By Richard Sharp/Lake Area Sports
HEBER SPRINGS-Southside senior quarter Braden Jones and the visiting rival Southerners spoiled the Heber Springs homecoming festivities on a rainy Friday night at Panther Stadium, as Jones completed 5 of 7 passes for 145 yards and four touchdowns with a rushing touchdown while racking up a 153.3 quarterback rating in the process en route to a 48-20 4A-2 victory.
The host got on the scoreboard first after Julio Rubio reeled off a 77-yard touchdown run just four minutes into the contest to go up 6-0, capitalizing on a recovered fumble from Rubio.
Southside answered right back on fourth and thirteen, as Jones connected with senior Kylinn Dugger for a 33-yard touchdown to go up 7-6, going up 13-6 on a Larkin Jones run that crossed the plain to make it 13-6.
Heber got to another fumble and converted it into another touchdown on the ground, the second for Rubio to knot it up at 13-all. The Southerners took the lead back on an 18-yard threading of the needle from Jones to junior receiver Jonathan Shane in the endzone for a 20-13 advantage at the halftime intermission.
Receiving the second half kickoff, Southside extended their lead to two possessions after sophomore Landen Haas hauled in a 55-yard touchdown pass from Jones, however Heber senior quarterback Adam Martin ran into the endzone on a keep play to pull within seven points.
Jones continued to add to his spectacular night after throwing a long bomb to Shane for his fourth and final touchdown pass of the night and Shane’s second touchdown catch.
With seven minutes left in the contest, Southside turned a turnover on downs for Heber into a four-yard touchdown run for Braden Jones, finishing his night with five total touchdowns, doubling up on the Panthers 40-20 before adding another score inside two minutes to bring the final score to 48-20.
Senior Alex Palmer led the rushing game with 100 yards, while Shane caught 2 passes for 43 yards and two touchdowns. Palmer and senior Payton Walls each paced the defense with eight tackles, as Palmer added two sacks to his cause.
Martin went 12 of 19 for 78 yards, rushing for 36 more yards and a touchdown while Rubio ran nine times for 132 yards and two touchdowns. A trio of Panthers accumulated double-digit tackles, junior Diego Rubio (13), senior Landon Johnson (13) and senior Fate Berry (11).
Heber fell to 2-6 and 2-3 in league play, set to host conference leader Riverview (7-1, 5-0) this Friday night.