• November 19, 2019

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Permian's Gamboa ready for last game at Ratliff Stadium - Odessa American: Football

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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Permian's Gamboa ready for last game at Ratliff Stadium

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Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2019 8:29 pm

Isaak Gamboa and the rest of his senior teammates know that this Friday will probably be the last time they suit up and take the field at Ratliff Stadium as Permian players.

That is unless the Panthers manage to clinch a home field spot in next week’s bi-district round of the state playoffs in 6A. But for right now, Gamboa plans to make the most of his final time on the field this Friday.

The senior offensive lineman knows there’s going to be some emotional moments before the game with the senior night festivities and after the game when it sinks in (regardless of the outcome) when Permian takes on District 2-6A rival Midland Lee.

“It’s going to open my mind so that I’ll know that this is it,” Gamboa said. “But it’ll help me realize that I have to give it everything. I’m not going to have any more home games after this. This is also my last game against Midland Lee. I plan on playing my heart out and being physical and giving everything on the field.”

As a senior, Gamboa knows there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with the role.

“To be honest, as a senior, it’s a big role, especially being on Permian’s team,” Gamboa said. “It’s something we take a lot of pride in.”

The 5-foot-9, 250-pound player has competed at the varsity level for three years now. He knows it’s a unique opportunity to be able to play at the top level at a school like Permian.

“I take a lot of pride in it,” Gamboa said. “The seniors when I was a sophomore, they took me under and provided me with all the information that I would need to better myself. My junior year, it was the same thing but I had a bigger role as having to be ready at any moment. This year, it’s me having to take on a leadership role which was something that I had to prepare myself for, mentally.”

As one of the few returning players heading into this season, Gamboa and his senior teammates understand how crucial it’s been to help lead the younger players.

“We’ve just been showing them all the ropes and helping them to know how we do stuff,” Gamboa said. “We have to be role models for the younger players so that they can be even better than us.”

This past offseason, second-year head coach Jeff Ellison coached the players in spring practices for the first time in the head-coaching role, something that Gamboa described as a pivotal moment for him as a player.

“This offseason was a game-changer,” Gamboa said. “It was crazy. Having coach Ellison for an entire offseason. It helped improve me and helped improve all of us and help us become more responsible.”

Gamboa’s enjoyed playing under the same person who coaches the offensive line that is also the head coach.

“(Ellison) takes a lot of pride with our o-line,” Gamboa said. “We respect him. The offensive line is what leads the offense and he takes great pride in being the offensive line coach and the head coach.”

The Panthers (5-4 overall, 3-1 in district) will look to clinch a share of the District 2-6A title this Friday against the Rebels (9-0, 4-0).

“This week’s game is going to be a fight,” Gamboa said. “It’s not going to be easy. We know it’s going to be a dog fight. It’s going to be an intense game. The team that wants it more is going to win it.

“We pretty much want to prove that we can beat them this year. No matter who’s playing, we’re going to bring our game and we’re going to be ready. We want to win.”

The Panthers are looking to get over last week’s loss to the Wolfforth Frenship Tigers.

“Saturday came around and coached talked to us and told us to put that loss behind us,” Gamboa said. “We want to win our last district game. We can’t let what happened last Friday happen again to us. We have to be ready for this upcoming game.”

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