HEBER SPRINGS – Heber Springs Liam Buffalo rushed for 143 and a pair of touchdowns, and passed for another, as the junior Panthers opened their season with a 32-28 nonconference victory over Clinton.
The two teams will meet again on Oct. 28 in Clinton in a conference contest.
On Thursday, the Panthers were limited to eight offensive possessions and 23 plays from scrimmage, but made the most of them. Heber Springs scored four times, punted once, had a drive stall at midfield and had drives ended by the half and game.
On the Panthers first play from scrimmage, Weston Warden took a pitch from Buffalo and raced 68 yards to put Heber Springs on top with less than 15 seconds gone in the game. Buffalo ran in the 2-point conversion.
The two teams traded punts before the Panther defense forced another Yellowjacket punt as Warden returned the Brodie Dufrene punt 19 yards to the Clinton 33 with 1:41 left in the first quarter.
On the next play, Buffalo kept the ball and rambled 33 yards for the score. Buffalo connected with Carter Julian for the 2-point conversion and the Panthers led 16-0 with 1:31 to play in the quarter.
After another Clinton punt, Heber Springs took over on their own 39, but a penalty pushed the Panthers back 15 yards and killed the drive at the 41.
From there, Clinton moved the ball 41 yards on a six-play drive that Dufrene capped off with a 1-yard run. Dufrene connected Sam Standridge for the 2-point conversion with 4:24 to play in the half.
The Yellowjackets onside-kick failed and Heber Springs took over at the Clinton 49. After an 11-yard run by Buffalo, the ninth-grader connected with Julian for a 38-yard touchdown pass. Buffalo ran in the 2-point conversion and Heber Springs led 24-8 with 4:03 left in the half.
Clinton then killed all but 10 seconds of the second quarter with a 13-play, 60-yard drive that Rope Williams capped with a 1-yard touchdown run. The 2-point conversion failed as Heber Springs led 24-14 at the break.
The Yellowjackets took the second-half kickoff and then proceeded with an 18-play, 70-yard drive that ate all of the third-quarter clock and two minutes of the fourth quarter as Zack Hunt-Gonzalez scored from seven yards. Joshua Fultz scored the 2-point conversion on a pass from Dufrene.
Just over 30 seconds later, Heber Springs answered as Buffalo hit Seth Dudeck for a 42-yard completion and then ran the ball in from the 16 on the next play. Buffalo connected with Warden for the 2-point conversion and Heber Springs led 32-22 with 5:20 to play.
Clinton would not go quietly scoring another touchdown less than three minutes when Hunt-Gonzalez scored on a 2-yard run. The 2-point conversion failed.
Buffalo ran for 18 yards and connected with Warden for another 18 yards as the Panthers were able to kill the clock and earn the win.
Heber Springs finished the night with almost 300 yards of total offense despite missing several starters due to Covid protocols.
Heber Springs will return to action on Sept. 9 at Harding Academy in a nonconference contest.
HEBER SPRINGS/CLINTON GAME STATS FIRST DOWNS: HS 10, C 15 PENALITIES: HS 3/35, C 5/25 RUSHING: HS 14/194/13.9, C 42/90/2.1 FUMBLES: HS 0, C 0 PASSING (C/A-YARDS) HS 4/9-98, C 9/15-87 INTERCEPTIONS: HS 0, C 0 SACKED-YARDS LOST: HS 0, C 1-8 TOTAL OFFENSE: HS 292, C 177 TURNOVERS: HS 0, C 0 ONSIDE KICKS: HS 0/0, C 0/3 2-PT CONVERSIONS: HS 4/4, C 2/4 PUNTS/AVG: HS 1/48, C 3/29.3 RUSHING (ATT/YARDS/TDS): HS, Liam Buffalo 8/143/2, Weston Warden 3/65/1, Logan Rutledge 1/(-2), Team 2/(-12). Clinton, Rope Williams 12/37/1, Rylan Jones 11/40, Zack Hunt-Gonzalez 10/45/2, Brodie Dufrene 5/3/1, Sam Standridge 3/4, Brayson Littell 1/1. PASSING (COMP/ATT-YARDS-TDS/INTS): HS, Buffalo 4/9-98-1/0. Clinton, Dufrene 9/14-87-0/0, Littell 0/1-0-0/0 RECEIVING: HS, Seth Dudeck 1/42, Carter Julian 1/38/1, Warden 1/12, Rutledge 1/10. Clinton, Standridge 3/29, Jones 3/20, Liam Hudson 2/25, Williams 1/13.
HEBER SPRINGS JUNIOR HIGH SCHEDULE
(All Games Start at 7 p.m.)
Aug. 26 – Heber Springs 32, Clinton 28
Sep. 09 – at Harding Academy
Sep. 16 – Dover
Sep. 23 – at Lonoke *
Sep. 28 – Stuttgart *
Oct. 07 – at Central Arkansas Christian *
Oct. 14 – Bald Knob *
Oct. 21 – at Southside Batesville *
Oct. 28 – at Clinton *
(* – Denotes conference contest)
HEBER SPRINGS JUNIOR HIGH ROSTER
(Alphabetical and listed with grade)
8TH- Eli Buffalo
9TH – Liam Buffalo
8TH- Caleb Carr
9TH – Axley Davis
8TH- Seth Dudeck
8TH- Jack Duvall
8TH- Emitt Dwyer
9TH- Tyler Dye
8TH- Nate Eaton
9TH – Luke Elliott
8TH – Nash Farmer
8TH- Lucas Garcia
8TH – Britt Grice
8TH- Cooper Holmes
8TH- Cade James
8TH- Tripp Johnston
8TH – Elijah Jones
9TH – Carter Julian
9TH – Jacob McMullin
9TH – Justin Newton
9TH – Braidyn Ogle
9TH – Gauge Owens
8TH – Casey Pearce
9TH – Crimson Pettigrew
9TH – Logan Rutledge
8TH- Jeremiah Sanders
8TH- Seth Smith
9TH – Damien Standridge
9TH- Weston Warden
9TH- Ty West
8TH – John Wilson