Going into a playoff game with almost one-third of your team missing puts you at a great disadvantage. And when your opponent might happen to be the Pahranagat Valley Panthers, the prospects are even more grim.
Beatty had up to seven starters missing because of ineligibility in their first round Division IV Southern playoff game in Alamo last week.
They got beat, too, 38-6, and the score does not depict how truly outmatched and outmanned the Hornets were.
But PVHS did not blow the Hornets off the map, coach Ken Higbee said, “There was no reason to. They wouldn’t have finished the game if we had left our older kids in any longer.”
Beatty only had 12 players and they were getting injured early.
So, rather than get any more Beatty players hurt and out of the game, and leading 32-0 anyway, Higbee decided to put in the second team mid-way through the second quarter and call for a running clock.
He explained, “It was good for us to play the younger kids. The real reason our program is the way it is, is because our young kids have stepped up and they practice the whole season to get to this moment, to play three quarters of a playoff game experience. It’s why this program builds, kids know all their hard work in practice will see a result when they have a time to perform.”
Tabor Maxwell was 10 for 12 passing and 158 yards. His younger brother Brodey was 4 for 7 passing, 64 yards, and ran the ball four times for 28 yards. Austin Mathews was used quite a bit at running back and the freshman had 11 carries for 60 yards. Cullen Highbe had 5 receptions for 100 yards.
The Panthers (10-0) will host the state semifinal game here tonight against Virginia City (8-2), who edged Eureka 20-14.
Higbee said he was not surprised by that outcome. “VC is well coached and we’re going to have to come to play.”
He added, “We watched film on them this week. They are big up front, a good quarterback (Isaiah Yoder) and the (Price) Poston kid, a good running back. They will come and try to run over the top of you and get after you. It will be a lot of fun.”
Virginia City is primarily a running team, 2,847 yards rushing this season as opposed to 943 yards passing.
In comparison, Pahranagat Valley has 2,227 yards passing, and 1,991 yards rushing.
Poston, a 5-10, 145-lbs. senior, has 1,019 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns. Yoder, a junior, has thrown for 788 yards on 41 of 75 attempts, seven touchdowns and six interceptions. His main receiver is Ireland Franklin, 21 catches, 559 yards and seven touchdowns.
Maxwell has thrown for 2,156 yards, 36 touchdowns and three interceptions. Shawn Wadsworth, who leads the state in reception yards, has 912 on 45 catches and 17 touchdowns.
Leading runners for PVHS are David Ingram with 593 yards on 76 carries, and Maxwell with 72 carries for 450 yards.
Pahranagat is averaging 49.6 points per game and Virginia City 46.7.
The Panthers beat Virginia City 44-0 in 2013 and 60-6 in 2014, but
this will be the first time in recent memory to meet in the playoffs.
In other games, Spring Mountain scored 66 unanswered points to blow out Tonopah 72-14.
Spring Mountain (8-2) now travels to Whittell (10-0) at Zephyr Cove for the other semifinal game. The teams have never played each other in football before.
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