The longest active football winning streak in the country belongs to – surprise – an 8-man team from Nevada.
Tiny Pahranagat Valley (Alamo, Nev.) will seek its 63rd consecutive victory during its annual homecoming game Friday night against Indian Springs (Nev.).
The Panthers are not close to the national record, which is 93 straight by Shattuck (Okla.), but they have risen to No. 4, trailing other teams with 87- and 90-game inactive streaks.
In his 19th campaign as head coach, Ken Higbee has compiled a dominating 151-19 record with eight small-school state titles, including the last five.
Higbee is proud of the streak, but tries to downplay it as much as possible.
He told USA Today High School Sports, “It’s been a fun ride to be on, but I don’t allow the kids to think of it. It’s step by step. They weren’t part of that. They are building their own streak. They are 5-0. There’s no pressure because we keep the kids in the moment.”
Higbee, who drives 100 miles a day due to his job as principal at a juvenile facility in Caliente, Nev., is quite happy to continue a program which his father, Vaughn Higbee, initiated in 1972. All of his assistant coaches played with him as a freshman before his family moved to Challis, Idaho.
It was 11-man football in the beginning, but four years later the town’s major employer went out of business and because of dwindling enrollment, the Panthers have played 8-man ever since. Today the school has 64 students in grades 9-12.
The Panthers start a freshman quarterback, Tabor Maxwell (5-10, 170), who has passed for 1,323 yards and 20 touchdowns with just four interceptions.
Junior Wade Leavitt (5-8, 170) has rushed for 550 yards, gained 490 yards in receptions, scored 11 touchdowns and made 32 solo tackles. Senior nose guard Jake Carter (6-3, 240) has 33 tackles and 4.5 sacks.
Higbee also drives the bus, often on six- and seven-hour trips one way, and makes sure his players get some extra education. Past trips have included stops at such places as a fish hatchery, the Griffith Observatory, the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Rose Bowl.
Over the years, five of his graduates have played college football – three at the Division I level – but he concedes that 8-man does not get a lot of respect.
“Some people don’t think we play (real) football,” he exclaimed. “What we do on Friday nights with these young men is phenomenal. I love the speed of the game and your kids have to be so fundamentally sound.”
Higbee says the real difference is that 8-man has two less tackles and one less running back than 11-man. The fields usually are 40 yards wide and either 80 or 100 yards long.
Playing football at Pahranagat Valley obviously is fun, both for the players and coaches.
Higbee pointed out, “Our college kids come back and say, ‘You know, coach, it’s just not as fun as you made it.’ It would be fun to take (his philosophy) to college. That’s why I got my Doctorate. My son (Christian) is a freshman. It will be year to year after he graduates.”
As for the present, however, he says firmly, “We’ve only got two seniors on the team. This would be the year to get us.”
5 touchdowns in one quarter
Junior Kawon Bryant (5-9, 173) scored five touchdowns during the fourth quarter as North Oconee (Bogart, Ga.) routed Jackson County (Jefferson, Ga.) 62-27. He finished with 34 carries for 371 yards and eight touchdowns. His touchdown total tied for second in Georgia history.
Duvic breaks dad’s record
Senior John Duvic kicked a record 54-yard field goal as Benet Academy (Lisle, Ill.) defeated Marian Catholic (Chicago Heights, Ill.) 43-7. He also kicked field goals of 53, 40 and 31 yards. The previous school record was 53 yards by his father.
Riesen gets 200th win
North Ridgeville (Ohio) defeated Rocky River (Ohio) 76-48 to give coach Jeff Riesen his 200th career victory.
Soph kicker is a cool customer
Unbeaten Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio) has a brilliant sophomore kicker, Matt Coghlin, who must have been born with ice water in his veins. Last week he booted a 35-yard field goal in overtime for a 20-17 victory against tough St. Xavier (Cincinnati, Ohio). Earlier – with one second left in the fourth quarter – he had nailed a 30-yarder to force overtime.
Thees gets 500th volleyball win
Paul Thees earned his 500th volleyball coaching victory when Amity (Woodbridge, Conn.) defeated Lyman Hall (Wallingford, Conn.) 3-0.
Madison streak ends at 39
Hanover Park (East Hanover, N.J.) snapped New Jersey’s longest active football winning streak at 39 games when it defeated Madison (N.J.) 27-7. West Deptford (Westville, N.J.) now steps into the spotlight with its 24-game streak.
Football players are king and queen
Kicker Taylor Timko and running back/linebacker Aiden Cullen were named homecoming queen and king, respectively, at Notre Dame Prep (Pontiac, Mich.).
Poulter is big-time setter
Jordyn Poulter, a 6-foot-1 junior setter from Eaglecrest (Centennial, Colo.), is practicing with the USA under-23 volleyball team. She was named Best Setter during the Youth World Championships last summer in Thailand.
Asics Challenge in Chicago
The Asics Challenge, annually one of the season’s premier volleyball tournaments, will be held this Friday and Saturday at Mother McAuley (Chicago, Ill.). Twenty five schools from seven states are entered – 11 of them ranked nationally by PrepVolleyball.com.
Unionville upsets No. 1 team
Unionville (Kennett Square, Pa.) stunned DyeStat’s No. 1-ranked girls cross country team, Fayetteville-Manlius (Manlius, N.Y.), 45-79 to win the McQuaid Invitational at Genesee Valley Park in Rochester, N.Y. Courtney Smith led the champs with a and outstanding winning time of 16:46 over the three-mile course.
Watertown extends record
The Watertown (Mass.) girls field hockey team extended its state-record undefeated streak to 101 consecutive games (98-0-3) on Tuesday with an 8-1 victory. Coach Eileen Donahue has an outstanding career record of 546-30-45 with 13 Division II state titles.
Sherwood wins 65th in a row
Sherwood (Sandy Spring, Md.) defeated Magruder (Rockville, Md.) 3-0 on Wednesday night for its 65th consecutive volleyball victory – believed to be the nation’s longest active winning streak. The Warriors’ last loss, ironically, was to Magruder in 2010. Coach Brian McCarty’s team has won the last three Class 4A state titles.
Colts honor Bob Schellinger
Bob Schellinger of La Porte (Ind.) has been named the Indianapolis Colts NFL Coach of the Week for an outstanding job of holding his team together following the tragic death of 17-year-old junior Jake West. Schellinger and West’s family will be honored at halftime of Sunday’s home game against Seattle. His older sister, Courtney West, will receive a special jersey with her brother’s number (26) stitched on it.