Time to get after it. Pahranagat Valley begins the 2017 football season on the road tonight in Wells at 7 p.m.
No longer seeking to protect their national record setting 104-game winning streak, the team, with 27 players listed on the roster, can now focus on having a great season, making the playoffs, and getting back to the state championship game.
Wells is the traditional opening opponent for the Panthers. The teams have played each other the first game of the season since 2011. Pahranagat has won all the games since then, outscoring the Leopards 350-71.
The defense will be the Panthers’ main strength this season. Returning on the line will be a stable of experience including Duston Stewart (6-0, 255); Garett Higbee (6-3, 265); and Culen Highbe (6-9, 245). 1A Southern league Defensive Player of the Year Richard Lewis (6-5, 205) also returns as a linebacker and offensive tight end. Other defensive players with some good size include Jon Stewart and Kyler Martin, both juniors, who weigh in at 205 and 255, respectively.
First-year coach Brett Hansen says, “We look to build on the success of the previous years and get better every day in our fundamentals and footwork … to reach our potential as a team.”
The Panthers have a bye next week, then on Sept. 8, they will host Independence (Northeast Youth Training Center) from Elko, a boys correctional school in the 1A Northeast league similar to Spring Mountain.
Note the time of the game is a 4 p.m. start, to allow Independence to travel back to Elko that same day.
The Colts have only had football again for the past two years. They stopped playing after the 2009 season and have gone 5-7 in that time. It will be the first meeting between the two schools.
It might be noted also as the season begins, that while Pahranagat Valley is the holder of the longest national winning streak for eight-man teams, records are made to be broken and that may also happen someday. However, there is one record which PVHS will hold forevermore. They are the first eight-man U.S. team in the over-a-century-long history of high school football to win at least 100 consecutive games. It’s a record that can never be eclipsed and is one to be admittedly proud of.
Therefore, as 2017 starts, how many more times will the victory bell be rung?