Win No. 1 in a new era came when Pahranagat Valley quarterback Preston Higbee completed 7 of 11 passes for 221 yards, four touchdowns, and ran for 113 yards to lead the Panthers over host Wells on Friday, 50-8. It was the season opener for both teams.
The young sophomore threw a pair of touchdowns to Richard Lewis and also connected with Cullen Highbe and Stockton Maxwell on TD passes.
The 6-5 Lewis finished with three catches for 145 yards, and Highbe, at 6-9, caught two passes for 64 yards for the Panthers, who led 38-0 after the first quarter.
First-year head coach Brett Hansen said, “It is always good to get a win, whether it’s at the beginning of the season or the end. Saw a lot of things we need to improve on, but that’s expected the first game, and we’ll get better. A good start, definitely.” Penalties were the main problem, but they were not a major factor in the game.
PVHS (1-0) amassed 571 total yards against the undermanned Leopards, 350 rushing, and 221 passing.
Hunter Hollingshead, who returned the opening kickoff 83 yards for a score, had five carries for 47 yards and two TDs to lead the Panthers’ ground game. John Hansen had five carries for 61 yards and a TD, and Brodey Maxwell had a rushing TD for PVHS.
Hollingshead took the opening kickoff in the center of the field, broke to his right, had good blocking, found a hole, and sprinted down the near sideline to the end zone virtually untouched.
Pahranagat then dominated the first quarter, scoring on four of their first five possessions while holding Wells to a nearly non-existent running game and forcing them into passing on nearly every down.
“The Leopards like to throw the ball deep, try to spread you out, and find those holes,” Hansen said. But quarterback Zane Rodriguez was mostly ineffective, overthrowing the receivers, or having the pass dropped. Otherwise, Wells had a little-to-no offense until late in the fourth quarter when backup quarterback Jared Martinez moved the team down the field against the Panthers reserves and scored on a three-yard run with about 50 seconds remaining to avoid a shutout.
Pahranagat has a bye this week and is preparing to play host to Independence Sept. 8. The Colts are a correctional boys facility from Elko in the 1A Northeast League, a school similar to Spring Mountain.
Note, the game will be a 4 p.m. start.
Independence just reinstated football two years ago. They dropped the sport after the 2009 season and have gone 5-7 since picking it up again. It will be the first ever meeting between the two schools.
Elsewhere around the 1A Southern, second-ranked Spring Mountain (0-0) was idle. Next: vs. Joshua Springs (California), today.
No. 3 Beatty (0-0) was idle. Next: vs. Mammoth (Calif.), Friday, Sept. 8.
No. 4 Tonopah (0-1) lost to Mineral County 82-56. Next: vs. Independence (Elko), today.
No. 5 Beaver Dam (0-1) lost to Fredonia (Arizona) 51-6. Next: at El Capitan (Arizona), today.
In addition to Pahranagat Valley, Hansen said he was able to pick up a non-league game with Carlin on Sept. 15 to replace Sandy Valley, who had to cancel. The game will be in Alamo at 6 p.m. The teams last played in 2014 and the Panthers won 60-8. In the overall series, since 2004, Pahranagat holds a 10-2 edge.