To take a line from Franklin Roosevelt’s 1932 presidential campaign: “Happy days are here again. The skies are bright and clear again.”
And indeed, high school football season is here again. 2019 marks the 97th year of high school ball in Nevada.
The NFL itself is observing 100 years in 2019.
The Pahranagat Valley High School (PVHS) Panthers have 10 games on the schedule this year and won’t start off the year with their traditional game against Wells. Instead, PVHS begins the season August 30 at home against Williams, Arizona.
Other than league opponent Beaver Dam, Pahranagat hasn’t played a team from Arizona since Fredonia in 2008.
Williams is a town of about 3,100, some 40 miles west of Flagstaff, and is the beginning of the Grand Canyon Railway.
Panther coach Brett Hansen said, “We scheduled Williams because we saw they have been an up-and-coming program the past several years and wanted to play somebody new, to give us a good test at the beginning. It’ll be a good challenge for us.”
The Williams Vikings are the defending champions in their 1A North League, and like the Panthers, have been consistent participants in the state playoffs of late. Their overall record in the past three seasons is 27-5. In the same period Pahranagat Valley is 29-3.
Williams will come to Alamo with a veteran team sporting 10 returning seniors.
Twenty-nine players turned out for football at PVHS this year with about 19 returning from last year.
“The senior leadership will be our top players,” Hansen said, “led by quarterback Preston Higbee, running backs Reece Thornton and John Hansen, with Tad Twitchell and Cody Hatch on the line. Just looking for them to step up as seniors and leaders.”
Jesse Jones, who had been expected to be in the Panthers’ backfield, transferred this summer to a school in northeast Oregon, closer to family in the area.
Hansen noted, “We are a young team, especially on the line, but do have a good group of sophomore players who showed themselves very well last year.”
Sophomore Gage Davis, who saw action last year as quarterback in a backup role, is being moved to tight end. Freshman Braiden Maxwell will likely be groomed as the backup quarterback.
Another interesting preseason out-of-state game will be at Mammoth Lake, Calif, Sept. 13. Mammoth Lake hasn’t been all that good a team in recent years, just 21-44 since 2012, but the game is Friday the 13th, so maybe anything is possible.
Both Williams and Mammoth Lake are two-year home-and-home contracts, in Alamo one year, at the other place the next year.
The Panthers play Wells this year too, at Wells Sept. 20. PVHS has won the last 12 meetings.
Pahranagat’s game with defending state champion Spring Mountain is in Alamo Oct. 11.
Although the standings are not shown in the Nevada Preps section of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the 1A Central League is where former 1A Southern League teams Round Mountain and Tonopah are members for the second year. Others in the Central League are Coleville, Mineral County and Smith Valley.
When the time comes for the playoffs in November, the first round will be East vs. South and West vs. Central. The state championship game will be in the north this year at a site to be determined, unless there are two south teams in the finals. In that case another site will be chosen.