10 Questions with Isaiah Valdez

Favorite pregame meal: Mac and cheese and chicken alfredo.


Favorite music to listen to before a game: Anything. Oldies, 90s, Rap. Just everything.


Favorite movie: End of Watch


Favorite athlete: Peyton Manning.


Favorite and least favorite class: I actually like all my classes.


Favorite team: Denver Broncos.


Dream Vacation: Miami.


Dream car: A Volkswagen Bug seems pretty fun.


If you could have any superpower, what would you pick:  Being able to fly.


If you had a million dollars, what would be your first purchase: Getting my family a new house.

 

FARMINGTON — The Piedra Vista offense is off to a flying start this year and a lot of the credit for the Panthers' success can go to senior quarterback Isaiah Valdez.

Valdez threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns as PV moved to 2-0 on the season with a 47-21 win against Grants on Friday.

The Panther quarterback is in his third year as the PV starter, and head coach Jared Howell has seen Valdez's game evolve during that time as he has grown into a team leader.

"You just see the results of three years of work. You've got a kid that understands what we're doing offensively on a different level than some of the younger kids," Howell said. "He understands the hows and whys we are doing things, and he can get you out of bad situations."

Valdez has had ups and downs during the three years, from going 3-7 as a sophomore to leading the Panthers to a postseason berth and a playoff victory last year. The PV quarterback said all of those experiences have helped him to become the player he is today.

"Having a losing season sophomore year got me motivated, then we made playoffs and now we want carry on what the seniors left off with last year," he said. "I think any experience you get is an advantage."

The Panthers shifted to a read-option based offense last season and Howell said Valdez's ability to fit into that system has been a big reason why the Panthers offense has been so explosive.

"He went through a transition last year, because we went under center more and started running more options. He handled it well last year, but this year, he's got it down. We've got a kid that gives us the ability to throw and run. A lot of times when you face option teams, they won't throw the ball much," Howell said. "It creates a tougher situation for opposing teams to handle. He's got a good grasp and ability to throw in the passing game."

Valdez and Beau Clafton, who had 289 total yards and four touchdowns in the Grants win, are the keys to making the PV offense run, but Howell likes Valdez's ability to spread the ball around to all of the Panther weapons.

"We've got two big hitters to use a baseball analogy. We've got a quarterback throwing for big numbers and an athlete that's catching and running for big numbers, but the most impressive thing was we threw to nine different people and ran seven different kids," he said. "We haven't spread the ball around like that before. It's a very encouraging thing. That's him understanding what the defense is giving him and putting the ball where it needs to go rather than keying on one guy."

Valdez said having so many options on offense makes his job a lot easier.

"You just have confidence in everyone. It's nice because you'll have teams that double team or triple team Beau. But we have other receivers I can go to and rely on," he said. "They don't know where I'm going to go."

Valdez sees the Panthers' strong start carrying over throughout the year and thinks the team just needs to keep the penalties to a minimum to accomplish its goals this season.

"Just have to limit the flags and produce points so our 'D' can have it easy," he said.

Joshua Perry covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 or jperry@daily-times.com. Follow him on Twitter @jperrysuu.