Anticipation is high and excitement fills the air as, after a long summer of waiting, Pahranagat Valley’s new football season begins tonight.

The Panther’s traditional season opening opponent, at least for the past 12 years anyway, has been the Wells Leopards. They meet tonight in Alamo at 7 p.m.

Last year, at Wells, Tabor Maxwell threw five touchdown passes in the first half as PVHS stormed out to a 44-6 halftime lead, then coasted to a 62-20 win. He had scoring passes of 86, 68 and 30 yards, plus a couple of short yardage TD passes. Christian Higbee had 118 yards rushing on 14 carries. He also accounted for the most tackles on defense with six.

Wells was held to only 57 yards rushing, running the ball only 10 times, and just
242 yards total offense to the Panthers 556 yards total offense.  Leading player for the Leopards was freshman quarterback Zane Rodriguez, 6 for 16 passing, 102 yards.

Wells is being joined by a new member in the 1A Northern East, the Independence Colts from Elko. They played an independent schedule last year, going 2-3. The Colts have not played football since 2008 when they were part of the Northern 2A league.

Many of the Alamo players say, while not overlooking Wells, they have spent quite a bit of time in early practices studying game film of their Sept. 10 opponent,  the Thacher Toads, from Ojai, California, and even at times running Thacher’s offense against the Panther defense on the field in practice.

Last year, Pahranagat traveled to Ojai, located in the beautiful coastal mountains canyons, only about 20 miles from Ventura. Thacher was 6-4 last season. It will be their opening game of the season.

Last years thrilling game at Thacher went down to the final four seconds when the Panther defense stopped a fourth-and-12 double reverse near the 15-yard line to take a 34-30 victory.

In this first week of the 1A season, there is just one other league game involving Round Mountain at Carlin. The Knights have beaten the Railroaders only one since 2004, 28-14 in 2014.