Necessity is the mother of invention. With running back Christian Higbee sidelined with a shoulder injury near the end of the first half, (he did not return), coach Ken Higbee decided to move tight end Shawn Wadsworth to running back. And he had quarterback Tabor Maxwell run the ball quite a bit as well.
In so doing, Maxwell accounted for five touchdowns to lead the Panthers (6-0, 4-0 Division IV Southern) to a 36-24 win over the Spring Mountain Golden Eagles (4-2, 3-1).
He ran for 142 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns. But he had an off night passing, completing only 8 of 27 passes (29 percent) for 125 yards (now 1,560 for the season), and three touchdowns. The Eagles defenders were fast enough to be able to stay with Wadsworth or David Ingram on the long ball and maybe knock it loose, which they did at least five times, making the Panthers settle more for the short passes.
Cody Williams added three receptions for 66 yards and two scores for PVHS, which led 24-6 at halftime.
Spring Mountain’s quarterback Diquan Spiller was 13 for 28, 287 yards and three touchdowns, including two to Deonze Paster. He also had two interceptions, and ran the ball 15 times for 49 yards.
The Panthers started off quickly with two scores, an 18-yard run by Maxwell and a 53-yard pass to Cody Williams. Then both teams bogged down a bit in the second quarter, and Pahranagat had three drives deep into Eagle territory stopped when they could not convert on fourth down attempts.
Paster had one of his touchdown catches in the second quarter. He finished with four catches for 122 yards. Teammate Malik Ballard also had four catches for 111 yards and a touchdown, but it came on the last play of the game.
The Eagles committed four turnovers, three interceptions and one fumble. One long interception return was called back due to a penalty.
Ingram had 48 yards on 14 carries, and Wadsworth rushed for 71 yards on nine carries. Higbee had eight rushes for 32 yards.
The Panthers had been working on using Wadsworth as a backup running back, and he said he was not too surprised to get the call after Higbee was out with a left shoulder injury. Wadsworth still leads all of southern Nevada with 691 yards on 30 pass receptions.
Higbee’s injury will only have him out for about two or three weeks.
Another halftime adjustment was to use the sweep play often, which accounted for about 100 yards.
Coach Higbee downplayed the adjustments as being anything major, saying “Mostly it was angles and where we want people to be. As we have said earlier, our depth is paying huge dividends.” As he has often said, “If you execute the little things well, good things will happen.”
Higbee said, “Spring Mountain was collapsing the middle in the first half. They pinched the ends down inside, and we could get outside on the sweep.”
Spring Mountain Coach Aaron Masden said the inexperience of the Eagles at this point in the season began to show when the Alamo defense stepped up to shut off the Eagle offensive drives in the second half, except for a couple of long TD passes.
It is Homecoming this week in Alamo. All week the school has been involved in various homecoming activities including the traditional nighttime parade and bonfire last night. The Panthers face winless Indian Springs (0-6, 0-4) tonight.