Junior running back Reece Thornton rushed for a personal record 192 yards and three touchdowns on Sept. 21 as Pahranagat Valley High School (PVHS) rolled to a 58-22 homecoming win over Beatty.
Since 2008, only once have the Panthers scored less than 40 points against the Hornets.
Thornton had TD runs of 14, 16, and 46 yards for the Panthers, who scored three third-quarter touchdowns to pull away. Much of his success could be attributed to the fact that the Beatty safety was playing nearly 20 yards off the line, leaving Thornton ample running room on the sweep play to get into the secondary and the open field. He also contributed five tackles on defense.
Preston Higbee rushed for 101 yards and two scores and completed six of 12 passes for 105 yards for Pahranagat Valley (3-0, 1-0 Class 1A Southern League).
John Hansen had a two-yard TD run and returned a punt 80 yards for a score. Jesse Jones added an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, his third of the season.
Pahranagat had a little trouble adjusting to the game. They finally scored midway through the first quarter, moving the ball downfield, and Hansen scored on a two-yard run at 6:31.
However, the Hornets (1-1, 0-1) answered with a nice 50-yard run down the side line for a score by Austin McKenzie, and the two-point conversion gave them an 8-6 lead at 3:47.
After pinning the Panthers deep in the first own territory, Beatty upped their lead by sacking Higbee in the endzone for a safety at 3:00 and a 10-8 lead.
The Panthers stopped Beatty’s next possession, forcing a punt and driving downfield, where Thornton made a 14-yard scoring run to close out the period with a 12-10 lead for Pahranagat.
In the second and third quarters, the Panthers kept the ball mostly on the ground, especially in the hands of Thornton.
Coach Brett Hansen said, “We did that primarily because we wanted our line to be able to impose their will and wear down the other team. We have a lot of big kids and good depth to be able to roll a lot of guys out there. Coach Strong does a good job getting our players prepared and our guys step up. We want to be physical and run the ball, and if we can run it, then that’s what we want to do. And give credit to Beatty also, they always play us close. They’ve got tough kids and good coaching.”
However, because Beatty was not moving the ball on the ground very well, they had to resort to the pass, which did not prove very effective, except for a 55-yard pass play by quarterback Jacob Henry and his following 15-yard TD pass to Mark Taylor near the end of the first half.
PVHS scored three times in both the second and third quarter, Thornton and Higbee twice and one each from Jones and Higbee, including Jones’ 85-yard kickoff return and a 46-yard scamper by Thornton.
According to Maxpreps.com, this week Pahranagat Valley moved into the top 100 nationwide among 6-9 man teams, at number 81. The closest other Nevada team is Tonopah (5-0) at 229.
The Panthers’ next three games are on the road, at Indian Springs, Carlin, and Spring Mountain. The next home game is Oct. 25, the final game of the regular season, facing league newcomers Green Valley Christian of Henderson.