The Permian Panthers wrapped up their month of spring football practice Wednesday night with their annual Black-White Game at Ratliff Stadium, and Panthers coach Blake Feldt was more than happy with the progress made.
“I can’t tell you how pleased I was, really, for the entire spring,” Feldt said. “I thought we got everything that we needed accomplished. Some guys that we needed to step up on both sides of the ball had a really good spring. Like every spring, there were a few surprises here and there, which is always good to see.”
Feldt said one of the biggest events of the spring was the emergence of the incoming senior class assuming its leadership role in the program.
“It’s unbelievable how many rising seniors we’ve got on our football team right now that had to come in and play as sophomores,” he said. “They’ve spent a tremendous amount of time and hard work getting ready for their senior year.
“Those guys have played lots of high school football since their sophomore year. They’ve played lots of downs. They’ve been through lots of practices and they’re fully committed to us having a really good football team next year.”
Peyton Powell rushed for two touchdowns and had a perfect passing performance as the White team rallied for a 24-14 victory over the Black team. Powell rushed for 71 yards on eight carries, breaking loose for a 43-yard touchdown on the opening series. He scored the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter as the White came back from a 14-7 halftime deficit.
Powell, who transferred in from Midland Christian after two seasons as a starter for the Mustangs, also completed all 10 of his pass attempts for 105 yards.
“It’s amazing what a great athlete he is,” Feldt said of Powell. “To come in and run our offense, which is different and foreign not only for him but lots of people, to come in and immediately do a good job of running the offense speaks highly of his athleticism and really the kind of person he is.
“He’s a great young man and works very hard and he’s going to be a great quarterback. At the same time, he still has a long way to go as far as learning our system and learning the offense and all the different reads that we’ve got.”
Christian Tschauner was Powell’s main target, catching four passes for 30 yards.
Justin Hammond also directed a scoring drive in the third quarter for the White, capping it with a 1-yard TD run to tie the game at 14.
“Justin’s been playing quarterback for us since his sophomore year,” Feldt said. “He’s had a little bit of time in some games. He’s played slot, but he knows our quarterback position because he’s played it, he just hasn’t done it a lot in games. He’s had a lot of practice, and he’s really good at it, too.”
Quarterback Christian Rodriguez led the Black team, rushing for 25 yards and a score on 13 carries and completing 6 of 10 passes for 66 yards. Hunter Pence caught two passes for 13 yards.
Rodriguez scored on a 5-yard keeper on the Black’s first series, answering Powell’s scoring dash. The Black took the lead late in the half on a 14-yard run by Mark Samaniego, who finished with 26 yards on four carries.
Carson Roberts, who kicked for both teams and went 5 for 5 on extra points, capped the evening with a 42-yard field goal.
“I thought we had a really good scrimmage today,” Feldt said. “I thought the offensive line did a good job for both teams. We’ve got some guys up front that have really come on and developed over the last couple of years. They’re so much bigger and stronger than they were several years ago.”
While spring practice is over, Feldt said, there is still plenty of work to be done before the Panthers open fall drills on Aug. 13.
“We’re just really excited about the football team we have in the fall,” Feldt said. “You hear every coach in the state talking about the importance of the summer, and there’s a reason for that. It’s paramount that you have a great summer and get the kind of work you need to get in. You need to just go from spring into summer workouts.
“We’ve got to have a great summer, but I can’t tell you how excited we are about our possibilities in the fall.”
The Panthers open the season Aug. 31 against DeSoto at Ratliff Stadium.
“I can’t wait,” Feldt said. “What a great game it’s going to be, DeSoto coming to Ratliff Stadium for the opening game. We need to fill this place up and get a huge, big victory that will be a good start to the year. We can’t wait, and it’ll be here before we know it.”