HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Defense comes to life in Bronchos’ win

Last week, Odessa High head coach Dusty Ortiz said there were going to be some changes made to the Bronchos’ defense after surrendering 44 points in the season-opening loss to Lubbock Monterey.

It’s safe to say the changes paid off.

In last Thursday’s 22-20 road win over El Paso Americas, the Bronchos’ defense didn’t give up a single point in the first half as OHS took a 13-0 lead at the break.

While the Trailblazers (1-1) managed to get going in the second half, the Bronchos (1-1) were able to hold them off when they needed to and stop the run game.

“Defense stepped it up,” Ortiz said. “We made some moves. We changed some personnel around. We added a safety and moved a linebacker to safety. We put Ivan (Carreon) in at defensive end. Watching what they did on film, offensively, we felt like positioning Ivan towards the field and taking away some of their perimeter runs would benefit us. He stepped up to the plate for us and set the edge pretty well and forced everything back in just like we asked him to do. The defense played pretty well.”

In Odessa High’s Week 1 loss to the Plainsmen, Monterey’s running game proved to be problematic. The Bronchos were able to stop that against Americas and get tackles for loss.

“I thought our defense played well against Monterey, we just couldn’t get their running back down,” Ortiz said. “It was a different story against Americas. We were able to get him down for no gain. There were a lot of tackles for loss. It was just night and day from Monterey to Americas.”

>> LOSE BY A FIELD, WIN BY A FIELD GOAL: In the Bronchos’ loss to the Plainsmen, it was a 35-yard field goal by Carlton Dobbins that gave Monterey the 44-42 win.

Last week, it was Odessa High that was celebrating after a field goal as Aidric Rivera’s 37-yard attempt as time expired gave the Bronchos their first win of the season.

“There were two different games and two different results,” Ortiz said. “But they were the same type of endings for different teams. We drove the ball downfield and position ourselves for a field goal try. We didn’t have any timeouts.”

Ortiz said he was originally going to try and get one last offensive play since the clock was running before Americas called a timeout. That allowed special teams coordinator Michael Long to convince Ortiz to go for the field goal attempt after Americas called a timeout.

“We were trying to get an offensive play in there because there wasn’t enough time to get our field goal unit out there,” Ortiz said. “Americas ended up taking a timeout and that allowed us to regroup. Aidric has never made anything in our live possessions over 30 yards so I was a little hesitant to throw him out there but our special teams coordinator coach Long was confident that Rivera could get it done. So we sent our field goal unit out there and Rivera came through. We’re proud of him and he made the most of the moment.”

>> NO WORRIES: While the Bronchos’ defense managed to make a turnaround from Week 1, the Bronchos’ offense was held to only 22 points but Ortiz didn’t have any concerns.

“The only thing that we need to improve on is that we have too many offensive penalties as far as jumping on false starts,” Ortiz said. “That’s just something we have to get back and get that discipline and mental focus. We have to hold our water and wait for the snap. If I’m a receiver, we can’t listen to the sound and just wait to move. It’s going back to being mentally sharp, focused and disciplined because in order to beat the good teams, we can’t have those small mistakes happening. We’ve addressed that this week in practice.”

>> KELLER: The Bronchos will once again be on the road this week when they travel to face District 4-6A Keller (2-0) at 7 p.m. this Friday at Keller ISD Athletic Complex.

Last year, the Indians had little to no trouble defeating Odessa High in a 50-21 contest at Ratliff Stadium, en-route to a 10-3 season and a playoff run.

Led by an explosive offense including running back Cameryon Rayford and wide receiver Tre Griffths, Keller is coming off a 37-14 win over Abilene Cooper and a 46-0 shutout over Plano West last week.

“Keller is a good football team,” Ortiz said. “I believe they’re a playoff team this year. Last year, they had their best season since 1960. I think they’re a quality ball club. They’re explosive again. They have a great running back (Rayford) who can make the most out of their opportunities.”

The Indians’ offense also possesses two quarterbacks (Beck Robinson and Ryan Hanson) who can run and throw the ball.

Robinson leads the passing attack with 259 yards so far this season while Hanson has thrown for 164.

“They have two quarterbacks, one who’s more of a pocket passer and can make throws and the other does a little bit of both,” Ortiz said. “They do a good job of switching in and out. They have Trey Griffiths and they have other tall kids that can make plays. … We just have to make sure we do our job, defensively, and make sure we take care of our gaps and read our keys and we’ll be fine.”

Keller’s defense runs a 3-5-3.

“Up front, they’re pretty active,” Ortiz said. “It’s going to be a good test for our offense. We can’t make the mental mistakes of jumping offsides, early. We have to take care of the ball and make the most of every drive.”

>> NOT MUCH EXTRA REST: While the Bronchos played on a Thursday last week, there wasn’t much of an extra day for them to prepare for this week’s game since because of Odessa High’s long road trip back from El Paso.

“I think that extra day was used to recover because most of us didn’t get back home until about 4 a.m. and then we turned around and got back up and had to come back to school on Friday so most of us were back by 7:30 a.m.,” Otiz said. “Even with that extra day, the traveling took it away. Keller is going to be no different. I think we almost lose a day when we have to travel that far. It’ll be the same thing with Keller. You lose a lot of times. It’s not comfortable to sleep on those buses so you’re up for most of the trip.”


>> When: 7 p.m. Friday

>> Where: Keller ISD Athletics Complex

>> Last season: Keller 50, Odessa High 21

>> Records: Odessa High 1-1; Keller 2-0

>> Radio: KMCM (FM-96.9)