13  3 4 206 187       
Stuttgart                   0 4  0  0 7 190 258   

Friday, October 18 
Heber Springs 34, Bald Knob 7 
Southside Batesville 21, Central Arkansas Christian 19
Little Rock Mills 14, Lonoke 9
Riverview 41, Stuttgart 38

Friday, October 25
Heber Springs at Southside Batesville
Stuttgart at Little Rock Mills
Central Arkansas Christian at Lonoke
Bald Knob at Riverview

Friday, November 1
Bald Knob at Central Arkansas Christian
Riverview at Heber Springs
Stuttgart at Lonoke
Little Rock Mills at Southside Batesville

Thursday, November 7
Lonoke at Riverview

Friday, November 8
Bald Knob at Southside Batesville
Heber Springs at Little Rock Mills
Central Arkansas Christian at Stuttgart



By Billy Smallwood

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