Carmikle charged with leading Heber Springs football program

New Heber Springs football coach Caleb Carmikle is all smiles as he introduces his family at a meet-and-greet for the coach Saturday at Panther Gymnasium. Carmikle replaces Van Paschal, who took a job at Cross County following his lone season at Heber Springs. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

The Heber Springs High School football team celebrated “Homecoming” early this year.

Though there was no queen and her court, there was a coronation as Caleb Carmikle was introduced as the 40th head football coach in school history at a meet-and-greet event held at the Panther Den on the campus of Heber Springs High School on Saturday.

Carmikle was hired in early March to replace Van Paschal, who took a job at Cross County in January.

The 2011 graduate of Heber Springs High School was head coach at Rison last season and told the 100 plus gathered for the event, including several former teammates, that becoming the head coach of the Panthers was the only job he would leave Rison for.

“Honestly up until the time I accepted the job was on the fence about it,” Carmikle said afterward. “It was my first year at Rison and I didn’t want to leave with that job being unfinished.

“But it’s home, and so when it came down to it, it just felt like God was leading us to come home and serve this community.”

In 103 seasons of Heber Springs High School football, Carmikle becomes the seventh former Panther charged with leading the program, but the first since Dale Cresswell, who was head coach for three seasons starting in 2003.

Carmikle joins Cresswell, Dennis DeBusk (the winningest coach in school history), Cecil Alexander, Bob Fisher, Henry Clay Kelley and Neill Reed as Heber Springs High School graduates to serve as head coach.

“You know, this is my fourth head coaching job now, and each of the other three were a special opportunity to be a head coach,” Carmikle said, “but to be able to do it where I grew up and coach guys that were just like me and sat in the same chair that I did, it means that much more, so it’s a special feeling.”

Carmikle played for the Panthers during the 2008 through 2010 seasons and was named to the all-decade team for the 2010s, but did he ever think about wanting to come back and be coach here while he was still playing?

“Yeah, I knew, once I decided I wanted to be a coach, I knew at some point in my career I would want to come home,” he said. “I wasn’t sure when. I knew everything had to align perfectly, and it has, and so I think this is a great time to come home.”

The 2015 graduate of Arkansas Tech played under former Panther coach Steve Janski.

“The nuts and bolts of the program will be similar to the way it was when I was in school, but I told the interview committee and everybody else in the audience (today), I’m not Steve Janski,” Carmikle said. “Obviously there is things that he did that I’ve molded my program around and put my own twist to it.

“But I learned early on in my career that you can’t try to be a Steve Janski or (former Panther head coach and new athletic director) Darren Gowen or (former Panther assistant coach) Scott Davenport, I can be Caleb Carmikle, but there’s pieces from all the places that I’ve been that have blended into the style.”

Prior to coaching Rison in 2023. Carmikle was the head coach at Magnet Cove, where he compiled a 39-30 record in six seasons winning three conference titles. Before that, Carmikle spent two seasons at the head coach at Glenbrook, a private school in Minden, Louisiana. His first team in 2015 went 1-9 but his second went 5-5 earning him parish coach of the year honors by the Minden Press-Herald. His overall record as a head coach is 48-52.

Carmikle will inherit a coaching staff that includes assistants Hunter Davis, Micah Dew, Curtis Shannon, Easton Seidl, and Kevin Youngblood. He said he likes the makeup of the coaching staff, calling it “balanced with a mix of older experienced guys and some young, fiery guys.”

In taking the job at Heber Springs, it will allow Carmikle an opportunity to work with someone he was wanted to work since his days at Magnet Cove, Panther defensive coordinator Kevin Youngblood, who’s defensive pitched the most shutouts in season in 2023 since 2009 with three — Carmikle was a junior on that 2009 team.

“I first met him when we coached against each other when I was at Magnet Cove and he was Quitman,” he said. “They had the best defense in the conference that year and that was maybe one of the best teams I had at Magnet Cove, we won 11 games that year, and he shut us down.”

Carmikle said he tried to hire Youngblood at Rison to be his defensive coordinator, but the timing wasn’t right.

“When all this started happening, I thought, well, if I can’t get him to come work with me somewhere else, I’ll just go where he’s at,” he said. “So that made it even more special to get a chance to work with him.”

Carmikle, who will also work at the middle school, officially starts at Heber Springs on Monday.

Heber Springs track dedicated to former coaches Goldman, Wilson

Former HSHS track coaches Harold Wilson and Johnette Goldman talk at a dedication ceremony in their honor on Friday at Panther Stadium. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO


The track inside Panther Stadium officially became the Goldman-Wilson Track, but retired coaches Harold ‘Sonny’ Wilson and Johnette Goldman quickly credited contributions of others, helping to make the cross country and track and field programs one of the best in Arkansas.

The original track, which was the old red dog surface, was competed in time for the 1975 season, four years before Wilson and Goldman arrived at the school. After winning the 1991 Class 4A state track and field title, the track was upgraded to an all-weather surface in time for the 1992 season. The facility is one of the most used high school tracks in Arkansas, averaging at one time 11 meets a year (including seventh-grade and junior high school meets).

Wilson was the school’s head boys’ track coach for 23 years, leading the Panthers to 18 conference titles and five state championships, plus 14 junior high school titles. He also was a defensive coordinator and finished his 30-year career with the school district as high school principal.

“You made an old man feel good by doing something like this,” Wilson said. “Coach Goldman and I appreciate this, but something is missing, the kids who performed for us. We’re working to change that and find a way to recognize the accomplishments of those athletes.”

Goldman, who worked 39 years for the school district, led the Lady Panthers to nine state championships in cross country and track and field. Heber Springs was state runner-up in cross country and track and field under Goldman. The Panthers also won 32 conference titles combined in both sports.

“We would be here all night if I told you every person who contributed to the program’s success,” Goldman said. “It was more than just two people. Dale Cresswell (current girls’ and boys cross country coach and the boys’ track coach) was a special part of the success.”

Wilson said other coaches through the years deserve credit and recognition.

“I remember people like coach Marc Moody who coached state champions in the shot put and discus,” he said. “Todd Thompson was a big part of this. Coaches Cresswell and Jeff Bise also had impacts. Our names are up there (sign entering Panther Stadium) for this recognition because of them. So many other people also are responsible for all of this.”

Former Athletic Director Dennis DeBusk, who hired both coaches in 1979, said they were very deserving of the recognition.

“Heber Springs made a great decision in naming the track after Wilson and Goldman,” he said. “There were individuals who cared about their students and brought the best out of everyone they worked with. It is my honor to be able to call them my friends. I’m so happy for both of them.”

Wilson credited DeBusk for the program’s success.

“Dennis let us to do what we wanted and supported us,” Wilson said. “We always received support from the Heber Springs Booster Club, who always helped us to purchase whatever the program needed.”

Cresswell, a 1985 HSHS graduate, was a pole vaulter for Wilson, served a stint as his assistant before becoming head coach.

“What a great way to honor two of the best mentors of track and field,” Cresswell said. “Not only are they legends in our community, but they are also leaders in the state and even the nation. The Heber Springs track and Field program has become one of the best programs in Arkansas because of the hard work and dedication from these coaches.”

Cresswell, who has led the Panthers to numerous cross country and track and field state championships, credited his coaching success to the influence of Wilson and Goldman, who had 14 of her teams finish as state runner-ups.

“I’ve learned so much from coach Wilson and coach Goldman,” Cresswell said. “It has been a privilege to have them as mentors and co-workers. Most of all, I’m also blessed to have them as very good friends. I really don’t know two more deserving people for this honor.”

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Hall-of-Fame coaches Dale Cresswell, Johnette Goldman and Harold “Sonny” Wilson. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

HSHS All-Decade Team: 1980s

The 1980s era of Heber Springs football was one of consistency at the top with Dennis DeBusk coaching the team through eight seasons of the decade.

The 1980 Panther team finished the season with an 8-2 mark and in a three-way tie for the 1AA-East crown, but missed out on a playoff spot. After opening the season with a 10-7 setback to Joe T. Robinson, Heber Springs would win eight straight setting up a week 10 showdown with Greenbrier for a chance to win back-to-back outright conference crowns. But the Faulkner County Panther squad would come out on top 24-6 to steal the playoff bid from the Panthers.

In 1981, Heber Springs would finished 7-3 and the set-up would be the same as 1980, except with nonconference losses to Beebe and Batesville, with a week 10 showdown with Greenbrier for the 1AA-East crown. Both teams entered the game at 5-0 in the conference, but Greenbrier would claim a 27-0 win, the conference title and the conference’s spot in the playoffs.

The 1982 squad would start the season 0-2 with losses at Beebe and to Harding Academy, but rebounded to win at Bald Knob and at home against Batesville. The Panthers would start conference play with a victories over Clinton and Yellville-Summit, before stumbling at Mountain View on Oct. 15, 20-14. Heber Springs would rebound with wins over Marshall and Vilonia before falling to Greenbrier, 10-6, in week 10. Though the Panthers finished in second place in the conference, Mountain View was the lone representative for the conference in the playoffs.

In 1983, Bald Knob re-joined the newly-named 5AA-North conference and the Panthers would start the season 2-1 in nonconference play. Heber Springs would not leave any doubt about a playoff spot by starting 6-0 and having clinched postseason play by week 10. A week 10 loss to Vilonia meant the Panthers had to share a conference crown with the Eagles. Heber Springs opened the season with a win over Beebe but the Badgers got revenge in the playoffs by knocking off the Panthers, 17-6.

The 1984 Panther team would finish 4-6 and 3-4 in conference play. Heber Springs still had a chance to earn one of the two playoff spots for the conference but those hopes were dashed with losses in weeks 9 and 10 ended those.

The 1985 and 1986 teams each finished at 2-8 with the 1985 squad downing Marshall and Vilonia, and the 1986 team defeating Marshall and Greenbrier.

In 1987, Heber Springs would go 2-3 in nonconference play with wins over Dover and Atkins. The Panthers would open up conference play with a thrilling 19-12 overtime win against Clinton, but would drop their final four contests to finish at 3-7.

Mountain View High School graduate John Richardson would take over as coach for the 1988 season after coming over from Huntsville. Heber Springs would start with nine straight losses before closing the season with a win over Mountain View.

In 1989, Heber Springs would again finished with a 1-9 mark, starting the season with three nonconference losses before downing Yellville-Summit in the conference opener.

The 1980s HSHS All-Decade Football Team

(Position, Player and Last Season Played)


WR – Lance Perry (1980)

WR – Mark Rezanka (1983)

OL – Jim Bly (1981)

OL – Edward Gleich (1984)

OL – Wayne Hazelwood (1983)

OL – John Hoover (1980)

OL – Aaron Little (1980)

QB – Pat Dudeck (1988)

RB – Bill Mark (1982)

RB – Danny Martin (1980)

RB – Danny Stevenson (1988)

AP – Mark Hoffman (1980)

AP – Reggie Sumpter (1987)

AP – Jonathan Wallace (1984)

AP – Shannon Yates (1987)


DL – Jeff Garlinghouse (1988)

DL – Brock Loftis (1981)

DL – Peyton Upton (1982)

LB – Dale Cresswell (1984)

LB – Mike Shamburger (1989)

LB – Robert Sparks (1980)

LB/K – Mike Verser (1984)

LB – Paul Reed (1981)

DB – Andy Beam (1981)

DB –Steve Logan (1983)

DB – Bill Wallace (1986)

P – Travis Moss (1984)

AP – Birch Grisso (1983)

AP –Sid Shelton (1982)

AP – Paige Upton (1982)


The 1970s HSHS All-Decade Team

The 1960s HSHS All-Decade Team

The 1950s HSHS All-Decade Team

The 1940s HSHS All-Decade Team

The 1930s HSHS All-Decade Team

The 1910s/20s HSHS All-Decade Team

HSHS All-Decade Team: 1970s

The 1970s era of Heber Springs football started slowly but ended with a bang as the Panthers won their first outright conference title since 1952 in 1979 and also shared two other conference crowns.

Morgan Outlaw took over the program for the 1970 and 71 seasons. The Panthers went 2-6-1 in 1970 closing out the season with wins over Cotton Plant and Highland. In 1971, it was wins at Bald Knob, Greenbrier and Cotton Plant that put the final mark at 3-6.

Robert Medley led the Panthers during the 1972 and 73 seasons as they competed in the 3A-West conference with Mountain View, Bald Knob, McCrory, Beebe, Cotton Plant and Augusta. Former Panther standout Dennis DeBusk would join the staff as an assistant in 1972 as Heber Springs finished the year with a 3-3-2 mark. The Panthers tied Clinton and Bald Knob and defeated Greenbrier and Cotton Plant, and then closed out the season with a win over Cross County from the 3A-East, as the final week of the season pitted teams from the East and West to determine final District 3 standings. In 1972, the Panthers managed wins over Greenbrier and Cotton Plant to finished 2-8.

Clyde Darrough would take over the program for the 1974 and 1975 seasons. The Panthers would only manage a 2-8 campaign in 1974 with wins over Greenbrier and Marshall in conference play as Heber Springs was in the new 12A conference along with Mountain View, Clinton.

Vilonia would join the 12A conference in 1975 and the Panthers would start the season 5-0 with wins over Concord, DeValls Bluff, Salem, Greenbrier and Clinton before being tripped up in week 6 by Harding Academy. The Panthers would drop Mountain View and Marshall to set at 7-1 but a week 9 loss to Vilonia cost Heber Springs and outright conference title. Following a tough nonconference loss to Bald Knob in week 10, McCrory would end the Panthers season in the first round of the playoffs (the first playoff berth since the 1952 season).

Darrough left following the 1975 season and DeBusk was promoted to head coach. The Panthers would go 8-3 and claim another share of the 12A crown, falling to Don Campbell’s Corning Bodcats in a first round playoff contest.

The 1977 season saw the Panthers keep the same conference foes but with a new conference name, the 1AA-East. Heber Springs would go 8-2 but back-t0-back losses to Greenbrier and Clinton cost the Panthers a chance at postseason play. Heber Springs downed Pulaski Academy, North Pulaski, Bald Knob in nonconference play before closing the season with a win over Augusta.

The 1978 squad would finish at 5-5 overall and 3-3 in conference play (Yellville-Summit joined the conference in 1978) as the Panthers would claim nonconference wins over Bald Knob and Pulaski Academy.

The 1979 season would be an historic one for the Panthers. Heber Springs would win an outright 1AA-East crown with a 6-0 record and earn the school’s first playoff victory. The Panthers started the season 3-0 with wins over Joe T. Robinson, Harding Academy and Bald Knob, before Beebe tripped up Heber Springs in week 4. The Panthers would lose again until McCrory stopped the Panthers in the second round of the playoffs.

The 1970s HSHS All-Decade Football Team

(Position, Player and Last Season Played)


WR – David Brown (1979)

WR – Mark Duncan (1971)

OL – John Bergin (1975)

OL – Steve Butler (1972)

OL – Steve Crumpler (1976)

OL – John Davis (1976)

OL – Joe Bob Powell (1979)

QB – Louis Lee (1973)

RB – Curtis Henry (1978)

RB – Larry Kennedy (1975)

RB – Layne Tubbs (1977)

K – Russ Olmstead (1976)

AP – Brock Duckworth (1972)

AP – Buster Gaylor (1977)

AP – John Hvasta (1978)


DL – Donald Elslander (1974)

DL – Mike Greene (1978)

DL – Billy Lindsey (1972)

DL – Roger Logan (1977)

DL – Jackie McPherson (1977)

LB – Terry Bittle (1979)

LB – Ronnie Martin (1977)

LB – Mason Reed (1979)

DB – Steve Plant (1973)

DB – Carl Cox (1975)

DB – Lance Lincoln (1978)

P – Ben Caston (1976)

AP – Thomas Heigle (1970)

AP –Bruce (Barker) Swan (1973)

AP – Bo Verser (1971)


The 1960s HSHS All-Decade Team

The 1950s HSHS All-Decade Team

The 1940s HSHS All-Decade Team

The 1930s HSHS All-Decade Team

The 1910s/20s HSHS All-Decade Team

HSHS All-Decade Team: 1960s

The 1960s era of Heber Springs football saw the game change with more liberal substitution rules and the Panthers coming close to pair of conference championships.

Bill Rosa took over coaching duties from Cecil Alexander for the 1960 season and the Panthers finished with a 1-7 mark, defeating Newport “B” in week 6.

James Staggs would take over in 1961 with a young assistant coach Isaac Witt helping out. After starting the season 0-3, the Panthers would close out the season by winning five in a row and finishing their first winning season since 1952. Heber Springs would down Carlisle, Harding Academy in 2B action, Searcy “B”, Cotton Plant and Beebe.

The next season, 1962, would see another new coach on the sidelines for the Panthers as former Arkansas Razorback fullback Darrell Williams (whose twin brother Jarrell would win 261 games and four state championships as a head coach at Springdale) took over the coaching duties, with Witt remaining as an assistant. The 1962 season also saw the opening of the current Panther Stadium as McCrory won the first game at the new field, 7-6. After downing Clinton, 13-7 on the road, the Panthers returned home for a week 3 contest with the coach Harold Horton-led Bald Knob Bulldogs. The match-up of former Razorback teammates would go to the Bulldogs but the Panthers would four out of their last six to finish with a winning record.

The Panthers fifth coach in as many seasons, Russell Sims, took over in 1963 — with Witt still in an assistant’s role. Heber Springs finished the season with a 3-7-1 mark, tying McCrory in the opener and downing Newport “B”, Beebe and Batesville “B”.

Sims and Witt stayed together in 1964 and led the Panthers to an historic 9-win season (the most wins in school history until 1979). The Panthers would meet Hazen in the next to last week of the season in match-up of ranked teams to determine the champion for district 2B. The Hornets would claim a 13-12 victory to earn the title.

With the success, Sims and Witt both left with Sims taking over the Mountain Home program. Richard Whybrew and former Clinton standout Stanley Stanton would lead the program for the 1965 and 1966 seasons. The Panthers would manager only two wins in each season, downing Clinton and Cotton Plant in 1965 and Cotton Plant and DeValls Bluff in 1966.

Witt would return for the 1967 season, this time as head coach, as Heber Springs would finish 1-9-1, downing Marshall in week two and tying Hazen in week 9.

Jim Patchell would join Witt’s staff for the 1968 and 1969 seasons as the Panthers would close out the decade by going 7-2 in 1968 and 7-3 in 1969. The 1968 squad lost a heartbreaker to Hazen, 12-7, in the final game of the season that would have earned the Panthers their second conference title.

After two decades in the 2B, Heber Springs moved up a classification as the school begin to grow in the late 1960s. The 1969 team was placed in the 2A-South but did not play a conference schedule. Instead, many newer programs that would later be conference rivals began football programs, including Mountain View, Vilonia, Highland, Marshall and Greenbrier; and the Panthers feasted on those programs going 9-0 against those schools.

The 1960s HSHS All-Decade Football Team

(Position, Player and Last Season Played)


WR – Dennis DeBusk (1965)

WR – Dwight Olmstead (1968)

OL – Verlon Abram (1969)

OL – Wayne Bailey (1964)

OL – Charles Bradford (1960)

OL – John Cunningham (1965)

OL – James Robert DeBusk (1967)

QB – Rickey Pilkington (1968)

RB – Ronnie Lewellyn (1968)

RB – Bubba Ramsey (1961)

RB – Ernie Longing (1963)

K/AP – Jim Patchell (1962)

AP – Freddie Clayton (1964)

AP – Larry Robinson (1968)


DL – Thurman Clark (1964)

DL – Joe Paul Daves (1962)

DL – Eddie Lacy (1968)

DL – Robert Walters (1966)

LB – David Lay (1968)

LB – Don Lucy (1964)

LB – Bill Cook (1961)

DB/P – Jerry Todd (1964)

DB – Wain Westerman (1968)

DB – Dan Verser (1963)

DB – Jeff Long (1964)

AP – Whit Birdsong (1969)

AP – Terry Lynn (1969)

AP – Gene McFarland (1962)


The 1950s HSHS All-Decade Team

The 1940s HSHS All-Decade Team

The 1930s HSHS All-Decade Team

The 1910s/20s HSHS All-Decade Team

Goldman added to Panther Den of Honor

Former Heber Springs coach Johnette Goldman with her plaque presented to her after being inducted into the Panther Den of Honor on Friday. PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHELLE McCARTY

February 28, 2020


Johnette Goldman arrived on the Heber Springs High School campus 39 years ago with little fanfare.

But it was a different atmosphere at the Panther Den Friday when Goldman was inducted into the Panther Den of Honor on Friday.

Goldman, who coached girls’ basketball, cross country and track and field, led the Lady Panthers to nine state championships and state runner-up 14 times in cross country and track and field.

Heber Springs won 32 conference championships during Goldman’s tenure. She retired at the end of the 2019-20 school year.

“I appreciate the Panther Den of Honor award and induction,” Goldman said. “I appreciate Heber Springs giving me 39 years of great memories. I appreciate (the late and retired superintendent) Dr. (John) Vandiver and (retired athletic director) coach (Dennis) DeBusk for hiring two gals (Goldman and former girls’ basketball coach Joni Hamby in 1980).”

Head boys’ track and field coach Dale Cresswell was a freshman when she arrived. She didn’t coach the boys’ athletes at that time, but left an influence on Cresswell.

“I always looked up to her and proud that she is going into the Den of Honor,” Cresswell said. “When competing as an athlete here, I noticed what her team did and learned from it. I respected her for everything she did.”

Goldman said all of the success was not just her, but others who helped to make it happen.

“It was all of the athletes,” Goldman said. “They made the difference. Jade asked me to marry him in 1985, and he always supported me. He stayed in the background for a long time. Coach (Harold) Wilson was father of the track program of Heber Springs and taught me everything. He made a difference in students’ lives, just like coach Cresswell does today.”

Goldman’s list of accomplishments is long. She, along with Wilson and Cresswell, are members of the Arkansas Track and Field Hall of Fame.

“All of the people made Heber a great place,” Goldman said. “I’ve been blessed with athletes who would do the extra. I remember Susie Storm was one of the best in the two-mile and she sacrificed one year for the team. She was willing to help in another event for us to get a higher state ranking. Susie finished second, but she went on and competed at the Air Force Academy and protected our nation for 20 years.”

Goldman was more than a coach. She received the 2014 Distinguished Citizens Award from the Arkansas House of Representatives.

“When you talk about Johnette, she is a legend of track in Heber Springs,” Cresswell always tries to the best for the kids, not only on the track, but in the real world.”

With all of the athletic accomplishments, she remembers the team when preparing for the classroom. Goldman was a mathematics teacher.

“Christy Thomas and I first became buddies in college,” Goldman said. “We were been buddies in math for a long time. We spent many nights doing lesson plans. She kept me going many times.”

Panther PostGame

Heber Springs’ season closes at Shiloh Christian

Heber Springs’ Landon Johnson running with the ball Friday night at Shiloh Christian. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

November 15, 2019


SPRINGDALE – Shiloh Christian used a quick-strike, precision passing game and took advantage of four Heber Springs turnovers to end the Panthers season with a 62-27 victory Friday night in a first-round 4A playoff game.

The 27 points scored by Heber Springs was the most points Shiloh Christian (11-0) has allowed to an opponent all season.

Heber Springs finishes the season with a 4-7 record while Shiloh Christian advanced to the second round where the Saints will host Pocahontas Friday night.

It was the final game for 14 Panther seniors, who made three consecutive playoff appearances and won a share of a 4A-2 conference crown in 2017. Two of those seniors, Adam Martin (15 carries for 118 yards) and Julio Rubio (14 carries for 108), closed out their careers rushing for more than 100 yards on the night.

Senior Eli Reece was 26 of 32 for 395 yards passing with seven touchdowns for Shiloh Christian as the Saints needed only 36 seconds to take a 6-0 lead after Reece connected with Logan Raben for a 45-yard score. The 2-point conversion failed.

On the Panthers first possession, Heber Springs moved from their own 15 to their 49 after a pair of first-down runs by Rubio, the first for 23 and second for 11, but the drive fizzled at the Shiloh Christian 43 and the Panthers turned the ball over on downs.

The Saints didn’t waste much time going up 14-0 moving 57 yards on four plays in 39 seconds as Reece connected with Truitt Tollett for the score and Cam Wiedemann for the 2-point conversion.

Heber Springs responded as Rubio went 41 yards on second down to put the ball the Saint 18. Two players later Martin ran the ball in from the 14 with 6:44 to play in the opening quarter. Jackson Harrod’s kick made it 14-7 Shiloh.

The Saints drove to the Panther 14 before the Heber Springs defense stopped the Saints on a fourth-and-1 with 3:37 left in the first quarter.

The Panthers picked up a pair of first downs on their next drive, the second coming after Martin connected with Hunter Kent for eight yards on third-and-7 from the Heber Springs 28, but a holding penalty on a Landon Johnson run on the next play put Heber Springs in the hole for the series forcing the game’s only punt, a Martin 56-yarder on the first play of the second quarter.

From there Shiloh Christian marched 93 yards in 1:35 in five plays to go up 21-7 after Reece connected with Tollett again for a 34-yard score.

The Saints attempted an onside kick and recovered it after the ball after it bounced a Panther at the 50. Two plays and 20 seconds later the Saints would go up 28-7 after Reece found Tollett yet again for a 33-yard touchdown.

The Panthers pulled to within two scores on the ensuing drive after recovering the onside-kick attempt on their own 49. Martin rushed for nine yards for a first down at the Shiloh 32 and passed for another first down connecting with Nathan McKee for an eight-yard completion. Three plays later, Martin again connected with McKee, this time for a 16-yard touchdown with 5:45 left in the first half. The kick failed making it 28-13.

Shiloh Christian need only 90 seconds to respond as Reece found tight end Beau Cason for an eight-yard touchdown pass making it 35-13.

The Panthers kept it a two-score game on their next possession after Martin kept the snap, went off tackle and out ran a trio of Saint defenders for a 57-yard touchdown run to make it 35-20 with 2:12.

Shiloh Christian was driving for another apparent score before Kent stepped in front the Reece pass attempt at the Panther 20 for the interception, but after picking up 28 yards on the return, Kent had the ball knocked free and the Saints recovered. Seven plays later and with 16 seconds left in the half, Reece found Cason for a 17-yard scoring strike to make it 42-20 at the half.

Shiloh Christian put the game out of reach with a pair of third-quarter touchdowns and invoke the Arkansas Activities Association 35-point Mercy Rule. The Panthers did score a late touchdown as Rubio plunged in from the 3 to set the final score.



LEGEND IN THE HOUSE: Heber Springs High graduate and former Panther head coach Dennis DeBusk, who also served as the first head coach in Shiloh Christian history, was on the Heber Springs sidelines for the first half Friday night. DeBusk is retired and lives in Springdale.

LEGEND IN THE HOUSE TOO: Heber Springs High graduate and former Arkansas Razorback Braylon Mitchell was at the game with his family Friday night to catch Heber Springs (see video).

RARE PICK: Hunter Kent’s second-quarter interception of Shiloh Christian Eli Reece was only the third time this season the senior has been picked off.

BOOK-END CENTURY MARKS: Seniors Julio Rubio and Adam Martin opened the season by both rushing for more than 100 yards against Clinton and only accomplished it one another time this season, in the season-ending loss at Shiloh Christian.

DEFENSIVE ACTION: Senior quarterback Adam Martin played on the defense for the first time this season against Shiloh Christian. With the Saints vaunted spread passing attack, Martin was in the secondary.


IT’S HEBER SPRINGS: The public address announcer at Shiloh Christian made the mistake before kick off by calling saying “Herber Springs Panthers.” It was the only time he made the mistake on the night.

LIGHTS OUT: The stadium at Shiloh Christian uses LED lights and before kick off, the lights were turned off right before the Saint football team ran throw a lighted entrance to come onto the field.

ROUGH NIGHT FOR THE 4A-2: Central Arkansas Christian was the only conference team to advance to the second round of the playoffs. Riverview fell to DeWitt for the second time this season, 44-15. Southside Batesville lost to Star City, 47-20. Pea Ridge downed Lonoke, 49-13, and Central Arkansas Christian topped Gentry, 49-20. The Mustangs will travel to Joe T. Robinson Friday night for a second-round match-up.


Heber Springs (4-7)                 7  13   0   7  - 27    
Shiloh Christian (11-0)            14  28  14   6  - 62

Shiloh - Eli Reece to Logan Raben 45-yard pass (pass failed), 11:24
Shiloh - Reece to Truitt Tollett 2-yard pass (Reece to Cam Wiedemann pass), 8:06
Heber Springs - Adam Martin 14-yard run (Jackson Harrod kick), 6:44    
Shiloh - Reece to Tollett 34-yard pass (Keaton Carter kick), 10:14
Shiloh - Reece to Tollett 33-yard pass (Carter kick), 9:53
Heber Springs - Martin to Nathan McKee 16-yard pass (kick failed), 5:45
Shiloh - Reece to Beau Cason 8-yard pass (Carter kick), 4:15
Heber Springs - Martin 57-yard run (Harrod kick), 2:12
Shiloh - Reece to Cason 17-yard pass (Carter kick), :16
Shiloh - Reece to Tollett 1-yard pass (Carter kick), 8:19
Shiloh - Carter 40-yard interception return (Carter kick), 7:11
Shiloh - Ben Baker 44-yard run (kick blocked), 10:49
Heber Springs - Julio Rubio 3-yard run (Harrod kick), 4:50


First Downs by Rush: Heber Springs 13, Shiloh 10
First Downs by Pass: Heber Springs 5, Shiloh 19
First Downs by Penalty: Heber Springs 2, Shiloh 1
Total First Downs: Heber Springs 20, Shiloh 30
Third-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 8/14, Shiloh 2/4
Fourth-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 1/4, Shiloh 0/1
Red-Zone Conversions: Heber Springs 2/2, Shiloh 4/5
Time of Possession: Heber Springs 29:39, Shiloh 18:21
Fumbles/Lost: Heber Springs 3/2, Shiloh 0/0
Turnovers: Heber Springs 4, Shiloh 1   
Points Off Turnovers: Heber Springs 0, Shiloh 28
Penalties: Heber Springs 9/75, Shiloh 7/65
Plays/Total Offense/YPP: Heber Springs 64/356/5.6, Shiloh 51/639/12.5
Rushing: Heber Springs 37/260/7.0, Shiloh 24/242/10.1
Passing: Heber Springs 13/27-96-1/2, Shiloh 27/33-397-7/1
Sacks/Yards Lost: Heber Springs 0/0, Shiloh 1/11
Punts: Heber Springs 1/56, Shiloh 0/0
Inside 20: Heber Springs 1, Shiloh 0


RUSHING: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 15/118/7.9/2, Julio Rubio 14/108/7.7/1, Landon Johnson 3/20/6.7, Nathan McKee 2/8, Levy Phillips 2/7, Team 1/(-1). Shiloh Christian, Cam Wiedemann 10/110/11, Ben Baker 3/77/25.7/1, Truitt Tollett 3/31/10.3, Hayden Brasuell 2/18, Eli Reece 1/7, Logan Raben 1/6, Ben Walton 1/2, Jacob Solomon  Elias Hewitt 1/1,  1/(-1), Team 1/(-9).
RUSHING RUNS OF 50+: Heber Springs, Adam Martin (1) 
RUSHING RUNS OF 40+: Heber Springs, Adam Martin (1), Julio Rubio (1). Shiloh Christian, Ben Baker (1).
RUSHING RUNS OF 30+: Heber Springs, Adam Martin (1), Julio Rubio (1). Shiloh Christian, Ben Baker (1), Truitt Tollett (1).
RUSHING RUNS OF 20+: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio (2), Adam Martin (1). Shiloh Christian, Cam Wiedemann (3), Ben  Baker (1), Truitt Tollett (1). 
RUSHING RUNS OF 10+: Heber Springs, Julio Rubio (4), Adam Martin (3). Shiloh Christian, Cam Wiedemann (5), Ben Baker (3), Truitt Tollett (1), Hayden Brasuell (1).
PASSING: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 13/27-96-1/2, Shiloh Christian, Eli Reece 26/32-395-7/1, Kyle Cason 1/1-2-0/0 
RECEIVING: Heber Springs, Nathan McKee 5/70/1, Landon Johnson 4/8, Hunter Kent 2/10, Fate Berry 1/8, Matthew Cook 1/0. Shiloh Christian, Truitt Tollett 11/178/16.2/4, Cam Wiedemann 5/57, Luke Hutchinson 4/59, Beau Cason 4/37/2, Logan Raben 1/45/1, Hunter Mason 1/19, Sawyer Shankle 1/2  
TOTAL OFFENSE: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 214, Julio Rubio 108, Landon Johnson 20, Nathan McKee 8, Levy Phillips 7, Team (-1). Shiloh Christian, Eli Reece 402, Cam Wiedemann 110, Ben Baker 77, Truitt Tollett 31, Hayden Brasuell 18, Logan Raben 6, Ben Walton 2, Kyle Cason 2, Elias Hewitt 1, Jacob Solomon (-1), Team (-9).
KICK RETURNS: Heber Springs, Diego Rubio 2/48, Jackson West 2/8, Matthew Cook 2/0, Nathan McKee 1/8, Adam Martin 1/6, Hunter Kent 1/0. Shiloh Christian, Keaton Carter 2/23, Beau Cason 1/36, Ben Baker 1/32. 
FUMBLE RETURNS: Heber Springs, Diego Rubio 1/4 (offensive)
INTERCEPTION RETURNS: Heber Springs, Hunter Kent 29. Shiloh Christian, Keaton Carter 40.
ALL-PURPOSE YARDS: Heber Springs, Adam Martin 124, Julio Rubio 108, Nathan McKee 86, Diego Rubio 52, Hunter Kent 39, Landon Johnson 28, Fate Berry 8, Jackson West 8, Levy Phillips 7. Shiloh Christian, Truitt Tollett 209, Cam Wiedemann 167, Ben Baker 109, Beau Cason 73, Keaton Carter 63, Luke Hutchinson 59, Logan Raben 51, Hunter Mason 19, Hayden Brasuell 18, Eli Reece 7, Ben Walton 2, Sawyer Shankle 2, Elias Hewitt 1, Jacob Solomon (-1).   


Panther GameDay

Heber Springs marches to northwest Arkansas to battle Saints

  • Kickoff: 7 p.m. at Shiloh Christian
  • Admission: $5 (No passes accepted)
  • Radio: Lance Hamilton with handle the play-by-play with Jamey Riddle providing the color on KSUG 101.9 The Lake. Panther Pregame begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by the game.  Listen Live Link


Heber Springs tops Mills, heads to playoffs


                            W L CP  W L  PS  PA   
Riverview                   5 2 52  7 3  337 278 
Southside Batesville        5 2 54  7 3  340 246
Central Arkansas Christian  5 2 59  7 3  296 220       
Lonoke                      5 2 47  6 4  293 297
Heber Springs               4 3 41  4 6  274 300        
Bald Knob                   3 4 13  3 7  160 310                 
Stuttgart                   1 7 13  1 9  238 341
Little Rock Mills           0 8  0  0 10 202 264    

Friday, November 1
Central Arkansas Christian 34, Bald Knob 6
Heber Springs 49, Riverview 35
Lonoke 35, Stuttgart 28
Southside Batesville 50, Little Rock Mills 23

Thursday, November 7
Lonoke 26, Riverview 14
Central Arkansas Christian 28, Stuttgart 6

Friday, November 8
Bald Knob 27, Southside Batesville 22
Heber Springs 28, Little Rock Mills 14

PLAYOFFS: No. 1 Riverview hosts Bauxite, No. 2 Southside Batesville hosts Star City, No. 3 CAC hosts Gentry, No. 4 Lonoke travels to Pea Ridge and No. 5 Heber Springs travels to Shiloh Christian.

NEXT WEEK: The winner of the Shiloh Christian/Heber Springs contest will face the winner of the Pocahontas/Gravette in a second-round playoff contest. If Shiloh Christian wins, they will be at home regardless of the opponent. If Heber Springs wins, they would travel to Pocahontas if the Redskins win or would host Gravette if the Lions win.

CONSECUTIVE STREAK: Heber Springs has qualified for the playoffs for six straight seasons, and 13 out of the last 14 years.



THE SERIES: Heber Springs leads 2-1

SERIES HISTORY: The two teams first met during the 2011 season opener. Heber Springs defeated Shiloh Christian, 36-17, in a game played at the Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville. The Panthers also faced the Saints in a first-round playoff game in 2011 at Panther Stadium – a 48-35 Heber Springs victory. Shiloh Christian would return to Panther Stadium in 2016 for a second-round playoff contest, a 42-7 Shiloh Christian victory. This will be the Panthers first contest at the “Field of Champions.”

WEBPAGE: The Shiloh Christian football team has an “official” website.

PANTHER CONNECTION: The first football coach in Shiloh Christian history was Heber Springs High School graduate and former head coach Dennis DeBusk. DeBusk, who went 71-53 as head coach at Heber Springs from 1976 through 1987, coach the Saints from 1989-1995 compiling a mark of 38-35 (though the team had to forfeit 8 wins from the 1994 campaign due to an ineligible player). DeBusk was followed as head coach at the school by current Auburn coach Gus Malzahn.

STATE TITLES: Shiloh Christian has won seven state titles since launching its football program in 1989.

SHILOH BY THE NUMBERS: The Saints are averaging 308 passing yards per game and another 124 on the ground. Senior quarterback Eli Reece is 184 out of 252 passing for 2,676 yards with 27 touchdowns and only two interceptions. Reece’s favorite target has been senior Truitt Tollett, who has caught 82 passes for 1,336 yards and 21 touchdowns. Junior Cam Wiedemann is the Saints leading rusher with 584 yards on 91 carries with 12 touchdowns while senior Logan Raben has rushed for 11 scores.

FOUR TO GO: Heber Springs senior Julio Rubio needs four yards rushing to top the 1,000-yard mark on the season.


Heber Springs 54 90 54 76 - 274 (27.4)  
Opponent      46 97 90 67 - 300 (30)  

First Downs by Rush: Heber Springs 100, Opponent 110  
First Downs by Pass: Heber Springs 64, Opponent 54  
First Downs by Penalty: Heber Springs 7, Opponent 11  
Total First Downs: Heber Springs 171, Opponent 174  
Third-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 56/121 (46.2), Opponent 42/113 (37.1)  
Fourth-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 12/31 (38.7), Opponent 18/33 (54.5)  
Red-Zone Conversions: Heber Springs 25/34 (73.5) (25 tds), Opponent 29/39 (74.4) (27 tds, 2 FG)  
Fumbles/Lost: Heber Springs 16/8, Opponent 17/9  
Turnovers: Heber Springs 16, Opponent 13  
Points Off Turnovers: Heber Springs 48, Opponent 28 
Penalties/Yards: Heber Springs 81/598, Opponent 71/699 
Plays/Total Offense/YPP: Heber Springs 612/3527/5.8, Opponent 604/3270/5.4  
Rushing: Heber Springs 395/1984/5.0, Opponent 434/1997/4.6 
Rushing Per Game: Heber Springs 198.4, Opponent 199.7  
Passing: Heber Springs 126/211-1542-12/8, Opponent 109/190-1311-17/4 
Completion Percentage: Heber Springs 59.7, Opponent 57.4
Passing Per Game: Heber Springs 154.2, Opponent 131.1 
Sacks/Yards Lost: Heber Springs 20/107, Opponent 12/64  
Punts: Heber Springs 29/1120/38.6, Opponent 29/975/33.6
Blocked Punts: Heber Springs 1 
RUSHING (ATT/YARDS/PER ATTEMPT/PER GAME/TDS): Julio Rubio 176/996/5.7/99.6/15, Adam Martin 161/727/4.5/72.7/8, Landon Johnson 52/239/4.6/23.9/5, Levy Phillips 4/21, Nathan McKee 1/6, Diego Rubio 1/2, Tri Johnson 1/(-2), Team 6/(-51)  
RUNS OF 50+: Julio Rubio 2, Adam, Martin 1 
RUNS OF 40+: Julio Rubio 3  Adam Martin 1
RUNS OF 30+: Julio Rubio 5, Adam Martin 2  
RUNS OF 20+: Julio Rubio 10, Adam Martin 7, Landon Johnson 1 
RUNS OF 10+:  Julio Rubio 25, Adam Martin 24, Landon Johnson 4, Levy Phillips 1 
100-YARD RUSHING GAMES: Julio Rubio 5, Adam Martin 3   
PASSING (ATT/COMP-YARDS-TDS/INT): Adam Martin 126/211-1542-12/8      
250-YARD PASSING GAMES: Adam Martin 1  
RECEIVING (REC/YARDS/PER CATCH/TDS): Nathan McKee 24/274/11.4/3, Matthew Cook 22/198/9/1, Landon Johnson 21/261/12.4/2, Hunter Kent 16/211/13.2/3, Fate Berry 14/194/13.9/1, Julio Rubio 13/145/11.2, Tri Johnson 12/208/17.3/2, Jackson West 1/18, Dalton McCollum 1/9, Diego Rubio 1/8  
100-YARD RECEIVING GAMES: Hunter Kent 1, Tri Johnson 1, Julio Rubio 1  
TOTAL OFFENSE (OFFENSE/PER GAME): Adam Martin 2269/226.9, Julio Rubio 996/99.6, Landon Johnson 239/23.9, Levy Phillips 21, Nathan McKee 6, Diego Rubio 2, Tri Johnson (-2), Team (-51)  
KICKOFF RETURNS: Tri Johnson 8/170/21.3, Nathan McKee 6/79/13.2,  Hunter Kent 6/52/8.7, Matthew Cook 4/62/15.5, Julio Rubio 3/44/14.7, Levy Phillips 4/37/9.3, Jackson West 4/39/9.8, Diego Rubio 2/37/18.5, Lawrence Baureis 1/10, Harley Bresnahan 1/ 6, Tristan  Thissen 1/0.  
PUNT RETURNS: Nathan McKee 3/12, Tri Johnson 1/(-3) 
INTERCEPTION RETURNS: Nathan McKee 2/26, Dalton McCollum 1/4, Fate Berry 1/2  
FUMBLE RETURNS: Matthew Cook 1/4 
ALL-PURPOSE YARDS (YARDS/PER GAME): Julio Rubio 1078/107.8, Adam Martin 727/72.7, Landon Johnson 499/49.9, Nathan McKee 397/39.7, Tri Johnson 373/57.3, Matthew Cook 264/26.4, Hunter Kent 263/26.3, Fate Berry 196/19.6, Diego Rubio 47/4.7, Jackson West 57/5.7, Levy Phillips 58/5.8, Lawrence Baureis 10/1, Harley Bresnahan 6/1, Dalton McCollum 13/1.3,   
TACKLES (ASST/SOLO/TOTAL): Fate Berry 73/26/99, Landon Johnson 70/26/96, Diego Rubio 47/13/60, Kaden Hughes 31/14/45, Hunter Kent 29/11/40, Nathan McKee 33/13/46, Levy Phillips 24/11/35, Lawrence Baureis 30/10/40, Matthew Cook 27/7/34, Nicholas Hitchcock 27/8/35, Jackson West 22/4/26, Tri Johnson 9/5/14, Dalton McCollum 11/5/16, Julio Rubio 13/6/19, Harley Bresnhan 6/4/10, Trevor Weathers 8/1/9, Preston Jones 2/2/5, Harley Hannah 3/2/5, Hunter Griffin 3/1/4, Devon Doxey 3/1/4, Tristan Thissen 1/2/3, Trent Barnes 2/1/3, Jackson Harrod 3/1/4, Nate Dearmond 0/1/1, Spencer Evans 1/0/1, Gus Hannah 1/0/1.  
TACKLES FOR LOSS:  Fate Berry 15, Landon Johnson 15.5, Kaden Hughes 11.5, Diego Rubio 7, Nicholas Hitchcock 6.5, Julio Rubio 9, Lawrence Baureis 7, Levy Phillips 2, Jackson West 2, Tri Johnson 1.5,  Hunter Griffin 1, Harley Bresnahan 1, Devon Doxey 1, Nathan McKee 1  
SACKS/YARDS LOST:  Fate Berry 4/28, Kaden Hughes 4/24,  Tri Johnson 2.5/22, Levy Phillips 1/ 5, Harley Bresnahan 1/ 4, Diego Rubio 1.5/5, Julio Rubio .5/9, Landon Johnson 1/3, Matthew Cook .5/3, Nicholas Hitchcock .5/4. 
INTERCEPTIONS: Dalton McCollum 1, Nathan McKee 2, Fate Berry 1  
DEFENSIVE FUMBLE RECOVERIES: Hunter Kent 2, Diego Rubio 3, Nicholas Hitchcock 2, Nathan McKee 1, Landon Johnson 1,    
BLOCKED PUNTS: Kaden Hughes 1
PUNTING (No./Yards/Avg./Inside20): Adam Martin 28/1087/38.8/7, Matthew Cook 1/33/33
SCORING: Julio Rubio 90 (15 tds), Adam Martin 54 (9 td), Landon Johnson 36 (6 tds), Jackson Harrod 34 (34-37 PAT, 0-1 FG), Hunter Kent 18 (3 td), Nathan McKee 18 (3 td), Tri Johnson 12 (2 td), Fate Berry 6 (1 td), Matthew Cook 6 (1 td) 



OFFENSE – Adam Martin. DEFENSE – Nathan McKee


OFFENSE – Hunter Kent. DEFENSE – Diego Rubio


OFFENSE – Julio Rubio. DEFENSE – Diego Rubio


OFFENSE – Landon Johnson. DEFENSE – Fate Berry

WEEK 6 vs. CAC

OFFENSE – Julio Rubio. DEFENSE – Kaden Hughes


OFFENSE – Adam Martin. DEFENSE – Nathan McKee


OFFENSE – Fate Berry. DEFENSE – Landon Johnson


OFFENSE – Tri Johnson. DEFENSE – Dalton McCollum


OFFENSE – Harley Hannah. DEFENSE – Levy Phillips


OFFENSE – Adam Martin and Julio Rubio. DEFENSE – Fate Berry

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