Leading up to this year’s Class 6A Division I playoffs, the Permian football team has seen its defense make some big plays.
The defensive unit has generated pressure at crucial points in its games to create turnovers, with a majority of that starting on the defensive line.
One of the players leading the charge in the trenches is Drake Womack.
The 6-foot-1 senior made multiple plays in the backfield against El Paso Franklin in the bi-district round last week, recording three tackles for loss and three sacks.
He also made one of his biggest plays of the season in Permian’s regular season-finale against Midland Legacy two weeks, intercepting a pass and running it 43 yards back to the opponent’s 1-yard line.
“It was pretty cool because a lot of people were there,” Womack said of his interception. “It was kind of something like last second too.”
Permian defensive coordinator Vance Washington said Womack plays physical and hard despite not being the biggest or fastest player at his position.
He has the desire to be good, asking questions and going the extra mile to understand what goes into playing his position.
“That goes a long way and playing hard goes a long way,” Washington said. “That’s one thing he really does, he wants to win and he wants to do it.
“To me, that’s the biggest deal. I want guys that want to do it and are going to play hard every snap, and that’s him.”
With Permian preparing to face Euless Trinity in its area round matchup at 2 p.m. Saturday at Shotwell Stadium in Abilene, Womack has the shared goal with his teammates of keeping the season alive and advancing.
He has a role model to look up to when it comes to postseason success at Permian in his father Steve, who graduated from Permian in 1990.
“Drake’s a kid that’s grown up wanting to be a Permian Panther his entire life,” Permian head coach Jeff Ellison said. “He’s getting to live his dream out right now, so I’m glad [for] what he’s doing because of that but I’m also glad because he’s helping out our defense.
“He’s got great energy and a great intensity to him.”
Womack’s father won a state and national championship with the Panthers in 1989, helping the team put up a perfect 16-0 mark.
The defensive lineman said things are different now at Permian compared to the late 80s and early 90s, but he likes having footsteps to follow.
“We’ve got our own stories, we can kind of relate to him,” Womack said. “They won state and that’s what we all want.”
In last week 56-28 win over El Paso Franklin, Womack played an important role helping the Permian defense increase the pressure it was getting on quarterback Cameron Byrd in the second half.
He will be instrumental in this week’s game if the Panthers want to keep their state title dreams alive.
Womack has 30 tackles for Permian this season, including six tackles for loss and four sacks.
Washington said the defensive lineman is a key player for his defensive scheme.
“He’s been a big part of it, he’s been a great surprise for us in some things he does,” Washington said. “He gives relentless effort every snap, in high school football that goes a long way.”
Womack knows the Panthers are facing a tough task this weekend, but he’s prepared for what the Trojans could bring offensively.
“We want to win,” he said. “We want to see who wants it more, we want that stuff and we’re hungry.”
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