Sophomore quarterback Tabor Maxwell passed for 299 yards and five touchdowns as the Panthers defeated the Tonopah Muckers 56-13 last Friday in Alamo. It was the opening league game for both teams in Division IV Southern.
All of this with an NBC film crew on hand, in town to do a story on the community of Alamo and it’s strong support and character toward the football program that is gaining national attention with its 72-game win streak, at present the longest active winning streak in the nation.
Veteran reporter Harry Smith, former host of the CBS This Morning program, and now with NBC, was in town and conducted several interviews with the coaches, players and some townspeople, as well as attending the game, getting a feel for how the community follows and supports the Panther 8-man football program that has succeeded so well since 2000. Smith said he thought the experience and watching the game “was a blast!”
Maxwell completed 17 of 23 passes (74 percent), and five touchdowns. Two in the first quarter: a 30-yarder to Shawn Wadsworth and a 58-yard pass to Jordan Cryts, and three in the second quarter, of 16 and 15 yards to Wade Leavitt, and a 5-yard score to Christian Higbee. The single game school record is six TD passes held by Cody Hosier, who did it twice in 2010.
Alamo’s dual threat senior running backs of Leavitt and Cryts combined for 210 yards. Leavitt had 142 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries and Cryts 68 yards on five carries. In addition, Wadsworth caught six passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns. The Panthers (3-0, 1-0) had two interceptions of Tonopah quarterback Conner Friel.
Coach Ken Higbee said Tonopah (2-1, 0-1) was “keying on Leavitt quite a bit. They had people on him wherever he went.”
Leavitt did have several long runs, including an 80-yard touchdown scamper, but Higbee said, “we also did good job spreading the ball. Everybody from here on out is going to be keying on Wade, but when you do that, there’s going to be somebody else, and one of the good things Brian does (offensive coordinator Brian Higbee), he spreads the ball around, so when they key on one man, there’s somebody else that is going to be wide open.” Leavitt has 436 yards on 25 carries and seven touchdowns in three games.
“We’ve been working on that in practice,” Cryts said, “the offensive line knows exactly what to do to create holes for us.”
Higbee said the presence of the NBC film crew did not pose much of a distraction, even though a number of the senior boys were interviewed, because Higbee said, “We did not let it distract us. We approached the whole thing like we do preparing for any other game.”
Homecoming is up next for the Panthers tonight hosting the Beatty Hornets (2-1, 0-1).