As playoff time draws near, Pahranagat Valley football will need to focus more on the end of the season goal. Such is what coach Ken Higbee told his players after a 38-8 homecoming win over visiting Indian Springs last week.
“We knew what Indian Springs (0-7, 0-5) was going to bring: a young, inexperienced team, so it was a week for us to play some of our younger kids and get ourselves healthy. And we tell our kids, you get a shot to be on the field, you need to earn that spot.”
This week, at Sandy Valley, Higbee said is “playoff football.” And Sandy Valley (4-3, 3-2) might be looking to score a big upset against the nationally ranked Panthers after getting blasted so badly themselves at Beaver Dam last week, 112-84. The Sidewinders had 867 yards in total offense and still lost.
Higbee is concerned with maintaining his one-game lead over Spring Mountain and not falling into a tie with the Eagles.
However, according to NIAA tie-breaker rules, Pahranagat Valley (7-0, 5-0) would still have the advantage with a win already over Spring Mountain in head-to-head play.
“This week,” Higbee said, “we want to have practices that are the caliber of playoff-type football that starts getting us to go down the road. If we aren’t ready to play, then we might find ourselves with one loss, too.”
Sandy Valley hosts Spring Mountain in the final game of the regular season Oct. 29. A playoff spot will most likely be on the line.
The Panthers played their starters mostly only in the first half against Indian Springs, building a 32-0 lead, then let the younger players go the second half with a running clock, so as not to run up the score against an outmanned Indian Springs team that only had 12 men. “It wouldn’t really accomplish anything,” Higbee said. “Sope (Faga, Thunderbirds coach) has been a friend forever.” Beatty scored 81 points on them and Tonopah 65.
Tabor Maxwell only attempted 10 passes, seven completions, and 78 yards. Shawn Wadsworth caught four passes for 44 yards and one touchdown.
On the ground was where the Panthers spread the wealth around, especially in the second half. Nine players carried the ball. David Ingram had four rushes for 71 yards and a touchdown, and Hunter Hollingshead rushed five times for 61 yards and a touchdown, and Maxwell had 58 yards on two carries and a touchdown.
Defensively, Garrett Higbee registered 15 total tackles, Cody Stirling and Hollingshead both had 10.