Tiny Pahranagat Valley (Alamo, Nev.) would have its hands full with Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), the No. 1 team in the country, but in one category, the Bishop Gorman Gaels couldn’t hold a candle to the Panthers, who play eight-man football.
Pahranagat Valley’s football players were in the sixth grade the last time their team lost a football game, in the 2008 state semifinals.
Since then, the Panthers have won 78 in a row, including six consecutive eight-man state titles. This season, Pahranagat Valley is 9-0, scoring an average of 62.6 points a game. By next year, the Panthers could pass the eight-man national record of 92 consecutive wins, set by Shattuck, Okla., from 2003-2009.
The Panthers are looking to make it 79 this week with a league playoff game with Sandy Valley on Friday.
Pahranagat Valley’s streak is the longest current winning streak in the nation, followed by two 11-man squads: Ithaca, Mich., which has won 66 in a row; and Bellevue, Wash., which has won 63 straight. The longest winning streak ever is 151, set by De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) from 1992-2003.
“We don’t talk a lot about it,” Pahranagat Valley principal Mike Strong, who also serves as defensive coordinator, told the Associated Press of the streak. “The story we want to think about is how good we can get.”
Last Thursday, the Panthers were in a rare spot. Early in a game with Beaver Dam (Littlefield, Ariz.), the Panthers were trailing 6-0. Then quarterback Wade Leavitt scored four touchdowns in the second quarter, en route to six scores, to lead Pahranagat Valley to a 98-40 victory.
Unlike some eight-man squads that play on an 80-yard field, the team plays in a three-year-old stadium with a 100-yard field and lights donated by a local city park. Head coach Ken Higbee has been coaching the squad for 17 years and most of his assistants, only two of whom are paid, have been with the team for a decade or more.