Stuttgart runs past Heber Springs in 2-4A contest

Heber Springs quarterback Xander Lindley attempts to allude several Stuttgart defenders in action from Panther Stadium. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO


Stuttgart’s running game overwhelmed the Heber Spring Panther defense during Friday’s 2-4A Conference football game at Panther Stadium.

The Ricebirds (3-1 in 2-4A Conference, 6-2 overall) rushed for 424 yards and four touchdowns, including two 70-yard plus scoring plays, and coasted past the Panthers 38-6 and stayed one-half game behind second-place Lonoke in the conference standings.

Heber Springs (1-3 in 2-4A Conference, 2-5 overall), remained in a fourth-place tie with Bald Knob and Cave City, one-half game ahead of Riverview.

Cedric Hawkins carried 13 times for 214 yards and scored three touchdowns. Deontae Clark rushed for 115 yards on 17 attempts and completed 4-of-7 passes for 50 yards and one touchdown to Kentavian Daniels.

Hawkins, who had 258 all-purpose yards, and Clark combined for 379 of Stuttgart’s 474 yards of total offense.

“We played a very physical team for the second week in a row,” said Heber Springs coach Todd Wood, referring to the previous week’s loss at Lonoke. “We had opportunities on offense and showed flashes from Jonesboro Westside and Cave City games. That was encouraging.”

The Panthers, who didn’t have a turnover in a single game for the first time this season last week at Lonoke, lost three fumbles, one setting up a touchdown, and an interception. Heber Springs had 16 turnovers during the first five games.

The Panthers compiled 273 yards of total offense – 143 rushing and 130 passing.

Running back Parker Brown ran 12 times for 75 yards and caught four passes for 54 yards. Quarterback Xander Lindley gained 34 yards on 11 carries. Gideon Tate rushed five times for 24 yards.

Lindley, who finished with 164 yards of total offense, completed 16-of-22 passes for 130 yards and one touchdown. Easton Cusick caught seven passes for 64 yards and scored one touchdown. Dalton Yancey had five catches for 12 yards.

Brown compiled 129 all-purpose yards, including six kickoff returns for 68 yards. Cusick gained 113 all-purpose yards, which included five kickoff returns for 49 yards.

“We had guys in the right places and executed on offense at times,” Wood said. “When we got into the red zone, we have to put points on the board.”
Wood said he talked with the team before the game about preventing big plays by the Stuttgart offense.

“Defensively, we needed to eliminate explosive plays. We must contain and tackle better. We have a way to go in learning how to get the right tackling angles and how to execute better on defense. Our goals remain to improve every game and get into the playoffs.”

Stuttgart, which overcame two offsides and a holding penalties, received the opening kickoff and drove 52 yards on nine plays. Hawkins scored on a 2-yard carry with 8:17 left in the first quarter. Jack Hosman kicked the extra point for the 7-0 lead.

The Ricebirds increased their lead when Stuttgart linebacker Cade Coats returned a Parker Brown fumble 14 yards to the Heber Springs 33-yard line and set up the game’s second touchdown. Clark connected on a 21-yard scoring pass to Daniels and Hosman’s successful kick gave the Ricebirds a 14-0 lead with 26 seconds to go in the first quarter.

Heber Springs’ only first-half scoring opportunity at the end of a 42-yard drive to the Stuttgart 14-yard line. Tate’s 31-yard field-goal try went wide.
Stuttgart needed only two plays to reach the end zone again. Hawkins’ 79-yard run and Hosman’s successful kick gave the Ricebirds a 21-0 halftime lead.

Stuttgart extended its lead during the third quarter on Hosman’s 24-yard field goal and Hawkins’ 87-yard touchdown run. The Ricebirds took a 31-0 lead into the fourth quarter.

Heber Springs avoided a shutout by driving 80 yards on 11 plays during the fourth quarter. The Panthers moved into scoring position thanks to Lindley’s three pass completions to Brown. Cusick caught a 21-yard scoring pass from Lindley with 8:38 to play. Tate’s kick for the extra point was blocked.

Stuttgart’s final touchdown came on a 5-play, 69-yard drive when A.J. Higgins scored on a 2-yard run with 6:38 to play. Hosman kicked the extra point.

Heber Springs will finish a three-week stretch against conference contenders when the Panthers host first place Harding Academy on Friday.

“We knew this was going to be a tough stretch,” Wood said. “It will not get any easier against Harding, perhaps the best team in the conference. We still will be working on executing better.”

Even with another loss, the Panthers can punch a postseason ticket by winning at Riverview on Nov. 4.

“We don’t want to be in the position that the playoffs may be determined in our final game,” Wood said. “Our plan is to come out and stop Harding, and continue growth on offense and defense. Our playoff fate is still in our hands.”

Senior linebacker Chris Edwards was held out of the Stuttgart game following an injury at Lonoke.

“He could have played against Stuttgart, but we decided to hold him out,” Wood said. “He may play in the Harding game.”

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Stuttgart stops Heber Springs in junior high action

Heber Springs’ Weston Warden runs past Stuttgart’s Devontae Clark (4) and Cade Coats (22) for a first-half score Thursday night in Stuttgart. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO


STUTTGART -Stuttgart took advantage of three Heber Springs turnovers and used a persistent ground game to hand the junior Panthers a 28-14 setback Thursday night.

It was the first lost on the season for Heber Springs (3-1, 1-1).

Stuttgart rushed 40 times for 241 yards with the bulk of that coming from DeVontae Clark (22 carries for 85 yards) and quarterback Landon Melynchuck (11 carries for 108 yards).

The game was scoreless early on as Stuttgart threatened early after the Ricebirds’ Trez Hammond picked off Heber Springs’ Liam Buffalo at the Panther 41 and returned it 27 yards. But the Heber Springs defense stiffened stopping the scoring threat as Parker Brown sacked Melynchuck for an 11-yard loss on fourth down.

Four straight incompletions by Heber Springs gave the Ricebirds the ball back at the Panther 27, and three plays later Melynchuck rushed 11 yards for the score to make it 6-0 Stuttgart with 23 seconds left in the opening quarter. The 2-point conversion failed.

Heber Springs responded to go up 7-6 on its next drive. A five-play, 42-yard drive was capped off when Buffalo connected with Weston Warden for a 19-yard touchdown pass. Gideon Tate added the PAT kick with 7:05 left in the half.

An 11-yard touchdown run by Melynchuck with 3:22 left in the second quarter put Stuttgart up 12-7. After another interception by the Stuttgart defense, Clark would score on a 10-yard run to put the Ricebirds up 20-7 at the half.

Heber Springs threatened in the third quarter but Buffalo was picked off by Matthew Luster at the Ricebird 3 with 2:43 left in the quarter. Five plays later, Clark would push his way into the end zone to make it 28-7 (after the Ricebirds completed the 2-point conversion on a run by Hammond) with 1:12 left in the third.

The Panthers would add a late score as Buffalo connected with Dalton Yancey on an 18-yard pass with 2:24 left in the contest. Tate added the PAT kick.

Buffalo finished the night 12 of 29 passing for 122 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.

The Panthers will look to bounce back on Thursday when they host Central Arkansas Christian at Panther Stadium.

Heber Springs’ Dalton Yancey looks to get past Stuttgart’s Trez Hammond in junior high action Thursday night. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

Junior High Stats: Heber Springs at Stuttgart

Junior High Football
October 1, 2020
at Panther Stadium

Heber Springs   0   7   0   7 - 14
Stuttgart       6  14   8   0 - 28

Stuttgart, Landon Melynchuck 11-yard run (pass failed), :23
Heber Springs, Liam Buffalo to Weston Warden 19-yard pass (Gideon Tate kick), 7:05
Stuttgart, Melynchuck 11-yard run (run failed), 3:22
Stuttgart, Devontae Clark 10-yard run (Trez Hammond run), 1:09
Stuttgart, Clark 1-yard run (Hammond run), 1:12
Heber Springs, Buffalo to Dalton Yancey 18-yard pass (Tate kick), 2:24

First Downs by Rush: Heber Springs 1, Stuttgart 13
First Downs by Pass: Heber Springs 5, Stuttgart 0
First Downs by Penalty: Heber Springs 2, Stuttgart 0
Total First Downs: Heber Springs 8, Stuttgart 13
Penalties: Heber Springs 2/16, Stuttgart 8/68
3rd-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 1/5, Stuttgart 1/6
4th-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 1/4, Stuttgart 0/5
Fumbles/Lost: Heber Springs 0/0, Stuttgart 0/0
Sacks/Yards Lost: Heber Springs 1/11, Stuttgart 0/0
Rush/Yards/Avg: Heber Springs 4/18/4.5, Stuttgart 40/241/6
Passing (A/C-Yards-TD/Int): Heber Springs 12/29-122-2/3, Stuttgart 2/5-3-0/0
Total Offense: Heber Springs 140, Stuttgart 244
Punts: Heber Springs 0/0, Stuttgart 1/15/15
Rushing: Heber Springs, Weston Warden 2/10, Liam Buffalo 1/6, Xander Lindley 1/2. Stuttgart, Landon Melynchuck 11/108, Devontae Clark 22/85, Trez Hammond 3/49, Matthew Luster 3/12, Team 1/(-13). 
Passing: Heber Springs, Liam Buffalo 12/29-122-2/3. Stuttgart, Landon Melynchuck 2/5-3-0/0
Receiving: Heber Springs, Parker Brown 3/36, Xander Lindley 3/22, Weston Warden 2/33/1, Dalton Yancey 2/23/1, Hud Haggard 2/8. Stuttgart, Trez Hammond 1/2, Devontae Clark 1/1.
Kickoff Returns: Heber Springs, Hud Haggard 1/0. Stuttgart, Landon Melynchuck 1/31, Cade Coats 1/16, Nykeal Bradley 1/0
Interceptions: Stuttgart, Trez Hammond 1/27, Cade Coats 1/23
Total Offense: Heber Springs, Liam Buffalo 128, Weston Warden 10, Xander Lindley 2. Stuttgart, Landon Melynchuck 111, Devontae Clark 85, Trez Hammond 49, Matthew Luster 12.
All-Purpose Yards: Heber Springs, Weston Warden 43, Parker Brown 36, Xander Lindley 24, Dalton Yancey 23, Hud Haggard 8, Liam Buffalo. Stuttgart, Landon Melynchuck 141, Devontae Clark 86, Trez Hammond 78, Cade Coats 39, Matthew Luster 12.
SACKS/YARDS LOST: Heber Springs, Parker Brown 1/11.
PUNTS: Stuttgart, Landon Melynchuck 1/15/15
KICKING: Heber Springs, Gideon Tate (2/2 XP)