Pahranagat Valley High School set a new school record for points in a single quarter as they rolled to a 48-0 first-period lead over the Wells Leopards in the first round of the 1A NIAA playoffs. The final score was 48-16.
The previous school record was 44 points which the Panthers put up on Coleville in a 2008 state semifinal game. That resulted in a national record score of 128-74, which may still stand in the NFHS record books for eight-man teams as the most points in a given game, for a combined score of 202 points.
PVHS coach Brent Hansen said he wasn’t trying to make a statement to other teams in the playoffs this year as to how many points his high-powered team can score at the opening of the game. “We just wanted to come out fast and be ready to go from the beginning. Just be crisp and make sure we are progressing in the right way and getting better and more disciplined.”
The Panthers used a relentless ground game on the Leopards. Six ball carries rolled up 324 yards with the starters only playing primarily in the first half.
Higbee was the leading ground gainer with 92 yards on three carries, 41 of those coming on his touchdown run. He was also 3-for-5 passing, 106 yards and two touchdowns.
Reece Thornton and John Hansen both had only three carries each as they were not even needed in the second half. Thornton rushed for 67 yards and a 49-yard touchdown. Hansen had 16 yards but did not score.
Backup fullback Jaren Leavitt did most of the work in the second half with seven carries, 68 yards and one touchdown.
Paul Lewis and Kobi Fiatoa both caught touchdown passes from Higbee in the first quarter; Lewis for 57 yards and Fiatoa for 42.
Defensively, the Panthers shut off the Leopards’ run game in the first half, making quarterback Jared Martinez go to a pass-only attack, most of which were incomplete.
The Panthers recovered two fumbles by Wells, as well as recovering their own onside kick.
Coach Hansen said, “That gave us the ball right back and that’s why that score became more than normal.”
Jamison Miller and Jaren Leavitt had five tackles apiece.
Thornton said the team was ‘up and ready’ for the second meeting with the Leopards this year. “All of us in the locker room were electric most of the week of practice. For us seniors, playing for the last time on our home field, we wanted to go out well and show them what Panther football is all about.”
Pahranagat scored on their first six possessions of the game, and usually the touchdown came on the first or second play from scrimmage.
Higbee started the scoring on a 41-yard quarterback draw at 10:51 of the first period, the second play of the game.
The Panthers then recovered an onside kick and Higbee burned the Leopards on a touchdown pass to Lewis.
Wells fumbled the ball on their next possession at 10:05. Higbee struck again through the air, 40 yards, to Kobi Fiatoa at 9:57.
On Wells’ next possession, the pass receiver fumbled the ball when tackled on the Panthers’ 35-yard line.
Following a holding penalty, Pahranagat moved the ball to their own 41-yard line and Higbee connected on a 59-yard touchdown pass to Lewis at 8:20.
About two minutes later, Thornton scored his 49-yard touchdown run at 6:43.
Forcing Wells to punt, PVHS took over on their 36-yard line and worked to near the goal line. Jaren Leavitt then scored on a short run with 48.9 seconds left in the first quarter. The successful conversion try made it 48-0, setting a new school record for most points scored in one quarter.
Wells didn’t mount a threat at all in the first half, attempting only a couple of runs, then staying exclusively with the pass, usually incomplete.
The Leopards’ two touchdowns came in the second half when Pahranagat was using mostly second-string players.
Wells finished the season 3-5.
In the other first-round games, Spring Mountain routed Eureka 58-8 and Smith Valley rolled over Pyramid Lake 66-6.
A double-header will be held for the state semifinal games at Beatty High School Nov. 16. Pahranagat Valley plays the second game at 3:30 against Smith Valley.
The first game, at noon, features defending state champion Spring Mountain (8-1) and Tonopah (8-1).
The game will be a rematch of last year’s championship game that the Eagles won 60-38.
The PVHS-Smith Valley matchup will be between two unbeaten teams, Pahranagat (11-0) and Smith Valley (9-0).
It will be the first meeting between the teams since 2006 when the Panthers beat the Bulldogs 48-0 at Smith Valley.
The teams played in the 2001 state championship game. Pahranagat won 48-19, giving former coach Ken Higbee his first state title and Alamo its first since 1988.
Both teams generally prefer to keep the ball on the ground. Pahranagat has the senior “three amigos” backfield of Higbee, Thornton and Hansen who have collectively rushed for 3,120 yards and 52 touchdowns.
Thornton leads the team in rushing with 862 yards and 15 touchdowns, and Higbee is right behind with 816 yards and 16 touchdowns.
In the air, Higbee has thrown for 1,522 yards and 26 touchdowns. Paul Lewis has the most pass receptions with 29,844 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Pahranagat Valley has scored 516 points and allowed 136.
Smith Valley is also mainly a ball-control team. They have gained about 2,500 yards and over 40 touchdowns. Complete up-to-date stats for the Bulldogs were not available.
The Bulldogs have a mainly junior backfield in running backs Marco Covian and Jackie Scierini and quarterback Taylor Wulfing.
Smith Valley has one senior listed on their team roster.
The Bulldogs have scored 450 points and only allowed 78.