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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Odessa High, Permian deal with disrupted spring practices - Odessa American: Oavarsity

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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Odessa High, Permian deal with disrupted spring practices

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Posted: Friday, March 27, 2020 5:22 pm

Odessa High head football coach Danny Servance has had a simple message to his team over the last two weeks — adapt and overcome.

That message has become more important given recent circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Bronchos were scheduled to start spring football practice April 13, but with the University Interscholastic League suspending all athletic competitions and practice until May 4, Servance changed course and decided to cancel spring football.

“It’s something that we’re obviously not used to, but we just have to adapt and overcome,” he said. “It plays right into the hands of what we continue to preach to our kids all the time.”

Instead, Servance said that the Bronchos will take the field Aug. 5, the first day that all schools in Class 6A and 5A that do not hold spring workouts can start practicing. They will also pick up an additional scrimmage before the start of the 2020 season.

Servance added that even if the Bronchos were able to practice, it would have been tough since the schedule would have conflicted with final exams.

Still, Servance adds that the change in schedule provides a good opportunity for his team.

“What they do as far as working out and school is concerned is really going to show a lot of self-discipline,” Servance said. “We talk to them about this being like college.

“There’s no one there to tell you what you need to do as far as class work is concerned. Really, it’s a preparation for life.”

Across town, Permian head coach Jeff Ellison is taking a similar approach with his team.

The Panthers were scheduled to begin spring practice April 20, but that has also been put on hold for now. The focus for Ellison and his staff now is to be flexible.

“We’re planning for all scenarios the best we can,” he said. “Right now, it’s just a changing situation. We just have to wait and see and adjust.”

Even with spring practices on ice, Ellison said that he’s also tried to make the best of the ongoing situation through technology.

Apps such as SportsYou and Zoom have allowed coaches a chance to provide at-home workouts for their players as well as stay in contact with their respective coaches and parents.

While it has been an adjustment, Ellison said it’s been a good way for his team to stick together.

“It’s an understandably difficult time for everybody, but we’re trying to make this a positive,” he said. “You just control what you can control and you just make the best of it.”

Servance said he’s using that technology with the staff as well as implementing resources provided by the Texas High School Coaches Association.

“Our message to our guys has been let’s not lose momentum,” he said. “We were at a good point as far as our offseason program was concerned.

“Our kids had made great gains in the weight room, saw some 40 times go down. Let’s continue to do as much work as we can from home.”

The message both coaches share, however, is that the safety and well-being of the athletes and their families is the top priority.

They credited ECISD athletic director Bruce McCrary, along with the administrators and support staff of the schools, for providing the resources needed to try and keep things as normal as possible.

Now the goal is to continue to be a support system for their players.

By trying to keep things as normal as possible, they believe that they can accomplish just that.

“Everybody’s doing well and they’re just anxious to get back to school and a normal routine,” Ellison said.

Servance added: “We’re just trying to keep our kids upbeat and show that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

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