It’s win or go home.
Simple as that.
The District 2-6A standings may be chaotic with numerous different scenarios but for Permian head coach Jeff Ellison and his Permian Panthers, the easiest way to clinch a spot is to simply take care of business on their end of the stick.
That means going into Midland and trying to get a win against a tough Midland High squad.
This Friday, everything comes down to the line in the Wild Wild West that is District 2-6A.
Going into the Panthers 7 p.m. contest Friday against Midland High at Astound Broadband Stadium, the Panthers (5-4 overall, 2-2 in district) are one of three teams with the same district record.
Permian, Odessa High (5-3, 2-2) and Wolfforth Frenship (7-2, 2-2) are all tied for third in the district standings while Midland High (8-1, 3-1) and Midland Legacy (7-2, 3-1) are at the top of the 2-6A standings.
San Angelo Central (1-8, 0-4) is the only team in 2-6A that is eliminated from the playoffs.
Someone else will join the Bobcats in an early start to basketball season after Friday.
While there are different scenarios that can come into play for everyone, Permian knows the object is to simply win.
That’s not to say Midland High will make things easy for the Panthers.
Coached by former Permian offensive coordinator Thad Fortune, the Bulldogs began the season undefeated before last week’s rivalry loss to Midland Legacy, 49-31.
“They’re having a really great season,” Ellison said. “They’re playing hard. They’re flying around to the ball on defense. They’re do a great job on their offense. They have good quarterbacks and they have good running backs. They’re a good football team and it’s a win-or-go-home situation.”
>> NOTHING NEW: One could make the argument that Permian has been in playoff mode for nearly two weeks already.
Last Friday, Permian secured a crucial 42-14 win over San Angelo Central at Ratliff Stadium and officially kicked the Bobcats out of playoff contention.
The victory came just a week after Permian’s 46-44 loss to Frenship at home.
“We’re very excited about the win,” Ellison said. “We’re proud of the guys. It’s been a win-or-go-home situation these last couple of weeks. We’re already in playoff mode. The guys came out focused and very physical throughout the night and I was proud of them.”
>> STRONG START: Permian couldn’t have asked for a better start in last week’s win over the Bobcats.
The Panthers wasted no time, sprinting out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter.
It was 28-0 after a 59-yard touchdown pass from Permian quarterback Jakob Garcia to wide receiver Ben Saldivar with 9:57 left in the second quarter.
San Angelo Central did cut Permian’s lead in half in the second quarter before the Panthers responded with two consecutive touchdowns in the second half.
“Obviously, to start a game off like that, it was crucial for our team,” Ellison said. “I thought we dropped a little bit in the second quarter. But then in the second half, our kids did a great job of coming out focused and finishing the game.”
>> SALUTE TO THE SENIORS: The Permian senior class played its final regular season game at Ratliff and they got the send off they wanted.
“Overall, it was a great night for our senior class. That was our focus throughout the week. We wanted to put everything on the line for our seniors. It’s a good senior class. We’re proud of them and everything they’ve done and their leadership for four years. It was good to get everyone some playing time. “
>> DEFENSE IMPROVES: Not only was Permian’s offense having a good night, the Panthers’ defense was also taking care of business, having one of its best games of the year.
Permian’s defense held a high-scoring San Angelo Central offense to only 14 points.
It was the lowest-point total the Bobcats had been held to all season.
It was also the response Permian’s defense needed after allowing 46 points against Frenship the previous week.
“I thought we did a better job than in the previous weeks of defending the pass and containing the quarterback,” Ellison said. “I think our defense played one of its best games of the season.”
Permian at Midland High
>> When: 7 p.m. Friday
>> Where: Astound Broadband Stadium in Midland
>> Last Season: Permian 31, Midland High 15
>> Records: Permian (5-4 overall, 2-2 in District 2-6A); Midland High 8-1, 3-1
>> Radio: KMCM (FM-96.9)