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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Permian holds off Amarillo Tascosa - Odessa American: Sports

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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Permian holds off Amarillo Tascosa

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Posted: Saturday, October 19, 2019 12:02 am

The Permian football team managed to deliver the Amarillo Tascosa Rebels their first loss in district play with a 35-27 upset Friday night at Ratliff Stadium.

Playing against last year’s co-district champions who made a run to the state semifinals, the Panthers engaged the Rebels in track meet in the first half before both teams’ defenses took over in the second half.

Permian moved to 4-3 overall, 2-0 in district 2-6A, while Tascosa fell to 5-2, 1-1.

“It’s a great win for our program,” Permian head coach Jeff Ellison said. “Our kids have come a long way since day one. We’ve continued to improve every week. The Rebels, man, they’re a great football team. They have a lot of good players. We knew it was going to be a slugfest like it was tonight. But it was a great win for our program and it’s great to be 2-0 in district.”

Coincidentally, it was the Rebels’ first District 2-6A loss since last year’s 32-25 defeat to Permian.

“I think it was two good offensive football teams out there and they played a great game,” Tascosa head coach Ken Plunk said. “We started a little bit slow. We blew a couple of opportunities in the first half. It maybe could’ve been 28-27 or at least 28-20. We had to do something special in the second half and we really did. We came out and got three or four stops and then played well offensively in the second half.”

The Rebels wasted no time on offense, getting things going on their first drive of the game and scoring on an 11-play, 75-yard drive that was capped off by a 2-yard run by Parker Settle. The Rebels’ extra point attempt, however, was no good.

The Panthers, though, had a very quick response, scoring on a four-play drive that covered 54 yards and resulted in Malachi Medlock scoring on a 9-yard touchdown. With Carson Roberts’ extra point, the Panthers took a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish for the rest of the half.

Tascosa was forced to punt on its next drive as the Permian defense got a crucial stop, forcing the Rebels to go three-and-out.

Permian’s offense took advantage of their defense’s stop as they scored on their second offensive drive of the night with Alex Rose scoring from 9 yards out of the end zone, capping a five-play, 44-yard drive with 3:22 left in the first quarter, giving the Panthers a 14-6 lead.

But Tascosa’s Joseph Plunk proved just how much of a force he could be as the senior quarterback needed just one play to strike back for the Rebels, scoring on a 75-yard sprint to the end zone and with the extra point made this time around, the Panthers’ lead was cut to one-point before the end of the first quarter.

Permian scored before the end of the first quarter, as the Panthers recorded their third touchdown drive on as many possessions. Quarterback Easton Hernandez found the end zone on a 5-yard run with 50 seconds left before the end of the opening quarter.

The Panthers’ defense got another stop, forcing the Rebels to punt for a second time early in the second quarter.

Once again, Permian’s offense capitalized on the Panthers’ defensive stop, as Chase Stell’s 51-yard punt return gave the Panthers good field position. Six plays later, Hernandez scored on a 4-yard carry with 7:12 left in the first half.

“Those stops were crucial,” Ellison said. “For a while there, I thought we were going to go back and forth. Both offenses are very similar. We operate pretty well. I was proud of the way our kids played. We had a game plan going in and I thought we played well on both sides of the ball.”

Tascosa turned the ball over on downs but Permian’s offense couldn’t get another touchdown out of the deal as they were forced to punt on the last play of the half. The Panthers went into the locker room carrying a 28-13 halftime lead.

Tascosa struck at the start of the second half, scoring on their first drive of the third quarter on an eight-play, 71-yard drive with 6:02 left in the quarter. Darius Sanders scored on a 6-yard carry, scoring on his third carry of the night.

“I think both teams came out and made some adjustments which is what you’re supposed to do,” Ken Plunk said. “It’s crazy, we run a similar offense but there are some things that some teams do better than others and they were able to turn it into a downhill game with their fullback and we had to make some adjustments to handle that.”

Permian’s offense, meanwhile, began the third quarter on a rough note, going three-and-out on their first two drives of the half.

“We sputtered a little bit coming out of the half on offense,” Ellison said. “We had to punt a couple of times, but our defense played pretty well and got a few stops. Got to give credit to our kids for staying calm and executing our game plan.”

Permian ended the third quarter leading 28-20.

But the Panthers’ offense regained its form, scoring on a 12-play drive with 7:16 left in the fourth quarter when Medlock scored on a 2-yard carry.

With 5:21 left in the game, the Rebels made a rare pass play as Plunk hooked up with Major Everhart in the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown and with the PAT, the Rebels’ deficit was 35-27.

Permian couldn’t quite run out the clock and had to punt with less than a minute remaining. Roberts pinned the Rebels deep in their own territory at their own 14 and the Panthers held on.

Permian will next face Midland High on Oct. 25 at Grande Communications Stadium.

The Rebels will host Midland Lee on Oct. 25 at home.

“With the amount of travel that we do in this district, winning on the road is tough,” Ken Plunk said. “It makes for a good advantage when you’re at home. We have both Odessa’s on the road and both Midland’s at home. When we come back here against Odessa High, we’ll have to start better but this is a tough district.”

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