HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Odessa High taking on playoff mentality

The official start to the UIL football playoffs is three weeks from now.

Odessa High, however, has been in playoff mode for the past five days.

Following a loss to Midland Legacy Friday, the Bronchos have put themselves in a situation where they must win their final two games to make the playoffs.

They knew, prior to facing the Rebels, that it was going to take two victories in the last three games to reach the postseason for the first time since 2013.

Now, there is no room for error as they travel to face a strong Abilene High team that will be looking to solidify its postseason chances as well.

“That’s what we talked about prior facing (Midland) Legacy, that we had to win 2 of 3,” Odessa High head coach Dusty Ortiz said. “We want to control our own destiny.”

In order to do that the Bronchos (3-5 overall, 1-3 in District 2-6A) are going to have to make the long bus ride to Shotwell Stadium and play their best game of the season.

Any hiccups and the chance to be “1 of 4” as Ortiz has characterized the playoff teams from the district will be out the door.

Instead of the playoffs, the Bronchos will have to begin their search to replace senior quarterback Diego Cervantes.

Cervantes is a question mark as he left last week’s loss to the Rebels with an injury midway through the first quarter.

As much as Ortiz would love to see his senior leader behind center, he knows that decision will be made by the Odessa High training staff.

So, Jaylien Jones and Ivan Carreon, both suddenly put on the spot last week was Cervantes went out, were going to get more snaps with the first unit this week.

“The easy solution is that we go to Abilene and take care of business,” Ortiz said. “But if Diego is out, they it’s up to others to step up, the defense and special teams.

“They (the players) were pretty upbeat Saturday after the game, back at the fieldhouse working out. After the game, they stopped focusing on Legacy.”

>> NUMBERS GAME: Cervantes threw just six passes against the Rebels, completing four of them for 29 yards before injured.

That gives him 2,060 yards passing this season, second on the program’s single-season mark and just 155 behind Derrick Teegarden’s 2,225 in 2008.

Should Cervantes be healthy enough to lead the Bronchos the next two weeks, that mark, along with Teegarden’s combined offensive mark (rushing/passing) of 2,968 yards would be in jeopardy as well.

Cervantes was averaging more than 290 yards passing per game heading into last week’s contest.

>> NUMBERS GAME, PART 2: Carreon has been getting plenty of press this season, deservedly so, as he has caught 57 passes for 824 yards, both single-season records.

But he has been helped tremendously by the play of teammate Terrance Samuel, who has 41 catches for 557 yards and three touchdowns.

With nine more receptions this season, Samuel will move into second behind Carreon of single-single receptions.

The previous mark was 48, set by Gabriel Rodriguez in 2009.

>> PUSH THEM OUT OF BOUNDS: Twice this season, Bronchos’ kicker Camilo Nicholas has been involved in a tackle on a kickoff … and twice he’s been knocked from the game.

Discretion is the better part of valor in this case.

Should Nicholas get a third chance, he would be wise to use the boundary as another teammate.

>> Follow Lee Scheide on Twitter at @OALeeScheide


>> When: 7 p.m. Friday.

>> Where: Shotwell Stadium, Abilene.

>> Last Season: Abilene High 29, Odessa High 7.

>> Records: Odessa High 3-5 overall, 1-3 District 2-6A; Abilene High 4-3, 2-1

>> Radio: KMCM (FM-96.9)

>> Live Updates: Follow on Twitter at @OALeeScheide.



Height: 5-foot-9

Weight: N/A

Class: Senior

Position: WR

Last Week: Samuel caught two passes for 42 yards to lead the Bronchos as they struggled in a loss against Midland Legacy on Friday at Ratliff Stadium.

This season: Has 41 receptions for 551 yards and three touchdowns.