Assistant coach Brian Higbee said, “I like our chances,” as Pahranagat Valley prepared to play Virginia City in a non-league game last week.
But he couldn’t have expected what would really happen just before halftime. The Muckers, playing in Alamo for the first time ever, stunned the home crowd by walking off the field with 2:23 remaining in the second quarter trailing 60-6.
PVHS head coach Ken Higbee said later, “They didn’t want to finish the first half.” There may have been deeper reasons, too, but he did not elaborate.
It’s also possible Virginia City, facing a 6-7 hour bus ride home, and able to foresee the final outcome, decided to throw in the towel at that point. Coach Ron Presley was not available for comment afterwards.
It might be a violation of NIAA rules and Executive Director Eddie Bonine is looking into the affair. Several years ago, Indian Springs did the same thing, and coach Sope Faga was suspended for one game. NIAA Assistant Director Donnie Nelson said they will have to study comments from all sides, “as there in nothing in our handbook about that.”
Pahranagat Valley dominated Virginia City from the outset, piling up 30 points in each quarter. The defense held six Mucker running backs to minus 19 yards on 12 carries, and quarterbacks Christian Lindsay and Carlos Robledo to 10-for-22, 162 yards and three interceptions.
Senior Wade Leavitt had four touchdowns for PVHS, including an 87-yard pass from Tabor Maxwell, and a 60-yard TD run in the second quarter. His 87-yard TD reception broke the mark of 86 yards held by his brother Kale in 2010.
The Panthers took the opening kickoff and drove down the field in three plays, capped by an 18-yard touchdown from Jordan Cryts.
Cryts and Leavitt combined for 197 yards on 13 carries, and Leavitt’s two pass receptions gave him a total offense of 240 yards.
Maxwell was 11-for-15, 228 yards and two touchdowns. Shawn Wadsworth had five catches for 43 yards and one touchdown. Christian Higbee had four catches for 69 yards. Utah Ray also returned an interception for a score.
After Alamo’s first score, Virginia City, slowed on the ground near midfield, came right back on several pass plays from Robledo, in about two and-a-half minutes. Lindsay then scored on a 3-yard dive. However, they missed the conversion try.
The Panthers, extending their national winning streak to 71, then turned up the offense and defense and scored 52-unanswered points.
On defense, “Virginia City was stacking the inside box,” Higbee said. “They put six guys within two yards of the foot-ball and that left the outside wide open, and then anything throwing the ball is wide open also,” and the Panthers took full advantage of the openings.
Higbee gave credit to team defensive coordinator Mike Strong. “Coach Strong does a good job putting our kids in position to stop whatever they are doing. He’s really good at adjustments.”
With the speed of their running backs, Maxwell’s passing, and a strong inside defensive game, Pahranagat was just burying the Muckers. Putting up 60 points in the first half is the third most since scoring 66 points in the second half in the record setting 128-74 win over Coleville in 2008.
PVHS has a bye this weekend with their next game the opening of league play hosting rival Tonopah on Sept. 19.