Santiago Carrasco remembers it all from last year.
It was the 2018 edition of the crosstown rivalry and the Panthers had just scored on an 86-yard run by Ed Williams for the first touchdown of the game early in the contest that turned into a 42-10 victory for Permian.
Carrasco, who was a junior at the time, didn’t get to play in that game.
“I remember last year, the first touchdown was scored by Ed Williams and the crowd went crazy. I just want to feel that,” Carrasco said.
Now a senior, the Permian wide receiver will get the opportunity to experience that on the field in Friday’s game against Odessa High at Ratliff Stadium.
Prior to this year, Carrasco has only played against the Bronchos as a member of the subvarsity squads.
“I’ve always played against Odessa High, but I’ve never played against them on a Friday night so I’m excited,” Carrasco said.
Carrasco, who finally got the chance to start on varsity this year, has made up for lost time, compiling six receptions for 113 yards and has scored three touchdowns.
“This is the best season that I’ve had at Permian,” Carrasco said. “I didn’t even do this well my freshman. It feels great. I’ve always wanted to be trusted and be under the big lights. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.”
While he wasn’t short on confidence heading into this season, he was caught a little off guard by how well he was doing, starting with his performance against El Paso Franklin on Sept. 5 at home.
Despite the 49-28 loss to the Cougars, Carrasco had two touchdown receptions and three catches total for 55 yards.
“The El Paso game, when I scored two touchdowns, I didn’t expect that,” Carrasco said. “I didn’t want to get too cocky. I’ve been trying to keep myself humble for every game. I don’t look at stats.”
Carrasco and his Permian teammates are coming off their bye week.
“Last week, we lifted every day,” Carrasco said. “We treated it like it was a regular game week. We practiced as if we had a championship game.
“We felt a little restless at times, but we just came in and practiced as hard as we could and did what our coaches told us to do.”
The Panthers enter this week’s game with a 2-3 overall record. After beginning the season on a tough note, dropping its first three games, losing to DeSoto, Franklin and Southlake Carroll, Permian has since been on the upswing, winning contests against Palm Desert (Calif.) and Los Fresnos.
“For all of us, we’ve gotten better progressively,” Carrasco said. “We’ve been working harder and practicing harder. We had a good bye week. We practiced every day during last week. We got a lot better.”
His name might be Santiago, but he also goes by Neri, a nickname he’s had for much of high school.
“Neri is a weird name so I’ve always gone by Santiago,” he said. “My mother calls me Santiago. The coaches call me Neri. My friends then started calling me that and now everyone calls me that.”
Carrasco has played the same position throughout his football career.
“I’ve always been a receiver,” Carrasco said. “I’ve been a receiver since freshman year. I’ve liked being behind people and then my sophomore year, I got hurt and it set me back. But last year, I played JV and traveled on the varsity team and this year, I’ve been able to start.”
His post high school plans could involve football, but for right now, Carrasco is looking forward to going to school to Texas Tech.
“I toured it this summer and that’s where my sister goes,” Carrasco said. “I just love Lubbock. I’ve been a big Texas Tech fan. I’ve always gone up there for their games. I love it there.”
With this week’s game also marking the start of District 2-6A play, Carrasco and his teammates feel like they have new found confidence.
“Our goal is the same,” Carrasco said. “We want to win district. We want to make a playoff run. We want to win all of our district games. We want to make a run and do the best that we can.
“We’re definitely feeling the confidence now. We knew that we could’ve played those teams (DeSoto, Franklin and Southlake Carroll) better, but we’re not going to look back on those losses the entire season. We can’t go back in the past and change anything. We’re just looking forward. We want to win a district championship and make a playoff run.”
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Michael Bauer is a sports reporter at the Odessa American. He can be reached at email@example.com at 432-333-7772 or on Twitter @.