Dave Maxwell
Reece Thornton catches a touchdown pass from Preston Higbee in front of Azzano Sepulveda of Beaver Dam. Pahranagat Valley beat the Diamondbacks, 50-8. Pahranagat hosts Beatty for homecoming this week.

In the poker game of five-card stud, you want to have a good hand.

Pahranagat Valley football coach Brett Hansen has a good hand four face cards in a junior-based backfield.

Quarterback Preston Higbee and running backs Jesse Jones, Reece Thornton, and John Hansen are a fine set in anyone’s hand. Then count in freshman backup quarterback Gage Davis and you “know when to hold ’em.”

For an added feature, toss in freshman running back Jaren Levitt, when needed, and the hand stays strong.

Higbee completed all six of his passes for 152 yards and threw three touchdown passes as Pahranagat Valley rolled past visiting Beaver Dam 50-8 last week, their opening league game of the season.

Higbee also had 46 rushing yards.

The starters didn’t have to play much more than the first half as the Panthers scored four times in their first six or seven possessions in the first quarter.

Hansen ran back the opening kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown in the first 15 seconds.

Pahranagat then scored about every three-four minutes after that for a huge 32-0 first quarter lead.

However, Coach Hansen said Beaver Dam did well. “They have a new coaching staff and went from having 10 players last year to 18-19 this year. They’ve got some big kids and are doing some really good things.”

He said, “We had some trouble in the first half with too many penalties. Not something you want, but somewhat expected in having played only one game before this one. They do hurt, though, on long runs and big plays. But we’ll get those cleaned up with practice and more game experience.” Pahranagat had at least two touchdowns called back by penalties.

Jones led the Panthers (2-0, 1-0, Class 1A Southern League) with 110 rushing yards. Thornton had two touchdown receptions and 77 receiving yards, plus 33 yards on four carries. Stockton Maxwell had a 15-yard touchdown reception, and Paul Lewis also had a 10-yard touchdown reception.

Davis, playing much of the second quarter and all of the second half, completed four of seven passes for 49 yards and one touchdown.

On defense, Lewis, a freshman, led the team with six tackles. Hansen and Jones each had one interception for the Panthers.

Michael Leach scored the only touchdown for the Diamondbacks on a three-yard run with a little under six minutes remaining in the game.

This is homecoming week for Pahranagat Valley, a four-day schedule of events interspersed with schoolwork.

The Panthers play long-time rival Beatty.

One of the most interesting 1A matchups statewide this week will be Central League leader Tonopah (4-0) against West League leader Virginia City (4-0).

Virginia City didn’t play football for a number of years, restarting in 2007, and the teams have not played each other since then.

Both are fielding fairly competitive teams this year.