Crosstown Rivalry aside, the Odessa High football team knows there’s no room for error in this week’s contest against Permian.
Sure, bragging rights are on the line and the Bronchos are desperate to end a nine-game losing skid to the Panthers but this week’s game is also the start of District 2-6A play and if Odessa High wants to be playing playoff football, a win against its crosstown rivals will be just as crucial.
The Bronchos (3-1) are coming off a bye week. Their last game was a 31-28 win over Schertz Clemens on Sept. 21 on the road.
Odessa High head coach Dusty Ortiz and his players spent last week working on fundamentals.
“We did some techniques,” Ortiz said. “We looked at game film and some of the issues we’ve had. For the most part, when you get that extra week, you’re going to take advantage of it as far as preparing for our opponent. This is our first district game and we only get five of them so each one is very important. We didn’t waste any time. We started preparing and practicing and doing the things that we do on a weekly basis to prepare for our opponent.”
Both teams will take the field at Ratliff in a 7 p.m. contest Friday with Permian (3-2) as the home team and Odessa High as the visitors this year.
Just like the Bronchos, the Panthers are also coming off a bye week.
Ortiz was eager to have an extra week to prepare for Permian.
“We’re going on the second week of preparing for Permian,” Ortiz said. “We’re excited. We feel like we’re getting right where we need to be. We’re polishing some things off. It’s nice to have those two weeks to prepare for your first district opponent. The kids have been really good. The energy level has been good. Everyone’s ready for this game to be here.”
>> PLENTY OF TIME TO PREPARE:It’s not just the fact that both teams had a week off before their rivalry, it’s also the fact that it came right before starting district play that makes it even more of a benefit, Ortiz said.
“I think it’s huge,” Ortiz said. “It gives you time to see things and correct. If you have some ideas or things that you want to do or try, you have plenty of time to see it through and make sure you have the right calls, the right schemes, the right plays implemented. It just gives you a chance to polish off some of the things that you feel can work. I think it’s huge. During a normal week, you’re rushing through things to a certain extent because some weeks, you only have three days to prepare because it’s a Thursday game and other weeks you have four days to prepare but it’s a luxury to have a week before district play starts, especially in this case, for the biggest game around.”
>> PREPARING FOR JUZSTYCE LARA: Permian’s main weapon of attack on the ground has been the senior running back and Ortiz knows just how much a challenge Lara will provide the Bronchos’ defense.
“He’s a tough runner,” Ortiz said. “I went back and checked his height and weight because he’s a lot bigger and tougher than what his size indicates on the roster. He’s a runner that loves contact and can break an arm tackle. You have to be fundamentally sound when you’re tackling him. He always seems to get positive yards. I don’t think I’ve seen a clip of him getting negative yardage.”
>> LOOKING AT PERMIAN:The Panthers’ season began on a rough note, losing to Abilene High 49-14 Aug. 25 at Ratliff Stadium.
Since then, Permian has played much better, defeating Waco-Midway 27-21 on the road before crushing Amarillo Tascosa 43-6 at home the following week.
The Panthers suffered a setback with a 27-25 loss to Harker Heights on the road but went into their bye week on a high note, defeating Abilene Cooper 41-20 on Sept. 22 at Shotwell Stadium.
“They’ve gotten better each week,” Ortiz said. “Their offense is a little different. They still have an option scheme behind their offense. As far as how they’ve started, they’ve gotten a lot better. their big offensive line does a good job of coming off the line and they do a good job of locking on and getting pushed. Their quarterback is getting better as far as reading defenses and getting them out of bad situations. All in all, offensively, they’re pretty solid, offensively.”
Odessa High at Permian
>> When: 7 p.m. Friday.
>> Where: Ratliff Stadium.
>> Last Season: Permian 38, Odessa High 7
>> Series: Permian leads 53-10-1
>> Records: Odessa High 3-1, 0-0; Permian 3-2, 0-0)
>> Radio: KMCM (FM-96.9); KHKX (FM-99.1)