HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Odessa High Notebook for Sept. 10 - Odessa American: Oavarsity

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Odessa High Notebook for Sept. 10

By Tony Venegas tvenegas@oaoa.com, 432-333-7649 | Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2019 3:46 pm

During the early part of the season, Odessa High head coach Danny Servance wants his team to continue taking steps forward.

After a rough opening week, the Bronchos did take that and got back on track with a 37-14 victory over Jefferson County (Miss.) Friday at Ratliff Stadium.

The win was the first of the year for Odessa High and gave the team something to build on heading into its first road game, against Lubbock Coronado Thursday at Lowrey Field.

“Guys understand that if you do things the right way, execute and minimize your mistakes, that’s a great formula for success,” Servance said. “Anytime you’re on the winning side, it does wonders for your confidence.”

One side of the ball that got a big confidence boost was the defense. The unit recovered four fumbles that all led to Odessa High touchdown drives and also did not allow the Tigers to convert a third down.

“This game was very important because it was an eye-opener,” senior defensive end Ian Tavarez said. “It shows how much we can improve in a week but we have to do this every week so we can go far.”

Tavarez was one of the stars of the night, recording five tackles to go with two fumble recoveries and a blocked punt. It was a better night with a better result for Odessa High but Servance knows that there is still plenty of room to grow.

“I thought our defense played pretty well but there are still some things we need to get better at, especially in the secondary,” he said.

That defense is preparing for one of the toughest tests early in the season against a Lubbock Coronado team known for its high powered spread offense. The recent battles between the two familiar foes have been close as four of the last five meetings have been decided by four points or less, including the Mustangs’ 30-27 victory last season at Ratliff Stadium.

“We’ve had great games against Lubbock Coronado over the last couple of years,” Servance said. “Coach (Seth) Parr is a good friend of mine and we’ve been playing each other for long so we know each other well.

“They lost to two really good football teams to start the season and they’ll bounce back. I know he’ll have his guys ready to play.”

 >> WEST TEXAS STRONG: Odessa High donned “West Texas Strong” decals for the first time in Friday’s game. The decal is a green circle with the shape of Texas inside and the city of Odessa marked by a green heart. Servance confirmed Monday that the team will continue to wear the decals for the rest of the season.

He was also moved by the tributes made before the game which included a special pregame performance from the marching band to Jefferson County bringing a banner showing love and support for the city of Odessa.

“It was very touching for one and it showed a lot of team and school unity,” Servance said. “You love that at Odessa High School and the community as a whole has come together to support and be there for one another. It’s just fantastic and you can’t say enough about the people in West Texas.”

>> SCHEDULING QUIRK: Thursday’s contest with Lubbock Coronado starts a three-game stretch where Odessa High is not playing on a Friday night.

The Bronchos face El Paso Montwood on Sept. 19 on the road before hosting Harlingen South Saturday, Sept. 28.

Odessa High does not play another Friday game until Oct. 12 in the District 2-6A opener against Permian and Servance is placing a big emphasis on getting things done on a compressed schedule.

“Our routine doesn’t change a whole lot but we just have to more accomplished in fewer days,” Servance said. “We wanted to play those two Thursday games in a row because if you’re going to start playing on Thursdays, you want to have that time between games to prepare for both players and coaches.”

>> THEY SAID IT: It has not been the easiest start to the 2019 season for Lubbock Coronado. The Mustangs have been on the short end of tough battles with two state-ranked in opponents in Lubbock Estacado and Lubbock-Cooper.

Parr has been encouraged with how his team has competed in those contests but knows that going up against Odessa High is not going to be an easy challenge.

 “They’re extremely tough kids and we’ve struggled with them in the past,” Parr said by phone. “I think we’re going to get everybody’s best shot this year and I know we’re going to get that from Odessa High.

“Coach Servance’s teams always play with a sense of urgency and you know you’re going to be in a fistfight when you walk out there on the field.”

>> SUBVARSITY RESULTS: Freshman White 22, Midland High 13; Midland High 12, Freshman Red 2; JV White 22, Midland High 0; Midland High 26, JV Red 12.

>> UP NEXT: Freshman White at Lubbock Coronado, 5 p.m. Wednesday, followed by Freshman Red at 6:30 p.m. J.V. Red vs. Lubbock Coronado, 5 p.m. Wednesday, followed by JV White vs. Kermit, 7 p.m. Wednesday at Ratliff Stadium.

>> Follow Tony Venegas on Twitter at @OA_TVenegas