Panthers fall in Searcy, garner No. 2 seed

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Heber Springs sophomore Emmett Dwyer runs for a 13-yard gain in the second half Friday night in Searcy. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

SEARCY – It’s not back to the drawing board, but a time to refresh before starting the postseason run for the Heber Springs Panthers.

Harding Academy converted two fumble recoveries into touchdowns and drove 49 yards during the first quarter and claimed at least a share of the 2-4A Conference championship and a top seed for the playoffs by defeating the Panthers 41-14 at First Security Stadium on Friday.

The loss ended a 5-game win streak for Heber Springs.

The Panthers (5-3 overall, 4-1 in 2-4A Conference) will be the conference’s No. 2 seed and host either Lincoln or Gentry in the first round on Nov. 10.

The Wildcats (9-0 overall, 5-0 in 2-4A Conference), who won the 2020 and 2021 Class 3A state championships and lost to Malvern in the 2022 Class 4A title game, will host the No. 5 seed from 1-4A.

One game remains in the regular season. The Panthers will host Riverview at 7 p.m. Friday, while the Wildcats will play at Cave City.

“Good teams make you do things that you don’t want to do,” Heber Springs first-year head coach Van Paschal said. “We knew they were a good team, but it’s hard to tell for sure until you play them. They have everything going in the right direction.”

Paschal continued and said Harding Academy players and coaches were very complimentary of how the Panthers played.

“They were very complimentary of our players after the game about how they are playing and accomplished this season,” he said. “I expect play well against Riverview. These players have we will respond and answered the bell every time after losses this season.”

Heber Springs held the Wildcats to 84 yards rushing, but Wildcat quarterback Owen Miller completed 16 of 19 passes for 235 and two touchdowns. Miller also rushed for 90 yards and two more scores.

Isaac Baker became Miller’s favorite receiver with Jack Citty, one of the team’s leading receivers, was unable to play because of injury. Baker caught seven passes for 154 yards and one touchdown.

Harding Academy held a 373-125 yards advantage in total offense.

Parker Brown rushed five times for 81 yards for the Panthers. Weston Warden returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown during the first half. The Panthers were 0-of-4 passing.

“We had spurts of good plays,” said Paschal, referring to Brown’s runs of 15 and 58 runs and Warden’s kickoff return during the first half. “We would have a great play here and then a bad play. This game was a measuring stick for us. We just got to move forward and keep improving.”

Harding Academy took the lead after recovering a fumble at the Heber Springs 35-yard line early in the first quarter.

Two penalties moved the Wildcats backwards before Miller scrambled for 12 yards on second down and University of Arkansas commit Wyatt Simmons, who lined up in the Wildcat formation, gained seven yards for a first down.

Simmons finished the drive by running 11 yards to the Panther 1 and scored on the next play with 7:13 left in the first quarter. Griffin Thomas kicked the extra point for the 7-0 lead.

Later in the quarter, Kyler Hoover’s 21-yard punt return put Harding in scoring position at the Heber Springs 45-yard line. Miller received the snap, ran right and scored on a 45-yard run with 2:30 to go in the quarter. Thomas booted the extra point, increasing the lead to 14-0.

Harding Academy cashed in again on a fumble recovery and drove 75 yards for its next score. Simmons scored from the 1-yard line with 22 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Thomas kicked the extra point for a 21-0 lead going into the second quarter.

Issac Baker caught a short pass from Miller and ran 68 yards, giving Harding Academy a first down at the Heber Springs 18. Two plays later, Miller connected on a 14-yard touchdown pass to Endy McGalliard. The Wildcats failed on a two-point conversion try and led 27-0 with 8:52 left in the first half.

After the ensuing kickoff went out of bounds, the Panthers decided to accept the penalty, and it paid dividends. The ball hit on the 20 and bounced backwards 10 yards where Warden retrieved and scored on a 90-yard kickoff return.

Gideon Tate’s kick for the extra point was blocked as the Panthers trailed, 27-6.

Hoover nearly duplicated Warden’s return on the ensuing kickoff, returning it 59 yards to the Heber Springs 24. Three plays later, Miller passed to Hoover for a 22-yard touchdown with 7:25 left. Thomas’ successful kick increased Harding Academy’s lead to 34-6.

The Wildcats drove 67 yards for its final score of the first half as Miller scored on a 14-yard run with 1:18 left in the first half. Thomas kicked the extra point for a 41-6 halftime lead.

Backup quarterback Zack Parker put the Panthers on the board in the fourth quarter by scoring on a 2-yard keeper with 7:48 to play. Parker also ran for a 2-point conversion.

Paschal said the team will turn its attention to Riverview.

“We responded positively after the two earlier losses (Clinton and Southside Batesville),” he said. “I expect them to be ready for Riverview, which has a good team. We will fix the things that we didn’t do well. It’s important to win against Riverview and build momentum going into the playoffs.”

HEBER SPRINGS AT HARDING ACADEMY
October 27, 2023 
TEAM STATS
TIME OF POSSESSION: Heber Springs 23:42, Harding 24:18
TOTAL FIRST DOWNS: Heber Springs 7, Harding 18
BY RUSH: Heber Springs 7, Harding 6
BY PASS: Heber Springs 0, Harding 11
BY PENALTY: Heber Springs 0, Harding 1
TEAM RUSHING: Heber Springs 35/125/1/3.6, Harding 23/84/4/3.7
TEAM PASSING: Heber Springs 0/4-0-0/0, Harding 21/27-289-2/0
TOTAL OFFENSE: Heber Springs 39/125/3.2, Harding 50/373/7.5
3RD CONVERSION: Heber Springs 2/7, Harding 3/5
4TH CONVERSION: Heber Springs 0/1, Harding 0/1
RED-ZONE: Heber Springs 1/1, Harding 4/4
TURNOVERS: Heber Springs 3, Harding 1
POINTS OFF TURNOVERS: Heber Springs 8, Harding 14
FUMBLES/LOST: Heber Springs 4/3, Harding 2/1
PENALTIES: Heber Springs 3/15, Harding 5/30
KICKOFF RETURNS: Heber Springs 1/90/1, Harding 1/59
PUNT RETURNS: Heber Springs 0/0, Harding 1/22
PUNTS: Heber Springs 4/176/44.0, Harding 1/34
PUNTS INSIDE 20: Heber Springs 1, Harding 0
SACKS: Heber Springs 0, Harding 1/7
TACKLES FOR LOSS: Heber Springs 8/32, Harding 12/54
INDIVIDUAL STATS
RUSHING: Heber Springs, Bryce Seigrist 5/4, Weston Warden 3/1, Parker Brown 5/81, Xander Lindley 10/(-20), Logan Rutledge 3/9, Dyce Young 3/8, Nate Eaton 3/33, Emmett Dwyer 1/13, Zachary Parker 2/(-4)/1. Harding Academy, Wyatt Simmons 5/28/2, Owen Miller 4/90/2, Isaac Baker 6/16, Christian Bubbus 2/0, Sam Beehn 2/0, Team 4/(-50).
PASSING: Heber Springs, Xander Lindley 0/4-0-0/0. Harding Academy, Owen Miller 16/19-235-2/0, Cam Pryor 5/8-54-0/0.
RECEIVING: Harding Academy, Isaac Baker 7/154/1/22.0, Kyler Hoover 5/40/1, Endy McGalliard 4/41/1, Cole Sivia 1/30, Joseph Myles 1/9, Christian Bubbus 1/8, Trenton Hall 1/8, Samuel Swindle 1/(-1)
KICKOFF RETURNS: Heber Springs, Weston Warden 1/90/1. Harding Academy, Kyler Hoover 1/59.
PUNT RETURNS: Harding Academy, Kyler Hoover 1/22
ALL-PURPOSE YARDS: Heber Springs, Weston Warden 91. Harding Academy, Isaac Baker 170, Kyler Hoover 121.
TOTAL OFFENSE: Harding Academy, Owen Miller 325
PUNTING: Heber Springs, Gideon Tate 4/176/44.0/1 (Long 51). Harding Academy, Griffin Thomas 1/34.
SCORING
PAT KICKS: Gideon Tate 0/1 (Blocked)
FIELD GOALS: None
POINTS: Weston Warden 6, Zachary Parker 8
DEFENSIVE STATS
SACKS: None
INDIVIDUAL SACK TOTAL: None
FUMBLE RECOVERIES: Logan Lozeau
FORCED FUMBLES: None
INTERCEPTIONS: None
PBU: Emmett Dwyer 
QB HURRIES: Jordan Tidwell, Nate Eaton

TACKLES (U/A/TFL - TOTAL)
Brodie Basford   2 4 0 6
Weston Warden    6 1 1 7
Logan Rutledge   4 0 0 4
Elijah Jones     0 2 1 2
Nate Eaton       0 1 1 1
Jordan Tidwell   1 1 0 2
Emmett Dwyer     1 1 0 2
Carter Julian    0 3 1 3
Parker Brown     2 1 0 3
Corbin Jones     3 1 0 4
Xander Lindley   1 0 0 1
Jacob McMullin   1 0 0 1
Team             2 0 2 2
Greg Williams    0 1 0 1
Caleb Carr       0 2 0 2
Gavin Mize       2 3 2 5
Zachary Parker   1 0 1 1
Seth Dudeck      0 1 0 1
Dyce Young       1 1 1 2
Logan Lozeau     0 1 1 1

 

 

HEBER SPRINGS FOOTBALL: Season Stats (after 5 games)

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Heber Springs junior quarterback Liam Buffalo fights for yards against Cave City in the Panthers 2-4A opener on Sept. 22. Heber Springs won that contest 42-0. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

 

HEBER SPRINGS PANTHERS
OVERALL RECORD: 3-2
2-4A CONFERENCE: 2-0
SCHEDULE (Click on game result for link to game story)
AUG 15  at Beebe (Scrimmage)
SEP 01  Clinton 42, Heber Springs 29
SEP 08  Southside Batesville 49, Heber Springs 10
SEP 15  Heber Springs 42, Jonesboro Westside 8
SEP 22  Heber Springs 42, Cave City 0
SEP 29  Heber Springs 48, Bald Knob 0
OCT 13  Lonoke at Heber Springs
OCT 20  Heber Springs at Stuttgart
OCT 27  Heber Springs at Harding Academy
NOV 04  Riverview at Heber Springs
NOV 11  4A State Playoffs (TBD)


SENIOR HIGH TEAM STATS
After Week 5
TOTAL FIRST DOWNS: Heber Springs 48, Opponent 77
BY RUSH: Heber Springs 42, Opponent 63
BY PASS: Heber Springs 5, Opponent 11
BY PENALTY: Heber Springs 1, Opponent 6
3RD CONVERSION: Heber Springs 12/27 (44.4), Opponent 21/53 (39.6)
4TH CONVERSION: Heber Springs 3/4, Opponent 9/17 (52.9)
RED-ZONE CONVERSION: Heber Springs 8/10, Opponent 11/14
RED-ZONE TOUCHDOWN PERCENTAGE: Heber Springs 8/10, Opponent 11/14 
PENALTIES: Heber Springs 38/293, Opponent 26/245
PENALTIES PER GAME: Heber Springs 7.6/58.6, Opponent 5.2/49
SACKS: Heber Springs 8/69, Opponent 3/22
TACKLES FOR LOSS: Heber Springs 40/153, Opponent 31/103

POINTS
TOTAL POINTS: Heber Springs 171 (34.2), Opponent 99 (19.8)
POINTS OFF TURNOVERS: Heber Springs 49, Opponent 43
FIRST QUARTER: Heber Springs 69, Opponent 35
SECOND QUARTER: Heber Springs 52, Opponent 23
THIRD QUARTER: Heber Springs 21, Opponent 20
FOURTH QUARTER: Heber Springs 29, Opponent 14


INDIVIDUAL STATS
RUSHING (Att/Yards/Avg/TDs/100/200)  
TEAM			150	1170	7.8	16	5	0	
Parker Brown		17	315	18.5	6	2	0	
Brodie Basford		19	65	3.4	0	0	0	
Liam Buffalo		32	184	5.8	3	1	0	
Weston Warden	        19	252	13.3	3	1	0	
Nate Eaton		9	28		1	0	0	
Bryce Seigrist		30	185	6.2	1	1	0	
Emmett Dwyer		3	48		1	0	0	
Elijah Jones		1	21		0	0	0	
Logan Rutledge		1	(-6)		0	0	0	
Eli Buffalo		8	59		1	0	0	
Gideon Tate		1	31		0	0	0	
Xander Lindley		1	0		0	0	0	
Team			5	(-14)		0	0	0	

OPPONENT		227	796	3.5	10	1	0	

PASSING (COMP/ATT - YDS - TD/INT - 200 - RATING)
TEAM			7/11	223	5/0	383.9	
Liam Buffalo		6/10	194	4/0	355.0	
Xander Lindley		1/1	29	1/0		

OPPONENT:		30/48	397	4/6	134.5	

TOTAL OFFENSE (PLAYS - YARDS - PER PLAY)
TEAM			161	1392	8.7	
Liam Buffalo		42	368	8.8	
Parker Brown		17	315	18.5	
Brodie Basford		19	65	3.4	
Weston Warden	        19	252	13.3	
Nate Eaton		9	28		
Bryce Seigrist		30	185	6.2	
Emmett Dwyer		3	48		
Elijah Jones		1	21		
Logan Rutledge		1	(-6)		
Eli Buffalo		8	59		
Gideon Tate		1	31		
Xander Lindley		2	29		
Team			5	(-14)		

OPPONENT 		269	1156	4.3	

RECEIVING (REC/YARDS/TDS/100)
Parker Brown		3	137	3	1	
Seth Dudeck		1	7	0	0	
Weston Warden     	1	20	0	0	
Xander Lindley		1	30	1	0	
Elijah Jones		1	29	1	0	

OPPPONENT		30	397	4	0	

XP (XP/XPA - Blocked)
Gideon Tate		18/19	1
Chase Dill		3/3	0
Paul Krause		1/1	0

OPPONENT: 		7/7	0
HS BLOCKS:

FGA (F/FGA - BLOCKED)
Gideon Tate		1/2	0
MADE: 30
MISSED: 51

OPPONENT		0/0	0
HS BLOCKS:

2PTS:
Team			1/1
Brodie Basford		1

OPPONENT		4/7


TOUCHDOWNS: 
Parker Brown		11
Nate Eaton		1
Liam Buffalo		3
Weston Warden    	3
Eli Buffalo		2
Bryce Seigrist		1
Emmett Dwyer		1
Xander Lindley		1
Elijah Jones		1

OPPONENT		15


POINTS: 
Parker Brown		66
Gideon Tate		21
Brodie Basford		2
Nate Eaton		6
Chase Dill		3
Liam Buffalo		18
Weston Warden   	18
Bryce Seigrist		6
Emmett Dwyer		6
Xander Lindley		6
Eli Buffalo		12
Elijah Jones		6
Paul Krause		1

INT RETURN (No/Yds/TDs)
Bryce Seigrist			1	3	0
Liam Buffalo			1	2	0
Eli Buffalo			1	42	1
Weston Warden		        1	17	0

OPPONENT:			0	0	0


KICKOFF RETURNS (No/Yds/Avg/TDs)
TEAM			11	100	9.1	0
Parker Brown		3	40	13.3	0
Xander Lindley		1	0	0	0
Logan Rutledge		5	51	6.3	0
Weston Warden   	1	6		0
Bryce Seigrist		1	3		0

OPPONENT		16	208	13.0	0

PUNT RETURNS (No/Yds/Avg/TDs)
TEAM			4	159	39.8	2
Parker Brown		4	159	39.8	2

Opponent		2	8	0	0

FUMBLE RETURNS (No/Yds/TD)
TEAM			1	25	0
Carter Julian		1	25	0

Opponent		2	25	0

ALL-PURPOSE (YARDS - 100 - 200)
Parker Brown		651	3	2	5
Brodie Basford		65	0	0	2
Liam Buffalo		186	1	0	5
Weston Warden	        295	1	0	5
Seth Dudeck		7	0	0	1
Xander Lindley		30	0	0	3
Logan Rutledge		45	0	0	3
Nate Eaton		28	0	0	4
Bryce Seigrist		193	1	0	4
Emmett Dwyer		48	0	0	2
Elijah Jones		50	0	0	2
Eli Buffalo		101	0	0	2
Gideo Tate		31	0	0	1
Carter Julian		25	0	0	1

OPPONENT (100 -200 games)	1	0

300-YARD: Parker Brown 1.

PUNTS (No./Yds/Avg/I20/Blk): 
Gideon Tate		8	295	36.9	3	0

OPPONENT		10	256	25.6	0	1
HS BLOCKED PUNTS: 
Brodie Basford		1	

INTERCEPTIONS (INTS - PBU)
Weston Warden		        2	1
Eli Buffalo			0	1
Bryce Seigrist			1	0
Liam Buffalo			2	0
Logan Rutledge			0	1
Eli Buffalo			1	1
Corbin Jones			0	1

OPPONENT			0	0

FUMBLES (RECOVERIES/FORCED)
TEAM				7	5	
Jacob McMullin			1	0
Jordan Tidwell			2	1
Brodie Basford			1	2
Parker Brown			0	1
Weston Warden		        0	1
Nate Eaton			1	0
Carter Julian			2	0

OPPONENT (RECOVERIES)	9	

TOTAL TURNOVERS
HS				9
OPPONENT			13

SACKS
TEAM				8
Xander Lindley			1
Jacob McMullin			1
Corbin Jones			3
Nate Eaton			2
Jordan Tidwell			1
Luke Elliot			1
Brodie Basford			1
Carter Julian			1

OPPONENT			3

QB HURRIES
TEAM				15
Bryce Seigrist			1
Dyce Young			3
Jacob McMullin			1
Jordan Tidwell			3
Brodie Basford			1
Corbin Jones			5
Xander Lindley			1

TACKLES FOR LOSS (No./Yards Lost)
TEAM				40	153
OPPONENT			31	103	

TACKLES (U/A/TFL - TOTAL)
Carter Julian		16	12	2	28
Parker Brown		12	6	1	18
Logan Lozeau		3	2	0	5
Bryce Seigrist          8	2	1	10
Eli Buffalo		12	5	0	17
Weston Warden    	17	9	2	26
Jacob McMullin   	12	12	2	24
Luke Elliott		10	16	3	26
Zachary Parker		5	2	0	7
Nash Farmer		0	1	0	1
Jordan Tidwell		10	4	4	14
Logan Rutledge		2	2	1	4
Nate Eaton		9	6	5	15
Corbin Jones		13	11	7	24
Emmett Dwyer		9	2	0	11
Greg Williams		2	1	0	3
Elijah Jones		5	3	0	8
Gauge Owens		1	0	0	1
Joenah  Cordell		2	3	0	5
Xander Lindley		12	2	2	14
Liam Buffalo		11	4	2	15
Brodie Basford		20	15	10	35
Dyce Young		2	5	1	7
Axley Davis		1	0	0	1
Gavin Mize		2	4	0	6
Cade James		0	1	0	1
Caleb Carr		1	0	0	1

COACHING ASSISTS
Dalton Yancey           5

(NOTE: On sacks and tackles for loss, for historical purposes, individual totals may be higher than team totals. Halves are counted as whole for individuals.)




Panthers improve to 2-0 in the 2-4A with another shutout

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Heber Springs’ Parker Brown looks upfield after breaking the tackle attempt by Bald Knob’s Eric Williams¬†Friday night at Panther Stadium. Brown would score four touchdowns in the win. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

The Heber Springs Panthers celebrated homecoming and kept rolling and moved in position to challenge for an opportunity at winning the 2-4A Conference championship.

The Panthers (3-2 overall, 2-0 in 2-4A) scored touchdowns on their first four possessions and steamrolled over the Bald Knob Bulldogs (2-4 overall, 0-2 in 2-4A) 48-0 at Panther Stadium Friday night.

Heber Springs won its third consecutive game, including back-to-back shutouts of conference opponents. The Panthers and Harding Academy (6-0 overall, 3-0 in 2-4A).

After the nonconference win at Jonesboro Westside, Heber Springs had consecutive shutouts of conference foes Cave City and the Bulldogs. The Panthers accomplished that for the first time since the 1990 season when they shout out Dover and Dardanelle. It also was the first shutout by Heber Springs against Bald Knob since 1981.

“Bald Knob played just the way that I thought it would,” Heber Springs coach Van Paschal said. “We didn’t want to lose going into the open date because a team tends to have its head down when that happens.

“We are learning how to play and not be satisfied. The players did a good job of playing well at homecoming and dealing with the heat.”

The Panthers utilized their ground attack and outgained Bald Knob 223-50 yards in total offense. Heber Springs had 194 yards rushing and held the Bulldogs to a minus 78 yards. Bald Knob had an advantage of 78-29 yards in passing.

Senior Parker Brown rushed for 115 yards on three carries, scoring two touchdowns for the Panthers. Brown also had two punt returns for scores, 65 and 45 yards.

Senior Corbin Jones had two of the Heber Springs defense’s four quarterback sacks, plus five quarterback hurries. Jordan Tidwell was credited with two quarterback hurries. The Panthers had six other lost-yardage tackles. Bald Knob committed five turnovers, leading to two Panther touchdowns. Eli Buffalo returned an interception 42 yards for a score. Liam Buffalo and Weston Warden also had interceptions. Carter Julian and Brodie Basford each recovered a fumble.

“The kids played hard throughout the game,” Paschal said when talking about the shutout. “We got out of the gate early. I would like to finish the game a little bit different than we did. But I’m very proud of how we played and expect more improvement in future games.”

Heber Springs, which won the opening toss and elected to receive, dominated the first quarter. The Panthers had 137 yards, all rushing, on 12 plays, while the defense held Bald Knob to a minus three yards on 11 plays. Brown rushed for 115 of the 137 yards and scored three of the four touchdowns.

Heber Springs drove 65 yards on seven plays, with Brown putting the first points on the scoreboard by scoring on a 28-yard run with 9:39 left in the first quarter. Gideon Tate kicked the extra point for the 7-0 lead.

After a three-and-out and a Bulldog punt, the Panthers turned to Brown again. Brown broke free and ran for a 53-yard touchdown with 7:27 to go. Tate’s conversion kick increased the lead to 14-0.

Special teams set up the next score when Basford blocked Micah Story’s punt and Julian recovered at the Bald Knob 8-yard line. Liam Buffalo scored on a 3-yard keeper, plus Tate’s successful kick, increased Heber Springs’ lead to 21-0 with 4:45 remaining.

Brown capped the offensive explosion by returning a punt 65 yards for the touchdown with 2:50 left. The Panthers took a 27-0 lead into the second quarter.

“It helps when you have a cushion (scoring on first four possessions) and the players continue to do everything we ask them to do,” Paschal said. “Parker had a heck of a night.”

Defense controlled the next quarter as Eli Buffalo’s 42-yard interception return and Tate’s conversion kick with 4:34 remaining gave Heber Springs a 34-0 halftime lead.

The sportsmanship rule went into effect when Brown returned a second punt 45 yards for a touchdown with 5:58 left in the third quarter. Chase Dill kicked the extra point for a 41-0 lead.

Xander Lindley threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Elijah Jones for the final touchdown with 4:55 to play. Paul Krause kicked the extra point.

Heber Springs will have two weeks in preparing for Lonoke (3-3 overall, 2-1 in 2-4A) at home on Oct. 13, the first of three games against teams in the top half of the standings.

The Panthers will play back-to-back road games at Stuttgart (Oct. 20) and Harding Academy (Oct. 27) before finishing the regular season at home against Riverview on Nov. 3.

“We will start focusing on Lonoke beginning Tuesday,” Paschal said. “We will be adding a few new things on offense and defense.”

Paschal concluded by saying the Panthers will focus on only one game at a time during the three-game stretch.

GAME NOTES

STOPPING THE DOG: Second fewest rushing yards allowed to a Bald Knob team with 29. The fewest is a school record minus 31 set on Sept. 16, 2011.

CATCHING A BONE: The three interceptions by the defense were the most since Oct. 5, 2018, when the Panthers recorded three at Central Arkansas Christian. The Panthers now have picked off three or more passes in game 40 times in school history. The school record for most interceptions in a game is 5 set at Harding Academy on Oct. 5, 1962.

BIG DOG: On Friday against Bald Knob, Parker Brown set a school record with most punts returned for a touchdown in game with two. His two punt returns for a score also tied him with Rickey Pilkington with most punts returned for a touchdown in a season at two. Pilkington scored his in 1968 games against DeValls Bluff and Vilonia. Pilkington has also had a punt return for a touchdown against England in 1967 which gives him a school record three career punt returns for scores. Pierce Mitchum is the only Panther in school history to have more than one punt returned for a touchdown. Mitchum recorded his against Stuttgart in 2016 and at Newport in 2015. Of note, Brown would have tied the career mark Friday night but he a punt return for a score called back against Jonesboro Westside last season because of a penalty.

Brown’s 65-yarder for a score Friday is tied for the 13th longest in school history and the longest punt return since Mitchum’s 66-yarder against Stuttgart in 2016. Jerry Todd holds the score record with a 93-yarder set against Batesville “B” in 1963.

Brown also set the single game record for most punt return yards in a game with 115. Mark Hoffman previously held the mark with 112 yards set at Mountain View in 1980. Parker finished with 225 all-purpose yards which places him in the top 50 all-time in recorded school history. Jacob Bremmon holds the all-purpose yards in game record with 421 set in a playoff game at Gravette in 2017.

GAME 5 
BALD KNOB AT HEBER SPRINGS 
SENIOR HIGH 
September 29, 2023 
TEAM STATS TIME OF POSSESSION: Heber Springs 21:26, Bald Knob 26:34 
TOTAL FIRST DOWNS: Heber Springs 7, Bald Knob 9 
BY RUSH: Heber Springs 6, Bald Knob 7 
BY PASS: Heber Springs 1, Bald Knob 1 
BY PENALTY: Heber Springs 0, Bald Knob 1 
TEAM RUSHING: Heber Springs 34/194/5.7, Bald Knob 28/29/1.0 
TEAM PASSING: Heber Springs 1/3-29-1/0, Bald Knob 12/22-78-0/3 
TOTAL OFFENSE: Heber Springs 37/223/6.0, Bald Knob 50/107/2.1 
3RD CONVERSION: Heber Springs 2/6, Bald Knob 3/13 
4TH CONVERSION: Heber Springs 2/3, Bald Knob 1/3 
RED-ZONE: Heber Springs 1/2, Bald Knob 0/0 
TURNOVERS: Heber Springs 1, Bald Knob 5 
POINTS OFF TURNOVERS: Heber Springs 14, Bald Knob 0 
FUMBLES/LOST: Heber Springs 1/1, Bald Knob 2/2 
PENALTIES: Heber Springs 9/60, Bald Knob 6/51 
KICKOFF RETURNS: Heber Springs 0/0, Cave City 5/44/8.8 
PUNT RETURNS: Heber Springs 2/110, Bald Knob 0/0 
PUNTS: Heber Springs 2/88, Bald Knob 5/101/20.2/1 
PUNTS INSIDE 20: Heber Springs 1, Bald Knob 0 
SACKS: Heber Springs 4/27, Bald Knob 0 
TACKLES FOR LOSS: Heber Springs 11/42, Bald Knob 8/25 
INDIVIDUAL STATS 
RUSHING: Heber Springs, Bryce Seigrist 11/30/2.7, Liam Buffalo 7/28/1, Parker Brown 3/115/2, Team 3/(-5), Weston Warden 2/(-8), Nate Eaton 2/3, Gideon Tate 1/31, Xander Lindley 1/0. Bald Knob, Bohn Hickmon 13/20, James Holder 13/7, Hunter Burleson 1/2, Dakota Shoebottom 1/0. 
PASSING: Heber Springs, Liam Buffalo 0/2-0-0/0, Xander Lindley 1/1-29-1/0. Bald Knob, James Holder 12/22-78-0/3
RECEIVING: Heber Springs, Elijah Jones 1/29/1. Bald Knob, Brady Johnston 5/44, Bohn Hickmon 4/12, Eric Williams 2/22, Micah Story 1/0. 
KICKOFF RETURNS: Heber Springs, none. Bald Knob, Brady Johnston 2/33, Eric Williams 2/10, Micah Story 1/1.
PUNT RETURNS: Heber Springs, Parker Brown 2/110/2 
INTERCEPTION RETURNS: Heber Springs, Eli Buffalo 1/42/1, Weston Warden 1/17 
FUMBLE RETURNS: Carter Julian 1/25, Bald Knob, Adrian Williams 1/12 
ALL-PURPOSE YARDS: Heber Springs, Parker Brown 225 
PUNTING: Heber Springs, Gideon Tate 2/88. Bald Knob, Garrett Swindle 4/101, Team 1/0/1 blk 
SCORING
PAT KICKS: Gideon Tate 4/5, Chase Dill 1/1, Paul Krause 1/1 
FIELD GOALS: None 
POINTS: Parker Brown 24, Liam Buffalo 6, Elijah Jones 6, Eli Buffalo 6, Gideon Tate 4, Chase Dill 1, Paul Krause 1
DEFENSIVE STATS 
SACKS: Team Total (4). 
INDIVIDUAL SACK TOTAL: Corbin Jones 2, Brodie Basford 1, Carter Julian 1, Luke Elliot 1, Jordan Tidwell 1, Nate Eaton 1. 
FUMBLE RECOVERIES: Carter Julian, Brodie Basford 
FORCED FUMBLES: Brodie Basford, Jordan Tidwell 
INTERCEPTIONS: Liam Buffalo, Eli Buffalo, Weston Warden 
PBU: Corbin Jones, Eli Buffalo, Weston Warden 
QB HURRIES: Corbin Jones 5, Jordan Tidwell 2, Xander Lindley 
BLOCKED PUNTS: Brodie Basford 
TACKLES (U/A/TFL - TOTAL) 
Liam Buffalo 3 2 0 5
Weston Warden 5 1 0 6 
Brodie Basford 3 6 2 9 
Luke Elliott 1 2 2 3 
Emmett Dwyer 4 0 0 4 
Corbin Jones 3 4 4 7 
Carter Julian 1 2 2 3 
Eli Buffalo 2 2 0 4 
Jordan Tidwell 4 0 3 4 
Xander Lindley 2 0 0 2 
Elijah Jones 1 1 0 2 
Nate Eaton 2 1 2 3 
Gavin Mize 2 0 0 2 
Jacob McMullin 0 1 0 1 
Parker Brown 1 1 0 2 
Greg Williams 1 0 0 1

Panthers open conference play with shutout win

IMG_7322 (2)
Sophomore Bryce Seigrist fights for some his 131 yards rushing on the night in Heber Springs’ 42-0 victory at Cave City. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

By PHILIP SEATON
MarkedTime.com Publisher

CAVE CITY – Senior Parker Brown touched the ball four times and scored twice, but it was a sophomore that did most of the work on the ground as Heber Springs mercy-ruled Cave City, 42-0, in the 2-4A opener for both schools.

In coach Van Paschal’s flexbone system, the fullback is an important part of making the offense move and sophomore Bryce Siegrist stepped into that role and rushed for 131 yards on 16 carries. The former junior high quarterback replaced another sophomore, Eli Buffalo, who had been out most of the week due to an illness.

Seigrist averaged 8.2 yards per attempt and scored once. He also had an 80-yard touchdown called back due to a holding penalty.

“He took a while to figure it out, Eli had been sick most of the week, so we were like, ‘Hey who wants to play fullback?’,” Paschal said. “Here he comes all 99 pounds of him or whatever, but he is tough.”

After rushing for a school-record yards per attempt the previous week against Jonesboro Westside, the Panthers rushed for 297 yards on 27 attempts with four touchdowns. They averaged 11 yards per carry, which tied for the fifth-best all time in school history.

Heber Springs (2-2, 1-0) forced a season-high four turnovers including recovering the onside kick attempt to start the game, as senior Logan Lozeau pounced on the football at the Panther 46.

A 23-yard run by quarterback Liam Buffalo highlighted the short drive, but Panthers committed their only turnover of the night as junior Weston Warden, who appeared to have crossed the goal line, fumbled the ball that went out of the back of the endzone.

Heber Springs’ defense allowed a first down on the ensuing drive but buckled up forcing a punt from the Caveman 41. Brown returned that punt 39 yards to the Cave City 19. Two penalties almost stalled the drive, but Liam Buffalo connected with Brown for the 17-yard touchdown pass. Gideon Tate’s kick made it 7-0 with 5:34 left in the opening quarter. Tate was a perfect five-for-five on PATs on the night.

Liam Buffalo got the ball back for the Panthers just over two minutes later picking off a Levi Jones pass after the Cave City junior was pressured from lineman Jacob McMullin.

On the first play after the turnover, Heber Springs took at 14-0 lead as Brown raced 32 yards for the score at the 3:26 mark of the first quarter.

The Panthers weren’t finished in the first quarter as sophomore Nate Eaton recovered a Cave City fumble at the Caveman 38 with 2:12 to play in the opening stanza.

After a seven-yard run by Liam Buffalo, Siegrist darted up the middle for a 31-yard touchdown with 1:29 left in the first for a 21-0 advantage for the Panthers.

Cave City (0-4, 0-1) picked up its second first down of the game as the first quarter came to close, but the Panthers forced a turnover on downs to get the ball back for the offense. Of the seven plays of the Cavemen drive, junior transfer Brodie Basford had two solo stops and assisted on three more. Basford finished the night with a team-high 16 total tackles.

“He plays hard,” Pascal said. “Coming from day one, he was, ‘I want to play linebacker’ and now he is playing it well.”

Liam Buffalo connected with senior Xander Lindley three plays later to make it 28-0 with 9:06 left in the half.

Cave City picked up another first down but was forced to punt from its own 34. The Cavemen attempted a trick play as punter Millie Beller attempted to run with the ball, but Eaton had her and the play figured out, tackling the Cave City senior for an eight-yard loss. Warden would score from there, taking the ball 26 yards for the touchdown giving the Panthers a 35-0 lead and the Arkansas Activities Association’s Mercy-Rule in effect with 5:38 left in the first half.

Brown forced a fumble on Cave City’s first play after the ensuing kickoff with Carter Julian recovering the ball at the Caveman 39.

The drive stalled and Tate attempted a 51-yard field goal, which would have been yard short of the school record 52-yarder by Nick James set back in 1998. The kick was on target but fell about five yards short.

Cave City took possession on its own 20 with 3:34 to play in the second quarter. The Cavemen reached the Panther 47, but Eaton put the exclamation point on the first half by sacking Jones to end the half.

The only thing left to decide in the second half was to see if Heber Springs’ defense could record the shutout.

Cave City almost took that off table early taking the second-half kickoff and reaching the Panther 4. But Warden punched the ball free on third-and-goal and Jordan Tidwell landed on the ball in the endzone with 1:13 remaining in the third, putting the ball on the Panther 20.

Seigrist took the fullback dive and raced 80 yards for the score, but a holding penalty negated the long score. However, that penalty only temporarily slowed down Heber Springs. The Panthers would use a 10-play drive that sophomore Emmett Dwyer capped off with a 38-yard touchdown run. Chase Dill came on to hit the extra point kick to make it 42-0 with 4:12 remaining in the contest.

Heber Springs picked up its first shutout in conference play since 2018, when they did the trick at Southside Batesville, 21-0.

Defensive coordinator Kevin Youngbloods’ defense held Cave City to 124 yards of total offense, including limiting the Cavemen to 87 yards rushing on 43 attempts.

“From day one that I got here, I told coach Youngblood if we can’t stop ’em, it doesn’t matter how many points that we score,” Paschal said. “It’s a priority. It’s going to continue to be a priority.

“We are still trying to get everybody where we want, and it’s not 100 percent, but it’s getting closer. I am proud of them.”

Heber Springs will face Bald Knob next week in a homecoming contest at Panther Stadium.

“We have to watch film, evaluate and see what we did right and what we have to fix to get better on every given play, and have the kind of effort,” Paschal aid. “You can tell they are excited right now and I hope that we can ride that wave, but Bald Knob is going to better football team than ones we played the last two weeks.

“They (his team) are smart enough to know that. We are going to have to play hard, get some breaks and make some things happen.”

GAME 4
HEBER SPRINGS AT CAVE CITY
SENIOR HIGH
September 22, 2023
TEAM STATS
TIME OF POSSESSION: Heber Springs 16:34, Cave City 31:26
TOTAL FIRST DOWNS: Heber Springs 13, Cave City 13
BY RUSH: Heber Springs 12, Cave City 9
BY PASS: Heber Springs 1, Cave City 2
BY PENALTY: Heber Springs 0, Cave City 2
TEAM RUSHING: Heber Springs 27/297/11.0, Cave City 43/87/2.0
TEAM PASSING: Heber Springs 2/2-47-2/0, Cave City 3/6-47-0/1
TOTAL OFFENSE: Heber Springs 29/343/11.8, Cave City 49/124/2.5
3RD CONVERSION: Heber Springs 4/5, Cave City 2/9
4TH CONVERSION: Heber Springs 0/0, Cave City 1/4
RED-ZONE: Heber Springs 1/2, Cave City 0/1
TURNOVERS: Heber Springs 1, Cave City 4
POINTS OFF TURNOVERS: Heber Springs 21, Cave City 0
FUMBLES/LOST: Heber Springs 1/1, Cave City 5/3
PENALTIES: Heber Springs 6/67, Cave City 3/24
KICKOFF RETURNS: Heber Springs 0/0, Cave City 5/55/11.0
PUNT RETURNS: Heber Springs 1/39, Cave City 0
PUNTS: Heber Springs 0/0, Cave City 1/27
PUNTS INSIDE 20: Heber Springs 0, Cave City 0
SACKS: Heber Springs 1/14, Cave City 0
TACKLES FOR LOSS: Heber Springs 13/50, Cave City 4/9
INDIVIDUAL STATS
RUSHING: Heber Springs, Bryce Seigrist 16/131/1/8.2, Liam Buffalo 3/29, Parker Brown 2/55/1, Weston Warden 2/42/1, Nate Eaton 2/8, Emmett Dwyer 1/38/1, Team 1/(-6). Cave City, Shawn Walling 16/31, Matthew King 12/45, Kenny Stephens 4/10, Levi Jones 5/5, Devonyeah Berry 4/10, Miller Beller 1/(-8), Team 1/(-6).
PASSING: Heber Springs, Liam Buffalo 2/2-47-2/0. Cave City, Levi Jones 3/6-37-0/1.
RECEIVING: Heber Springs, Xander Lindley 1/30/1, Parker Brown 1/17/1. Cave City, Shawn Walling 2/28, Christopher Robinson 1/9.
KICKOFF RETURNS: Heber Springs, none. Cave City, Devonyeah Berry 2/3, Shawn Walling 1/29, Kenny Stephens 1/22, Matthew King 1/(-3).
PUNT RETURNS: Heber Springs, Parker Brown 1/39
INTERCEPTION RETURNS: Heber Springs, Liam Buffalo 1/2
ALL-PURPOSE YARDS: Heber Springs, Bryce Seigrist 131, Parker Brown 111
PUNTING: Heber Springs, none. Cave City, Millie Beller 1/27.
SCORING
PAT KICKS: Gideon Tate 5/5, Chase Dill 1/1
FIELD GOALS: Gideon Tate 0/1 (51 NG)
POINTS: Parker Brown 12, Bryce Seigrist 6, Weston Warden 6, Emmet Dwyer 6, Xander Lindley 6, Gideon Tate 5, Chase Dill 1.
DEFENSIVE STATS
SACKS: Nate Eaton
FUMBLE RECOVERIES: Nate Eaton, Carter Julian, Jordan Tidwell
FORCED FUMBLES: Weston Warden, Parker Brown, Brodie Basford
INTERCEPTIONS: Liam Buffalo
PBU: Logan Rutledge
QB HURRIES: Dyce Young (2), Jacob McMullin, Jordan Tidwell, Brodie Basford
TACKLES (U/A/TFL - TOTAL)
Liam Buffalo    6 1 2 7
Brodie Basford 11 5 6 16
Emmett Dwyer    2 2 0 4
Carter Julian   6 1 0 7
Luke Elliott    1 2 0 3
Jordan Tidwell  2 0 0 2
Nate Eaton      4 3 1 7
Gavin Mize      0 2 0 2
Jacob McMullin  0 3 0 3
Elijah Jones    1 0 0 1
Weston Warden   1 3 1 4
Dyce Young      1 3 0 4
Parker Brown    2 1 0 3
Logan Lozeau    1 0 0 1
Logan Rutledge  1 1 1 2
Caleb Carr      1 0 0 1
Xander Lindley  2 0 0 2

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