HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Panthers moving in the right direction ahead of rivalry game

The Permian football team, after picking up its first District 2-6A win of the season last week against Wolfforth Frenship, is preparing for one of its biggest games of the season.

The Panthers will match up with crosstown rival Odessa High at 7 p.m. Friday at Ratliff Stadium, marking the 63rd time the teams will meet.

Permian was able to bounce back after falling in a physical game against Abilene High to open district play two weeks ago by slowing down a Wolfforth Frenship offense that was averaging more than 30 points a game before last Friday.

The way the Panthers defensive unit played in the 17-14 victory was an encouraging sign for defensive coordinator Vance Washington.

“We did our job, we had great focus, great energy. The things that we talk about,” Washington said. “To see us respond, play physical and play fast, it was what everybody wants to see.”

The Panthers will now face an Odessa High team that is surging on both sides of the ball under a new coaching staff led by Dusty Ortiz.

Odessa High also picked up its first district win last week in a 41-14 blowout of San Angelo Central.

Permian has won the last seven meetings against the Bronchos, picking up a 45-7 win last year where Shy Stephens-Deary recorded five touchdowns receptions to break Roy Williams single-game record.

The Panthers are set to be the home team in the highly anticipated showdown, with fans lining up for hours to buy tickets Monday morning.

>> GOOD TEST: Permian (4-2 overall, 1-1 district) had a tough task in slowing down Wolfforth Frenship quarterback Chad Pharies and wide receiver Tate Beeles, a combination that had been blossoming throughout the early part of the season.

The Panthers were able to essentially erase Beeles, forcing the quarterback to look elsewhere in his receiving group.

They’ll be facing a similar duo in Odessa High’s Diego Cervantes and Ivan Carreon, players Washington is looking to key in on.

“They run the H-back stuff in the spread, it’s the same type deal,” Washington said. “Odessa High’s quarterback is really good, I’ve liked him since he was a sophomore. [Carreon] on the outside is having a great year, catching a lot of balls and played last year as a freshman.

“Real similar offenses, so it was a good prep for us.”

>> STAYING FOCUSED: This year’s crosstown rivalry game will have more going on outside of football, with Ector County ISD celebrating its 100th anniversary by hosting a concert with the Gatlin Brothers at a tailgate party before kickoff.

Throughout the season, head coach Jeff Ellison has told his team members he wants them to focus on themselves and what is happening during the game.

After Tuesday’s practice at Wilkins Field, Ellison stressed to his players how important it is for them to keep their sights set on their opponent.

“I just talked with our team as far as, there’s always some type of distraction and it could be the fanfare, which is great and we love that,” Ellison said. “It could just be the excitement of the game or something else besides that, we’ve got to put all that aside and play football, that’s what we’ve got to concentrate on.

“I thought we did a better job of that last week, we’ve got to be consistent and do it again this week.”

>> BEEN HERE BEFORE: Both Ellison and Washington are no strangers to what goes on when their team faces Odessa High.

Ellison is entering his ninth matchup against the Bronchos since joining the coaching staff in 2013 and Washington graduated from Permian in 1983, so the coaches have seen their fair share of contests between the rivals.

Before Ellison was hired at Permian, he hadn’t seen the showdown between the Panthers and Bronchos so when he got his first chance to coach in the game he called the atmosphere amazing.

Washington said it’s great seeing so much hype build around this year’s matchup.

“It seems like the old days and we just try to focus on ourselves,” Washington said. “It’s about us, how we play, how we practice and perform. That’s where our focus is lying, is on us.”

>> SUBVARSITY: The Permian subvarsity teams will try to turn things around this week against Odessa High after seeing some tough results against Wolfforth Frenship last week.

The Junior Varsity teams split their games with the Tigers, with JV White winning 27-0 and JV Black falling by a 42-22 score.

Both freshmen teams dropped their games, as Freshman White lost 28-14 and Freshman Black fell 39-28.

JV White plays the Bronchos at 5 p,m, Thursday at Ratliff Stadium, while JV Black plays at 6:30 p.m. at the same venue.

Freshman White kicks off against Odessa High at 5 p.m. at the Ratliff South Turf Field and Freshman Black plays at 6:30 p.m.

>>Follow Chris Amaya on Twitter at @OA_CAmaya


>> When: 7 p.m. Friday.

>> Where: Ratliff Stadium.

>> Last Season: Permian 45, Odessa High 7.

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

>> Radio: KMCM (FM-96.9); KHKX (FM-99.1).

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



Height: 6-foot-0

Weight: 165

Class: Senior

Position: Cornerback

Last Week: Was all over the field defensively, breaking up five passes while recording three tackles and one sack against Wolfforth Frenship.

This season: Leads Permian with 10 passes deflected, while recording 18 total tackles and one sack.