Odessa High head coach Danny Servance had some questions about his team’s experience entering the start of spring football.
Servance had some answers by the end of the annual Red-White Game, where Team Red defeated Team White 26-14 Thursday at Ratliff Stadium.
“I thought the execution from both sides tonight was good and that’s what we’ve been looking for,” Servance said. “We had some question marks coming into the spring and that’s why we had spring practice.”
Most of the pressing questions came on the offensive side of the ball where the Bronchos must replace nearly all of their starters from a year ago.
At quarterback, senior-to-be Ivan Miranda projects as the starter and Servance has been pleased by his progress throughout the spring.
“Ivan did a great job tonight,” he said. “He’s a type of player that makes the game slow down and those are always good to have. We’re looking for some really good things out of him.”
“I feel like we’ve improved everywhere,” Miranda said. “Everyone is working hard for next season because we want to continue to change the culture at OHS.”
Another potential standout from the Red-White Game was sophomore running back Amarea Peyton.
The recent move-in from California finished with two touchdowns on the night and Servance said he’s excited about the potential backfield duo with Senjun McGarity, who returns for his senior season after splitting time with Josh Lara a year ago.
“We’re excited about him,” said Servance of Peyton. “He and Senjun are two big running backs and they both do a good job of getting downhill and getting yards after contact.
“Hopefully, both of those guys can stay healthy and we can use them heading into the season.”
One of the biggest surprises, Servance noted, was the progress of the defense. That side of the ball has seen some changes after the departure of defensive coordinator Matt Anastasio, with Servance taking over those duties during the spring.
Early on in Thursday’s contest, the defense had the upper hand after stopping both offenses on their first three possessions.
“The defense had been behind and we had some growing pains early,” Servance said. “But I thought they did a great job of being physical, running to the football and handling their assignments. That was encouraging to see.”
The improvement of that side of the ball was something that the players took notice of as well.
“There were a lot of good plays out there,” junior defensive end Austin Aguirre said. “There aren’t a lot of returning players this year.
“To give the younger guys the opportunity to develop their skills, understanding of the game and how it is on Friday nights is very beneficial to them.”
There are more than 100 days remaining between now and Odessa High’s first regular season game against Lubbock Monterey Aug. 30 at Ratliff Stadium.
For all the progress the Bronchos made over the last month, they also understand that this is only the beginning.
The hope now is to carry over that focus and energy into the summer before fall practice starts again in August.
“We have to have a great summer,” Servance said. “I thought we did a good job of improving but we can’t take steps backwards. It’s going to be that important for us.”
That message has resonated, in particular with Miranda.
“These next two months are really important,” he said. “We have to get stronger and faster and we can’t be satisfied with where we are right now.
“We had fun out there with the scrimmage but now we’re just focused on Week 1 against Lubbock Monterey.”
>> Follow Tony Venegas on Twitter at @OA_TVenegas