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Heat burn Panthers 45-18


September 26, 2019

Don't be fooled by the relatively small size of the Hot Springs Savage Heat football players.

They may be appear to be a little undersized but those Spa City boys more than make up for any perceived shortcomings with excellent team speed, desire and hustle – sort of a fire-inside approach to the game of football.

Coach Jim Lawson's inspired Savage Heat were at their combative best in Valier Friday night, pushing aside the bigger Panthers 45-18.

Completing non-conference action with a 4-0 record, the Heat will open Western conference 6-Man play taking on Valley Christian in Alberton Friday night. The Savage Heat stayed at No. 3 in the latest 406mtsports poll released earlier this week.

Valley Christian lost 59-46 at Geraldine-Highwood last week. The Eagles were ranked in the top ten early this season but have since dropped out of the standings.

The fighting side of the Savage Heat was on full display in Valier. These two teams have become quite familiar with each other over the years, mainly from heated meetings in the State playoffs in years past.

In fact, a certain Hot Springs legend named Trevor Paro still carries a sometimes painful shoulder due to one particularly acrimonious post-season meeting with Valier in the past.

"They are a big, physical team, and they tried to use that advantage early," Lawson said. "But our kids came up huge, stopped them three or four times in the red zone in the first half, and gave us the momentum."

Using those big stops as their impetus, the Heat methodically built an 18-0 lead by halftime.

On the other side of things, the Panthers seemed to have no answer for Hot Springs quarterback Brandon Knudsen, who rushed the ball only 17 times but picked up a remarkable total of 206 yards and scored two touchdowns on the ground to lead the Heat attack.

Lincoln Slonaker also had an excellent game, carrying the ball nine times for 45 yards and scoring three touchdowns, and Luke Waterbury picked up 78 more yards on 16 carries.

Kyle Lawson caught three passes for 37 yards.

Middle linebacker Jack McAllister was the man of the day for the Hot Springs defense, pulling down a team-high 16 tackles and an interception, besides returning a recovered fumble 50 yards for a touchdown. All this while sporting and playing with a bulky brace on his right hand protecting his broken thumb.

Slonaker added 10 tackles and Knudsen eight for the Heat defense.


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