Quarterbacks Tabor Maxwell and Eric Brooks might have been fairly close in the amount of yardage gained in last week’s game between Pahranagat Valley and Spring Mountain, but the Panthers dominated the rest of the Eagles’ running attack in marching to a 36-18 league win last Friday.
Early on it became apparent that if Eagles coach Aaron Masden was going to have any hope of a big upset it would have to come by passing the ball, and Brooks went almost exclusively to the air, finishing 16-for-32, 219 yards and three touchdowns.
Missing three starters, the Eagles had to go that route, Masden said. “That’s what fits our strengths right now, and we’ve got to play to our strengths and work our game.”
Alamo’s defensive line and linebackers said they were well-prepared for Spring Mountain and overpowered the running game, limiting the Eagles to just 77 yards on 18 attempts, with over half of those yards coming on scrambling runs by Brooks. He had 41 yards on nine carries.
In the meantime, Maxwell threw for two touchdowns and ran for two others. He was 12-for-20, 200 yards, and 59 yards on six carries.
The Panthers themselves had a very balanced game, 200 yards passing, 200 yard rushing on 33 carries.
But the game plan from the beginning, said coach Brett Hansen was the ground game, “Run the ball down their throats.” He said the coaching staff thought “the blocking assignments would work a little better that way. Our game plan is always to run first and pass second.”
Ike Taylor and Christian Higbee filled that role quite well. Taylor rushed for 69 yards on 14 carries and Higbee had 72 yards on 13 carries plus 110 yards on four receptions including a 48-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter.
Maxwell marched the Panthers down the field on their opening drive and capped it with a 1-yard touchdown run.
Brooks countered in the second quarter with a touchdown pass to Michael Scott, but just four minutes later Maxwell threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to 6-foot-9-inch tight end Culen Highbe on the ensuing drive. The score gave PVHS a 14-6 halftime lead.
“We were able to establish the run early up the middle,” Hansen said. “And to do things that we wanted to do. That opened some passes and things.”
The coach said he thought Pahranagat Valley’s punishing running game started to wear down the Golden Eagles in the second half, and PVHS scored 22 unanswered points.
However Brooks did lead two late fourth quarter touchdown drives, but the outcome was already determined.
Masden commented, “Our inexperience at this point in time versus their (Pahranagat) extreme experience. This a good program that they run, from the starters on down to their young guys. If we run into them or anybody else down the road, we’re going to be a completely different team.”
Today, Pahranagat (4-0, 2-0) has a day game at Beaver Dam (2-2, 1-2) at 3 p.m. The Diamondbacks started out with two wins but have been beaten badly in their next two games, being outscored by Beatty and Tonopah 119-6.
Homecoming for PVHS is next week, as they host Tonopah at 7 p.m.
Elsewhere today, Beatty (3-0, 2-0) plays at Sandy Valley (1-1, 1-1), Spring Mountain (1-2, 1-1) goes to Round Mountain (0-4, 0-2) and Tonopah (4-0, 2-0) plays at Indian Springs (0-3, 0-3).