All three Greers Ferry Lake Area Jr. High football teams showed positive signs in Monday's scrimmage at Panther Stadium.
All three Greers Ferry Lake Area Jr. High football teams showed positive signs in Monday’s scrimmage at Panther Stadium.
Heber Springs opened with a 24-0 win over Quitman, which bounced back to top Rose Bud 8-6 in the final 20-minute scrimmage. The Junior Ramblers tied Heber Springs, 6-6, leaving all three teams with a feeling of accomplishment heading into the regular season.
Heber Springs vs. Quitman
Using only five total offensive plays the Junior Panthers scored on all three of their drives while blanking Quitman 24-0.
The Junior Panthers quickly forced a turnover on downs and turned the short field into a 2-play, 36-yard drive ignited by tailback Andrew Engle, who shed a tackle and raced around right end for 27 yards.
Engle then took a sweep around left end where he slipped a tackler and cruised into the end zone from seven yards out. Quarterback Brandon Loethen rolled out of the pocket and found receiver Jacob Blasingame for two more points on the conversion, boosting Heber’s lead to 8-0.
After defensive back Jacob Bremman recovered a fumble on the Junior Bulldogs’ ensuing possession, Loethen rolled left and hooked up with Blasingame for 12 yards.
The Junior Panthers scored on the following play when Engle took a pitch 18 yards around right end for a touchdown. Loethen rolled right and found Engle for two more points on the conversion, pushing the Junior Panthers’ lead to 16-0.
Heber struck again moments later following an interception by Loethen. On its first snap of the series, Blasingame carried a sweep around right end, where he followed a convoy of blockers into the end zone for a 32-yard touchdown.
Heber Springs vs. Rose Bud
The Junior Ramblers used their Dead-T offensive attack, spearheaded by eighth-grade fullback Dalton Hall, to keep the clock moving while churning out positive yards against Heber Springs.
Rose Bud opened the 20-minute scrimmage with an 11-play, 70-yard scoring drive in which Hall carried five times for 58 yards, including a powerful 25-yard run, dragging defenders down to the Junior Panther 10.
On second and goal, halfback Gaige Baskins plowed up the middle from five yards out as Rose Bud took a 6-0 lead with 11:30 remaining. Rose Bud quarterback Austin Herring was thrown for a loss on the conversion.
Heber responded with a 7-play, 70-yard scoring drive sparked by receiver Jacob Bremman, who quarterback Brandon Loethen found streaking down right hash for 24 yards.
On second and four, Heber moved the chains when Loethen rolled left and again hit Bremman, who spun away from a defender for 15 yards. A pass-interference penalty pushed the Jr. Panthers down to the 13 and they scored on their next play when Loethen rolled right and found Engle, who turned up field to complete a 13-yard touchdown reception. Loethen’s rollout pass on the two-point conversion fell incomplete, leaving the score tied with 4:00 remaining.
Rose Bud moved into Heber territory on the scrimmage’s final drive as Hall ripped off a 17-yard run over left tackle and Herring kept twice for gains of 13 and 11 yards, but the Jr. Ramblers ran out of time at the Heber 24.
Quitman vs. Rose Bud
The Junior Bulldogs’ offense suddenly came alive late when halfback Kyle Brantley stepped out of a defender’s grasp and broke left where he outran more pursuing tacklers for a 58-yard touchdown with only 5.4 seconds left to play.
Tied at 6-6 and backed up following a false start penalty, Quitman halfback Garrett Kennedy scored from seven yards out on a conversion as the Jr. Bulldogs rallied past Rose Bud, 8-6.
The Junior Ramblers opened the scrimmage with a 6-play, 70-yard scoring drive that culminated with a 19-yard touchdown run by fullback Dalton Hall, who rumbled through two tacklers on his way to the end zone.
Heber visits Clinton for its season opener on Thursday, Sept. 4. Rose Bud travels to Quitman for its opener. Both games start at 7 p.m.