Photo via OAOA.com
By: Hunter Cooke
October 20th, 2016

 

In a district as good as the “new” Little Southwest Conference (2-6A), you can’t afford to fall behind in the district standings. One or two losses almost guarantees that you’ll have a much more difficult path in the playoffs, and three losses means that you might not make it at all.

Well, after entering the district season with a spotless record and wins over Austin Vandegrift, El Paso Eastwood, and El Paso Franklin, the Panthers have dropped three straight district games.

They were up on Wolfforth Frenship 28-10 before the Tigers came roaring back, defeating the Panthers 40-28. Then they lost a one point game to a Midland squad that’s looking incredibly tough, and they most recently lost a one point game to Amarillo Tascosa, who’s not having a bad season themselves. This sets up a must win matchup with their next opponent, who just so happens to be… undefeated San Angelo Central.

Central has been bludgeoning teams this year. They demolished a good Abilene team by 30+ points in pre-district play, and have absolutely burned through the rest of their schedule. The closest anyone’s got to beating the Bobcats was Midland Lee, and they only came within 14 points of taking out the ‘Cats. In the game after that, Central righted the ship, blowing out Frenship by a 42 point margin. They’re an absolute juggernaut, and they’re West Texas’s best chance to upset some of these dominant Dallas teams in 6A’s incredibly difficult Region 1.

For the legendary Permian Panthers, they have a must win game against the best team on their schedule. Speedy slotback Kobe Robinson is done for the year with an injury, and the rest of the Panthers’ young team have struggled to put opponents away. This is a do-or-die moment, if Permian wants to even make the playoffs this year, they need this win.

Even though Permian brings in a 4-3 record, this game might be closer than you think. It’ll be played in Odessa, and the home field advantage at Ratliff stadium is always bigger than anyone thinks. Permian’s lost two games by one point, they haven’t been getting dominated in their losses. They have a young defense that will be challenged by Cal Vincent and the Central offense that’s been putting up absolutely stupid numbers this year, but if quarterback Steve Steen can operate the Panther’s triple option attack effectively, they’ll have a chance to put up some points on the Central defense.

This is a game Permian absolutely has to win, for the sake of its postseason. Four losses guarantees no playoffs. Three losses might still mean no playoffs, but at least there’s a chance for the Panthers to do something. Permian is 4-3, but it’s a sneaky 4-3. They’ll have their shot against Central. The only question is if they’ll take it or not.