The Panthers kept things close but weren’t able to get the victory in last week’s nondistrict road game at Harker Heights.

Despite the loss, Permian head coach Jeff Ellison is proud of the way his players were able to keep things close against a tough opponent in their 27-25 loss to Harker Heights last week at Joseph L. Searles III Stadium.

“For us, I was very proud of our kids’ fight,” Ellison said. “They fought to the very end. I was disappointed with the mistakes that we made throughout the night, but I was proud of our efforts and the players for staying together as a team.”

Now, the Panthers sit at 2-2 for the season and will be looking ahead to their last nondistrict game against Abilene Cooper at 7 p.m. Friday on the road at Shotwell Stadium.

As Permian gets ready, Ellison said his players have to fix the basic stuff.

“We’re just going to continue to work as far as fundamentals and mistakes,” Ellison said. “We can’t have those mental mistakes that we had on Friday night. We’re going to continue to get better each and every day.”

>> DEFENSIVE LINE: One area that stood out for the Panthers as their defensive line.

“With our defensive line, I thought they did a good job of getting pressure throughout the night,” Ellison said. “I thought our defense did a good job in the first half of defending and flying to the ball.”

>> QB PLAY: Sophomore quarterback Jakob Garcia has continued to earn praise from Ellison this season.

“I (think) our quarterback play has gotten better every week and we’re looking forward to continue seeing that,” Ellison said.

Trailing 27-19 and deep inside Harker Heights’ side of the field, Garcia scored on a 4-yard run to pull the Panthers within two with 2:26 left in the game, capping a 75-yard touchdown drive.

The ensuing two-point conversion attempt came up just short as an incompletion ended up making the difference.

Harker Heights improved to 2-2 for the season.

“They’re a good football team,” Ellison said. “They’re a well-coached football team. They do a great job on defense with their schemes and how their kids play.”

>> ABILENE COOPER: This week, the Panthers face another Abilene school that is no stranger to Permian.

The Cougars sit at 1-3 for the season and are coming off a 27-21 loss to Lubbock Coronado.

“We just need to play a complete game,” Ellison said. “That’s our goal each week. We’ve been close each week, but we’re looking forward to putting a complete game together.”

Last year, the Panthers defeated Abilene Cooper 56-28 at Ratliff Stadium.

The Panthers own a 38-15 overall series lead against the Cougars.

Permian at Abilene Cooper 

>> When: 7 p.m. Friday

>> Where: Shotwell Stadium

>> Last season: Permian 56, Abilene Cooper 28

>> Records: Permian 2-2; Abilene Cooper 1-3

>> Radio: KHKX (FM-99.1)