Oct. 27—This year's open week couldn't have come at a better time for the Permian football team.
The Panthers are currently on a four-game winning streak after defeating San Angelo Central 21-7 last Friday at Ratliff Stadium, putting them in second place in the District 2-6A standings and clinching a playoff spot.
It had been nine straight weeks of action for Permian since the start of the campaign and that's evident in some of the lineup changes the Panthers have made due to injuries.
The team will use the off week to recover and prepare for its final district contest of the season next week against Midland Legacy in Midland.
"We look at this week as a week to improve and get better," Permian head coach Jeff Ellison said. "We've started doing that this week already and the kids have done a good job of being focused on that."
Permian has also altered its normal practice schedule this week, with film study taking place Monday and players focusing on fundamentals to stay prepared on their time off.
Ellison believes the defense held up strong in coverage last week against San Angelo Central and he wants to see the offense continue to improve on finishing its drives.
"Getting this bye week right now in a crucial point in the season for us, I think it's good," Ellison said. "I'm proud of the position they put themselves in."
>> STREAK: Along with the current winning streak, Permian was able to uphold another string of success that dates back to the 2017 season.
After the win over San Angelo Central, this season is the fifth straight the Panthers have clinched a postseason berth and the fourth under Ellison's direction.
The last time the Panthers missed the playoffs was in 2016, went they went 6-4 overall and finished district play with a 2-4 record.
>> ON CALL: The injury bug has gotten to Permian a few times over the past few weeks, causing some shuffling to occur at multiple spots.
One of the affected positions includes the running back spot, where Juzstyce Lara and Zach Wheeler have stepped in to take over after Tristan Johnson had to watch from the sideline.
Against Midland High two weeks ago, Lara carried the ball 16 times for 104 yards and a rushing score.
Last week, Wheeler ran it 18 times for 83 yards to help the Panthers keep the chains moving consistently.
"It's a long season and injuries are part of the game," Ellison said. "Not only them, but there's other people that have had to step up because of injuries and I'm very proud of our football team.
"When their number's called, they've answered the bell."
>> PREPARING FOR A WHILE: Back when Permian started this season, it had some tough matchups scheduled for its nondistrict slate of games.
That included playing teams like Waco Midway and Amarillo Tascosa, all in preparation for what might be seen during district play.
Ellison believes playing in those games was beneficial for his team in the long run, giving everyone an opportunity to see different concepts on the field.
"That's the hope of a good nondistrict schedule, to make you better for district and I thought that happened this year," he said. "We had some tough ones, we've had some tough district games.
"We knew that we were going to have that, so I think our preparation for district helped us out for some tough games."
>> STANDINGS: After last week's games, Midland Legacy sits at the top of District 2-6A with a 4-0 record in district play.
Permian is in second at 4-1, with Abilene High following closely at 3-1 in third place and owning a tiebreaker over the Panthers after defeating them earlier this year.
San Angelo Central currently has the fourth playoff spot at 2-2, with Midland High (1-3) and Odessa High (1-4) still having a chance to get in.
>> LOWER LEVELS: The Permian subvarsity football teams got favorable results against San Angelo Central last week, with the only squad suffering a setback being Junior Varsity Black.
The Freshman White team defeated the Bobcats 14-10, while Freshman Black won 20-14.
On the junior varsity side, JV White won its game by a 6-0 score and JV Black fell 21-6.
Like varsity, all subvarsity teams are scheduled to have an open date this week before going up against Midland Legacy to close out their regular seasons.
PERMIAN PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Position: Inside Linebacker
Last Week: Finished the game against San Angelo Central with eight tackles to go along with three tackles for loss and two sacks.
This season: Second on the team with 83 total tackles on the year, tied for the team lead in tackles for loss (12) and sacks (7).