After nine weeks of football, the Pahranagat Valley High School (PVHS) Panthers captured another 1A Southern League title, wresting it from last year’s champs, two-time defending state Spring Mountain.
With the Panthers’ 46-6 victory over Beaver Dam last week there remains just one more game on the schedule before the state playoffs.
PVHS (4-0) travels to Beatty (3-3, 2-2) this Friday to conclude the regular season.
Coach Brett Hansen said, as he often has during the season, that the victory is a credit to what the team’s offensive line is able to do to open up the holes for the running backs. He refrained from singling out any one particular player.
With PVHS recapturing the league title, it’s the team’s 15th in the past 16 years. In one period during those years, Pahranagat Valley set a national record for small schools playing eight-man ball; 104 consecutive wins (2008-2016). The team stands at number three among all schools of any size nationwide. And since 2004, the Panthers have had the most successful program in the entire state of Nevada in any classification, compiling a record of 174-7.
In the game last week at winless Beaver Dam, it was over quickly with Pahranagat putting up 24 points in the first quarter and racing off to a 40-0 halftime lead.
Quarterback Preston Higbee was 5-for-8 passing, 61 yards and two touchdowns, a 23 yarder to Paul Lewis and 24 yards to Dallin Mathews.
On the ground, Pahranagat’s backfield spread the wealth around, distributing only 17 carries between four runners. Senior John Hansen had the most with six for 95 yards and one touchdown. His first touch of the game after the opening kickoff went up the middle for a 70-yard score.
Higbee also had two rushing touchdowns.
On defense, Mathews and Tadd Twitchell both had five tackles and both assisted on five others.
As the playoff picture is becoming clearer in this final week, it appears the first round in the 1A Region II will have Wells at Pahranagat Valley and Spring Mountain traveling to Eureka. The Eagles and the Vandals have not played each other in football in over 20 years, if even ever before.
In Region I, unbeaten Smith Valley has the Central League wrapped up. Mineral County and Tonopah play this weekend for the No. 2 spot.
In the West League, Virginia City and Pyramid Lake will be the representatives. They played Halloween night to determine the seeding.
When the state semifinals arrive, Nov. 15-16, the teams involved will play at a neutral site, or sites, to be determined by the NIAA.
The championship game Nov. 23 is the same way; the NIAA will determine where the game is to be played depending on who the finalists are. The North is supposed to be the host, but that remains to be seen.