Ken Higbee is the worst person to ask about the Pahranagat Valley football program’s lengthy winning streak.
As far as the Panthers’ 19th-year coach is concerned, the run currently stands at 11 games.
“I get asked this all the time. People have said different things,” Higbee said Wednesday. “I really don’t know where that’s at or where things are at that way. All I know is we’re 11-0, and that is the extent of my knowledge.”
Pahranagat Valley actually will carry a 92-game winning streak into Saturday’s Division IV state title game against Whittell (11-0) and will match the 8-man national record for consecutive victories with a win at Dayton High.
The record is 93 games set by Shattuck (Okla.) from 2003 to 2009, a number verified by the National Federation of State High School Associations record book and confirmed Wednesday by an official at Shattuck High. MaxPreps erroneously lists Shattuck’s winning streak at 92 games.
Pahranagat Valley’s winning streak is the fourth-longest in history, regardless of classification. The overall record is 151 straight wins by De La Salle (Calif.) from 1992 to 2003.
“To be real honest, and it may seem strange, it is not something that we think about, that we dwell on. It really isn’t,” Higbee said. “The only thing I can tell you about this team is we’re 11-0 right now, and we’re going to have to play a good Whittell team to get our 12th victory of the season, and that really is how we approach things.
“It’s not something that even concerns us. It’s something after the season we’ll take a look at.”
Pahranagat Valley has not lost since a 26-24 setback to Carlin in the 2007 Class A state final and is 125-2 since the start of the 2005 season.
The Panthers’ streak nearly came to an end in the second game this season when they held on for a 34-30 victory at Thacher (Calif.). Pahranagat Valley stopped a double reverse deep in its own territory with four seconds left after officials inadvertently awarded Thacher a fifth down.
Since then, the Panthers rolled through the Division IV Southern League and trounced Virginia City 76-32 in the state semifinals last week, as they had 658 yards of total offense.
Junior quarterback Tabor Maxwell has thrown for 2,558 yards and 42 touchdowns to lead Pahranagat Valley, which doesn’t feature a 1,000-yard rusher for the first time since 2011.
“I think the key to our success has been our kids up front and how they’ve blocked and how they’ve protected and how we’ve been able to run the ball when we’ve wanted to run,” Higbee said. “Tabor’s had some great numbers and we’re throwing the ball to different kids, but to be real honest with you, it’s what happens up front that is really why we’ve had the successes that we’ve had.”
Whittell will counter the Panthers’ aerial attack with a potent running game. The Warriors average 316.4 yards per game on the ground, led by sophomore Corey Huber (1,620 yards, 21 TDs) and junior Dismas Womack (762 yards, 18 TDs).
“Whittell does a great job of running the football, and we’re going to have to concentrate and stop their run,” Higbee said. “They’ve got two backs that are solid, and again, they do a great job up front. In my opinion, the game will come down to who controls the line of scrimmage and who plays mistake-free football.”
The Panthers are scheduled to leave Friday morning and will practice later that day. Higbee said he expects a large number of fans to make the trip from Alamo to see the Panthers try to put their name in the record book.
“I think this is a great opportunity for our young men to go showcase who they are,” Higbee said. “Does it help to have been there before? Absolutely. But again, it comes down to making plays, making tackles, making blocks, doing the little things right to win a football game.”
Contact reporter David Schoen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5203. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidSchoenLVRJ.