HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Legacy, Permian and the rest of District 2-6A

Is this the beginning of the end for District 2-6A?

With the distinct possibility of a new 7A classification at the next UIL alignment in 2024, along with the opening of a new high school in Wolfforth, changes would happen quickly.

Coaches, however, don’t look that far ahead, choosing not to worry about what they can’t control.

If it’s Monday, they are working on Friday’s opponent.

If it’s Monday in District 2-6A, Friday’s opponent is going to be one that can step up and making things very uncomfortable.

“You better bring your Wheaties in this league,” Midland Legacy head coach Clint Hartman said. “The coaches feel the pressure.

“With six teams, five games, you lose two and you’re out of the playoffs.”

The Rebels return as the defending district champion, winning outright after defeating Permian on the final night of the 2021 regular season.

Midland Legacy will be looking for its fifth straight district crown in 2022, though Permian would like nothing better than to derail those plans.

“This district is always tough,” Permian coach Jeff Ellison said. “You can’t take a day off.”

Those two are the top programs in the district, with enough depth to reach the postseason even if hit by the injury bug.

Odessa High, Midland High, San Angelo Central and Wolfforth Frenship, on the other hand, need to put their “A” game on display each week to make sure of booking a playoff berth.

Hartman, entering his seventh season at the helm of the Rebels, is the dean of the district’s coaches, following by Jay Northcutt at Frenship and then Ellison.

Dusty Ortiz at Odessa High, Thad Fortune at Midland High and Kevin Crane at San Angelo Central are all entering their second year in charge of their teams.

“I would say when you have a first-year coach, it’s not really your team,” said Hartman, who suffered through a 3-7 campaign in 2016 when he took over the program.

“When you have been the coach for a year, you’ve gone through the offseason, that’s your team.”

Ortiz knows the pecking order right now in the district, but he’s looking to put the Bronchos into the conversation.

In his first season, the Odessa High offense used the scoreboard like a pinball machine, setting numerous single-season marks that have everyone excited for 2022.

Ortiz now has to get the defense on the same level.

“The coaches in this district are so good, they’ll find your weakness and take advantage of it,” he said. “We were really young last year on defense, but we have a lot of players back.

“This district is tough, one of the toughest and you have to come ready to play.”

One plus for the district, after the move by Abilene High back to Class 5A, is that every school will have the same bye week before heading into the five-game gauntlet to determine playoff spots.

That will give everyone a chance to take a deep breath, get rid of some of the nagging injuries and perhaps throw a new wrinkle in on offense to surprise the next opponent.

District play begins on Oct. 7

Fortune, who moved into the top spot with the Bulldogs after several years at Permian, understands just how difficult it is to navigate the pitfalls and potholes placed in front of you during the final weeks of the season.

And his option offense presents more problems during the run as it’s hard for teams to simulate the execution of the Bulldogs’ scheme.

“Week in and week out, 2-6A is a doozy,” Fortune said. “It’s an underrated district in the state.

“Central has a great quarterback; at Permian, Rodney (Hall) does a nice job and they are always going to be good up front.

“Odessa High has the big target in (Ivan) Carreon and Legacy has a great quarterback and when you have that you always have a shot.”

>> Follow Lee Scheide on Twitter at @OALeeScheide