Not a lot of things went right for the Panthers in last week’s 49-14 season-opening loss to Abilene High.
However, Permian head coach Jeff Ellison and his players are remaining upbeat as they look to put last week behind them.
“We’re going to get better and to stay positive,” Ellison said. “We’re not going to change. We’re going to continue to do what we’ve done. We’re just going to keep getting better and better each week.”
Last week’s game was the first season-opening loss for the Panthers since 2019 and the most lopsided-loss since their 71-28 loss to Arlington Martin in the area round of the playoffs from that same year.
>> Coming up short: Mistakes early on proved costly for the Panthers in their loss to the Eagles.
Early in the second quarter, with the Panthers down 14-0, Permian’s defense won the ball back after an Abilene High turnover on downs.
The change in possession almost led to more momentum for the Panthers until an interception by Abilene High’s Bryce Neves ended the drive.
It was just one of a couple of things that didn’t go right for Permian.
“A lot of the times, maybe we were one play away from a big thing happening,” Ellison said. “We got some things corrected on Saturday. Some things weren’t going our way but our players, they stayed together on the sideline. After the game, we knew we had to come together and get back to work.”
>> Will the real Panthers please stand up?: Permian will have a chance to right last week’s wrongs when the Panthers take the lengthy road trip to central Texas to face Waco Midway at 7 p.m. Friday at Panther Stadium in Waco.
It’ll be the third consecutive season in which the Panthers will be playing Midway’s Panthers.
Just like Permian, Midway is also coming off a rough opening week.
Last week, Midway was dealt a 42-31 loss to Mansfield.
But their size up front is what stands out the most to Ellison.
“They have great size up front on the offensive line,” Ellison said. “They have skilled guys on offense. They do a good job on the defensive side of the ball but we’re excited about going down Friday.”
>> Have we met before?: In 2021, Permian defeated Midway, 57-41, on the road.
Last year the Panthers, again, defeated Midway, winning 41-20 at Ratliff Stadium, bringing Permian’s all-time record in the series to just 2-0.
>> How many miles? This Friday’s game will be the first road trip of the season for Permian and it won’t be a quick drive.
The Panthers will be covering 353 miles on the lengthy bus ride to Waco.
It won’t be the first such trip for Permian who had to do the same thing two years ago.
“We’re no strangers to road trips so we have a routine,” Ellison said. “We went there a few years ago. We’re going to use the same format that we did to get ready. We’ll stop halfway and get out and do a run through and then when we get there, we’ll do our pregame meals before heading to the stadium.”
While Midway has struggled in recent years (the team went 2-8 overall and 2-4 in district last year), it gives Permian a chance to face someone from outside of West Texas for a change.
“It’s nondistrict,” Ellison said. “It’s a good opportunity for us to get ready for district play.”
Permian at Waco Midway
>> When: 7 p.m. Friday
>> Where: Panther Stadium, Waco
>> Last season: Permian 41, Midway 20
>> Radio: KMCM (FM-96.9)