Pahranagat Valley’s 10 senior-led squad will seek to defend their 2019 state championship when they meet Eureka this Saturday, Nov. 20 at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas for the 2021 Class 1A championship. Kickoff is at noon.
The Vandals and Panthers last played in 2009 during the regular season with Pahranagat winning 46-6.
The last time the teams met in the state finals was in 2005, a 52-8 victory for the Panthers.
In the state semifinals last week, on a clear blue, unseasonably warm late fall day at Beatty High School, the Panthers overpowered Virginia City offensively and defensively for a 64-12 victory. Eureka (6-0) topped Spring Mountain 50-12 in the following semifinal matchup.
The Panthers piled up 527 total yards, led by Jaren Leavitt with 237 yards on 12 carries and three touchdowns. Cousin Paul Lewis had 90 yards on 11 rushes and three touchdowns. Gage Davis was 7-for-9 passing for 119 yards and a touchdown, and he ran the ball seven times for 77 yards and one score.
Leavitt and Kobi Fiatoa were the leaders on defensive tackles with nine apiece.
Coach Brett Hansen said, “We like to run the ball first. I hang my hat on that, and that’s what I’m going to do first, and doing that to the best of our ability, and these kids executed well today. Yet, there are still things we can work on for the next game.”
Pahranagat’s impressive defense held Virginia City (9-1), who came into the game with 2,231 rushing yards, to only seven yards on 11 carries on the ground for the entire game.
The Panthers forced the Muckers to turn over the ball three times in the first quarter and took advantage to score each time shortly after.
Pahranagat’s first score was a 49-yard run by Paul Lewis on the first offensive series at 10:46 for an 8-0 lead following the two-point conversion.
The next score came at 7:23 in the first quarter after having taken over on their own nine-yard, and Davis quickly found Lewis wide open on the near sideline for a 78-yard touchdown reception and run and a 16-0 lead.
Again stopping the Muckers on downs and forcing a punt, PVHS drove down to the 16-yard line, and Lewis ran it in for his third touchdown with one minute remaining in the first period and a 24-0 lead.
VC senior running backs Trent Dohoney, who came in with 813 yards on the season, and Robert Amster, who had 929 yards, were both held to zero yards on only four carries total in the first quarter. Neither ran the ball again the rest of the game.
Realizing they could not run the ball against the Panther defensive front line, the Muckers turned to the air almost exclusively in the second quarter and the entire second half. Quarterback Garrett Hames was 17-of-43 for 219 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
The Muckers did manage to score twice in the second quarter, but so did Pahranagat, to make it 40-12 at halftime, and they held VC scoreless thereafter.
Pahranagat scored three times more in the second half. This included a seven-yard run by Lewis, a 65-yard ramble by Leavitt, and Davis on a 46-yard quarterback keeper.
In volleyball, after winning the first set, Pahranagat Valley lost the next three sets to lose their quarterfinal match with Smith Valley 3-1 at the 1A Girls state volleyball tournament at Hug High School in Reno last week. Scores were 25-20, 22-25, 15-25, 9-25.
Tonopah beat 2019 defending champion Virginia City 3-1 in their first match at the tournament.
PVHS finished the season 12-6-1.
Smith Valley then went on to win the state title, their first since 2015, with a 3-1 win over Green Valley Christian.