Dave Maxwell
Pahranagat Valley on defense in a recent game. The Panthers have allowed only 68 points in four games to date this season.

Preston Higbee had probably the finest game of his career as quarterback Sept. 19, leading Pahranagat Valley to a 68-18 blowout of the Wells Leopards in Wells.

Higbee was 13-for-16 passing for a career-high 275 yards, three touchdowns, including a 45-yard strike to receiver Paul Lewis. Each of Lewis’ three catches resulted in a Pahranagat touchdown.

At the same time, Higbee and John Hansen led the Panthers’ power running game. Higbee and Hansen accounted for 104 and 108 yards, respectively. Both players had two touchdowns.

Reece Thornton was not needed as much in the backfield, only carrying the ball three times for 44 yards, with one being a 32-yard scamper. 

The Panthers smothered the Leopards, building up a 36-0 first-quarter lead and 50-12 at halftime, all on homecoming night for the Wells team.

Defensively, Pahranagat held the Leopards in check most of the game. Wells was only 9-for-24 passing behind two quarterbacks. Senior quarterback Jared Martinez was an exception, passing for 214 yards on 6-of-10 and two touchdowns.

On the ground, the Leopards were held to 31 yards, no touchdowns and just 295 total yards. Meanwhile, PVHS was piling up 585 yards.

Credit needs to be given to Wells sophomore defensive back Chris Franco, who had 10 solo tackles. 

The power run game is off to a very good start for Pahranagat Valley (4-0) this year. Hansen, Thornton, Higbee and wide receiver Lewis have helped lead the team to 224 points in four games to date, most of those coming in the first half.

Offensive coordinator Brian Higbee said the team “executed everything so well in the Wells game. They were sharp from the kickoff. Whatever we did looked good, with a good mix of pass and run offense leading the way to a 36-0 first-quarter score.”

The second team played quite a bit of the third quarter and all of the fourth quarter.

This week the boys play at The Meadows. It’s the first time Pahranagat has played The Meadows in football since at least the mid-1990s.

The Meadows became a 2A school in 1996, then won the 2A state championship in 1997 and have been members of the 2A Southern League ever since. However, this year, by special permission from the NIAA, they are one of three 2A schools in southern Nevada playing eight-man ball as independents in 2019. They will not be eligible for state playoffs. 

The Mustangs are still members of the 2A Southern League and will play as 2As in all other sports.

The Panthers’ next home game will be Indian Springs Oct. 4.