By PHILIP SEATON
Liam Buffalo passed for more than 300 yards and Parker Brown had three touchdown receptions as Heber Springs improved to 4-1 on the season with a 49-26 victory over Central Arkansas Christian Thursday at Panther Stadium in 2-4A junior high play.
The two teams combined for 755 yards of total offense (417 for Heber Springs and 238 for CAC), but early on it was defensive stand that help put the Panthers on the scoreboard first.
After the Mustangs took the opening kickoff and drove from their own 36 to the Panther 17, Heber Springs stopped the drive on fourth down as Grayson Wilson’s pass attempt fell short for the Mustangs.
Four plays later, Buffalo connected with Dalton Yancey for a 70-yard touchdown strike. Gideon Tate kicked the PAT and Heber Springs led 7-0 with 1:30 left in the opening quarter.
After the two team traded three-and-outs, CAC took the ground on the Panther 47 and used an 11-play (all rushes), 5:39 drive, to pull within a point at 7-6 with 1:22 left in the half. The 2-point conversion failed.
Heber Springs wasn’t finished in the half as Buffalo took the snap at the buzzer rolled to his left and found Hud Haggard in the back of the end zone for the score. A Buffalo 24-yard run had set-up the score, but the key play on the drive came on the play before as Buffalo connected with Xander Lindley on a fourth-and-1 from the CAC 45 for a 13-yard completion.
The Panthers would go up 21-6 to start the second half when Buffalo connected with Brown for a 27-yard touchdown with 6:09 left in the third. But the key play on the drive came on a fourth-and-1 from the Panther 25 when Buffalo hit Yancey for a 37-yard, first-down pass completion.
That six-play drive would be the longest of the second half until the waning seconds of the game as the two teams traded scoring jabs with one exception.
Wilson would connect with Caden Rhoads for a 41-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-12 with 4:18 left in the third.
On the ensuing kick off, Lindley returned it 81 yards for the quick answer at the 4:06 mark.
A minute later, Wilson hit Renalson Sullivan for a 55-yard touchdown reception for make it 28-18 with 3:06 left in the third.
With 55.5 seconds left in the quarter, Buffalo found Brown for a 30-yard scoring play putting the Panthers up 35-18 to start the fourth.
On a fourth-and-12 from the Panther 40 on the ensuing drive, Wilson connected with Vance Strange for a 10-yard completion, but the Panthers held and four plays later Heber Springs would go up 42-18 as Buffalo again found Brown this time for a 60-yard score to make it 42-18 with 6:08 to play.
Wilson connected with Sullivan again, this time for a 35-yard touchdown pass, to make it 42-26 with 4:40 left in the contest.
Heber Springs would go the ground and pick up the final points of the game as Tate would score on a 15-yard run with 2:22 left. Tate added the PAT kick to finish the night a perfect seven-for-seven.
Buffalo , who had 344 yards of total offense, finished the night completing 15 of 25 passes for 304 yards and five touchdowns. Brown caught seven of those passes for 142 yards and three scores while Yancey had four receptions for 128 yards and a score.
For CAC, Wilson was 10 of 19 passing for 231 yards and five touchdowns. Sullivan finished with five receptions for 129 yards and three touchdowns to pace the Mustangs.
Heber Springs will look to improve to 3-1 in conference play on Thursday when the Panthers travel to Bald Knob for a 7 p.m. kickoff.