HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Permian regroups to pull away from Waco Midway

The Permian football team started slow in the season opener against Abilene High, taking nearly an entire half to find the end zone.

So getting off to a quick start against visiting Waco Midway in Week 2 was high on the Panthers lists of things to do.

Once Mother Nature let them on the field, the Panthers did just that with three touchdowns in the first quarter.

Then, they hit their lull in the second quarter and the beginning of the third.

Once it was over, Waco Midway had tied the score and Permian was forced to respond.

It did quickly and forcefully.

Taking advantage of a pair turnovers, the Panther scored twice in less than two minutes in the third quarter to break away for a 41-20 victory Friday at Ratliff Stadium.

“You know, we started out strong and kind of fell off, but went in at halftime and regrouped,” Permian quarterback Rodney Hall said. “We came out with a different game plan. I think we were too high and we have to stay calm.”

“When they tied it, I was like ‘C’mon, there is no way we are going to lose our home opener’. It was nice to get the win.”

Permian improved to 2-0 on the season, while Waco Midway dropped to 0-2.

The Panthers’ defense also provided a large contribution to the victory, forcing five turnovers and knocking Waco Midway quarterback Reid Tedford out of the game in the fourth quarter.

“Our goal is to have three turnovers and that’s what we talked about before the game, that we have to get three to help out our offense,” Permian defensive coordinator Vance Washington said. “We gave up the momentum changing play at the end of the first half and they came out in the third quarter and took the ball down and it was a game right now.

“Our kids had to bow up and I thought they did.”

Hall completed 18 of 28 passes for 288 yards and five touchdowns.

Wide receiver Deonte Bass caught five passes for 78 yards and two touchdowns, with wide receiver Ja’Quan Richardson finishing with five receptions for 76 yards and one touchdown.

Tabarie Jones added a 26-yard scoring catch and Jaydn Pruitt caught a 12-yard touchdown.

Running back Jonathan Viscaino capped the Panthers’ scoring with a 5-yard run with 4:22 remaining to play in the game.

Juzstyce Lara was the leading rusher for Permian with 47 yards on 15 carries.

“All of them are going to make plays,” Hall said. “I can trust them.”

After a delay of more than an hour because of lightning, the Panthers wasted no time once they got on the field.

Hall directed his team on a 10-play, 72-yard drive that finished with a 12-yard toss to Pruitt in the left side of the end zone just 4:23 into the game.

Permian would put the ball in the end zone two more times before the quarter ended, both on Hall to Bass connections from 23 and 20 yards, respectively.

Waco Midway, however, slowed the Permian offense in the second quarter and took advantage of a pair of mistakes to make the game close.

The first came when a Permian defender jumped to try and knock down a pass from Tedford, only to watch it sail over his outstretched hand and into the arms of wide receiver Junior Thornton for a 72-yard touchdown with 9:30 to play in the first half.

Then, after the Panthers moved the ball to the Waco Midway 2, the snap was mishandled and Waco Midway’s Landon Whisenton picked up the loose ball on the 5 and raced 95 yards for a touchdown with :17 seconds remaining in the first half.

Tedford then drove the visitors 76 yards in nine plays to open the third quarter and suddenly the game was tied, 20-20, with eight minutes remaining in the quarter.

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