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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Odessa High makes most of opportunities in victory over Jefferson County - Odessa American: Oavarsity

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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Odessa High makes most of opportunities in victory over Jefferson County

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Posted: Friday, September 6, 2019 11:23 pm

It doesn’t matter how you start but how you finish. That was the mantra of the night for the Odessa High football team.

The Bronchos recovered four fumbles and got a late scoring surge in the first half and rode that to a 37-14 victory over Fayette (Miss.) Jefferson County Friday night at Ratliff Stadium.

Odessa High (1-1) recovered four fumbles in the first half, all of them leading to touchdowns.

“The defense really was the big difference for us tonight,” Odessa High head coach Danny Servance said. “We caused turnovers this week that we didn’t get last week.

“I thought they played pretty well even though we have some things to work on. I thought we played good team defense.”

Both teams got off to a slow start as the Tigers (1-2) punted the ball on their first two possessions while Odessa High had a drive stall as a result of three penalties before kicking the ball away.

Odessa High moved the ball inside the Jefferson County 5 yard line before the Bronchos fumbled and the Tigers recovered.

Just three plays later, Odessa High got the ball back as Ian Tavarez recovered a Tigers’ fumble at the 4.

That set up a 1-yard touchdown run from Senjun McGarity for the game’s opening score with 58 seconds left in the first quarter. Odessa High converted a two-point conversion to take an 8-0 lead.

Jefferson County looked to have an answer after quarterback Marques Smith found Adrion Clark for a 64-yard touchdown pass.

That score was taken off the board after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Clark before he reached the end zone negated the score.

That would prove costly as the Tigers fumbled in the red zone and the Bronchos recovered at their own 23.

That set up an effective, ball-control drive where Odessa High took 5:31 off the clock in the second quarter, with quarterback Ivan Miranda connecting with Dre Cobb on a 5-yard touchdown pass to finish the drive.

The same duo would connect 13 seconds later from 19 yards out after Jefferson County fumbled the ensuing kickoff. Cobb finished with six catches for 45 yards and the two scores.

“We just made too many mistakes tonight,” Jefferson County head coach James Herrington said. “We turned the ball over four times and we beat ourselves.

“Give credit to Odessa High. They did what they needed to do to win and made plays when we gave them the opportunity.”

Things would continue to get worse for the Tigers after Tavarez blocked a Leonard Gaines punt that Odessa High recovered at the Tigers’ 39.

The Bronchos, however, couldn’t sustain that momentum as a pass from Miranda was intercepted by Daron Wright.

It looked like the Tigers had some momentum with under a minute left before fumbling again and Tavarez recovering once again.

“I was just focused on moving fast,” Tavarez said. “I wanted to fly to the ball and follow what the opponent does.

Miranda snuck the ball in from the 1 to cap a 22-point outburst in three minutes, 20 seconds.

Jefferson County avoided the shutout in the fourth quarter with 6:40 to go thanks to a 4-yard touchdown run from Nate King and the Tigers added a two-point conversion. McGarity added his second touchdown run from a yard out with 4:48 remaining and Jefferson County’s Kendrick January returned the ensuing kickoff for a score.

It may not have been the prettiest win the Bronchos have had but Servance was pleased with how his team played given the circumstances. Friday was the first game back since the mass shooting that took place last Saturday.

“We sought out to get a win tonight,” Servance said. “We talked about giving the community, our fans and our school something that can bring a little joy and celebrate and I think our kids did a great job of that.”

>> Follow Tony Venegas on Twitter at @OA_TVenegas

Odessa, TX

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