Heber Springs took out five weeks of frustration on Marianna-Lee, trampling the Trojans 46-24 in a 2-4A Conference contest that got out of hand early Friday night at Panther Stadium.
The game was not nearly as close as the final score indicated. Heber, which remarkably averaged just under two plays on seven scoring drives, took a knee twice in the final minute of the first half and the Trojans scored two touchdowns while the Panthers emptied their bench in the second half.
“We've been in the valley for the past five weeks. It is so well deserving,” said Heber Coach Steve Janski. “They come back every day and work in practice. I am so proud of them and I am getting ready to go celebrate in this locker room and enjoy this victory.”
The Panthers (1-5, 1-2) scored on their first two possessions, starting when Chandler Marquardt carried a sweep around left end 12 yards for a touchdown following a botched punt attempt by the Trojans. Dillion Moore added the PAT, giving Heber a 7-0 lead only 31 seconds into the game.
Utility back Chandler Jones scored on the Panthers' second offensive snap as he started over right side before cutting back to the left side, where he raced down the hash for a 40-yard touchdown. Moore's extra-point extended Heber's lead to 14-0 with 9:51 remaining in the first quarter.
Marianna (0-5, 0-3) responded on its ensuing possession, marching 73 yards in 12 plays. On third and goal, quarterback Donte Weems capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run behind right guard and Weems found Tyron Sims on a quick hitch for two more on the conversion, leaving the Panthers with a 14-8 lead with 5:30 left in the opening quarter.
Heber slammed the door by scoring five unanswered touchdowns. Following a 47-yard run by Marquardt, Kramer used a play-action fake to freeze the defense, rolled right and hit tight end Conner Lindsey in the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, leaving Heber's lead at 20-8.
Heber tacked on another score early in the second quarter, covering 50 yards in just two plays as Kramer rolled right and hooked up with wideout Hunter Chandler for 31 yards, which set up a 19-yard touchdown run by Marquardt, who sped over right tackle. Marianna intercepted the conversion attempt, leaving the Panthers' lead at 26-8 with 11:48 remaining in the second quarter.
Heber added another score less than two minutes later, set up by Spencer Greene, who crashed into the backfield and blocked a punt. Kramer then found Chandler on a skinny post for 15 yards and Heber's senior quarterback cruised over right tackle and into the end zone from five yards out on the next snap. Moore's extra-point pushed Heber's lead to 33-8 with 9:57 left in the second quarter.
Page 2 of 2 - With 4:23 left until intermission, the Panthers scored again when Kramer connected with Chandler, who sidestepped a defender at the 10-yard line and raced into the end zone to complete a 17-yard touchdown reception. Moore's PAT sailed wide left, leaving Heber's lead at 39-8.
The Panthers struck again late in the first half after running back Edgar Torres carried twice for 21 yards, including an 18-yard run up the middle. On second and 7, Heber placed the AAA's 35-point mercy-rule into effect when Kramer dropped back and found Chandler streaking down left sideline for a 36-yard touchdown with 1:19 remaining until halftime. Moore's extra-point gave the Panthers a 46-8 lead heading to the locker room.
With the clock running continuously starting with the opening kickoff of the third quarter, Marianna posted two scores, one late in the third quarter and another midway through the fourth quarter – both on passes from Weems.
Kramer finished 7 of 12 passing for 143 yards and three touchdowns. Chandler, who pulled down six receptions for 140 yards and two touchdowns, was Kramer's primary target and Lindsey accounted for the third score.
Marquardt, who has rushed for 964 yards and eight touchdowns in six games, went over 100 yards rushing for the sixth time in as many games. The junior ran for 117 yards and two scores on seven carries. Jones added 63 yards and a touchdown, while Torres rushed for 62 yards.
Linebacker Ian Lowe and defensive end James Ketchum led the Panther defense. Lowe tallied four tackles, including two sacks and defensive end James Ketchum also finished with four tackles to go with a half sack and blocked punt.
The Panthers travel to Newport (4-2, 1-2) on Friday. The Greyhounds opened 2-4A Conference play with losses to Dollarway (42-0) and Lonoke (39-32) before bouncing back with a 41-21 victory over Stuttgart last week.