Heber Springs leads late, falls to Bald Knob

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Bald Knob’s Samuel Brewer brings down Heber Springs running back Parker Brown during 2-4A action at Bald Knob on Friday. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

BALD KNOB – The Heber Springs Panthers appeared in position for their second 2-4A Conference football win against Bald Knob at Bulldog Stadium on Friday.

Heber Springs (1-1 in 2-4A Conference, 2-3 overall) led 21-12 early in the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs (1-0 in 2-4A Conference, 2-3 overall), drove 63 yards on 10 plays for a touchdown.

Bald Knob’s Brady Johnson turned in the defensive play of the game by intercepting a Xander Lindley pass at the Panther 30-yard line and returned 10 yards.

Four plays later, quarterback Reece Moody scored on a 1-yard sneak as the Bulldogs upset Heber Springs, 26-21.

“Bald Knob moved the ball during the second half, and we didn’t,” Heber Springs coach Todd Wood said when asked the difference during the second half. “Bald Knob pushed our (offensive and defensive) lines around, and we didn’t have a response to them. We have a lot of work to do on our blocking.”

The Bulldogs finished with an advantage of 335 yards to 295 yards in total offense. One of the deciding factors was Bald Knob’s run game. The Bulldogs rushed for 203 yards on 43 attempts to Heber’s 102 yards on 21 carries.

Moody led Bald Knob’s ground game with 93 yards on 16 tries and scored two touchdowns. Bohn Hickman had 64 yards on 16 carries and scored one touchdown. Landon Gilmore ran nine times for 39 yards and one touchdown.

Moody, who compiled 225 total yards, completed 13-of-21 passes for 132 yards. Gilmore and Jamos Holder each caught five passes for 75 and 42 yards, respectively. Gilmore had 114 all-purpose yards.

Chris Roberts and Easton Cusick each intercepted passes for the Panthers.
Brown, who had 202 all-purpose yards, rushed for 77 yards on 13 carries, while Lindley ran eight times for 25 yards. Lindley, who compiled 218 yards of total offense, completed 14-of-27 passes for 193 yards and three touchdowns. Brown was 0-of-1 passing.

Brown also was the leading receiver with six catches for 128 yards and three touchdowns. Chris Edwards caught three passes for 18 yards. Dalton Yancey and Easton Cusick each had two catches for 19 and 18 yards, respectively. Logan Rutledge caught a 10-yard pass.

Johnson intercepted three passes, while Eric Williams had an interception to lead Bald Knob’s defense.

“We tried to get the ball on the edge to Parker because he can make things happen,” Wood said. “That is a coaching point, and we need to a better job doing that for the next game.”

After a scoreless first quarter, Bald Knob took a 6-0 lead by driving 58 yards on 10 plays. Moody broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage on fourth-and-1 and ran 21  yards for the touchdown with 8:57 left in the first half. The try for the 2-point conversion was unsuccessful.

Heber Springs needed one play following the ensuing kickoff to take the lead. Lindley passed to Brown, who slipped free down the sidelines on a 66-yard touchdown play. Gideon Tate kicked the extra point, giving the Panthers a 7-6 lead with 8:43 to go until halftime.

A fourth-down stop at the Heber Springs 48-yard line set up the next score. The Panthers, who overcame a holding penalty, needed eight plays on a 52-yard drive, capped by Brown’s 16-yard touchdown pass from Lindley. Tate’s successful kick increased the lead to 14-6 with 4:29 left in the first half.

Bald Knob pulled to within two points before halftime when Gilmore scored on a 5-yard run at the end of the 9-play, 65-yard drive with 1:23 remaining until intermission. The Panthers held again on the Bulldogs’ 2-point conversion try for a 14-12 halftime lead.

“The defense overall played well during the first half,” Wood said. “They were on the field too long during the second half. Our offense couldn’t move the ball because of a lack of execution.”

Roberts’ 40-yard interception return put Heber Springs in position to build a two-score advantage midway through the third quarter. The Panthers drove from their 43-yard line to the Bald Knob 14-yard line as the quarter ended.

Brown caught his third TD pass from Lindley, a 14-yard grab, on the first play of the fourth quarter. Tate kicked the extra point for a 21-12 lead.

Bald Knob drove 63 yards for the first of two touchdowns during the fourth quarter. Gilmore scored on a 4-yard carry with 6:30 left. The try for the 2-point conversion was unsuccessful as Heber Springs led, 21-18.

Next came Johnson’s interception and set up the winning touchdown.

Holder’s 9-yard reception and Moody’s 10-yard carry for a first-and-goal at the 1. Moody, who also ran for the 2-point conversion, scored on the next play with 3:36 left in the game.

“We had opportunity to win the game, leading by nine points, and couldn’t stop them,” Wood said. “Roberts made a good play on the interception. He jumped at the right time. That play shifted momentum to us.”

Heber Springs had a final opportunity for a comeback win. The Panthers drove to midfield when Lindley attempted to throw over the middle, but Williams intercepted at the Bulldog 43-yard line.

The Panthers will have a bye on Friday before returning to action at Lonoke on Oct. 14.

“We will have two weeks for some of our players to recover from illness and prepare for Lonoke,” Wood said. “We are 1-1 in conference and still have our goal of getting to the playoffs within reach.”

Panthers looking to claim another conference win

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From left, Parker Brown, Dalton Yancey, Xander Lindley and Easton Cusick. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

The Heber Springs Panthers started the 2-4A Conference schedule on a positive foot last Friday and defeated Cave City at Panther Stadium.

Heber Springs (1-0 in 2-4A Conference, 2-2 overall) hope for another fast start beginning at 7 p.m. Friday when the Panthers will meet the Bald Knob Bulldogs (1-3 overall) at Bulldog Stadium in Bald Knob.

Friday’s game will be the conference opener for the Bulldogs, who are coming off an 8-3 win at Magnet Cove, coached by former Panther Caleb Carmichael.

“It’s always good to get the first conference win,” Heber Springs coach Todd Wood said. “We now can focus on the things that matter the most, win the second conference game. We took our first step toward the playoffs, which is one of our season goals. We celebrated until Monday before starting preparation for the next game. We don’t want to take a step backwards, but a step forward.”

After playing run-dominated offenses for four weeks, Heber Springs switched gears in preparing to defend the spread. The Bulldogs, who converted 4-of-9 third-down plays into first downs, rushed for 162 yards and passed for 62 yards against Magnet Cove.

“The defense understands Bald Knob plays a different style of offense from what we saw in the first four games,” Wood said. “Bald Knob will run more than the typical spread team. We need to play aggressive on defense, stop the run and force them to pass. It’s going to be a new challenge for the defense.”

Bald Knob’s losses came to Southside Batesville (28-0), Melbourne (34-14) and Barton (32-24). Wood expects a competitive game, similar to last year’s 14-7 win by the Panthers.

“Bald Knob has a big offensive line that can push a defense,” Wood said. “The quarterback (Reece Moody) is a good runner and passer with size. We must key and keep him contained. They will try and get the run game going and then focus on the pass.”

Heber Springs quarterback Xander Lindley continues his week-to-week improvement. Lindley completed 13-of-15 passes for 179 yards and six touchdowns against Cave City. He had 58 yards rushing on seven attempts. Lindley is the first Panther to pass for six touchdowns in a single game since Brandon Loethen against Arkansas Baptist Prep in 2016.

Easton Cusick emerged as the team’s leading receiver by catching four passes for 76 yards, three for touchdowns. Dalton Yancey also had four catches for 34 yards and one touchdown.

Chris Edwards snagged three passes for 39 yards and one touchdown. Logan Rutledge caught a 20-yard touchdown pass and Parker Brown had one catch for 20 yards.

Wood said, like most games, the battle on the line will decide the outcome.

“Bald Knob’s defensive line will be a challenge for our offensive line,” he said. “We need to move them off the line of scrimmage. The outside linebackers play aggressively, but the focus will be on the guys up front.”
Wood said he liked his offense’s performance last week and looks for more improvement against the Bulldogs on Friday.

“We did a better job of maintaining drives against Cave City, except for the fumble at the 2-yard line before the end of the first half,” Wood said. “I liked our execution, and we did a good job of protecting Xander. Our line is improving every game.”

Another major improvement is the versality of the offense from last year. Brown remains important, but Wood said the development of other players is leading to more production.

Brown surpassed his season rushing total (37-179) from the first three games. He rushed 14 times for 191 yards and scored one touchdown.

“We were one dimensional with Parker last year,” Wood said. “We have guys, like Cusick, Yancey, Rutledge and Edwards, with a lot of catches and yards after the catch. The defense can’t just focus on stopping one player.”

Kenan Sneed and Edwards led the charge for the defense with 22 and 18 tackles, respectively, against Cave City. Edwards was credited with two tackles for a loss. But Wood said other players contributed.

“The only disappointment on defense was letting Cave City complete those passes (7-of-12 for 130 yards),” Wood said. “We were in position to make the play, but didn’t finish the job. We tightened up the defense and played well during the second half. I’m thrilled how Corbin Jones played (offensive and defensive lines). Parker came in when (linebacker Weston) Warden was injured and helped at linebacker.”

Weston’s injury will sideline him for the remainder of the season.

Heber Springs played three consecutive games at home, winning back-to-back games. The Panthers now look for success on the road.

“It’s time to go back on the road and show what we can do,” Wood said. “Our goal is the playoffs. We can’t look ahead, but only to the next game. We hope to be 2-0 in conference going into the bye week.”

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Heber Springs opens season with win at Bald Knob

BALD KNOB – Heber Springs opened its season with a 43-37 nonconference victory at Bald Knob.

Parker Brown and Gavin Vaughn, who was a perfect 6-of-6 from the free-throw line, each scored 9 points to pace the Panthers. J.T. Spears finished with 8 points with all of his scoring coming in the fourth quarter as Heber Springs outscored the Bulldogs, 18-13, over that stretch to claim the win.

The Panthers led 11-3 at the end of the first, and 19-11 at the half, but Bald Knob outscored Heber Springs 13-6 in the third quarter.

The Bulldogs Michael Knight led all scorers with 13 points.

Bald Knob Scoring (37): Garrison Onasch 9, Michael Knight 13, Braden Davis 10, Travis Kersey 5

Heber Springs Scoring (43): Gavin Vaughn 9, Eli Riggs 6, Parker Brown 9, Ladd Choate 6, J.T. Spears 8, Ryan Crocker 5

Heber Springs takes care of Bald Knob in senior girls play

BALD KNOB – Addison Hudspeth finished with 18 points, including three 3-pointers, to help lead Heber Springs to a 46-33 victory over Bald Knob in senior girls nonconference action.

Jaylea Hooten added 15 points in the win, including hitting 7-of-9 from the free-throw line. As a team, the Panthers shot 11-of-17 from the line on the night.

Hope Turney finished with a pair of 3-points as Heber Springs hit six of them on the night.

The Panthers led 17-11 at the half and 32-22 after the end of three quarters of play.

For Bald Knob, Reigiana Ward tied for game-scoring honors with 18 points, including 6-of-7 from the free-throw line. The Bulldogs hit 11-of-14 from the charity strip on the night.

HEBER SPRINGS SCORING (46): Hope Turney 6, Jaylea Hooten 15, Addison Hudspeth 18, Sophie Stone 1, Savannah Stout 5.

BALD KNOB SCORING (33): Reigiana Ward 18, Madi Pierce 7, Kristina Lyons 2, Gabie Roberts 2, Karlie Cochran 3, Brisa Perez 2.

Bald Knop stops Heber Springs Junior Boys

BALD KNOB – Liam Buffalo finished with 14 points but it was not enough as Bald Knob downed Heber Springs, 41-33, in junior boys nonconference play.

Heber Springs led 19-14 at the half and 26-25 at the end of three quarters, but could not hold in the final stanza.

HEBER SPRINGS SCORING (33): Weston Warden 7, Liam Buffalo 14, Jacob Haskett 2, Ty West 8, Rhett Herring 2.

Bald Knob junior girls down Heber Springs

BALD KNOB – Bald Knob outscored Heber Springs 22-4 in the second and third quarters to pull away and claim a 37-19 victory in junior girls action.

The Bulldogs led 10-6 at the end of the first quarter before increasing their advantage to 18-8 at the break.

Heber Springs (0-4) was led by Ella Williams’ seven points.

HEBER SPRINGS SCORING (19): Taylor Parker 5, Baleigh Burchfield 2, Zoey Hendrix 2, Ella Williams 7, Ada Choate 3

BALD KNOB SCORING (37): A. Daugherty 5, A. Foust 8, D. Jackson 6, W. Winkler 6, A. Mullen 2, M. Andrew 3, T. McSpadden 5, T. White 2.

Final seconds belong to Panthers

Heber Springs’ Parker Brown gets a block from teammate Dalton Yancey Friday night at Bald Knob. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

BALD KNOB — Sometimes the best play is not one in the playbook, and it worked for the Heber Springs Panthers against Bald Knob.

Parker Brown caught a 15-yard pass from backup quarterback Easton Cusick with 5.6 seconds left for a 14-7 win in a 2-4A Conference football game on the rain-soaked grass at Bulldog Stadium on Friday.

The touchdown completed a fourth-quarter rally and the first time Heber Springs won back-to-back games since the 2019 season.

The win moved the Panthers (2-2 in conference, 3-3) into a tie fourth place with Clinton and Little Rock Mills in the conference standings.

Bald Knob led 7-0 at the half and at the end of the third quarter.

The winning drive started at the Bulldog 38 with 2:19 left in the game. Bald Knob forced the Panthers into a fourth-and-2 at the 30-yard line. Cusick rolled to his left and connected on a 15-yard pass to Dalton Yancey for a first down at the 15-yard line.

After Cusick threw incomplete, he hit Brown in stride at the 1-yard line for the game winner.

“We wanted to spread the defense,” Heber Springs coach Todd Wood said. “We decided not to try and kick a field goal because we were going into the wind. We made two adjustments on the play and asked Parker to run to the middle, and he did that perfectly. Cusick hit him in stride.”

Parker caught the pass at the 1 and scored untouched.

“That was a great play call by coach Wood,” Cusick said. “Parker cut inside and caught the ball. It was a beautiful play and worked out perfectly.”

“We wanted to get it in the end zone,” Brown said. “The coaches said we could do it by getting the ball to the middle of the defense.”

Wood said Kenan Sneed’s 48-yard interception return earlier in the fourth quarter switched the momentum. Sneed’s score came with 10:02

“The game changed after Sneed’s pick six,” Wood said. “It gave energy to our team. We had turned the ball over on downs, but Sneed’s pick turned the tide.”

Bald Knob stopped Heber Springs on downs inside the Bulldog 30-yard line. Quarterback Leason Pierce’s pass bounced off the chest of a Bald Knob receiver into the hands of Sneed.

“The (Bald Knob) offensive line stepped back and I read the play immediately,” Sneed said. “The ball hit the player in the chest and popped into the air. I happened to be in the right place. I thought they would catch me and ran as fast as I could.”

Cusick, who had been a starting wide receiver, completed 9-of-16 passes for 56 yards. He replaced Xander Lindley, who suffered a broken collarbone.

“Hats off to Easton,” Wood said. “He took a few snaps in games and works at quarterback during practice. Easton came up to me on the sidelines and asked, ‘Coach, let me have the ball and let me go.’ I followed his lead, and he did a fantastic job.”

Cusick, who was not sacked during the second half, admitted that he was nervous in the beginning, but felt more comfortable after halftime.

“It’s more nerve wrecking in a game than in practice,” he said. “The second half was more relaxing, and we were moving the ball. We pulled together, and I could not have done this without my teammates.”

Sneed said the availability of a net helped Cusick and the team regroup at halftime.

“Easton kicked into a net during halftime inside the dressing room and also worked on passing. He was ready to play in the second half.”

Bald Knob started in Heber Springs territory on all five first-half possessions — 43-, 18-, 19-, 30- and 29-yard lines. The Panthers, who had only one penalty for 5 yards, held the Bulldogs to 84 of its 191 yards of offense during the first half and forced three turnovers on the night.

Heber Springs was limited to 13 yards during the first half and 139 yards for the game.

Pierce, who rushed for a game-high 121 yards on 29 carries, needed only one play to put Bald Knob on the scoreboard. After a short punt into the wind, he scored on a 19-yard keeper with 9:01 left in the first half. Marcus McGahee kicked the extra point for the 7-0 lead.

The Bulldogs had an opportunity to increase the lead, but McGahee, with the wind at his back, missed a 45-yard field goal attempt with 52 seconds to go until halftime.

“Our defense kept us in the game during the first half,” Wood said. “They understood the situation and did a fantastic job. We were in a situation when things were going against us and put our backs against the wall. But the players continued to fight.”

Heber Springs will return home and play Southside Batesville, a 59-19 winner against Central Arkansas Christian, on Friday.

“It’s a good feeling with back-to-back wins,” Wood said. “Our guys understand we must take one game a time. Southside is very good team, and we will now focus on them.”

HEBER SPRINGS AT BALD KNOB
October 15, 2021 
Heber Springs (3-3, 2-2)   0   0   0  14 - 14
Bald Knob (0-6, 0-4)       0   7   0   0 -  7 
SECOND QUARTER 
BK - Leason Pierce 20-yard run (Marcus McGahee kick), 9:07
FOURTH QUARTER 
HS - Kenan Sneed 48-yard interception return (Gideon Tate kick), 10:02
HS - Easton Cusick to Parker Brown 15-yard pass (Tate kick), :5.6
TEAM STATISTICS 
FIRST DOWNS: HS 11, BK 10
RUSHES-YARDS: HS 35/83, BK 44/177
PASSING YARDS: HS 56, BK 14
COMP-ATT-INT: HS 9-17-1, BK 2-7-2
TOTAL OFFENSE: HS 139, BK 191
FUMBLES: HS 1, BK 1
PENALITIES-YARDS: HS 1/5, BK 9/75
PUNTS-AVERAGE: HS 4/23, BK 2/37
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS 
RUSHING: HS, Parker Brown 19/64, Easton Cusick 9/27, Kenan Sneed 1/4, Jackson West 1/3, Xander Lindley 4/(-5), Team 1/(-10). BK, Leason Pierce 29/121, Dane Lindsey 14/54, Team 1/2. 
PASSING: HS, Cusick 9/16-56-1/1, Lindley 0/1-0-0/0. BK, Pierce 2/7-14-0/2
RECEVING: HS, Austin Winchester 3/9, Dalton Yancey 2/24, Jackson West 2/11, Parker Brown 1/15, Chris Edwards 1/(-3). BK, Hunter Deflorian 1/13, Dane Lindsey 1/1. 
KICKOFF RETURNS: BK, Marcus McGahee 1/13, Langston Lindsey 1/7
PUNT RETURNS: None
INTERCEPTION RETURNS: HS, Kenan Sneed 1/48, Dalton Yancey 1/3. BK, Langston Lindsey 1/4
FUMBLE RETURNS: None
PUNTS: HS, Cusick 4/92, Chris Gomez 2/74.

Panther GameDay: Bald Knob, Heber Springs look to stay in playoff hunt

The Heber Springs defense, from left, Lucas Langster (50), Payton Owens (68), Thad Bray (55) and Jackson West (23), hits the road tonight at Bald Knob. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

Heber Springs will play the second of an important 4-game stretch with the same approach — focus on the next opponent.

The Panthers (1-2 in 2-4A Conference, 2-3) will play the winless Bald Knob Bulldogs (0-3 in 2-4A Conference, 0-6) at Bulldog Stadium in Bald Knob at 7 p.m. Friday.

Hooten’s Magazine made the Bulldogs an 1-point favorite against Heber Springs in its weekly Class 4A predictions.

It also will be homecoming for Bald Knob, which lost to conference leader Stuttgart 42-19 last week. The Panthers are coming off a 47-26 win against Central Arkansas Christian.

“Win or lose, we always only look at the next game,” Heber Springs coach Todd Wood said. “We have a group of good guys, who aren’t looking past Bald Knob. We played our most complete game of the season against CAC. I liked what I’ve seen during practice this week.”

Running back Parker Brown and quarterback Xander Lindley were responsible for 470 yards for the Panthers against CAC. Brown rushed 16 times for 223 yards and four touchdowns, and he caught three passes for 44 yards and one touchdown.

Lindley completed 11-of-13 passes for 113 yards and one touchdown against the Mustangs. He ran for 134 yards on 13 carries and scored two touchdowns.

“Parker did what he was capable of, and Xander continues to mature at quarterback,” Wood said. “I’m proud of the number of players — receivers Chris Edwards, Austin Winchester, Easton Cusick, Dalton Yancey and Jackson West — touching the ball. When you can spread the ball around to that many receivers, that helps an offense quite a bit.”  

Brown didn’t set a school or stadium single-game record with his five total touchdowns. However, he did become the first Panther to have a 200-yard rushing and a 200-yard receiving games during the same season. Markeyvus Mays rushed for seven touchdowns on 11 carries in a win over Cave City on Nov. 4, 2010. Jerry Pilkington holds the school record with eight rushing touchdowns against Ola on Oct. 14, 1949.

Wood also was elated with the Panthers not having a turnover. Heber Springs had eight turnovers in the first four games.

“We spent more time this year stressing the importance of protecting the ball,” he said. “We didn’t do that much last year because of limited practice time because of Covid-19.”

Brown is the leading rusher for the Panthers with 537 yards on 63 carries and seven touchdowns. He has caught eight passes for 264 yards and four touchdowns.

Lindley has completed 35-of-61 passes for 516 yards and five touchdowns. He is the team’s second-leading rusher with 185 yards on 54 attempts and two touchdowns.

Wood said credit for the offense’s success against CAC came from the performance of the offensive line — Lucas Langster (left guard), Payton Owens (left tackle), Zach Thomas (center), Tristan Thissen (right guard) and Thad Bray (right tackle).

“I really enjoyed watching them on film after the game,” he said. “It was good seeing them come off the ball strong, and they executed well. They are showing improvement, and we need it to continue.”

Wood recalled the six turnovers — four interceptions and two fumbles — against Bald Knob in last year’s 35-15 loss.

Quarterback Leason Pierce, who completed 13-of-23 passes for 156 yards and three touchdowns in 2020, returns for the Bulldogs. Pierce connected on 11-of-17 passes for 132 yards during the second half. Bald Knob converted 5-of-7 third-down plays, and 2-of-8 plays on fourth down.

Wood is confident that his defense with a year of experience, plus playing three of the conference’s best quarterbacks this season, will play well.

“I told the players and defensive coaches we faced a talented mobile quarterback for the past three weeks,” he said. “They had speed and were able to go outside the pocket and make plays. We are looking at a quarterback (Pierce) who doesn’t have that kind of speed, but he has the ability to make things happens. We must contain him in the pocket.”

Linebackers Kenan Sneed, Hayden Johnson and West continue to lead the Heber Springs defense. Sneed had 21 tackles against CAC, while Johnson recorded 13 tackles and West was credited with 12 tackles.

“I’m pleased with our defense,” Wood said. “They did a good job of containing (CAC quarterback) Tyler Williams. He got a couple of big plays, but we kept him contained most of the game. Sneed puts up the numbers, and Johnson is playing well and making big plays.”

Wood said the play of the defensive line is improving.

“We changed our tactics and our strength is beginning to show,” he said. “Owens has been a surprise. Langster has the speed, and Bray has the size. The line can cause trouble for other teams.”

Wood said the formula is simple for a win.

“On offense, we must control and protect ball and execute well,” he said. “On defense, we must pressure the quarterback.”

  • Kickoff: 7 p.m. at Bald Knob
  • Radio/Streaming: Billy Morgan with handle the play-by-play with Lance Hamilton providing color on KSUG 101.9 The Lake. Panther Pregame begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by the game. Streaming is available on The Lake’s YouTube page.

THE SERIES: Bald Knob leads 38-23-2

SERIES HISTORY: This will be the 64th time these two schools have meet on the football field. Heber Springs and Bald Knob first played during the 1929 season, a 26-2, Panther victory. It would be 11 more seasons before the two teams played again, a 1940 12-0 victory by Heber Springs. Heber Springs would win the first three games in the series before Bald Knob would win 18 out of 20 games played (a 1950 34-13 win by the Panthers broke a five-game losing streak in the series while a 1964 12-7 win broke a 10-game losing streak). The series would be fairly even before Heber Springs won eight straight from 1976 through 1983 before the Bulldogs closed out the 1980s winning six-in-a-row. In the 1990s, the teams would meet seven times with the Panthers getting wins during the 1990 and 1999 seasons. Since the 2005 season, Heber Springs and Bald Knob have played 10 times with the Panthers winning seven of those contests, but the Bulldogs did spoil the Heber Springs’ homecoming last season with a 35-15 victory.

2A-4 CONFERENCE STANDINGS
                            W L CP  W L PS  PA 
Stuttgart                   3 0 29  5 1 208 112 
Little Rock Mills           2 1 26  5 1 276 151 
Lonoke                      2 1 26  5 1 197 105
Southside Batesville        2 1 15  4 2 197 118                      
Clinton                     2 1 23  3 3 168 179  
Heber Springs               1 2 13  2 3 112 146  
Bald Knob                   0 3  0  0 6  74 195
Central Arkansas Christian  0 3  0  2 4 159 278    

Friday, October 9
Heber Springs 47, Central Arkansas Christian 26
Stuttgart 42, Bald Knob 19
Southside Batesville 38, Lonoke 36 (OT)
Clinton 38, Little Rock Mills 28
Friday, October 16
Heber Springs at Bald Knob
Southside Batesville at Central Arkansas Christian
Lonoke at Little Rock Mills
Clinton at Stuttgart

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)

Panther Cubs claim win over Bullpups

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Heber Springs’ Josiah Riggs sacks Bald Knob quarterback Seften Polamares during seventh-grade action Thursday night at Panther Stadium. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

HEBER SPRINGS – The Heber Springs seventh-grade Panthers earned their second win of the season with a rain-shortened 14-0 victory over Bald Knob Thursday night at Panther Stadium.

Heber Springs struck first when Samuel Bush scored on a 63-yard run. The 2-point conversion failed.

The Panthers added another first-half touchdown when Lachlan Tubbs scored on a 1-yard run. Tubbs connected with Bush for the 2-point conversion. A 40-yard pass from Tubbs to Landon Brown set-up the touchdown run.

With just over 11 minutes left in the contest, lightning delayed the game 30 minutes before it was canceled giving the Panther Cubs earn the win.

HEBER SPRINGS 7TH-GRADE SCHEDULE

(All Game Times are 5:30 p.m.)

Aug. 26 – Clinton 16, Heber Springs 14

Sep. 09 – at Harding Academy (Canceled)

Sep. 16 – Heber Springs 16, Dover 6

Sep. 23 – Lonoke 20, Heber Springs 6

Sep. 28 – Stuttgart 6, Heber Springs 0

Oct. 07 – Central Arkansas Christian 8, Heber Springs 0

Oct. 14 – Heber Springs 14, Bald Knob 0

Oct. 21 – at Southside Batesville

Oct. 28 – at Clinton