HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Odessa High ready to open season on the road

After spending the first few weeks of preseason practice going up against each other, the Odessa High football got to line up against a different opponent in its scrimmage Friday against Amarillo Tascosa.

For head coach Dusty Ortiz, it was a chance to see what he had with his team.

“It kind of allowed us a chance to evaluate the players I hadn’t had a chance to look at,” Ortiz said. “I liked what I saw and they played really good.”

Having team depth is something that Ortiz emphasized was going to be key not just for the first game but the season as a whole.

“We got a lot of players in,” Ortiz said. “You go in and you see what your ones have but you kind of want to know what your twos and threes can bring to the table and they did a really good job of stepping up and competing.”

The Bronchos open the 2021 season, and the Dusty Ortiz era, with a game against the Lubbock Monterey Plainsmen at 7 p.m. Thursday at Lowrey Field in Lubbock.

Ortiz said that it will be a different kind of challenge facing a spread team like Monterey compared to a triple-option attack that Tascosa has.

“I think being physical and executing and doing what we are good at is important,” Ortiz said. “Our defense is like a TCU 4-2-5. They (Monterey) like to spread it out in some different formations but we can adjust in the backfield.”

The defense will also have to account for senior running back Trenton White, the focal point of the Plainsmen offense. Going into his third year as the starter, White accounted for 910 yards and 10 touchdowns in eight games in 2020.

“They’re going to test us,” said Ortiz of Monterey. “They have a lot of team speed. They’re also big up front and I think it’s going to be a really good matchup. I think we’re going to know a lot about our team after this week.”

>>MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME: 2020 ended a streak of seven consecutive years that the Bronchos and Plainsmen opened the season against each other.

The two teams were scheduled to play at Ratliff Stadium but it was canceled just hours before the game due to COVID-19 concerns within the Odessa High football program.

As for getting back on the field, junior linebacker Jesus Carrasco said that the team was ready to show what they can do.

“It’s different around here,” Carrasco said. “Everyone’s starting to play together and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

>> QUIRKY RECORDS: Lubbock Monterey finished with a 4-6 overall record in 2020 but played just eight games overall including the postseason.

Aside from the canceled Odessa High game, the Plainsmen did not play against either Lubbock High or Amarillo Tascosa as both of those games went down as forfeits.

>> CAN’T WAIT TO GET ON THE ROAD AGAIN…: The Odessa High football team will be racking up plenty of miles on the bus during the first half of the season. Four of the first five games for the Bronchos are on the road this season. Two of those trips — Week 2 at Del Rio and Week 4 at Wichita Falls Rider — are both more than 250 miles one-way.

>> GOOD LUCK AT LOWREY: Odessa High has defeated Lubbock Monterey the last three times the two teams have faced at Lowrey Field. The Bronchos defeated the Plainsmen 23-11 back in 2018.

>> LOOKING TO END THE LOSING STREAK: The Bronchos enter the game looking to snap a 12-game losing streak. The team’s last victory was against Harlingen South on Sept. 28, 2019.

>> SUBVARSITY SCHEDULE: The Junior Varsity White team will face Lubbock Monterey at 5 p.m. Wednesday followed by the JV Red game at 6:30 p.m. at Ratliff Stadium.

The Freshman White and Red teams will play at 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Monterey High School.

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Odessa High at Lubbock Monterey

>> When: 7 p.m. Thursday.

>> Where: Lowrey Field.

>> Last season: Did not play.

>> Records: Odessa High 0-0; Lubbock Monterey 0-0.

>> Radio: (KHKX) FM-99.1.

>> Live Updates: Follow on Twitter at @OA_TVenegas