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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Odessa High notebook for Oct. 9 - Odessa American: Football

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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Odessa High notebook for Oct. 9

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Posted: Tuesday, October 8, 2019 6:15 pm

Aside from the cooler temperatures Monday, there was something different in the air as Odessa High took the field for practice.

This week’s matchup against crosstown rival Permian marks the start of the third season according to head coach Danny Servance: District 2-6A play. The stakes are higher in multiple ways, but Servance is sticking with a businesslike approach.

“Even though it’s Permian, it still is our first district ball game,” he said. “You want to get off to a good start as far as district is concerned. You do try to channel the emotion and that kind of stuff. But right now, it’s all about preparation.”

Some of that preparation took place during the open week, representing a chance to get healthy and get back to basics on the field.

“We try to take care of the players physically, but we really try to get some fundamental things that didn’t involve game planning,” Servance said. “We worked on everything from tackling circuits, footwork and moving to the ball…those kinds of things that you really don’t have the time to when you’re planning for a ball game.”

The time off also gave the Bronchos a chance to reflect on where things stand at the season’s halfway point. After the 44-33 victory over Harlingen South Sept. 28, Odessa High enters the matchup with plenty of confidence.

“That win gave us a little momentum heading into district,” senior linebacker Cade Mendoza said. “We’re just going to try and carry that chip on our shoulder while we’re playing.”

Part of that proverbial chip comes from what happened last year. Both teams started the game with explosive plays early, but Odessa High couldn’t keep up as Permian pulled away for a 42-10 victory. Because of that result, the Bronchos believe that they have something extra to prove Friday night.

“I’m really excited about this game,” sophomore quarterback-safety Diego Cervantes said. “This is my first district game on varsity. The stakes are high and we just have to compete and show out what we got.”

“There is a little more hype because it is a rivalry,” senior quarterback Ivan Miranda said. “What makes it big is that it’s our first district game and we have to take it as that. This one counts and we have to make sure that we do our job.”

The matchup against Permian represents the final chance for Mendoza, Miranda and the other seniors to suit up as Bronchos against the rival Panthers. Knowing this just adds fuel for Mendoza do his part in order to get a win.

“You just want to beat every team you can senior year,” he said. “Going against Permian is a big game for us with it being the first district game. We have to find a way to come out with the win and we’re going to give it our best.”

Giving that great effort and staying focused on the task at hand is something that Servance expects to see leading up to the game.

“You concentrate on doing your job, reading your keys and paying attention to details and try to guide them through this week as much as you can,” he said.  “You don’t need that emotion now; you need emotion and great intensity for the game Friday night.”

>> FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS … FINALLY: The Permian matchup will be the first time since the Jefferson County (Miss.) game that Odessa High plays on a Friday in 35 days. Simply put, it’s a welcome change.

“I don’t think we realized it had been that long since we played on a Friday,” Servance said. “We played a heck of a schedule and played on Thursdays and a Saturday. Finally, we get back to a Friday ball game, so it’ll feel good.”

>> SNAPPING A STREAK: The Bronchos trail the all-time series 49-10-1 and have lost the last five meetings to the Panthers. The last Odessa High victory was a 31-28 thriller in 2013. Coincidentally, that was also the last time the Bronchos won a district opener.

>> OPENING ACT: The rest of District 2-6A gets their district schedules started this week as well. Midland High is at Amarillo Tascosa at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Dick Bivins Stadium in Amarillo. Midland Lee hosts Wolfforth Frenship at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Grande Communications Stadium in Midland.

>> SUBVARSITY GAMES: Odessa High and Permian face off for the second time this season.

JV White and JV Red play Permian Thursday at 5 and 7 p.m., respectively, Thursday at Ratliff Stadium. Freshman White and Freshman Red will be playing at the same times at the Ratliff Turf Fields. Permian won all four matchups back on Sept. 18.

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