It’s not how the Bronchos started last week’s game against Amarillo High but rather how they ended it that mattered.
While Odessa High will gladly take the victory, head coach Dusty Ortiz would rather see his team start off on the right foot and not have to worry about the late game, coming-from-behind wins.
That was the case in the Bronchos’ 36-35 win over the Sandies last Friday at Ratliff Stadium in which the Bronchos (2-1) had to fight back from a 22-point deficit in the first half in the nondistrict contest.
Still, the win has given the players new confidence as they get ready for this week’s final nondistrict contest at Schertz Clemens at 7 p.m. Thursday at Robert and Glenda Lehnhoff Stadium.
“The players were really upbeat this morning,” Ortiz said on Monday. “They were having that type of game and gained a lot of confidence. They now believe that they can get out of bad situations, not that we want to start that way in every game, but they have the confidence now that if we’re in a hole, they can come out of it.”
However, first quarters have not been too kind to Odessa High this season.
In the Bronchos’ Week 1 loss to Lubbock Monterey, Odessa High got behind 7-6 after the first quarter and were tied at 14 at the half.
Odessa High’s Week 3 contest at Keller saw the team trail 17-0 at the end of the first quarter before the Bronchos battled back in the second quarter in a game that ended up being a no-contest after being canceled at halftime due to the rain and lightning delay.
The first quarter woes struck again in last week when Amarillo High led 22-0 heading into the second quarter.
“Obviously, things we need to work on, we need to take care of the ball and get drives started in the first quarter,” Ortiz said. “That’s been our Achilles heel all year. We have to get going fast. We’re going to change some things up in practice and start off on the right foot. I think the one thing is the resilience and the not give in and throwing in the towel. The kids really fought. Anyone who’s down 22-0, they could’ve been looking at the next game and our kids fought back.”
>> SHORT WEEK: For the second time this season, the Bronchos will have to deal with a Thursday night game.
Just like last time, this Thursday night contest will also be on the road.
In the first Thursday night game, Odessa High played at El Paso Americas in a 22-20 victory, a game that also saw the Bronchos winning in late fashion, with Aidric Rivera’s field goal as time expired giving the visitors the win.
Ortiz talked about the challenges of this week’s shortened week.
“When you have short weeks, it’s all about simplicity and understanding what they do offensively and defensively and not try to add much of anything,” Ortiz said. “We’re just polishing off what we’ve been doing and getting things right on both sides of the ball including special teams. We’re focusing on keeping it simple. That’s definitely what we talked about this weekend when we we’re game-planning. It’s about not putting too much on their plate and getting good at what we’ve already installed.”
>> CLEMENS: The Buffaloes enter this week’s contest with a 2-2 record.
The team is coming off a 48-20 win over Laredo United in a nondistrict contest on Sept. 14.
The Buffaloes began the season with a 24-17 loss to San Antonio Madison before defeating Del Valle 31-7 the following week.
Clemens followed it up with a 24-0 loss to Cedar Park Vista Ridge.
“They’re a talented ball club,” Ortiz said. “All of their skilled positions are really fast. Their quarterback is really fast. He moves around on the scrambles quite a bit. He has the tendency to find some open receivers while scrambling. There’s a lot of speed on offense. Defensively, it’s the same. Overall, they’re not a bad ball club. They play in the same district as Cibolo Steele and Judson and San Marcos.”
Last year’s meeting between the Bronchos and the Buffaloes ended in a one-sided Odessa High victory, 35-14.
Ortiz is expecting a bigger challenge this time around.
“Overall, they’re going to be a good test for us. I think last year, they came over on a 5-hour bus ride. It was the first real bus trip they had been on. Five-hours on the road, it’s tough to get off the bus and play. I think they had a real hard time but now they’re at home. They’re going to have everything they need. I look forward to it being a good game.”
>> SEE YOU NEXT TIME: After this game will be the Bronchos’ bye week and then comes the start of District 2-6A action.
The next time Odessa High will be at Ratliff Stadium will be the team’s Crosstown Rivalary against Permian.
Odessa High at Schertz Clemens
>> When: 7 p.m. Thursday
>> Where: Glenda Lehnhoff Stadium
>> Last season: Odessa High 35, Shertz Clemens 14
>> Records: Odessa High 2-1; Shertz Clemens 2-2
>> Radio: KMCM (FM-96.9)