Riley takes reigns of Panther basketball program

New Heber Springs senior boys basketball Jordan Riley . Riley’s father, Alvin, coached the Heber Springs boys team to one of the program’s best seasons ever in 1988-89. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

Jordan Riley said becoming the new head boys’ basketball coach at Heber Springs was like coming home.

Riley was born in 1990 at Heber Springs when his father, Alvin Riley, coached the Panthers and his aunt, Kristie Dunlap was head coach of the Lady Panthers.

“It will give me a chance of living closer to family,” said Riley when asked about what attracted him to the job. “Heber (Springs) boys do have a good history, but not great lately. It’s an opportunity to build the program back to success. Heber (Springs) is an awesome community with good fan support I feel good about what we can accomplish.”

Riley’s wife, Kelsi, who is a business teacher at Midland High School, will serve in a similar capacity at HSHS. The Rileys are parents of a son, Drew, 14-months-old.

Alvin Riley coached the Panthers for three years, beginning with the 1988-89 season. Riley led the Panthers to a 24-8 record and the quarterfinals of the Class 3A tournament. The 24 wins was a school single-season record at that time.

Heber Springs advanced to the regional tournament under Riley during the 1989-90 and 1990-91 seasons.

Riley said his father has been the biggest influence on his coaching career.

“He won more than 800 games during his career, and he is a tough path to follow,” Riley said. “I will try and carry on that legacy.”

Jordan Riley is a graduate of Vilonia High School. At that time, Heber Springs superintendent Dr. Andy Ashley was the Vilonia assistant principal. Heber Springs athletic director Tim Bullington, who was an assistant coach for Alvin Riley, severed as a school administrator at Vilonia.

Jordan Riley graduated with a degree in management information systems from the University of Central Arkansas in 2013. He worked the next four years at Acxiom in Conway before deciding to pursue his dream of becoming a coach.

Riley received a Master of Arts in Teaching degree in 2017 and was named assistant coach at Two Rivers High School in Ola. He was promoted the next season to head coach and held that position for the next three years.

Riley led Two Rivers to back-to-back state tournaments before becoming head girls coach at Southside Batesville in 2019.

Riley coached the past two seasons at Southside Batesville. The Lady Southerners were 6-21 the year before he was named head coach and finished 17-9 last season.

Riley will be a head coach of a boys’ team for the first time, but he believes the transition will go smooth.

“The key is learn how to handle each player,” he said. “Every person is different. The main thing is to show the players you care for them and want to help them become the best it can be.”

Riley is ready to start as soon as his schedule allows and plans to meet this week with his new players. He will look at the strengths of his players in formulating a system for the Panthers.

“We will play at the pace that benefits us,” he said. “We will not necessary play just fast or slow. I prefer playing a physical man-to-man defense. The most important thing on offense is taking good shots.”

Riley hopes to get a start on Riley will juggle time between Southside and Heber Springs for the remainder of the school year.

“I would love to start practice because some of the players will be in football,” he said. “It takes time to put in a system.”

Riley will become the fifth head coach in six seasons of the Panthers and looks forward to turning the program around. Heber Springs was 1-23 last season.

“I watched the team on film and they have some good players,” he said. “The junior high group coming up is talented. The pieces are there for a good team.”

Dusty West served as interim coach this past season and was teammates with Riley at Vilonia.

Southerners top Panthers in extra innings

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

Good pitching kept the Heber Springs Panthers close, but missed opportunities led to a 5-4 non-conference baseball loss in eight innings to Southside Batesville (4-11) at the Heber Springs Sports Complex Thursday.

Heber Springs (3-5 in 4-4A Conference, 4-10 overall) will try and bounce back against conference foe Clarksville (4-4 in conference, 7-7 overall) at 4:30 p.m. Friday at home. The Panthers trail third place Clarksville and fourth place Pottsville (3-4 in conference, 5-7 overall) by one game in the loss column.

Starter Corbin Jones allowed five hits, four runs (two runs earned), struck out four and walked two in seven inning. Cole Payton, the losing pitcher in relief, pitched the eighth inning. Payton limited the Southerners to one hit, yielded one earned run and struck out one batter.

“Corbin pitched a great game, and Cole pitched well,” Heber Springs coach Monterio May said. “Corbin mixed his pitches well and stayed ahead of the batters. We didn’t finish the game as a team. We wanted to win and keep the momentum from Tuesday’s game at Pottsville going into Friday’s game with Clarksville.”

May said one of the game’s determining factors was the Panthers not capitalizing on Southside’s mistakes.

“It’s the little plays over the course of a game that make the difference,” he said. “I remember about three or four times it happened. We are not capitalizing on little mistakes that teams make. We played a good game and swung the bats decent.”

Heber Springs took the lead during the bottom of the second inning. Gage Buford hit a single and later scored from third base on John McBroom’s RBI base hit.

Southside scored three runs on three hits and a Heber Springs fielding error in the top of the third inning for a 3-1 lead. The Southerners held the lead until the sixth inning.

J. T Spears singled and was replaced by courtesy runner Conner Riddle. McBroom followed with a base hit and Jones was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Riddle scored on Zachary Parker’s single and reduced Southside’s lead to 3-2.

Easton Cusick, who was a courtesy runner for McBroom, was tagged out on the same sequence at the plate.

The Panthers tied the game when Xander Lindley, a courtesy runner for Jones, scored from third base on a passed ball.  Heber Springs took the 4-3 lead when Parker scored on Kenan Sneed’s sacrifice fly to the outfield.

Southside tied the game at 4-4 in the top of the seventh. The Southerners scored the winning run on a Heber Springs fielding error in the eighth.

May said Garrett Hudspeth and Spears have their rest and will be available to pitch against Clarksville on Friday.

“Our pitching is set and both are ready to go,” May said. “We want to go as high in the conference standings as we can and get a good seed for the playoffs. We are starting to play our best baseball and want to be in the top four for the conference tournament.”

Southside 003 000 11–5 3 3
Heber Springs 010 003 00–4 8 4
Southside Batesville hitters — Bo Trucks 2 singles, 1 RBI; Tyson Trucks single, 1 RBI; Blayne Bufford single, 2 stolen bases; Kaelan Duncan single, 1 stolen base; Carson McGhee single, 1 stolen base; Landen Haas 1 stolen base; Kyle Long 1 stolen base.
Southside  pitchers — Kaelan Duncan 5 hits 1 run, 1 strikeout in 5 innings; Bryson Duncan 2 hits, 3 earned runs, 1 walk in .1 inning; Blayne Bufford (W) 0 hits, 0 runs, 2 strikeouts, 1 walk in 2.2 innings.
Heber Springs hitters — Matthew Cook single, double, 1 stolen base; John McBroome 2 singles, 1 RBI; Kenan Sneed single, 1 RBI; Zachary Parker single, 1 RBI; Cole Payton single; Gage Buford single; Garrett Hudspeth 1 stolen base.
Heber Springs pitchers –Corbin Jones 5 hits, 4 runs, 2 earned runs, 4 strikeouts, 2 walks in 7 innings; Cole Payton (L 0-1) 1 hit, 1 earned run, 1 strikeout in 1 inning.

Panthers claim conference win at Southside

Heber Springs’ Nathan McKee looks to get past a Southside Batesville’s Jamie Riggs Friday night. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

SOUTHSIDE — The Heber Springs Panther defense demonstrated a new step of maturity against Southside Batesville late in the fourth quarter at Stewart Field Friday night.

After a questionable fumble call at the goal-line, the Panthers forced the Southside into a three-and-out and maintained possession during the final 3:37  for a 22-17 road win.

Heber Springs (1-4 2-4A Conference, 2-6 overall) won its first conference game for coach Todd Wood and moved into fifth-place tie with Little Rock Mills and Southside with two weeks remaining in the regular season.

Heber Springs’ Jackson West picks up a few yards. Also picture, Heber Springs (55) Jayden Bremmon and Southside Batesville (47) Ricky Vickers. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

“We talked about responding to quick-turnovers all season,” Wood said. “They wanted to go out there and do something about it this time. The players seemed to play with more energy on that series than other series in the game. We had a lot of big plays by a lot of players. Jayden Bremmon made two big plays. Preston Roberson moved back to linebacker and also made a lot of big plays.”

Wood  noticed a different attitude among players. Instead of talking about the questionable fumble play, the defense made its biggest stand of the season yet.

“They played like their backs were against the wall and didn’t want to give Southside anything,” he said. “They had something to prove. I told the players after the game that they always were capable of playing that way and finally did it.”

Wood also had praise for the play of his linemen.

“It starts up front and I can’t say enough good things about all of those guys on the offensive line,” he said.

Big plays happened throughout the game, but Wood said one of the most important came on the final play of the third quarter. Heber Springs faced a fourth-and-10 at the Southside 34 when quarterback Matthew Cook connected on a 32-pass completion to Easton Cusick for a first down at the Southerner 7.

“We (coaching staff) noticed Cusick was open when we tried that play earlier in the game,” Wood said. “I told Matthew to watch for Easton. Matthew was throwing against the wind. Easton bobbled the ball a bit, but he brought the ball back  to his chest and caught it.”

Cusick described the play.

“As soon as I saw the safety come up, the ball was there right in my hands,” he said. “Matthew passed the ball perfect to me. It was a great fourth-down play.”

Cook, who completed 9-of-12 passes for 159 yards and and rushed for 85 yards, said Wood told him before the play that Cusick might be open.

“He (Cusick) was open and I threw it to him,” Cook said. “We need those fourth-down conversions.”

Two plays later, Diego Rubio scored from the 1.

Southside controlled the first half, outgaining Heber Springs. The Southerners rushed for 131 yards, 81 coming on Brendan Frazier’s touchdown run. The Panthers were held to 53 yards — 10 yards rushing and 43 passing. Southside sacked Cook and John McBroome four times for losses of 28 yards.

Heber Springs’ Matthew Cook and coach Todd Wood share an embrace after the win on Friday. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

Frazier’s scoring run and Skyler Anorve’s extra point kick gave Southside a 7-0 lead with 4:39 left in the first quarter. Frazier finished with 120 yards on 13 carries.

Heber Springs led for the first time in the game when Nathan McKee scored on a 2-yard carry, and Cook passed to Gus Hannah for the 2-point conversion. The Panthers led 8-7 with 11:56 to go in the first half.

Southside regained the lead with 4:14 left until halftime. The Panthers held on downs at the 2, but the Southerners’ Jamie Riggs  scooped up a Diego Rubio fumble and scored. Anorve kicked the extra point for the 14-8 lead.

Heber Springs reached the goal line in the closing seconds,  but the drive ended on a Cook interception in the end zone.

The second half became a different game. Heber Springs rushed for 106 yards and passed for 114 yards. Southside was held to 64 yards

Thad Bray set up the first touchdown of the third quarter when he blocked a punt. Bremmon recovered the ball at the Southside 20-yard line. Four plays later, Rubio scored on a 1-yard dive with 8:39 left in the third quarter. Jackson West caught a 3-yard pass from Cook for the 2-point conversion, giving the Panthers a 16-14 lead.

The Southerners regained the lead for the final time when Anorve kicked a 33-yard field. Southside led 17-16 with 4:31 remaining in the third quarter.

Heber Springs started its 11-play, 79-yard drive for the eventual winning score late in the third quarter. Cusick’s fourth-down catch put the Panthers in scoring position. Rubio scored from two yards out with 11:14 to play. The 2-point conversion try failed as Heber Springs led, 22-17.

McKee’s 55-yard catch of a Cook pass put the Panthers in position to increase the lead. McKee caught three passes in all for 81 yards on the night.

“I made a move to the outside and turned upfield.” McKee said. “Matthew saw I was open and put the ball where I could go and catch it.”

Cook said the play worked like Wood told him while on the sidelines earlier.

“Nathan was open, and I threw the ball to him,” Cook said. “The ball went right in his hands like it is suppose to.”

Heber Springs reached the Southside 7 when McKee apparently scored, but officials ruled he fumbled before crossing the goal line.

Heber Springs held on downs the next series and then maintained possession for the rest of the game.

“It was a good feeling after so much disappointment,” Cook said. “We’ve been through a lot of things this year. It felt great and it was against Southside. It was a relief. I had a big smile for the win with my teammates after the final play.”

Heber Springs will play at Clinton Friday in the fifth annual Battle of the Little Red.

“This was a great victory,” Wood said. “We will start preparing for the Clinton game. We have two more games to to take care of before looking at the playoffs.”

The Panthers will conclude the regular season by hosting Little Rock Mills.

Heber Springs’ Preston Roberson assists on tackle Friday night. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

GAME STATS

SCORING   
Heber Springs (1-4, 2-6)         0  8  8  6 - 22
Southside Batesville (1-4, 2-6)  7  7  3  0 - 17
FIRST QUARTER   
Southside Batesville, Brendan Frazier 81-yard run (Skyler Anorve kick), 4:39
SECOND QUARTER
Heber Springs, Nathan McKee 2-yard run (Matthew Cook to Gus Hannah pass), 11:56
Southside Batesville, Jamie Riggs 2-yard fumble return (Anorve kick), 4:15
THIRD QUARTER   
Heber Springs, Diego Rubio 1-yard run (Cook to Jackson West pass), 8:39
Southside Batesville, Anorve 33-yard field goal, 4:22
FOURTH QUARTER 
Heber Springs, Rubio 1-yard run (pass failed), 11:14

TEAM STATS   
First Downs by Rush: Heber Springs 4, Southside 4
First Downs by Pass: Heber Springs 6, Southside 2
First Downs by Penalty: Heber Springs 3, Southside 0
Total First Downs: Heber Springs 13, Southside 6
Third-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 5/10, Southside 1/8
Fourth-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 1/2, Southside 0/2
Red-Zone Conversions: Heber Springs 5/3, Southside 1/0
Time of Possession: Heber Springs 28:55, Southside 19:05
Fumbles/Lost: Heber Springs 3/2, Southside 1/1
Turnovers: Heber Springs 3, Southside 2     
Points Off Turnovers: Heber Springs 8, Southside 7
Penalties: Heber Springs 7/43, Southside 8/75
Rushing: Heber Springs 43/126/2.9, Southside 30/172/5.7
Passing: Heber Springs 10/14-157-0/1, Southside 4/7-23-0/1
Plays/Total Offense/YPP: Heber Springs 57/283/5.0, Bald Knob 37/195/5.1 
Sacks/Yards Lost: Heber Springs 0/0, Southside 5/29
Punts: Heber Springs 4/107/26.8, Southside 3/61/20.3
Inside 20: Heber Springs 1, Southside 1
Blocked Punts: Heber Springs 1, Southside 0

INDIVIDUAL STATS   
OFFENSE     
RUSHING: Heber Springs, Matthew Cook 21/85, Diego Rubio 13/26/2, Nathan McKee 5/24/1, Jackson West 1/4, Team 1/(-3), John McBroome 2/(-10). Southside Batesville, Brendan Frazier 13/120/1, Brycen Sutton 12/39, Jacob Dunne 3/29, Chase Duncan 1/1, Team 1/(-17).
PASSING: Heber Springs, Matthew Cook 9/12-159-0/1, John McBroome 1/2- (-2)-0/0. Bald Knob, Chase Duncan 4/7-23-0/0
RECEIVING: Heber Springs, Nathan McKee 3/81, Jackson West 3/27, Easton Cusick 2/50, Diego Rubio 1/1, Matthew Cook 1/(-2). Southside Batesville, Bo Trucks 2/19, Jacob Dunne 1/4, Isaac Smith 1/0.
TOTAL OFFENSE: Heber Springs, Matthew Cook 244, Diego Rubio 26, Nathan McKee 24, Jackson West 4, John McBroome (-12). Southside Batesville, Brendan Frazier 120, Brycen Sutton 39, Jacob Dunne 29, Chase Duncan 24.
PUNT RETURNS: Southside Batesville, Isaac Smith 1/12
KICK RETURNS: Heber Springs, Austin Winchester 2/0
FUMBLE RETURNS: Southside Batesville, Jamie Riggs 1/2
INTERCEPTION RETURNS: None
OTHER RETURNS: Jayden Bremmon 1/18
ALL-PURPOSE YARDS: Heber Springs, Nathan McKee 105, Matthew Cook 83, Easton Cusick 50, Jackson West 31, Diego Rubio 27, Jayden Bremmon 18. Southside Batesville, Brendan Frazier 120, Brycen Sutton 39, Jacob Dunne 33, Chase Duncan 24, Bo Trucks 14, Isaac Smith 12, Jamie Riggs 2. 
SCORING: Heber Springs, Diego Rubio 12, Nathan McKee 6, Gus Hannah 2, Jackson West 2. Southside Batesville, Brendan Frazier 6, Jamie Riggs 6, Skyler Anorve 5 (2/2 XPA, 1/1 FG - Made: 33).
DEFENSE    
PUNTS/YARDS/AVERAGE/INSIDE THE 20/BLOCKED: Heber Springs, Matthew Cook  3/50/16.6, John McBroome 1/57/1/0. Southside Batesville, Blayne Warden 2/61/30.5/1, Team 1/0/0/1.
SACKS/YARDS LOST: Southside Batesville, Vern Deering 2/13, Lincoln Fair 1/9, Ricky Vickers 1/6, Alex Allen 1/1
FUMBLE RECOVERIES: Southside Batesville, Jamie Riggs
BLOCKED PUNTS: Heber Springs, Thad Bray
BLOCKED PUNT RECOVERIES: Heber Springs, Jayden Bremmmon
INTERCEPTIONS: Heber Springs, Nathan McKee. Southside Batesville, Justin Vannattan

Panther GameDay: Heber Springs heads to Southside Batesville

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

Heber Springs’ approach against 2-4A Conference foe Southside Batesville will not change from the previous its two games.

The Panthers (0-4 conference, 1-6 overall) will focus on winning the battle at the line of scrimmage against  Southside (1-3 conference, 2-5 overall).

Kickoff is scheduled at 7 p.m. Friday at Stewart Field in Southside.

Heber Springs is coming off a 35-15 loss to Bald Knob, while the Southerners lost 21-14 at Central Arkansas Christian.

“We must win the battle up front,” Heber Springs coach Todd Wood said. “That will be the biggest key. We need to play well, particularly on the defensive line. The team who can maintain control of the line of scrimmage will win.”

The Panthers hope for a quick start against Southside.

Heber Springs had its best drive following the opening kickoff last week against Bald Knob. The Panthers drove 52 yards on 10 plays and took a 7-0 lead. Turnovers and field position shifted the momentum in the second half. Heber Springs has 24 turnovers in seven games.

Bald Knob had scoring drives of 39 and 20 yards following Panther turnovers and returned an onside kickoff for three of its five touchdowns.
Southside features a one-two running punch in quarterback Duncan Pierce and Brycen Sutton.

Sutton rushed for 121 yards on 23 attempts and scored one touchdown against CAC. Pierce ran for 84 yards on six carries and had one touchdown.
Wood said his team could benefit from playing the third consecutive team with a similar offensive philosophy — running the ball.

“We knew what areas that we needed work,” he said. “Southside will take advantages of your mistakes. It’s a tough offense to prepare for.”

Heber Springs’ offense gained new life when Wood inserted senior Matthew Cook, a starting wide receiver for most of his career, at quarterback in the third game of the season.

Cook has completed 83-of-150 passes for 953 yards and eight touchdowns. Senior Nathan McKee leads the Panthers in receiving with 31 catches for 374 yards and three touchdowns. Two sophomores have emerged as targets in the passing game. Isaac King has caught 17 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns. Easton Cusick has 14 receptions for 160 yards.

Senior Diego Rubio is the leading rusher with 329 yards on 59 attempts and scored four touchdowns.

Wood expects the offense to perform at a higher level against the Southerners.

“Matthew (13-of-27 passing for 91 yards with four interceptions) had a tough game against Bald Knob,” he said. “We tried to take the pressure off during practice in preparing for this game. Matthew tried too hard to make things happen. (Junior) Jackson West and (senior) Gus Hannah keep improving at receiver. All we need to do is do what we have been doing, but do it better.”

Southside plays a 3-4 defense with linebacking the strength of the unit. Wood said it’s a scheme that the team has faced in most of its games this season.

“Southside has two good linebackers,” Wood said. “They can stop the run and also cover the pass. All we need to do is improve from what we did last week.”

The defense continues to improve, even though statistics may not reveal that. Heber Springs is allowing 301 yards of offense per game — 146 rushing and 155 passing.

“Preston Roberson became a force after switching from linebacker to the defensive line,” Wood said. “He does a good job of containing runners, has good instincts and makes plays. Jayden Bremmon has been playing well at nose guard and Diego Rubio at linebacker. Kenan Sneed has played steady at linebacker. Gus Hannah moved to cornerback and made several plays against Bald Knob.”

Wood expects continued improvement from the defense.

“We were a little tired in the second half against Bald Knob,” he said. “The defense continues to improve every game. We need to do a better job in sudden-change situations when momentum shifts. We got to make more defensive stops.”

Heber Springs will be without the services of senior center Zach Thomas, who was injured last week against Bald Knob.

2-4A CONFERENCE STANDINGS

                            W L CP  W L PS  PA 
Stuttgart                   4 0 52  6 0 242  33 
Lonoke                      4 0 44  6 1 262 150
Central Arkansas Christian  4 0 38  7 0 223 125
Bald Knob                   2 2 19  4 3 179 151  
Southside Batesville        1 3 13  2 5 134 219   
Little Rock Mills           1 3 11  2 5 164 203  
Heber Springs               0 4  0  1 6 128 255
Clinton                     0 4  0  0 7 144 315 
 
Friday, October 16
Bald Knob 35, Heber Springs 15
Central Arkansas Christian 21, Southside Batesville 14
Lonoke 29, Little Rock Mills 18
Stuttgart 35, Clinton 7

Friday, October 23
Heber Springs at Southside Batesville
Lonoke at Central Arkansas Christian
Clinton at Bald Knob
Little Rock Mills at Stuttgart

NOTES

  • Kickoff: 7 p.m. at Southside Batesville
  • Admission: $5
  • Radio/Streaming: Billy Morgan with handle the play-by-play with Lance Hamilton providing color on KSUG 101.9 The Lake. Panther Pregame begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by the game. 

THE SERIES: Heber Springs lead 12-2

SERIES HISTORY: This will be the 15th time these two teams have meet on the football field since Southside Batesville started its football program in 2006. Heber Springs won the first 10 meetings in the series before the Southerners claimed a 24-20 victory at home in 2016 before the Panthers would win the next two. Southside Batesville won last season, 48-20, for the its only victory at Panther Stadium in the series.

Panthers survive late Southerner charge

Heber Springs’ Parker Brown runs past the outreached arm of Southside Batesville’s Isaac Wallis during action at Panther Stadium Thursday night. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

By PHILIP SEATON

Parker Brown scored three times as Heber Springs held off Southside Batesville, 34-32, in junior high action Thursday night at Panther Stadium.

Heber Springs improved to 6-1 on the season with the win and will look claim the second spot in the conference standings when they host Clinton next Thursday night in the season finale.

Against Southside, Heber Springs was in control of the contest after Brown scored on a 44-yard run with 5:09 to play. Gideon Tate’s PAT kick made it 34-16.

But on the ensuing kick off, Southside’s Seth Case returned it 96 yards for a score to make it 34-24 after Kaleb West ran in the 2-point conversion with 4:47 to play.

Heber Springs managed a first down on its next possession as Weston Warden ran for 6 and Brown followed with a 7-yard carry. But the drive would stall and the Southerners would take over on their own 31 with 1:48 left.

Southside Batesville moved down the field on a 10-play, 69-yard drive as West scored on 2-yard run at the buzzer. West would run in the 2-point conversion to set the final score at 34-32.

The Southerners ground-oriented offense kept the ball away from the Panthers most of the night (52 offensive plays to 26 for Heber Springs), but when the Panthers got the ball they took advantage of it.

After the two teams traded possessions, Heber Springs would go up 7-0 with 2:20 left in the opening quarter after Liam Buffalo scored on a 2-yard quarterback keeper. The touchdown was set up after Buffalo, who was 13 of 15 passing on the night for 183 yards and two touchdowns, connected with Xander Lindley for a 68-yard pass completion to put the ball on the Southside 2.

The Southerners responded with a 63-yard drive that Case capped off with a 2-yard touchdown run. Case, who finished the night with 30 carries for 162 yards and two touchdowns, carried the ball into the end zone for the 2-point conversion to give Southside Batesville the 8-7 advantage with 6:17 left in the half.

Three plays later, Buffalo found Brown for a 39-yard touchdown pass and after Buffalo connected with Dalton Yancey for the 2-point conversion, Heber Springs led 15-8 with 5:19 left in the second quarter.

Southside Batesville was methodically marching the ball down the field again before Brown stepped in front of the first Southerner pass attempt of the night and returned it 62 yards for a score. The 2-point conversion failed and Heber Springs led 21-8 with 2:10 left in the half.

The halftime buzzer ended a Southside Batesville drive at the Panther 11 as Heber Springs led at the break, 21-8.

The Southerners took the opening kickoff of the second half and used a 12-play, 60-yard drive that took 5:26 off the clock to close the gap to 21-16. Case scored on a 1-yard run and West ran in the 2-point conversion.

Lindley caught four passes for 93 yards on the night for Heber Springs including a 10-yard scoring strike from Buffalo with 7:50 left in the game to make it 27-16. The 2-point conversion attempt failed. The scoring play finished off an eight-play, 55-yard drive for Heber Springs as Buffalo was 6 for 7 on the drive for 55 yards hitting four different receivers (Warden, Lindley, Yancey and Brown).

Brown finished with 173 all-purpose yards for Heber Springs while Case had 278 for the Southerners.

In total offense, Southside had 272 yards to the Panthers 264, but the Heber Springs averaged 10.2 yards per play to the Southerners 5.2.

Southside Batesville at Heber Springs Junior High Stats

SOUTHSIDE BATESVILLE AT HEBER SPRINGS
Junior High Football
October 22, 2020
at Panther Stadium

Southside Batesville  0   8   8  16 - 32
Heber Springs         7  14   0  13 - 34

FIRST QUARTER
Heber Springs, Liam Buffalo 2-yard run (Gideon Tate kick), 2:20
SECOND QUARTER
Southside Batesville, Seth Case 2-yard run (Case run), 6:17
Heber Springs, Buffalo to Parker Brown 39-yard pass (Buffalo to Dalton Yancey pass), 5:19
Heber Springs, Brown 62-yard interception return (run failed), 2:10
THIRD QUARTER
Southside Batesville, Case 1-yard run (Kaleb West run), 2:34
FOURTH QUARTER
Heber Springs, Buffalo to Xander Lindley 10-yard pass (pass failed), 7:58
Heber Springs, Brown 44-yard run (Tate kick), 5:09
Southside Batesville, Case 96-yard kickoff return (West run), 4:47
Southside Batesville, West 2-yard run (West run), :00

TEAM STATS
First Downs by Rush: Heber Springs 3, Southside 15
First Downs by Pass: Heber Springs 7, Southside 0
First Downs by Penalty: Heber Springs 0, Southside 2
Total First Downs: Heber Springs 10, Southside 17
Penalties: Heber Springs 4/30, Southside 5/25
3rd-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 2/4, Southside 4/8
4th-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 0/2, Southside 2/2
Fumbles/Lost: Heber Springs 0/0, Southside 0/0
Sacks/Yards Lost: Heber Springs 0/0, Southside 0/0
Rush/Yards/Avg: Heber Springs 11/81/7.4, Southside 48/272/5.7
Passing (A/C-Yards-TD/Int): Heber Springs 13/15-183-2/0, Southside 0/4-0-0/1
Total Offense: Heber Springs 264, Southside 272
Punts: Heber Springs 0/0, Southside 2/60/30
INDIVIDUAL STATS
OFFENSE
Rushing: Heber Springs, Parker Brown 2/51/1, Weston Warden 7/20, Liam Buffalo 2/9/1. Southside Batesville, Seth Case 30/182/2, Kaleb West 13/72/1, Tyson Trucks 3/18, Savion Hall 1/2, Cameron Foree 1/(-2).
Passing: Heber Springs, Liam Buffalo 13/15-183-2/0. Southside Batesville, Savion Hall 0/2-0-0/0, Cameron Foree 0/1-0-0/1, Kaleb West 0/1-0-0/0
Receiving: Heber Springs, Parker Brown 5/60/1, Xander Lindley 4/93/1, Dalton Yancey 3/13, Weston Warden 1/17. Southside Batesville, none.
Kickoff Returns: Heber Springs, Corbin Jones 2/4, Jude Bray 1/0, Chris Roberts 1/0. Southside Batesville, Seth Case 1/96/1, Savion Hall 1/5, Louis Calhoun 2/4, Kaleb West 1/(-10).
Interceptions: Heber Springs, Parker Brown 1/62/1
Total Offense: Heber Springs, Liam Buffalo 192, Parker Brown 51, Weston Warden 20. Southside Batesville, Seth Case 182, Kaleb West 72, Tyson Tucks 18, Savion Hall 2, Cameron Foree (-2).
All-Purpose Yards: Heber Springs, Parker Brown 173, Xander Lindley 93, Weston Warden 37, Dalton Yancey 13, Liam Buffalo 9, Corbin Jones 4. Southside Batesville, Seth Case 278, Kaleb West 62, Tyson Trucks 18, Savion Hall 7, Louis Calhoun 4, Cameron Foree (-2). 
DEFENSE
SACKS/YARDS LOST: None
PUNTS: Southside Batesville, Jaylon Jennings 2/60/30
INTERCEPTIONS: Heber Springs, Parker Brown
KICKING: Heber Springs, Gideon Tate (2/2 XP)

Heber Springs tops Southside in 7th-grade action

Heber Springs’ Eli Buffalo runs past Southside Batesville’s Devan Hightower on his way for a 70-yard touchdown in the second half. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

By PHILIP SEATON

The Heber Springs Panther Cub 7th-Grade football team improved to 5-2 on the season with a 34-14 victory over Southside Batesville Thursday night at Panther Stadium.

Heber Springs started the scoring earlier as Emmett Dwyer connected with Jacob Haskett for a 34-yard scoring strike to go up 6-0 with 14:30 left in the first half. The big play on the drive came on a 26-yard run by Haskett.

A 2-yard touchdown run by Southside Batesville’s Lane Johnson tied things up at 6-6 with 3:03 left in the first half. The 2-point conversion failed for the Southerners.

Heber Springs wasted little time recapturing the lead as Haskett connected with Cooper Holmes on a 40-yard to scoring play that put Heber Springs up 12-6 with 1:43 left in the half. The 2-point conversion failed for the Panthers. A 30-yard run by Haskett had set up the scoring play.

Heber Springs’ Jake Barnett brings down Southside Batesville’s Brady Wood in the second half on Thursday at Panther Stadium. Also picture, Southside Batesville’s Jaymas Mullins (71). PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

Heber Springs wasn’t finished in the first half as Eli Buffalo intercepted a Brady Wood pass attempt at midfield. On the first play of the drive, Dwyer connected with Buffalo on a short screen pass that Buffalo turned into a 51-yard touchdown to put the Panthers up 18-6 with 34.5 seconds left in the half. Dwyer connected with Lucas Garcia for the 2-point conversion to make it 20-6 at the break.

The Panthers would go up 28-6 on their first possession of the second half having two touchdowns called back by penalties before make the third time count on a 16-yard touchdown run by Buffalo with 15:04 left in the contest.

Dwyer connected with Buffalo for a 25-yard pass to move the ball to the Southside 45. Garcia raced 45 yards for the score only have to holding penalty erase that touchdown. On the next play, Buffalo’s 20-yard touchdown run was called back after another holding penalty. After the successful score by Buffalo, Dwyer connected with Beau Bramlett for the 2-point conversion to put the Panther advantage at 28-6.

Southside Batesville would make it 28-14 after Wood would score on a 2-yard run. Brennen Matthews hit Kaden Williams for the 2-point conversion to make it 28-14 with 3:31 to play.

Heber Springs would add a final score with 1:26 left as Buffalo would score on a 70-yard run to make it 34-14.

The Panther Cubs will close out their season on Thursday when they host Clinton at Panther Stadium.

Panther 7th-grade boys finish season with 8-1 mark

Heber Springs’ Weston Warden dribbles past at Mount Vernon-Enola defender in seventh-grade action at the Panther Den this past season. PHILIP SEATON FILE PHOTO

February 14, 2020

The Heber Springs seventh-grade boys basketball team closed out its season on February 6th with a victory over Cedar Ridge.

The Panthers finished the season with an 8-1 mark with several games canceled due to weather and one game with Quitman because of the flu.

Heber Springs coach Dusty West was pleased with how the season went for the Cubs.

“This group showed promise and a lot potential,” West said. “The class has some good guard play, got some bigs (post players) and gives us something to look forward to toward the future. If that core groups stays together, Heber basketball is about to improve.”

BOXSCORES 
January 30 
HEBER SPRINGS AT SOUTHSIDE BATESVILLE 
Southside Batesville  3  7   4  5 - 19 
Heber Springs         9  6  15  7 - 37 
SOUTHSIDE BATESVILLE SCORING (19): Kiefer 8, Calhoun 5, Force 3, Keeling 2, German 1 
HEBER SPRINGS SCORING (37): Liam Buffalo 16, Ty West 5, Jude Herring 4, Weston Warden 3, Braden Biggs 3, Lawson Greenwald 3, Cooper Cantrell 3 

January 27 
HEBER SPRINGS AT MAYFLOWER 
Mayflower      8  10 - 18 
Heber Springs  6  14 - 20 
MAYFLOWER SCORING (18): No. 35 9, No. 20 5, No. 11 2, No. 10 1, No. 21 1 
HEBER SPRINGS SCORING (20): Liam Buffalo 7, Ty West 6, Weston Warden 3, Jude Herring 2, Jacob Harrod 2  

Heber Springs starts season 2-0

Heber Springs’ Cristina Garcia fights for the ball with the Southside Batesville goalie. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

March 5, 2020

Lyon College signee Taylor Hammons finished with a hat trick as Heber Springs improved to 2-0 on the young season with a 6-nil victory over Southside Batesville at Panther Stadium.

Hammons scored all of her goals in the first half, as Heber Springs built up a 6-nil lead at the break and cruised to a mercy-rule win, which included a shortened second-half clock.

“I didn’t even notice it a first,” Heber Springs coach Drew Lawrence said. “I went ‘wow, Taylor’s got three.’ She’s the type that you give her the ball around the net and it will usually find a way.”

Heber Springs senior Jillian Herring looks to go on the offensive against the Southerners. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

The Panthers stayed on the offensive throughout most of the contest with McKenzie Beccera, Jillian Herring and Abbi Dew all adding goals. While Becerra assisted on two goals and Selena Childress on another.

“McKenzie had two assists … and half of those were assisted,” Lawrence said. “It’s really good that we scored six goals but to have at least half of that were assisted, that’s really big. We not only have girls that can go out there and get goals on their own like Jillian and Libby did tonight, but we are also able to use the team and score that way as well.”

Heber Springs opened it’s season with a 4-1 victory over 5A Vilonia on Tuesday.

“That’s really big,” Lawrence said of the win. “I know Vilonia beat us 4-0 last year. They are a bigger school and we are a newer soccer program, so to go on the road, it was nice to really put it on them. We got big contributions from everyone involved. “

Stutts finished with two goals against Vilonia while Hammons and Herring each put one in the back of the net.

Those three seniors are among a core group that are poised for a big season.

Heber Springs senior Abbi Dew gets a kick off against Southside Batesville. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

“It really helps that nine out of our 11 starters are seniors,” Lawrence said. “It makes us really excited for this year.”

With 31 players out for the team, Lawrence is also excited about the future of the program.

“Most people would get kind off worried for the next couple of years,” he said, “but I think are first five off our bench are freshmen or sophomores. We are really excited about this year, not only because the strong senior group, but because we arealso going to keep working in those freshmen, keep on working in those sophomores, and keep on building this program.”

Heber Springs also picked up an Arkansas Activities Association (AAA) Benefit Match win on February 24 at Panther Stadium with a 5-3 decision over Harding Academy.

The Panthers led 5-nil at the break and played back-ups the second half.

Benefit matches played before the first official start date by the AAA for soccer of March 2 do not count in the official record.

HEBER SPRINGS GIRLS SOCCER
COACH DREW LAWRENCE
OVERALL RECORD: 2-0
4A-NORTH CONFERENCE RECORD: 0-0
February 24  Heber Springs 5, Harding Academy 3 $
March 3      Heber Springs 4, Vilonia 1
March 5      Heber Springs 6, Southside Batesville 0
March 9      at Morrilton               7 p.m.
March 10     Conway St. Joseph          7 p.m.
March 13     Greenbrier                 7 p.m.
March 19     at Cave City               7 p.m.
March 31     at Mountain View           7 p.m.
April 2      at Wynne *                 7 p.m.
April 6      Jonesboro Westside *       7 p.m.
April 9      at Brookland *             7 p.m.
April 13     Valley View *              7 p.m.
April 18     Southside Batesville Tournament
April 20     at Southside Batesville *  7 p.m.
April 23     at Lonoke *                7 p.m.
April 28     Batesville *               7 p.m.

(* - Denotes 4A-North conference contest.)
($ - Denotes Arkansas Activities Association Benefit Match. The match does not count on the official record.)

Heber Springs tops Southside, travels to Morrilton

Heber Springs’ Luke Greenwald looks to go on the attack against Southside Batesville in soccer action at Panther Stadium. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

March 5, 2020

Heber Springs held off a spirited Southside Batesville to claim a 2-nil victory on Thursday at Panther Stadium.

The win improved Heber Springs to 2-1 on the young season.

“Tough playing against that bunch,” Heber Springs coach Jay Bishop said. “They always play incredibly hard. They get fired up to play Heber Springs and so do we in playing them.

“They defend really well, really hard. We had a lot of chances to score, but unfortunately only two of them fell for us, but that’s two more than they got. “

Heber Springs got a first half goal from junior Landon Barbee to lead at the break, before getting a late goal from senior Jackson Harrod on a free kick to set the margin.

The Southerners (0-1-1) played more of preventive defensive match allowing most of the action take place on their end, keeping a majority of the players back on defense which made shots on goal difficult but kept the offensive threats at a minimum.

“It very much is a prevent style,” Bishop said. “(They are looking to ) draw you or beat you in a shootout. Scoring two goals against this bunch is difficult. It’s hard to score one with the way they play and the way they defend.

“I am proud of them (my team). I told them at the end of the game, would have liked to have had a bigger margin of victory but ultimately a win is a win. When you go to bed tonight, you go to bed a winner.”

Though Southside Batesville is a conference foe, this match was scheduled as a nonconference contest.

On Tuesday, Heber Springs traveled to 5A Vilonia and came way with a 6-1 victory.

The Panthers got two goals from Julio Rubio and single goals from Diego Rubio, Gus Hannah, Jackson Harrod and Luke Greenwald against the Eagles. Barbee finished with two assists.

“We played a real good game against Vilonia,” Bishop said. “They are the exact opposite of what we saw tonight (against Southside Batesville). A team that was going to let us get behind and run create some of those chance. We scored six goals and anytime you do that you feel good about what you did.”

Heber Springs opened the season with a 5-1 loss at Panther Stadium to Harding Academy in Arkansas Activities Association benefit match.

“Of the three teams we’ve played, Harding’s the best team we have faced,” Bishop said. “They do a good job. It’s only the second year of their program, but they are a very good team. We are going to have to beat good teams to get where we want to be at the end of the road.”

HEBER SPRINGS BOYS SOCCER
COACH JAY BISHOP
OVERALL RECORD: 2-0
4A-NORTH CONFERENCE RECORD: 0-0
February 24  Harding Academy 5, Heber Springs 1 $
March 3      Heber Springs 6, Vilonia 1
March 5      Heber Springs 2, Southside Batesville 0
March 9      at Morrilton               7 p.m.
March 10     Conway St. Joseph          7 p.m.
March 13     Greenbrier                 7 p.m.
March 17     at Conway Christian        7 p.m.
March 19     at Cave City               7 p.m.
March 31     at Mountain View           7 p.m.
April 2      at Wynne *                 7 p.m.
April 4      Southside Batesville Tournament
April 6      Jonesboro Westside *       7 p.m.
April 9      at Brookland *             7 p.m.
April 13     Valley View *              7 p.m.
April 20     at Southside Batesville *  7 p.m.
April 23     at Lonoke *                7 p.m.
April 28     Batesville *               7 p.m.

(* - Denotes 4A-North conference contest.)
($ - Denotes Arkansas Activities Association benefit match. Does not count on official record.)