SPRING ROUND-UP: Panthers open soccer season with wins; Brown, Hooten win state titles

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Heber Springs’ Chloe Flores looks to get past a Riverview in nonconference soccer action at Panther Stadium Monday night. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

HEBER SPRINGS – The spring sports season opened up on Monday for four Heber Springs Panther teams with mixed results.

The boys and girls soccer teams won home matches over Riverview at Panther Stadium, while the baseball and softball teams opened with losses.

For the track teams, the senior boys and girls competed at the Class 4A state indoor track meet on Saturday in Fayetteville.

GIRLS SOCCER

Cristina Garcia scored three times and Sam Gilley twice as Heber Springs (1-0) led 5-0 until late in the contest before the Riverview (0-1) added late goal on the Lady Panther reserves.

Heber Springs returns to action on Thursday at Panther Stadium against Conway St. Joseph (0-0).

BOYS SOCCER

Senior Gus Hannah and freshman Braden Biggs each scored as Heber Springs (1-0) opened with a 2-1 win over Riverview (0-1).

Chandler Webber picked up the assist on each of the goals, while senior goalkeeper Jackson West had 10 saves in the night.

Heber Springs will return to action on Thursday at home against Conway St. Joseph (0-0).

BASEBALL

Heber Springs opened the coach Ryan Bridges era with a trip to Bridges’ alma mater, Sheridan, for a nonconference tournament.

The 4A Panthers led until the late innings but were not able to pull out the win against the 5A Yellowjackets falling 13-4.

Heber Springs (0-1) will tangle with another 5A school today in the same tournament when they face Searcy at Benton with first pitch set for 5:45 p.m.

SOFTBALL

Due to wet field conditions, Heber Springs’ season-opener was moved from Maumelle. Despite the home field advantage, the Lady Panthers dropped a 7-2 decision.

Heber Springs will look to bounce back today as they host Nemo Vista at 4:30 p.m.

TRACK

At the Class 4A state indoor meet on Saturday on the campus of the University of Arkansas, sophomore Parker Brown and junior Jaylea Hooten each won individual state titles by winning the high jump.

The boys mile relay team also claim a first-place finish.

HEBER SPRINGS RESULTS:

SENIOR BOYS 
60: 4. Parker Brown 7.38, 14. Bent McClain 7.90
200: 4. Parker Brown 23.83, 10. Bent McClain 25.40
400: 14. Weston Warden 1:02.34, 16. Hunter Warren 1:07.21
800: 8. Nathan Poff 2:21.43, 11. Wade Harris 2:27.47
1600: 7. Mason Harris 5:08.62, 10. Wade Harris 5:18.20
3200: 6. Nathan Poff 11:33.68, 8. Reagan Buell 12:22.27
60 HURDLES: 8. J.P. Bonkoski 12.36, 9. Aaron Combs 14.46
MILE RELAY: 1. Heber Springs 3:55.88
TWO-MILE RELAY: 4. Heber Springs 9:55.49
HIGH JUMP: 1. Parker Brown 6-0, 4. Liam Buffalo 5-6
LONG JUMP: 2. Parker Brown 19-7.5, 3. Liam Buffalo 19-6.75
TRIPLE JUMP: 2. Parker Brown 40-0.25
POLE VAULT: 5. Justin Ogle 10-6
SHOT: 9. Aaron Combs 22-7, 10. Kevin Leal 19-5.

SENIOR GIRLS
60: 12. Natalie Buffalo 8.88, 15. Ava Noble 9.68
200: 7. Jaylea Hooten 28.57, 11. Joanna Wilson 29.65
400: 7. Joanna Wilson 1:06.81, 10. Maygan Jarvis 1:08.5
800: 8. Riley Bailey 2:52.79, 11. Vallie Cantrell 3:00.9
1600: 7. Joy Bray 6:18.98, 9. Riley Bailey 6:33.28
3200: 7. Riley Bailey 14:37.63, 10. Vallie Cantrell 15:12.32
60 HURDLES: 2. Rylee Birmingham 10.84, 4. Jaylea Hooten 10.95
MILE RELAY: 5. Heber Springs 4:55.04
HIGH JUMP: 1. Jaylea Hooten 4-10, 6. Vallie Cantrell 4-4
LONG JUMP: 2. Jaylea Hooten 15-11.75, 10. Natalie Buffalo 14-2.35
TRIPLE JUMP: 8. Taylor Parker 27-11.25
POLE VAULT: 2. Maygan Jarvis 10-0, 5. Ava Noble 7-0
SHOT: 8. Miah Tharp 21-11.75, 10. Lily Hendrix 19-3

 

 

UPCOMING HEBER SPRINGS SPRING SPORTS SCHEDULE
March 1 through March 10
(Times and dates subject to change; italics indicts home games, matches)
Tuesday, March 1st
Softball vs. Nemo Vista (4:30 p.m.)
Baseball vs. Searcy at Benton (tournament) (5:45 p.m.)
Thursday, March 3rd
Baseball vs. Clinton (4:30 p.m.)
Softball vs. Clinton (4:30 p.m.)
Senior Girls Soccer vs. Conway St. Joseph (5 p.m.)
Senior Boys Soccer vs. Conway St. Joseph (7 p.m.)
Friday, March 4th
Baseball vs. Little Rock Catholic (3:30 p.m.)
Softball vs. Carlisle (4:30 p.m.)
Saturday, March 5th
Softball at Southside Batesville (4:30 p.m.)
Monday, March 7th
7th-Grade Track at Searcy (3:30 p.m.)
Softball at Searcy (4:30 p.m.)
Senior Girls Soccer at Dardanelle (5 p.m.)
Baseball at Beebe (5 p.m.)
Senior Boys Soccer at Dardanelle (7 p.m.)
Tuesday, March 8th
Junior High Track at Searcy (3:30 p.m.)
Softball at White County Central (4:30 p.m.)
Thursday, March 10th
Senior High Track at Searcy (3:30 p.m.)
Baseball vs. Newport (4:30 p.m.)
Softball at Bigelow (4:30 p.m.)
Senior Girls Soccer vs. Danville (5 p.m.)
Senior Boys Soccer vs. Danville (7 p.m.)

Wrong side of ‘mercy rule’ for Panthers

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Heber Springs sophomore Gideon Tate picks up a couple of yards on a fourth-quarter rushing attempt. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

Heber Springs held up against Southside Batesville’s physical and aggressive style of football early in the game, but a blocked punt late in the first quarter opened the door as the Southerners spoiled homecoming for the Panthers with a 35-7 win Friday.

The loss dropped Heber Springs (2-3 in 2-4A Conference, 3-4 overall) into a fifth-place tie with Little Rock Mills (2-3 in 2-4A Conference, 6-2 overall). Mills lost to conference-leading Stuttgart (5-0 in 2-4A Conference, 7-1 overall), 63-28.
Clinton (3-2 in 2-4A Conference, 4-4 overall) routed Bald Knob (0-5 in 2-4A Conference, 0-8 overall) and took sole possession of fourth place. Southside (4-1 in 2-4A Conference, 6-2 overall) remained tied for second place with Lonoke (4-1 in 2-4A Conference, 7-1 overall).

Heber Springs held the Southerners to four yards until the blocked punt late in the first quarter. Southside finished with 322 yards — 299 yards rushing and 23 yards passing.

Seth Case and Landen Haas provided the big plays in Southside’s running game. Case had 122 yards on eight carries, while Haas ran seven times for 103 yards.

“Southside is a very good football club,” Heber Springs coach Todd Wood said. “They are trained in what they do well and play physical. They beat you down over time, and that is what they have done every game.”

The Panthers had a promising start before making the game’s first mistake.

“Our defense played well in the beginning and moved the ball on offense with short passes,” Wood said. “We played toe-to-toe with them during the first quarter.”

Heber Springs quarterback Easton Cusick completed 17-of-32 passes for 149 yards and one touchdown. Gideon Tate led the Panthers in rushing — four carries for 11 yards. Jackson West led the receivers with five catches for 37 yards, while Austin Winchester had four receptions for 26 yards. Chris Edwards caught three passes for 44 yards and one touchdown.

Heber Springs was held to zero rushing yards for the game as a team.

“Southside’s job was to stop Parker Brown (the team’s leading rusher),” Wood said. “We moved him to different spots and tried to use him as a decoy. I was proud of the way Easton played. He is still learning and made some good throws.”

The Panthers lost the services of sophomore outside linebacker Hayden Johnson to an injury. Johnson, the team’s second-leading tackler, was injured during the second quarter.

Southside’s Alex Allen blocked Cusick’s punt and took possession at the Heber Springs 15-yard line. Three plays later, Nicky Risner scored on a 5-yard run with 11:26 left in the first half. Brandon Lopez kicked the extra point for the 7-0 lead.

Cusick’s 51-yard punt pinned the Southerners at its 5-yard line. Southside responded with a 9-play, 95 yard drive as Case ran 46 yards for a touchdown with 7:20 remaining until halftime. Lopez executed the kick for the conversion, increasing the lead to 14-0.

The Southerners struck quickly on their next possession Haas broke free on an 80-yard touchdown run with 4:33 left in the first half. Lopez kicked the extra point.

Southside scored again before halftime by driving 55 yards on seven plays. Blayne Warden caught a 10-yard scoring pass from Haas with two seconds to go. Lopez kicked the extra point for a 28-0 halftime lead.

Southside received the second half kickoff and needed four plays on a 52-yard drive. Bryson Duncan scored on a 2-yard dive with 10:15 to go in the third quarter. Lopez kicked the extra point.

Heber Springs finished the game with an efficient 87-yard drive on nine plays. Tate ran for one first down, while Cusick passed to Austin Winchester for another first-and-10. With the clock running down, Cusick connected on a 24-yard touchdown pass to Chris Edwards with 14 seconds to play. Tate kicked the extra point.

“That was a good drive and a good way to end the game,” Wood said. “Austin Winchester and Chandler Webber caught passes. Edwards made a good catch for the touchdown.”

Heber Springs will host Clinton in the sixth Battle of the Little Red on Friday.

“We need to learn from this game and move on,” Wood said. “Clinton is next, and we need to stay focus and build momentum.”

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SOUTHSIDE BATESVILLE AT HEBER SPRINGS
October 15, 2021 
Heber Springs (3-4, 2-3)          0   0   0   7 -   7
Southside Batesville (6-2, 4-1)   0  28   7   0 -  35 
SECOND QUARTER 
SS - Nicky Risner 5-yard run (Brandon Lopez kick), 11:26
SS - Bryson Duncan 46-yard run (Lopez kick), 7:20
SS - Landen Haas 80-yard run (Lopez kick), 4:33
SS - Haas to Blayne Warden 10-yard pass (Lopez kick), :28
THIRD QUARTER
SS - Duncan 2-yard run (Lopez kick), 10:15
FOURTH QUARTER 
HS - Easton Cusick to Chris Edwards 24-yard pass (Gideon Tate kick), :00
TEAM STATISTICS 
FIRST DOWNS: HS 12, SS 12
RUSHES-YARDS: HS 16/0, SS 33/299
PASSING YARDS: HS 149, SS 23
COMP-ATT-INT: HS 17-32-1, SS 2-5-0
TOTAL OFFENSE: HS 149, SS 285
FUMBLES: HS 1, SS 0
PENALITIES-YARDS: HS 6/60, SS 9/100
PUNTS-AVERAGE: HS 5/28.8, SS 3/46
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS 
RUSHING: HS, Gideon Tate 4/11, Parker Brown 4/2, Easton Cusick 7/(-2), Team 1/(-11). SS, Seth Case 8/122, Landen Haas 7/103, Nicky Risner 5/32, Bryson Duncan 4/15, Jacob Dunne 3/11, Steven Riggs 2/8, Kaleb West 1/7, Jacob Bunn 1/5, Colby Harris 1/4, Team 1/(-8).
PASSING: HS, Cusick 17/32-149-1/1. SS, Haas 2/5-23-1/0
RECEVING: HS, Jackson West 5/23, Austin Winchester 4/26, Chris Edwards 3/21, Dalton Yancey 3/27, Gus Hannah 1/11, Chandler Webber 1/5. SS, Dunne 1/13, Blayne Warden 1/10.
KICKOFF RETURNS: HS, West 2/38
PUNT RETURNS: None
INTERCEPTION RETURNS: SS, Justin Vannattan 1/5 
FUMBLE RETURNS: Team 1/10.
PUNTS: HS, Cusick 4/144/36.0, Team 1/0/1 blk. SS, Warden 3/138/46

PHOTO: Heber Springs Homecoming Pep Rally

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Junior Maid Claire Arrasmith with her escorts, Easton Cusick and Chandler Webber, at Friday’s homecoming pep rally. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

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PHOTO: Heber Springs Homecoming Parade

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Heber Springs football players Chris Edwards, Kenan Sneed, Parker Brown and Chandler Webber. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

 

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PHOTO: Heber Springs Homecoming Parade

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Heber Springs football players, from left, Kenan Sneed, Parker Brown and Chandler Webber ride on a fire engine during Friday’s Homecoming Parade on Main Street in Heber Springs. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

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ALL PHOTOS ARE COPYRIGHTED. The owner of the copyright does grant free personal and/or social media use for all photos as long as photo credit (when reasonably possible) is given to this website. Use for any other commercial purpose or other publication (such as other news or blog sites) without permission is prohibited. All photos are taken in a public setting where a reasonable right to privacy does not exist. They are taken for news gathering and informational purposes. If you wish to have photo removed, please get in touch with the publisher of the website through the comments section with the reason for removal request.

PHOTO: Heber Springs Homecoming Parade

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Heber Springs football players Kenan Sneed, Parker Brown and Chandler Webber. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

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ALL PHOTOS ARE COPYRIGHTED. The owner of the copyright does grant free personal and/or social media use for all photos as long as photo credit (when reasonably possible) is given to this website. Use for any other commercial purpose or other publication (such as other news or blog sites) without permission is prohibited. All photos are taken in a public setting where a reasonable right to privacy does not exist. They are taken for news gathering and informational purposes. If you wish to have photo removed, please get in touch with the publisher of the website through the comments section with the reason for removal request.

PHOTO: Heber Springs Homecoming Parade

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Heber Springs football players Kenan Sneed, Parker Brown and Chandler Webber. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

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Big night in Dover for Panthers

Heber Springs sophomore Gideon Tate fights for some yardage in the fourth quarter against Dover Friday night as Dover’s Landon Meador (44) prepares to make the tackle. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

DOVER – Heber Springs bounced back in a big way and will take momentum into next week’s 2-4A Conference football opener.

The Panthers (1-1) scored on four-of-six first-half possessions and the defense reached the end zone one in Friday’s 44-0 win against Dover (0-4) at Jack Berry Field.

Heber Springs added another touchdown and recorded a safety during the second half and held the Pirates to 23 yards of offense and four first downs. The Panthers had their first shutout since a 21-0 win at Southside Batesville on Oct. 19, 2018.

Sophomore quarterback Xander Lindley completed 12-of-18 passes for 318 yards and four touchdowns in his second career start. Parker Brown, also a sophomore, caught three passes for 220 yards, all for touchdowns.

“Anytime you can play on the road and get a win  it is good,” Heber Springs coach Todd Wood said. “It also is good to finish the nonconference with a win and take momentum into conference play. We had missed assignments, but overall we executed well.”

The Panthers spent all week on the short passing game, and it paid dividends.

“Dover didn’t have a lot of players on that side of the field,” Brown said. “I got good blocks and was able to get to the end zone. The receivers were blocking well.”

Wood said one of the objectives was to get the ball into Brown’s hands in the open field.

Parker is an explosive player,” Wood said. “But we have to get other players involved in the offense. We can’t rely just on him every game.”

Lindley credited the offensive line for giving him time to execute the passing game.

“I felt more comfortable than the first game,” Lindley said. “My linemen did the job. We worked on the short passes over and over all week in practice until we were able to get it right.”

Wood liked the progress of his quarterback.

“Lindley will gain conference every game,” he said. “He is looking more secure, and I expect him to improve every game.”

Despite the big offensive plays, defense had the play that changed the game late in the first quarter. Chris Edwards intercepted a Jon Greathouse pass and returned it 71 yards for a touchdown, when Heber Springs led 7-0.

“I backed up and saw the ball in the air,” Edwards said. “I just followed my teammates and scored the touchdown. I knew it was going to be a pass because of how they lined up before the play. I was afraid they were going to catch me from behind, but my buddies were blocking for me.”

Wood agreed that Edwards’ score was the game’s biggest play on defense.

“We had dropped two touchdown passes on our last offensive series, but the defense gave us a boost,” Wood said. “The interception helped to get us going. The defense played a fantastic game. That’s why it takes a team effort to win. Sometimes you need to score on the other side of the ball.”

Heber Springs needed only two plays before scoring after forcing a Dover punt following the opening kickoff. Lindley threw incomplete on first down before connecting on a short pass to Brown for a 51-yard touchdown with 8:59 left in the first quarter. Gideon Tate kicked the extra point for the 7-0 lead.

Edwards’ interception return late in the first quarter sent the Panthers into the second quarter with a 14-0 lead.

Heber Springs again utilized the big play and increased the lead to 21-0. Brown caught a pass at the 30-yard line and completed the 76-yard play for the touchdown with 8:01 left in the first half. Tate kicked for the conversion.

On the ensuing kickoff, Zane Lozeau recovered a fumble, giving the Panthers a first down at the Dover 14. Austin Winchester caught a touchdown pass on the next play. Tate kicked the extra point for the 28-0 lead.

Heber Springs reached the end zone one more time before halftime. The Panthers were backed up to their 7-yard line before Lindley threw a short pass to Brown, who ran through the Dover defense for a touchdown. Chandler Webber kicked the extra point for the 35-0 halftime lead.

Heber Springs started the second half by driving 72 yards on nine play, ending with a Lozeau’s 20-yard scoring run. Tate kicked the extra point.

A high snap over Greathouse’s head in punt formation resulted into a safety with 9:25 to play.

“It felt amazing to put 44 points on the board,” Lindley said. “I have confidence in my teammates. We have a lot of athleticism on this team; I believe we can go a long way this season.”

Wood reminded his team after the game that everything will start over Friday when the Panthers host Lonoke in the conference opener.

“We are zero and zero right now,” he said. “Anytime you can win, it builds confidence. All that matter is how we do in conference play. That will determine if we go to the playoffs.”

HEBER SPRINGS AT DOVER
SEPTEMBER 17, 2021 
Heber Springs (1-1)   14  21   7   2 - 44 
Dover (0-4)            0   0   0   0 -  0 
FIRST QUARTER 
HS - Xander Lindley to Parker Brown 51-yard pass (Gideon Tate kick), 8:59
HS - Chris Edwards 71-yard Interception return (Tate kick), 1:19
SECOND QUARTER 
HS - Lindley to Brown 76-yard pass (Tate kick), 8:01
HS - Lindley to Austin Winchester (Tate kick), 7:47
HS - Lindley to Brown 93-yard pass (Chandler Webber kick), 1:58
THIRD QUARTER
HS - Zane Lozeau 20-yard run (Tate kick), 2:22
FOURTH QUARTER
HS - Dafety, snap out of end zone, 7:34
TEAM STATISTICS 
FIRST DOWNS: HS 10, Dover 4
RUSHES-YARDS: HS 9/45, Dover 30/(-30)
PASSING YARDS: HS 318, Dover 53
COMP-ATT-INT: HS 12-20-0, Dover 4-5-1
FUMBLES: HS 1, Dover 1
PENALITIES-YARDS: HS 9/62, Dover 6/52
PUNTS-AVERAGE: HS 0, Dover 5/27.2 
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS 
RUSHING: HS, Zane Lozeau 1/20, Xander Lindley 4/17, Gideon Tate 3/6, Parker Brown 1/2. Dover, Kenny Ketcherside 7/12, Jon Greathouse 18/5, Brantley Craig 2/(-7), Team 3/(-40) 
PASSING: HS, Xander Lindley 12/18-318-4/0, Easton Cusick 0/2-0-0/0. Dover, Jon Greathouse 4/5-53-0/1
RECEVING: HS, Easton Cusick 5/44, Parker Brown 3/220, Gus Hannah 2/33, Austin Winchester 2/14, Dalton Yancey 1/7. Dover, Brantley Craig 2/33, Jacob Baggett 1/13, Colton Shuffield 1/5.
KICKOFF RETURNS: Dover, Brantley Craig 3/28, Jeremiah Mercer 2/3 
PUNT RETURNS: None
INTERCEPTION RETURNS: HS, Chris Edwards 1/71
PUNTS: Dover, Jon Greathouse 5/136

Panthers continue to work toward opener

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By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY


Heber Springs coach Todd Wood and his staff hopes to learn answers after the Panthers tangle in a benefit football scrimmage at Beebe on Tuesday.
Action will start at 6 p.m. with the teams participating in sets of plays on offense and defense. The scrimmage will conclude with the two teams playing for two quarters.

Wood, who was 2-9 in his first year as head coach, and the staff is optimistic that the team will enjoy success during the 2021 season.

“One of the big changes has been a spring camp and summer workouts going into fall practice,” Wood said when asked about the team’s progress. “We are more advanced at this point than last year. .”

Wood said the addition of one coach to the staff helps to spread teaching responsibility among coaches with players at all positions. Ryan Bridges, who previously coached at White Hall, is working primarily with the defensive line. He also is the school’s new baseball coach.

One of the big questions on offense going into the season is determining a starting quarterback. Wood said senior John McBroome, who started two games last season, and sophomore Xander Lindley have emerged as the top two candidates. Wood hopes for a starter to emerge from the scrimmage.

“John has a little more experience with the offense,” Wood said. “Xander was a receiver on last year’s successful junior high team, but he has prior quarterbacking experience. Xander has a good arm and a lot of speed. We plan to give them equal reps at Tuesday’s scrimmage. We also will take at look at Wyatt Winchester.”

Jackson West and sophomore Parker Brown are battling for the starting role at running back. West and Brown also are in the plans at receiver.

“Jackson is slightly ahead at running back,” Wood said. “We also plan to look at Gideon Tate at running back.”

The receiving corps may be the most experience group of players. With a year in the system, Wood believes they will have a bigger impact this season

“Gus Hannah is one of our fastest players on the team and runs excellent routes,” Wood said. “Easton Cusick gained speed and size during the offseason. Dalton Yancey played well for the junior high team last year. Austin Winchester can play a role and will get playing time. Chris Edwards may play at receiver and also start at cornerback. We need to figure out how to use all of the players.”

Three starters return on the offensive line — center Zach Thomas, left guard Peyton Owens and left tackle Thad Bray. Tristan Thissen is the leading candidate at right guard and Corbin Jones at right tackle.

Wood said Lucas Langster, who will start at defensive end, is the backup behind Owens. Blaze Emerson is the likely backup at right guard.

“Thad is our anchor on the line,” Wood said. “Zach can make the calls for the line. We are thin in numbers on the line, but we have players to fill all positions.”

Wood expects the defense will be improved and trying to limit the number of players playing both ways.

“We are looking for effort from the defense,” said Wood when asked about objectives of Tuesday’s scrimmage. “We want to play more physical than last year and tackle well.”

Langster and Jones will play the ends on defense with Emerson at nose guard. Owens and Joenah Cordell will provide depth.

Kenan Sneed, the leading tackler for the Panthers last season, leads the linebacking corps. Thissen is the likely starter at the other inside linebacker with Thomas also expected to play. Chris Roberts, Hayden Johnson, Hayden Davis and Tate rotating at the outside linebackers.

Except for Edwards, the secondary lacks varsity experience, but Wood is confident of the players to play well.

Zane Lozeau, a transfer from Dover, and Zack Parker are battling for the starting job at the cornerback opposite Edwards. Chandler Webber will also play at cornerback. Gage Buford and Colton Turley are the likely starters at the safeties.

“Edwards is one of the strongest players on the team,” Wood said. “We have the players and just need to put them in the right spots.”

After Tuesday’s scrimmage, the Panthers will have a three-week wait until the season opener at Newport on Sept. 3.

“The best thing about the time from the scrimmage to the season opener is the team can make the necessary adjustments,” Wood said. “We will not show everything against Beebe during the scrimmage.”

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