HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Delce finding his comfort zone in the Odessa High backfield

Things seemed to be moving very quickly for Odessa High running back Javonte Delce.

Delce transferred in from Class 3A Merkel to the Bronchos late in the 2020 season and saw playing time at the varsity level towards the end of the season.

Almost a full year since making that move, Delce said that having an offseason to get settled in has been invaluable.

“It’s been easier,” Delce said. “The biggest challenge is just getting to know names and make friends. I feel like that we have better chemistry and relationships with each other.”

Delce is also working in a new offensive system and appears to be one of the focal points for the Bronchos in 2021.

He finished with 12 carries and a touchdown and also caught four passes for 40 yards in the 32-27 loss to Lubbock Monterey last Thursday.

The rushing touchdown came with less than 30 seconds left in the game but Delce saw that as a potential breakthrough moment.

“It felt very good,” he said. “Like I actually did something to try and help us win.”

Delce played running back and also saw time at safety at Merkel before focusing on offense full time.

Head coach Dusty Ortiz said that he sees a lot of potential in his senior running back moving forward.

“He’s done a really good job for us,” Ortiz said. “He’s really picking up the offense and as he gets more comfortable, I think that you’re going to see bigger things from him.”

Senior quarterback Diego Cervantes also shared a similar viewpoint.

“It’s been good,” Cervantes said. “Last year, he came in trying to learn a whole new system within a matter of days and weeks.

“This year, coming into the offseason, we got to spend a lot of time together and work on that chemistry so I’m glad to see him doing good now.”

The Bronchos are hoping that they can improve off of last week’s performance.

Odessa High fell behind 20-0 after the first quarter but rallied back to within a score and had the ball in the fourth quarter with a chance to take the lead with less than three minutes left in the game.

“The coaches told us we just had to find a way,” Delce said. “We shot ourselves in the foot but we can pick it back up.”

Cervantes also noticed a change in the team’s mentality.

“I believe that these guys feel like that we can win now that they saw what we can do,” he said. “We can put up points up, we can compete with any team out there and I feel like the culture is starting to change now.”

Odessa High will head back on the road for the second time, facing Del Rio at 7 p.m. Friday at Walter Levermann Stadium.

It will be the first ever meeting between the two programs.

Delce said that one of the keys on offense will be handling the aggressive nature of a Rams defense that likes to blitz.

If the Bronchos can do that and get off to a better start than they did against Monterey, Delce believes that the team can find a way to get a victory Friday.

“We just need to tell ourselves that we can do it,” he said. “We just have to not make the mistakes that we did last week and carry the positives into this next game.”