The Permian football team advanced past the bi-district round with a 26-13 win over El Paso Pebble Hills Friday at Ratliff Stadium.
The Panthers (7-4) won their third straight game and didn’t trail at all during the night that was played on a rain-soaked field as Permian got revenge over Pebble Hills (8-3) from last year’s bi-district loss.
“I’m just extremely proud of our football team and how hard they have fought all season, from where we’ve started to where we’re at,” Permian head coach Jeff Ellison said. “I’m proud of our coaches and proud of our kids and community. It’s a good night.”
The game was tied at 7 at the end of the first quarter before Permian’s offense took control in the second quarter, helping the Panthers to a 20-7 halftime lead and didn’t look back.
“That’s crucial for us,” Ellison said. “(Pebble Hills) started getting some momentum on offense and for us to control the clock, that was crucial.”
For Pebble Hills head coach Mark Torres and his players, it was a tough pill to swallow.
“I’m going to miss these seniors,” Torres said. “We’re going to live and die with these seniors. They’ve been with us for four years and throughout COVID. I’m going to miss them. I feel horrible for them.”
A big 60-yard kickoff return by the Panthers set them up for good field position to start the game inside Spartan territory at the 38-yard line.
Juzstyce Lara scored on a 1-yard run to give the Panthers the early lead and the PAT by Jacob Franco made it 7-0 with 8:13 left in the first quarter.
Disaster struck the Spartans on their first offensive play when quarterback Gael Ochoa threw a pass that was picked off by Permian’s Brandon Garcia and the Panthers took over at the Pebble Hills. 48.
However, the Panthers were soon forced to punt for the first time.
A series of personal foul penalties against the Panther defense aided the Spartans’ offense as Pebble Hills soon had the ball outside of the end zone with first down.
The Spartans scored on a 16-yard touchdown reception by Keinai Johnson with 4:12 to tie things up at 7-7.
Permian’s offense moved the ball down the field but the first quarter ended with both teams tied at 7-7.
“We were able to put pressure on them and force them to make plays,” Torres said. “When the ball wasn’t slipping out of our hands, we were okay.”
Permian scored on the first play of the second quarter with a 7-yard pass to Isaiah Welton for a Panther touchdown score with 11:56 left in the second quarter.
A Spartan fourth down attempt resulted in Ochoa being sacked and the Panthers took over at the Spartans’ 40.
Permian extended its lead on a four-yard touchdown run by Lara with 7:29 on the clock. The two-point conversion was no good as the Panthers’ lead was 20-7.
A Pebble Hills’ interception brought the Spartans to the Panthers 32 with four minutes left in the quarter.
But Permian got the ball back after a Panthers’ interception.
The Panthers’ lead remained 20-7 at the halftime break.
Permian worked the ball down the field for most of the third quarter and scored on a 1-yard run by Uriel Montoya and the 2-point conversion pass was out of bounds and ruled incomplete with 1:42 left in the third quarter.
The third quarter ended with Permian up 26-7.
Ochoa scored from four yards out early in the fourth quarter and the two-point conversion attempt pass fell incomplete with Permian still ahead 26-13 with 7:48 left.
The Spartans recovered the ball on the ensuing kickoff and Pebble Hills began with possession on the Permian 44.
As the Spartans threatened to score again, they soon turned the ball over on downs at the Permian 21 with 6:21 remaining and ran out the clock.
Permian will face North Crawley in the area round with the details of the game yet to be announced.