• November 22, 2020

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Bronchos take on Bulldogs for 100th time - Odessa American: Football

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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Bronchos take on Bulldogs for 100th time

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Posted: Thursday, October 22, 2020 8:30 pm

It’s been a century in the making, but now it’s here.

When the Odessa High football team hosts Midland High tonight, it will be the 100th meeting between the schools.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 at Ratliff Stadium.

The two teams have been playing each other since 1921.The University Interscholastic League, which was founded in 1910, recognized its first football state championship in 1920.

For Odessa High head coach Danny Servance, this year’s edition of the matchup is special both for the anniversary and for the fact that it’s the first District 2-6A game of the season.

“It’s always a big game and it’s also kind of appropriate because of what the UIL is celebrating,” Servance said. “Both teams have gotten after it every time they’ve played each other and we expect the same thing to happen Friday night.”

The matchup between two of the oldest high schools started off as the Yellowjackets against the Bulldogs before Odessa High switched its mascot to the Bronchos beginning in 1929.

Since 1921, the two schools have faced off against each other nearly every year and in some cases, twice in the same season.

Midland High coach Tim Anuszkiewicz is in his fourth season at the helm of the Bulldogs’ program and had two separate stints on the Midland High staff as the team’s defensive coordinator under Craig Yenzer.

After being a part of the matchup for most of the last two decades, it’s something that he’s gained a greater appreciation for.

“It’s neat to be a part of that,” said Anuszkiewicz, who was head coach at Borger from 2006 through 2008 before returning to Midland. “There’s a long running history and tradition of football here in West Texas. Between Midland and Odessa, it’s always been a rivalry game with both towns and the old high schools and communities.”

Servance added: “It’s just a matchup of two blue-collar teams and they work extremely hard. Both teams may not have the best athletes in the area but they have some of the hardest-working kids in the area.

“It’s just that kind of game where you roll up your sleeves and go to work.”

This year’s centennial matchup also marks a milestone for Midland High as it also marks 100 years of playing football. The team is wearing commemorative stickers on its helmets to mark the occasion.

The 2020 matchup is quite a bit different. The date was altered due to the scheduling changes caused by COVID-19 and this is also the first time in five seasons that the game does not serve as the regular-season finale for both teams.

For Servance, just getting the opportunity to play at home is something that he’s looking forward to the most.

“It’s just like The Wizard of Oz, you know, there’s no place like home,” he said. “We love playing at Ratliff Stadium.

“It’ll be different with all the rule changes, but we’re excited to play in front of our home fans.”

He’s also hoping that the team can find a way to snap a six-game losing streak to the Bulldogs. The last time the two teams faced off against each other at Ratliff Stadium, Midland High spoiled a potential playoff berth for Odessa High with a 49-35 victory.

This time around, both teams are looking for that first victory and each coach understands what they need to do.

“The scouting approach is different and we feel like that we’re going into a Game 1 situation,” Anuszkiewicz said of Odessa High. “My experience in this district is that it always seems that Odessa High comes up and beats somebody that they surprise. They’ll be well prepared.”

Servance had that same respect for the Bulldogs program as well.

“If you look at the games they’ve played, they’ve been right there until late in the second half,” Servance said. “They’ve got a big offensive line who’s doing a good job and an offense that can put up points. You just have to do your best to slow those guys down defensively.”

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