HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Odessa High takes the field for start of a new season - Odessa American: Sports

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Odessa High takes the field for start of a new season

By Tony Venegas tvenegas@oaoa.com, 432-333-7649 | Posted: Monday, August 12, 2019 6:32 pm

As the sun rose on the start of another week, so too did the players for the Odessa High football team.

The Bronchos took the field for the first time Monday since the end of spring football nearly three months ago. Even though it was just a morning walkthrough, the excitement and anticipation of a new season made its way over to the west side.

“Being back out on the field is a good thing,” senior linebacker Cade Mendoza said. “We have guys that have been working hard and it’s going to pay off for us.”

Head coach Danny Servance starts his fifth year at the helm of the Bronchos and his 25th season overall in coaching and the first day of practice is one of his favorite days of the year.

“It’s very exciting anytime you can get back out on the field and start a new year. It never gets old,” he said. “You’re excited for the kids and coaches and every time there’s football in the air, it brings a different kind of excitement for us and the whole campus.”

The Bronchos have extra motivation heading into 2019 after finishing 5-5 and narrowly missing the playoffs on the final night of the regular season.

As practice gets underway, Servance wants his team to focus in on a couple of key areas to help them get over the hump.

“We want to see great effort and attitude and that’s what we’re going to be harping on this year,” Servance said. “I think we’re seeing that on Day 1.”

Part of that process is also hearing some new voices on the field.

The Bronchos have three new coaches on staff: Eule Ford as the new defensive coordinator, Roland Diaz as the new cornerbacks coach and Tyrone Armstrong leading the offensive line.

Before Odessa High takes the field for its first game, against Lubbock Monterey, on Aug. 30 at Ratliff Stadium, the team emphasized that communication is going to be one of the biggest keys to success.

“We have to be great communicators on both sides of the ball,” Servance said. “When you do that, you minimize our mistakes and are more efficient.”

“It’s our number one priority right now,” senior defensive lineman Austin Aguirre said. “We’re a strong, fast and physical team right now but that’s one area that we need to get better.”

Building that communication will take time among the players and coaches but it will be especially important on the offensive side of the ball.

The Bronchos have to replace eight starters on offense, many of whom were in that role for the last three years.

Senior offensive lineman Louis Wilson is one of those three returning starters on offense for the Bronchos along with fellow lineman Joel Rodriguez and running back Senjun McGarity.

Wilson understands that the offense, particularly the offensive line, will be looking up to him for direction.

“It feels like a big brother role on the team,” Wilson said. “You have to show leadership, passion and show that you know your role and get it done.”

The defense has a bit more coming back with five returners from last year. But with a new defensive coordinator and a transition to a 3-4 alignment, that side of the ball will undergo its own learning curve.

“My role on defense is crucial,” Mendoza said. “They’re going to be looking to me to make the call and the right read.”

There’s still plenty of work to be done between now and that first game and even that first scrimmage against Abilene Wylie on Aug. 23.

Servance is confident that the Bronchos have put in the work necessary in the offseason to be ready to face the new challenges the season may bring.

“You see kids in the offseason get bigger, faster and stronger and I think we’ve had a lot growth as well,” Servance said. “Hopefully, that’ll carry over to the fall.”

>> Follow Tony Venegas on Twitter at @OA_TVenegas