Dez Daniels’ first and only season with the Permian football team is flying by faster than he can run.
If the speedy senior receiver and his teammates don’t pick up their pace and soon, it’ll be over before they know it.
The 2012 regular season is at its halfway point, and with the exception of a blowout win against rival Odessa High, the Panthers would like to forget about the first half. They’re 1-4 overall — matching their worst start since 1964 — and sixth in the nine-team District 2-5A at 1-2.
“We’ve got to get it together right now. That’s how we feel,” Daniels said. “It’s our senior year. If we want to go far, we’re realizing we’ve got to go right now. No more losses.”
The rest of Permian’s season begins Friday night at Dick Bivins Stadium in Amarillo, where the Panthers face a winless Amarillo Tascosa team coming off a bye week. If figures to be a good bounce-back opportunity — the Rebels have been outscored by an average of 29.3 points per game — but Permian can’t afford to take anything for granted.
Tascosa played Midland High five points closer than Permian did, and the Panthers’ offense has been anemic the last two weeks. They averaged 10 points and 203.5 total yards in losses against Abilene High and Midland High, with quarterback Jack Wilkins and his receivers connecting on only 19 of 41 passes for 183 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.
Jorrion Wilson, the district’s leading rusher after each of the first four weeks, gained only 43 yards on 18 carries last week.
Permian coach Gary Gaines said the team has the individual ability to be much more productive on offense but hasn’t executed very well. He also said the Panthers might consider streamlining their offensive playbook.
“We’re way better than 1-4 says, offensively and defensively,” right tackle Andre Gillette said. “We’ve just got to get on track. Once the offense gets on track, and the defense keeps doing their thing, we’re going to be unbeatable. I mean that.”
>> NOT A MIRAGE: Permian unveiled a new offensive weapon against Midland High who might help its passing game get untracked.
Mirage Bibb was called up from the junior varsity and, at 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds, was the Panthers’ biggest receiving target when he stepped on the field. The junior wide receiver led the team with two catches for 32 yards and gave Permian its only third-down conversion with an 18-yard reception on third-and-7 in the fourth quarter.
Bibb also got the ball on an end around early in the game, rushing for a 3-yard gain.
“I thought he played pretty well for his first time out,” Permian offensive coordinator Robby Clark said. “He’s still got a lot to prove, but he certainly has a world of potential. He’s a talented kid, and he’s obviously got what we are missing, which is a big, physical body.”
>> PLENTY OF OPTIONS: The assignment for the Permian defense this week is sticking to its assignments.
Tascosa’s run-heavy offense operates in the triple option, similar to the scheme used by the Air Force Academy, and it’s something the Panthers haven’t faced since they played Lubbock Monterey in 2008.
Permian assistant head coach David Jones, who calls plays for the defense, said his players must stick to their pre-snap assignments to account for pitchouts, dive plays and quarterback options utilized by the Rebels.
“To defend it, you have to ensure that your kids are assignment-based and disciplined enough to take care of their assignments,” Jones said. “A lot of the stuff we’re doing in practice this week, we’re doing it without a football. So you’re not actually watching where the football is. You’re going to your responsibility.
“In past years that’s how I’ve done things as far as defending the option, and it’s been pretty successful.”
Tascosa’s offense, which has rushed for 771 of its 928 total yards, hasn’t been very successful to this point. The Rebels average only 232 yards and 8.8 points per game, and they’ve been held to seven points or fewer in each of their last three games.
But they showed some potential in their last game against Midland High, a 13-7 loss. Jones said Tascosa opened the game with an 18-play drive that ended with an 8-yard touchdown run by Austyn Beasley, which limited Midland High to only three offensive plays in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs sustained scoring drives of 14 and 13 plays in last week’s win against the Panthers, whose defense was otherwise solid while limiting Midland High to 244 total yards.
“This offense that we’re seeing this week is another example of a ball-control offense,” Jones said. “They’re going to try to keep your offense off the field. We’ve got to do a way better job defensively of getting that handled.”
>> LOWER LEVELS: It was a rough week all around the program as Permian’s junior varsity teams also lost low-scoring games against Midland High. The JV Black lost 15-14, and a late field goal gave Midland High a 16-14 win against Permian’s JV White.