HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Permian’s Sewell lets his play do the talking

Harris Sewell was first spotted along the Permian sideline in 2019, his freshman year with the Panthers.

Standing 6-foot-5 and towering above your teammates makes that easy to do.

He didn’t crack the starting lineup to open the season and watched as the Panthers battled through a tough nondistrict gauntlet of DeSoto, El Paso Franklin and Southlake Carroll.

Things changed for Sewell and the Panthers’ offensive line in Week 4.

“I remember my first game,” Sewell said. “I knew that I was going to play and I was standing on the sideline waiting.

“We were up a lot and toward the end of the first half, Coach (Jeff) Ellison told me to get in there. It was great.”

Sewell has rarely been out of the lineup since.

Now a senior, he has developed into the dominant force on the right side of the football that the Permian coaching staff envisioned when he first stepped on campus.

Getting stronger each season, Sewell has earned the respect of his teammates, his blue-collar work ethic permeating throughout the team.

Teammates who honored him with the recognition as one of the team’s captains for the 2022 season.

“I’m very grateful,” Sewell said of the honor. “I’m really excited.

“This is my senior year, my last ride. I think we have the most talented team in the district.”

Ellison knows that he has one of the most talented offensive linemen, not only in the state, but the country, in Sewell.

One of the best, for sure, to ever pull on a Permian jersey.

So good, in fact, that more than two dozen of the top Power Five schools in the nation jockeyed for Sewell’s attention since his sophomore season.

The Kansas Jayhawks were the first card into the hat, but far from the last as Sewell became the hottest commodity in the Permian Basin the past two seasons.

He made a cut to his final five and then, in June, announced his verbal commitment to Clemson University.

“I really liked the coaching staff and the vibe there around the program,” Sewell said. “The way they run their program; they care about people and not just you as a football player.

“It was a good process and I just tried to stay humble and true to myself and not let it get to me. Now that it’s over, I can kind of calm down a little bit, be more relaxed and focused on Permian football.”

Words that are music to the ears of Ellison, offensive line coach Derron Gatewood and the rest of the Panthers’ staff.

Not that any of them had to worry about Sewell’s effort on any given day.

“He does not have a mindset, just like our team, it goes through our team as far as whatever success we’ve had in the past or in the future, things like that, that doesn’t matter,” Ellison said. “It’s about today.

“He comes to work every day, he’s very steady, he wants to get better and he’s not satisfied. From the very start, Harris has done a great job of staying focused on right now so he’s excited to play his senior year and that’s never really changed.”

Another thing that hasn’t changed for Sewell is his dream of not only collegiate football, but a possible career in the National Football League.

That, however, is several years down the road and the quiet leader on the line is more concerned on improving upon last year’s 8-4 mark.

He also wants this year’s team to avoid issues he felt created some issues that affect the Panthers on the field in 2021.

“Last year, the team kind of fell apart from off the field stuff,” Sewell said. “We need to stay together; keep the brotherhood tight and not separate.

“We have a very talented team, especially on offense.”

>> Follow Lee Scheide on Twitter at @OALeeScheide