Tabor Maxwell has been groomed to be the starting quarterback for Pahranagat Valley’s football team since he was in second grade.
The sophomore signal caller looked like a seasoned veteran on Friday against Spring Mountain, with running back Wade Leavitt drawing much of the attention.
Maxwell threw six touchdown passes, including four to Shawn Wadsworth, and ran for another score, to lead the Panthers by the Golden Eagles, 66-34, in the Division IV state championship at The Meadows. It’s the school’s seventh consecutive state title and the ninth in the last 10 years.
“I really didn’t think I threw that many touchdown passes,” Maxwell said. “I just thought we’d run the ball (with Leavitt) and then catch them off guard with the play-action pass. It just seemed to work out really well tonight … Shawn did a heck of a job getting open, and it seemed like they couldn’t stop him. They knew Wade was going to get the ball, but we have a lot of weapons on this team.”
Leavitt, who came in leading Southern Nevada with 43 touchdowns, scored on a 36-yard TD run on the Panthers’ first possession to make it 8-0 with 9:59 to go in the first quarter. Maxwell put on a show afterwards, starting with a 33-yard TD pass to Wadsworth just over a minute later to go up 16-0.
“Tabor is a pretty special kid,” Panthers coach Ken Higbee said. “He’s a fine quarterback, but he’s a better young man. You’ve got to give credit to our front kids. They brought six guys every time, and he had enough time to throw.”
Spring Mountain scored 12 unanswered points to make it 16-12 at the end of the first quarter. But the Panthers erupted for a 30-point second quarter to take a 46-12 halftime lead. Maxwell hooked up with Wadsworth two times on passes of 35 and 21 yards and added a 3-yard touchdown run with 38 seconds left.
“(Those two) have been doing this since second grade,” Higbee said. “(Tabor) has been quarterback and Shawn’s been a receiver since second grade, so it’s kind of a natural progression … We just made simple tweaks to put us into position to be successful. Give credit to our coaching staff.”
Maxwell finished 11 of 21 for 327 yards and six touchdowns and had 41 yards rushing. Leavitt had 70 yards rushing and two scores and 102 yards receving and another TD for the Panthers.
“Me and Tabor have been great friends,” Wadsworth said. “We play football, basketball and baseball together. All week we run patterns. We have a good connection, I think. We’re like brothers pretty much.”
Maurice Stitt had 11 catches for 195 yards and two touchdowns, and quarterback Edward London was 22 of 43 for 284 yards and three touchdowns for Spring Mountain (9-3).
“We keep setting the bar higher and higher,” Masden said. “And our kids just keep striving to achieve it. They’re looking to please and I’m really proud of the things they’ve done throughout the season.”
Pahranagat Valley (12-0) extended its nation-best winning streak to 81 games with the win.
Contact reporter Ashton Ferguson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0430. Follow him on Twitter: @af_ferguson.