By Gina Smith
November 22, 2011
Pahranagat Valley High School has a little more to be thankful for this holiday season.
Not only did the volleyball team win the Nevada 1A State Championship, but the football team followed suit with a Nevada 1A football state title this last weekend.
Although the fires in Reno Friday caused the team to do a last-minute switch of venues to Fernley for the Saturday afternoon game, it didn’t hamper the Panthers from winning their 46th straight game – the most in Nevada state history.
The Panthers handed the Carlin Railroaders their second defeat of the season, with a score of 42-0. Panther football won over the Railroaders in the regular season by a score of 72-0.
Not only is this the fourth consecutive title for the Panthers, the team hasn’t lost a game in four years. The five seniors, Brandon Carter, Andy Linares, Kade Wadsworth, Derek Hansen and Chase Hansen end their high school football careers undefeated.
Long-time coach Dr. Ken Higbee attributes the success to the family and community bond. “It’s all about the community,” he said. “From the school, teachers, volunteers of different programs and parents. Everyone has an influence on these kids’ lives and what they bring to the table. These kids are good football players but better young men.”
The most important factor, Higbee continued, is trust. “Family sums it up. The trust that is between the coaches and the parents is key to a successful team. The parents allow the coaches to be involved in their kids’ lives and be involved so much and be good role models for them.”
The football program starts early for many team members. Boys begin putting on pads and learning fundamentals as early as second grade.
Higbee added, “the coaching staff is very proud of the young men that are on the team, on and off the field. Thank you to the parents and community for the support of the football program in Pahranagat Valley.”
Senior corner and running back Chase Hansen discussed the legacy of the team and school. “The school has a motto ‘committed to excellence,’” he said. “It was a good reminder to follow. It’s good to win, but to win with class and to have good sportsmanship is key. The coaches always hammer that into us, to be a good example to younger kids.”
The bond between teammates is also a special one. “We always were motivating and encouraging and uplifting each other. If we had a negative, we’d fix it and move past it.”
The relationships likewise with coaching staff and players were also strong, according to Hansen. “You really feel the love and support there. The teammates put in the hard work, but [the coaches] also were right there working just as hard, watching the tapes and preparing, and with me and health issues, coaches were right there to the doctors appointments and making sure I was taken care of. I am honored to have them as coaches.”
People might ask what makes Alamo so special. Hansen sums it up as sharing the same values. “We have the same views and goals as we associate ourselves in every aspect of the game and of life, and I think we as a team and coaching staff and community are one. One of mind and one goal and one focus collectively. We’re all together, and that’s special and that’s what makes our team special.”