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Panthers look to remain perfect as Eldorado visits Hutchison Stadium


FARMINGTON − Though the perfect start to the season is a good thing, Piedra Vista High School football coach Jared Howell wants his team to remain focused on the day-to-day task of getting better.

"We left some points on the field, we're still finding out who we are," Howell told his players moments after the Panthers narrowly beat Durango 14-13 last Friday night at Hutchison Stadium. "Each week, we have to learn something new."

Piedra Vista's most recent win, which didn't become official until near midnight on Friday due to a near 2-hour delay late in the third quarter, marks the first time the team has started 3-0 in six seasons. They beat Farmington in the season opener for both schools before topping Sandia in week two of the season.

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As a result of their 3-0 start, the Panthers enter week four of the prep football ranked first in Class 5A according to MaxPreps, ahead of Artesia, Roswell, Goddard and Mayfield rounding out the top five teams in that classification.

The Panthers will look to extend their winning streak and remain atop the statewide rankings when they play host to Eldorado in a rare Thursday night game at Hutchison Stadium, scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

"Just one more thing we have to overcome, playing on a short week and coming off a late night game," Howell said. "But there's no excuses, we play the cards how they're dealt."

Piedra Vista's perfect start to the season has featured a number of key contributors, particularly on defense where Dax Vigil and Jacob Schrueder have come up big in recent games. Offensively, they have gotten timely production from running backs Jacob Ramsted and Zach Mora-Dotson, as well as receivers Paul Brown and Bryce Joshlin.

"On any given night, we've got kids ready to step up and help keep moving us forward."

Quarterback Logan Howell threw a touchdown pass to Vigil in last week's win over Durango and has been an effective leader both through the air and running the ball.

"He's seeing the field well and his reaction time has been sharp," said Jared Howell. "Plus he's getting good protection from the guys on the offensive line."

More:Panthers edge Durango in late-night thriller, Bobcats roll to 3-0 start

The Golden Eagles (0-3) come into Thursday night's game off a 54-33 home loss to Atrisco Heritage Academy last week despite a near 300-yard passing performance from junior quarterback Brandon Olivas, who leads the team with 418 total yards.

The Golden Eagles (0-3) come into Thursday night's game off a 54-33 home loss to Atrisco Heritage Academy last week despite a near 300-yard passing performance from junior quarterback Brandon Olivas, who leads the team with 418 total yards.

Senior Damien Lucero, as well as junior wideouts Josiah Mitchell and Jessie Wells appear to be the most favorable targets in Eldorado's passing game. The three have combined for 450 receiving yards and four touchdowns this season.

Coached by Charlie Dotson, the Golden Eagles lost their season opener last month at home to Cibola 39-29, then lost again at home 34-17 to Rio Rancho. According to MaxPreps, this is the first meeting between Eldorado and Piedra Vista on the football field.

For more information on the Piedra Vista football game against Eldorado, check out the official page for the Panthers on MaxPreps.