Panthers too much for Wolves
Pahranagat Valley had little difficulty extending its nation-best prep football win streak to 68 games Friday night when the Panthers led start to finish on its way to a 62-14 victory against Coleville in the Division IV state football semifinals in Alamo.
Jordan Cryts and Wade Leavitt combined to score eight touchdowns, both rushing and receiving, to lead the five-time state champion Panthers (11-0).
Coleville (9-1) won a couple of battles along the way, including Jacob Park’s 75-yard kick return for a touchdown in the third quarter. For another, the Wolves had a 4-3 advantage in the turnover column.
“It just wasn’t enough,” Coleville coach Will Sandy said. “They are a tremendous team. They are very quick and strong. At the skill positions, we were probably just as quick as they are, but where you really could see it was their dominance on the line of scrimmage. All the time they put in the weight room really shows.”
Pahranagat Valley led 28-0 at halftime, however, Coleville had opportunities to score. Ricky Gieser’s 34-yard interception return gave the Wolves possession at the 5, however, they wound up turning the ball over on downs. The Wolves also turned the ball over on an interception in the red zone.
Even luck seemed to be against the Wolves, who lost momentum on a first half drive when the stadium lights went out.
“We had a nice drive going where we were chewing up the yards and then the stadium goes dark,” Sandy said. “Needless to say, that was a drive-killer, because it gave them about 15 minutes to make adjustments.”
Coleville finally scored in the third quarter on Park’s kick return.
“Jacob did a great job picking up a bunch of blocks,” Sandy said of the return. “That was a real highlight for us.”
Nestor Gutierrez caught a fourth-quarter touchdown pass from quarterback Seth Huhta and then Joel Gomez caught a pass for the 2-point conversion.
Leavitt rushed for 191 yards and three touchdowns, while Cryts added 128 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. Freshman quarterback Tabor Maxwell completed 18 of 26 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns.
Defensively for the Wolves, Park was in on 14 tackles, Gutierrez 12 and Gomez 10. Gomez had an interception and fumble recovery. Ashton Mitchell and Park were also in on one sack each.
Despite the final score, the overall season was a major success for the Wolves.
“I’m very happy,” Sandy said. “I think these boys exceeded all expectations this year, and I think they did that by playing with a lot of heart.”
Notes: The night started off on a strange note when the 7 p.m. kickoff was delayed by about two hours due to a miscommunication in the scheduling of officials, according to Sandy. Given the 9 p.m. start, coupled with the light outage, the game didn’t end until nearly midnight. … Pahranagat Valley now plays in the state title game against Spring Mountain, a 38-35 winner at Wells on Friday.