After 17 practices that started nearly a month ago, Odessa High’s spring slate closed with the Red and White Game.

While the result, Red defeating White 61-44 Thursday night at Ratliff Stadium, was the lasting image from the event, how the Bronchos got here and what they do with those experiences will matter much more.

The game itself lasted around 90 minutes, with the first-team offense and defense getting several chances to show the hundreds in attendance a slice of what Odessa High has been working on over the last 23 days.

“I feel good. I got that feeling back, that taste of football, being on the field,” Odessa High running back Josh Lara said. “We built more heart … there was no quit in us.”

Lara, along with a few other seniors on offense, were tasked throughout the spring by the Bronchos coaching staff of showing that they’ve mastered the fundamentals of their offense.

“Our kids worked extremely hard. We saw them really take strides to master what we want them to do, especially offensively,” Odessa High head coach Danny Servance said. “We added a lot of things offensively and they did a great job of grasping the new concepts that we’ve asked them to master and I couldn’t have asked for any more out of those guys.”

Those fresh concepts could elevate the Bronchos’ level of play to get them over the playoff hump.

That goal doesn’t seem to be far away from anything Odessa High does. It hasn’t made the postseason since 2013.

“Last year we turned the tide around — a couple games, a couple plays away from going to the playoffs,” Bronchos’ quarterback Trey Smith said. “So we’re turning that wheel, turning this ship around and getting us to our goal of playoffs.”

The door is open for Odessa High to get back to the postseason with a six-team District 2-6A this fall as San Angelo Central will play in another district.

For the Bronchos to accomplish that feat, Servance knows they have to improve on defense. Finding stability on that side of the ball was paramount during this spring.

Although Servance said that’s still a work in progress, he did find some guys to fill the holes left by graduation.

One of those spots could be filled by Louis Wilson, who wore No. 70 for the Red Team. Wilson moved to Odessa during the offseason from Quartz Hill, Calif. He played both offensive and defensive tackle during the spring game.

“When you have someone like that of that stature that moves in, it could be one of the things that can change a program,” Servance said about Wilson. “He did a great job.”

Servance also lauded the efforts of Nathan Medina, Austin Aguirre at defensive end and Davien Hernandez at wide receiver.

Servance added that Hernandez could be a great addition to the stable of receivers such as Aguirre, Tyrone Caufield, Julian Galindo and Zeke Garcia that the Bronchos already have.

“Our young guys came out here and performed pretty well, I’m not going to lie,” Smith said. “Our young guys stepped up on the line, to receivers, to even quarterback.

“Our young guys make me excited for not just this coming season, but for the future of Odessa High School.”

Plenty of questions still remain around the program, including how many players play both ways this fall.

Now the Bronchos have time to make minor adjustments through the summer program that includes 7-on-7 football and time in the weight room.

Odessa High will return to the field next on August 13 for the first day of fall practice.