Pahranagat Valley seeks third straight 1A football title


National rankings and state records aren't important to Ken Higbee.

The Pahranagat Valley football coach gets more excitement from simply watching his players block and tackle.

But if the Panthers can beat Coleville (Calif.) for their third straight Class 1A state title, they would add to their growing reputation as one of the top eight-man programs in the nation. Kickoff is scheduled for noon Saturday at Arbor View High School.

"Those are things that at the end of the season, after the football is put away, you can look back and say, 'This is neat,' " Higbee said. "But at the time, if you're going to dwell on those outside things, you're not going to focus on things like blocking and tackling."

Stressing fundamentals has helped Pahranagat (11-0) roll to another undefeated season. The Panthers have won 33 straight games, a streak they started with the 2008 season opener.

Pahranagat is gradually approaching the state record of 41 straight victories, set by The Meadows from 1998 to 2001.

The Panthers, who are ranked the No. 4 eight-man team in the nation by MaxPreps.com, will be playing for a third straight state title for the first time since winning four in a row in the 1980s.

But Panthers quarterback Cody Hosier said his team isn't playing for history, just for each other.

"We don't ever talk about it during practice," Hosier said of rankings and records. "We always just focus on who we're playing next. We've got to get over Coleville."

Coleville (11-0) hasn't lost since last year's title game in Reno, a 60-44 Pahranagat victory. The Panthers could be even better this season.

Hosier has completed 68.1 percent of his passes for 1,815 yards and 34 touchdowns with only one interception. He has added 408 yards and seven scores on the ground.

After playing a loaded schedule that included wins over eight-man powers Joshua Springs (Calif.) and Carey (Idaho), the Panthers feel ready.

"The kids are really excited," Higbee said. "There's not a lot of talk about (winning) three straight because that's in the past. This is an opportunity to make a name for this group."

 

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