HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Permian takes bi-district in win over El Paso Franklin - Odessa American: Sports

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Permian takes bi-district in win over El Paso Franklin

By Michael Bauer mbauer@oaoa.com, 432-333-7772 | Posted: Saturday, November 16, 2019 12:29 am

It was sweet revenge for the Permian football team as the Panthers knocked out the El Paso Franklin Cougars 48-13 in the Class 6A Division I bi-district round of the playoffs Friday night at Ratliff Stadium.

“It means a great deal for us,” Permian head coach Jeff Ellison said. “We’re in the playoffs, playing where we want to be after a successful district run. That was our goal. We want to win championships and move forward.”

With the win, the Panthers (7-4) avenged a 49-28 loss to the Cougars (8-3) from September and advanced to the area round of the playoffs. Permian will face Arlington Martin, a 69-0 winner Friday against San Angelo Central, on Nov. 22 at Ratliff Stadium.

“Obviously, that’s an advantage for us,” Ellison said. “We’ve played a lot of home games a t Ratliff this year. The fans here are great. We’ll have a tough challenge but we’ll be ready for it.”

Permian quarterback Easton Hernandez, who missed the earlier meeting because of injury, accounted for 160 total yards and three rushing touchdowns in the rematch.

The Panthers’ defense managed to hold off the Cougars on their opening drive of the game. Franklin moved down the field all the way to Permian’s 25-yard line on an 11-play drive. But the promising early march for the Cougars stalled and after a false-start penalty. Franklin turned the ball over on downs when Danny Walther’s 10-yard run was not enough on fourth and 14 and the Panthers took over.

Permian turned the defensive stand into an 11-play, 80-yard scoring drive that resulted in a 1-yard run by Terran Limuel with 3:45 left in the first quarter to give the Panthers an early 7-0 lead.

The Cougars’ offense managed to find a quick response as Walther hooked up with wide receiver Michael Haack for a 45-yard touchdown pass. Taj Westrick’s extra point tied things up at 7-7 with 1:53 remaining in the first quarter to cap off a seven-play, 75-yard drive in 2:22.

The Panthers offense didn’t take too long to answer back, however.

After Alex Rose’s 20-yard kickoff return to the Permian 40-yard line, Rose helped the Panthers bring the ball down field with a 14-yard run before Hernandez posted runs of 12 and 19 yards. Eventually, Permian scored on a 1-yard run from Hernandez to go in front for good at 14-7 with 11:13 left in the second quarter, capping an eight-play 60-yard drive in 3:32.

Permian’s defense managed to force Franklin to punt for the first time on the Cougars’ next offensive series, which included Walther being brought down for a 9-yard loss on a sack and Franklin went three-and-out.

“I think we just made too many mistakes,” El Paso Franklin head coach Daren Walker said. “We had too many self-inflicted wounds and couldn’t find a rhythm on offense. On defense, we couldn’t get any stops. You have to give them credit. They outplayed us.”

The Panthers offense continued to find a comfortable rhythm and Rose scored on a 21-yard run. Roberts’ extra point gave Permian a 21-7 advantage with 7:35 left in the second quarter after the seven-play, 90-yard march in 2:22.

Meanwhile, Franklin’s offense continued to struggle and an incomplete pass from Walther on fourth-and-10 deep in Permian territory resulted in the Cougars’ second failed fourth down of the night.

Permian was able to capitalize on the change of possession by marching 68 yards down field in five plays for a 4-yard touchdown run by Hernandez. That gave the Panthers a 28-7 lead with 1:33 left in the second quarter.

Trying to get something going before halftime, the Cougars’ offense instead went four-and-out and had to punt for a second time.

The Panthers, however, weren’t able to squeeze another scoring drive before time expired in the first half, but Permian went into the locker rooms with a comfortable 21-point lead.

The Panthers began the second half on a strong note, scoring on a 6-yard run by Hernandez to give the Panthers a 35-7 lead with 8:20 left in the third quarter.

After forcing the Cougars to punt again, the Panthers put together another scoring drive. This time they settled for a field goal as Roberts drilled a 35-yard attempt to make it 38-7 with 1:36 left in the third quarter.

A 65-yard touchdown run by Brian Mahaffey made it 45-7 with 7:25 remaining in the game as the Panthers extended their lead.

“The injuries added up on us this season,” Walker said. “We were missing some key players. We weren’t able to do some things like last time. But Permian did a lot of good things. They got their quarterback back on offense and those were the big things that stood out to me.”