Pahranagat Valley linebackers share 1A Defensive Player of Year

After combining to score 52 touchdowns this season, Pahranagat Valley’s Taylor Poulsen and Brady Whipple could have shared Class 1A Southern League Offensive Player of the Year.

Instead, the Panthers senior linebackers shared Defensive Player of the Year when the awards were voted on Tuesday by league coaches.

“It’s kind of fitting that they were selected to that position because it solidifies them as a tandem of special young men,” said Pahranagat Valley coach Ken Higbee, whose team won the 1A state title with a 22-18 victory over Tonopah on Nov. 22.

Poulsen had a team-high 71½ tackles and three interceptions this season.

Whipple recorded 62 tackles, two sacks and three interceptions.

The pair spearheaded a unit that allowed only 13 points per game when excluding a 128-74 win over Coleville (Calif.) on Nov. 15, when the Panthers set a national eight-man scoring record.

Higbee said his defense benefited from some breakout seasons by individuals.

“It goes back to the size of our kids,” he said. “They’re not very big or fierce looking. What they do is a real nice job of tackling you.
“Jeremy Roemer is a kid who came out of nowhere and had a phenomenal year for us.”

Offensive Player of the Year went to Tonopah senior quarterback Scott Thibodeaux, who accounted for 40 offensive touchdowns in helping the Muckers finish 8-4.

Coach of the Year went to Round Mountain’s Jim Swigart, who guided the Knights to a 4-2 league record after going 0-6 in 2007.

The first-team offense comprises quarterback Poulsen, running backs Whipple and Derek Oliver (Indian Springs), slot back Denver Otteson (Tonopah), offensive linemen Roberto Miremontes (Tonopah), Ermilo Arias (Tonopah) and David Hicks (Pahranagat Valley) and tight ends Nick Vandever (Indian Springs) and Kale Leavitt (Pahranagat Valley).

The first-team defense comprises linemen Chase Leavitt (Pahranagat Valley), Jose Arias (Tonopah), Miremontes and Roemer, linebackers Oliver, Mike Dolfin (Tonopah), Poulsen and Whipple and defensive backs Chase Hansen (Pahranagat Valley), Otteson and Thibodeaux.

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