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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Bronchos' Cervantes finding his comfort zone - Odessa American: Football

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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Bronchos' Cervantes finding his comfort zone

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Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2019 8:20 pm

Like most of the newcomers this season, it took some time for Jesse Cervantes to find his role on the Odessa High football team. As the season has progressed, the junior defensive back has started to find that comfort zone on the field. With the Bronchos playing their final game of the season Friday night, Cervantes says that he’s grown a lot as a player over the last nine games.

“We all have our role on the team,” Cervantes said. “I’m just trying to be there for my teammates however I can do it. It just came with the experience being out there on the field. There wasn’t a particular moment or game where it all started slowing down. ”

Cervantes has emerged as the starting strong safety and a valuable playmaker on special teams.

He entered the game last week against Amarillo Tascosa with 24 total tackles, tied for third on the team, and is averaging nearly 24 yards a kickoff return. That number includes a season-best 53-yard return against Wolfforth Frenship to set his team up in plus territory.

On that note, Cervantes simply says, “I just want to try and put our offense in a good spot.”

That playmaking versatility has caught the eye of head coach Danny Servance.

“He does so many things for us on the field,” Servance said. “He’s a great tackler, a nose for the football when the ball is thrown and does a lot for us on special teams. He’s sure-handed, a great return guy and has come close to breaking a few of them.”

Servance has also been impressed with how Cervantes has grown throughout the season. That has been reflected in the amount of responsibilities that he’s placed on the junior in recent weeks.

“I’ve seen his confidence grow,” Servance said. “He’s become more of a leader back in the secondary. Even though he’s not a senior, he’s become really confident and very comfortable calling the coverages and getting everyone lined up.

“That’s become his job and he’s done a tremendous job of maturing and showing great leadership.”

That path for Cervantes hit a bit of a speed bump during the nondistrict schedule as he missed time after suffering an injury against Lubbock Coronado. Being out of the lineup during that stretch of the schedule only drove him to work harder to get back to 100 percent.

“I was really motivated to get back out on the field,” Cervantes said. “At that point, we were still in that playoff mindset and wanted to get back out there to do my part to help out the team. You can’t be unselfish.”

Aside from the accomplishments on the field, Servance says that he’s most impressed with Cervantes’ attitude off it. He also notes that the future is bright for a player like Cervantes.

“He’s a guy that I could easily see being a team captain next year,” Servance said. “He has a great work ethic off the field and I think his desire to win and be good is something that I hope is contagious and others will follow his lead.

“He’s always willing to go above and beyond for his teammates. He’s a very unselfish football player.”

First things first, however, as the Bronchos are looking to end the 2019 season on a good note and Cervantes wants to play a big part of that however he can.

Odessa High faces a Midland High team that has also had its struggles this season. The Bulldogs have had more success running the ball but the Bronchos have had success in keeping running games in check for stretches against Permian and Tascosa.

Cervantes said that the key this week will be to carry that mentality from those stretches into this last game.

“We had some success against Permian and Tascosa with those kinds of offenses,” he said. “We just have to keep building on it and carry that over.”

Like the other Bronchos that will take the field at Grande Communications Stadium, he also wants to do his part to snap a six-game losing streak in District 2-6A play and enter the offseason with something to build on.

“I want to work on taking more of a leadership role and just being better for myself and my teammates,” he said. “We just want to get that first district win and make sure we can send the seniors out on a good note.”

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