A tragic death involving a person closely connected with the Wells football team resulted in the cancelation of the Aug. 24 traditional opening game of the season with Pahranagat Valley High School (PVHS).
Many expressions of concern and condolences were express from PVHS coaches and faculty to the Wells community.
Panther coach Brett Hansen said the cancelation “will just give us another week to move forward and prepare for Independence, Aug. 31.”
Hansen did not feel having the schedule cut down from eight games to seven in the regular season would be a hindrance to the team at all. “Can’t control that, so we just move on.”
As an adjudicated boys school in Elko, Independence is similar to Spring Mountain in Las Vegas, with many new players from year to year.
PVHS has only played Independence’s Colts once, last year, a game which the Panthers won in convincing fashion, 52-0. Pahranagat sophomore quarterback Preston Higbee riddled the Independence pass defense, going 13-for-19, 204 yards and four touchdowns.
After being independent for a couple of years, the Colts just entered the six-team 1A Northeast League in 2016. They opened their season last week with a 54-6 loss to Tonopah.
In practice, Coach Hansen said the kids “are working hard, looking for ways to progress and get better every day.”
PVHS has the luxury of two quarterbacks this season, junior Preston Higbee and freshman Gage Davis.
On the defensive line, PVHS has some very good size, especially in the freshman class. Branson Huntsman comes in at 243 lbs. Taumoelau Koka is 278. Damien Schafer is 223 and Cole Higbee is 209.
Sophomore Jerett Stewart is 256 and Tate Leavitt tips the scale at 224.
Four seniors will help anchor the line as well: Kyler Martin (288), Tony Koka (234), Ryan Jorgensen (269), and Jon Stewart (246).
PVHS has an open date Sept. 7, then two back-to-back home league games Sept 14 with Beaver Dam and Sept. 21 with Beatty.