LAS VEGAS Pine View's Justin Ence rushed for four touchdowns and passed for another as the Panthers throttled Las Vegas 41-13 Friday night from Frank Nails Field.
After giving up more than 500 yards in a 29-point loss to Cottonwood a week ago, the Panthers came out motivated and fired up.
Tanner Wood returned a kickoff 90 yards to paydirt to even the score at 7-7 early in the game, sparking a 41-point run for Pine View. Las Vegas' only other score came against Pine View's junior varsity in the closing moments of the game.
"We did a lot of healing this week," Pine View assistant Telly Esplin said. "Everyone was very upbeat this week in practice. We just figured we had to correct a few of our mistakes and we would be just fine."
Villiami Hafoka, the Panthers' senior running back found room to run all night long. He rushed for 120 yards and averaged nearly eight yards per carry. Ence had 94 yards rushing and was 8-of-14 passing for 108 yards.
But the real story in this game was the Panthers' defense. Last week, Las Vegas running back Reggie Bullock was nearly unstopped against Pine View's region rival, Snow Canyon. A week ago, he had torched the Warriors for 267 yards on the ground. Against Pine View, he managed just 79 yards rushing, and as a team, Las Vegas managed a net of just 63 rushing yards.
The Panthers, 3-1, racked up 286 yards rushing as a team and had a whopping seven yards per play on offense.
Ahead 21-7 just before halftime, Pine View's defense made two different red-zone stands. On the first, they forced the Wildcats to turn the ball over on downs inside the 20-yard line.
After an Ence interception gave the Wildcats great field position again, the defense stiffened. Vegas got the ball down to the four-yard line. The fired- up Pine View defense held them out of the end zone, and Las Vegas kicker Trevor Lowe missed a field goal just before half time.
Pine View then started the second half with an impressive 75-yard touchdown drive that ate up nearly six minutes. Ence ran it in from 15 yards out for the score to make it 28-7 midway through the third quarter.
Three minutes later, Ence found wide receiver Mike McLaws from 22 yards out for Pine View's fifth touchdown of the night.
"Justin Ence is such a great leader out there, both physically and emotionally," Esplin said. "He could be the player of the game every time out."
The Panthers begin region play next week at Canyon View and have yet to play a home game this season. They will play their first game at Panther Stadium on September 26.