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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Bronchos' Wilson goes from newcomer to team leader - Odessa American: Prepsports

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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Bronchos' Wilson goes from newcomer to team leader

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Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2019 10:29 pm

It’s been quite a long journey for senior offensive lineman Louis Wilson with the Odessa High football team.

After arriving from Southern California to the Permian Basin during his sophomore year, Wilson went from a new addition to one of the leaders for the Bronchos over the course of the last two seasons.

That journey is nearing its end and another milestone will be reached at 7:30 tonight when Wilson and 29 other seniors will wear the red and white Bronchos uniform under the lights at Ratliff Stadium one last time as Odessa High hosts Amarillo Tascosa.  Playing under those lights is what Wilson says he’ll look back on the most from his time as a Broncho.

“Every game on Friday night or even Thursday was special when I stepped out on the field with my brothers,” he said. “This has been a great team to be a part of.”

Coming in from the Antelope Valley area of California near Los Angeles, Wilson already had an idea of what the world of Texas high school football was all about. His father, Louis Wilson IV, played defensive back at Permian in the early 1990s and now his son has developed his own legacy on the west side of Odessa.

“I couldn’t wait to get out here,” Wilson said. “There is a big difference in physicality between California and Texas high school football. It’s fast and you have to get things going quick.”

Head coach Danny Servance has seen a lot of growth from Wilson both on and off the football field during his time at Odessa High. There was the usual adjustment period he had to deal with, but Servance said that the work and effort dedicated to the weight room was the catalyst for Wilson’s development.

“When Louis came in, he had a lot of baby fat and wasn’t very strong,” Servance said. “But over that offseason, he really bought in and spent a lot of time working on his strength.

“He trimmed down a lot and now he’s a strong lineman. That’s what we needed to do in order to take his play to the next level.”

There has been plenty of growth on the physical side, but Servance also notes that Wilson has transformed himself as a person as well.

“When Louis first got here, he was really quiet and trying to get to know everyone,” Servance said. “He’s a very likable kid and leader. He adjusted well and it didn’t take him long for him to catch on and maximize his ability here at Odessa High.

“He’s very emotional and his passion can be misconstrued sometimes but he wants to win so badly. He gives great effort in practice and does a good job of leading the offensive line.”

The strongest validation of Wilson’s growth as a leader may come from his teammates. Linebacker Cade Mendoza and wide receiver/quarterback Dre Cobb are among those who have seen that transformation take shape firsthand.

“Once Louis got in the weight room, he really got big and fast,” Mendoza said. “He took that part of the game serious and he’s a beast now. He’s just a great guy to have on our team.”

“Guys like Louis and Cade were both leaders when I got moved up to varsity,” Cobb said. “The weight room is where I really saw that leadership come out.”

The leadership of players like Wilson, Mendoza and Cobb will be needed when the Bronchos face off against the Rebels because there is still something to play for besides pride.

A win this week followed by a win next Friday night at Midland High in the regular-season finale gives the Bronchos a playoff spot. That pathway gets shut off tonight if the Bronchos fall to the Rebels.

In last year’s meeting, Odessa High held a 14-13 lead halftime lead against Tascosa before the Rebels rallied in the second half for a 35-21 victory. Wilson said he still has that game stuck in his memory and wants to make sure that something like that doesn’t happen again this time around.

“We can’t let up,” he said. “That was the problem we ran into last year when they came back and beat us. We just have to keep fighting during the game.

“We have to keep going and playing no matter what happens. Anything is possible in this game.”

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