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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Panthers show big play potential

  • Junior quarterback Hunter Chandler hooked up with senior wideout Austin McVay for a 65-yard touchdown and Chandler ran 56 yards for another score, leading the White team past the Red 14-8 on Friday in an abbreviated spring game cut short by lightning.
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  • Junior quarterback Hunter Chandler hooked up with senior wideout Austin McVay for a 65-yard touchdown and Chandler ran 56 yards for another score, leading the White team past the Red 14-8 on Friday in an abbreviated spring game cut short by lightning.
    Chandler, who carried three times for 88 yards, found McVay twice for a total of 74 yards.
    “I am very proud of Hunter Chandler and the way he handled the football,” said Heber Coach David Farr. “He made some good decisions and he did some good things with his legs and also throwing it.”
    McVay moved over to receiver from quarterback.
    “Austin has done a great job all through spring. Also in the weight room he did a great job. I thought he had a good showing and looked very explosive with the football,” said Farr.
    Moments after the Red team pulled within 14-8 on a 57-yard touchdown run by junior running back Eddie Torres, plus a conversion keeper from sophomore quarterback Pierce Mitchum, the game was called due to lightning with 11:50 remaining in the second quarter.
    Torres took an option pitch from Mitchum and sped down the right sideline for his score.
    “Right now Eddie is playing both offense and defense for us,” said Farr. “He understands the scheme and what we want of him on particular calls. He obviously does some good things with the football. Offensively I can see him helping us out as a utility back at a fullback position and also at a deep back position. Sometimes he is the guy we will bore in there, sometimes he is the pitch guy. I think he is very versatile.
    “Defensively he is definitely going to help us at corner. Schematically he has done a really good job of understanding what we are doing and knowing his assignment and he is also communicating. He is going to talk. He is going to tell you what the formation is and what the coverage is. He is not shy or bashful by any means. He can help us on both sides of the football,” added Farr.
    Senior running back Chandler Marquardt, who led the Panthers in rushing and receiving last year, had a minimal workload for the White team. “I thought when we gave it to him he looked good running the football,” said Farr. “You know what you are going to get with Chandler and I thought he did a really good job.”
    Farr said the offensive line has room for improvement. “We had some guys who did really well but we also struggled from time to time on the offensive line in seeing pressures and stunts. We’ve got to get that stuff fixed and cleaned up through the summer,” said Farr.
    Page 2 of 2 - Although the annual game was cut short by nearly three quarters, it was a positive experience. “Overall I am proud of the way our guys came out and competed. I know it was a less than ideal situation. We ended up only getting 33 reps on the day but nevertheless I thought it was a learning experience and I liked the way they came out and competed.”
    With more hazardous weather on the radar, Farr and staff reluctantly informed the team of the cancellation approximately 10 minutes following the first lightning strike. “When I came in and broke the news to them they had that look on their face like ‘Are we going back out. What we don’t get to go back out.’
    “I am proud of that. A lot of competitors really came out to play. The thing I can say about this team is they like playing the game. I think through off-season and spring something we have developed is a love for playing the game. You don’t just roll the football out and play. You are only guaranteed 10 (regular season) appearances and every time you hit that field it is special,” added Farr.
    The two teams were split evenly by draft. Farr led the White team and offensive coordinator Darren Gowen served as head coach of the Red team.
    The White team took the game’s first lead with 7:46 left in the first quarter when Chandler found McVay on a post route. McVay completed the score by dodging a tackler and racing the final 35 yards to the end zone, completing his 65-yard touchdown reception.
    Chandler rolled left and flipped a pass to running back Alldon Skelton on the conversion, giving the White team an 8-0 lead.
    On the White team’s ensuing possession, Chandler dropped back then scrambled left where he weaved around a big block and down the sideline before cutting back at the 20 and cruising to pay dirt on his 56-yard touchdown run.
    The Red team forced the game’s only turnover, stripping a fumble that Brian Eubanks recovered, halting the White team’s first series at the Red 43.

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