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Pahranagat Valley crushes Eureka for 22nd state football title

Pahranagat Valley football coach Brett Hansen noticed that Eureka’s defense likes to pack the middle as he watched film before the Class 1A state championship game.

Hansen thought his Panthers could have success on the outside and create big plays.

He was right.

Jaren Leavitt ran for 122 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries, caught three passes for 102 yards and a score and intercepted a pass, and the Panthers cruised to a 60-12 win Saturday at Bishop Gorman High School to extend their Nevada record with their 22nd state title.

“That first drive I ran a couple plays inside just to see where they were at and where they were trying to get,” Hansen said. “With them packing the middle, that’s what I saw, was running those outsides more, trying to seal the edge and using our speed to get out there.”

Five of the Panthers’ seven touchdown drives were four plays or less, easily offsetting Eureka’s ball-control style.

Paul Lewis ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries, caught one pass for 28 yards and took an interception back 43 yards for a score for Pahranagat Valley (10-1). Gage Davis was 7-for-10 passing for 177 yards and a TD, and also ran for a score.

Hansen gave his 11 seniors credit for leading the team to its second straight title, including the dynamic trio of Leavitt, Lewis and Davis.

“Those guys were huge,” Hansen said. “For those three guys to be huge, senior Brandon Huntsman at center, senior Jake Griffin at guard and senior tight ends Wyatt Madsen and Kobi Fiatoa, without those guys blocking, they couldn’t do it. The seniors brought the leadership, and they earned it. They took this team where they want to go.”

Leavitt scored on runs of 7 and 46 yards before Eureka (6-1) went on a 16-play drive capped by a Tristian Auch 1-yard TD run that made the score 14-6 with 5:20 left in the second quarter.

But the Panthers added a 44-yard TD run from Lewis two plays later, and Davis ran in from 7 yards with 15 seconds left before halftime for a 28-6 lead.

Pahranagat Valley made sure it was never tested in the second half by intercepting Eureka quarterback Clayton Shoda three times. Shoda finished 11-for-20 for 86 yards and a touchdown, and ran for a team-high 81 yards on 15 carries.

“This team put a lot of work in,” Leavitt said. “We faced a lot of trials with COVID and the testing and everything, just trying to make it through the year. It feels good to push through and finally get this medal around our neck.”

Contact Jason Orts at jorts@reviewjournal.com. Follow @SportsWithOrts on Twitter.

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