HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Rejuvenated Permian now looks toward Wolfforth Frenship

The Permian football team got the response it needed in last week’s rivalry win over Midland Legacy.

One week after suffering a 49-42 overtime loss to crosstown rivals Odessa High, the Panthers quickly got back on the right path, defeating the Rebels in a 32-31 thriller at Astound Broadband Stadium in Midland and adding another exciting chapter to the Permian-Midland Legacy series.

“It feels great,” Permian head coach Jeff Ellison said. “It’s a big win for our program against a great football team. They had been fighting all night. I’m very proud of them.”

Now, the Panthers find themselves right back in the playoff hunt and possibly even a district title conversation as Permian (4-3 overall, 1-1 in district play) gets ready to face a desperate Wolfforth Frenship team (5-2, 0-2) in a 7 p.m. contest Friday at Ratliff Stadium.

The Tigers are coming off a 38-28 loss to Midland High and are in need of a victory to try and save their postseason hopes.

A loss could possibly eliminate Frenship from the playoffs.

“They’re really explosive offensively,” Ellison said. “They do a great job on defense. I told our guys not to look at their record because they’re a very good team. Their backs are against the wall. It’s going to be another fight Friday night.”

>> COMEBACK: Trailing by 11 at halftime last week, things looked bleak for the Panthers.

However, Permian fought back in the second half, and before long, the Panthers found themselves down by one after Juzstyce Lara scored on a 1-yard run with 10 seconds to go in the game.

Instead of going for the PAT and sending the game to overtime, the Panthers instead went for the game-winning two-point conversion.

The decision didn’t disappoint as quarterback Jakob Garcia completed the pass to Gage Murphy to give the Panthers the lead and the victory.

Ellison said the decision to go for two was already determined before the touchdown even happened.

“We knew, going into that drive, that we had talked about if we scored, that was going to be our play,” Ellison said. “Calling that timeout and giving them the play, they already knew it. Our quarterback said it before I did. He and everyone knew what was going on. Everyone was on the same page.”

Ellison was also proud of the way his players fought back in the second half.

“We’ve seen that all year, aside from our first game,” Ellison said. “Other than that, our guys have really fought and they understand the meaning of the team. You see the growth from these guys. They lost some close games in the past but they’re able to come back and it’s a testament to the buy-in of our team.”

>> ANOTHER STRONG EFFORT: Lara, once again, was the workhorse for the Panthers, compiling 153 yards rushing and three touchdowns in Friday’s win over the Rebels.

“I tell you what, what we’re witnessing right now with Juzstyce is really amazing,” Ellison said. “He’s a great football player. What people don’t see every day is the type of person he is and the type of leader that he is. He’s fun to watch and fun to coach. I can’t say enough about him as everyone calls him Juice. He’s a special guy and (I’m) glad he’s on our football team.”

AS FOR LEGACY: The Rebels suffered their first district loss last week and are now 5-2, 1-1.

The Rebels will have an opportunity to bounce back when they face a struggling San Angelo Central team this Friday on the road.

The Bobcats (1-6, 0-2) are coming off an overtime loss to Odessa High (5-1, 2-0) last week and are in desperate need of a win to keep any chance of a playoff hope alive.

>> What: Wolfforth Frenship at Permian

>> When: 7 p.m. Friday

>> Where: Ratliff Stadium

>> Last season: Permian 42, Wolfforth Frenship 41

>> Records: Wolfforth Frenship 5-2 overall, 0-2 in District 2-6A; Permian 4-3, 1-1