High-Flying El Paso Eastwood Faces Powerhouse Odessa Permian

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Photo via Gordon DeLoach, TexasHSFootball.com

Driving nearly 300 miles from Odessa, the Permian Panthers will come into El Paso to square up against the high-flying, up-tempo attack of Eastwood on Friday night.

The Panthers (2-0) walk into Friday’s game riding high as the no. 30 team ranked in all of Texas 6A. They’ve shown substantial growth and seem to be a prominent squad.

They’ve already upended Austin Vandegrift 28-24 in a close fight, and stomped over Franklin, 42-14.

Head coach Blake Feldt appreciates playing El Paso teams early on in the season because it gives exposure to the teams they will end up playing in district.

“It’s always good to play El Paso teams early on in the season,” Feldt said. “They all give us a good tune-up, they’re all well coached teams and they all compete at a high level. We always look forward to playing El Paso teams.”

Feldt builds his offense around the rare triple-option attack. This offense is both shown in shotgun and under-center situations. Quarterback Steve Steen leads the Panthers offensively. Last week he scored two touchdowns each against Franklin and helped their offense total 450 yards on 43 plays, according to OA Online.

It’s all credited to the unpredictable triple-option offense this team runs. It’s an old school look with adaptations Fedlt has implemented.

“You don’t see it a lot,” he said. “That’s an interesting thing to deal with. Defenses don’t really see it or prepare for it.”

Having implemented this a couple years after he joined the program, Fedlt is proud of how the scheme has transformed into a powerful mechanism.

“We always used to be a spread offense team. We were spread offense when I first got to Permian,” he said. “We felt that the talent we had and were going to continue to have didn’t give us the opportunity to make deep playoff runs. With that, we evaluated everything—wishbone, spread, old school packages. We came up with this triple option four years ago and it evolved ever since.”

Despite the confidence in the scheme, Fedlt understands the high level his team needs to play Friday to stay undefeated.

“They (Eastwood) do a great job offensively,” he said. “They have a lot of weapons. Their quarterbacks can make a lot of plays. They can score quickly, so we have to be fundamentally sound on defense.”

Eastwood (1-1) enters the game after a resilient 67-21 win against long-time rivals Bel Air. They started off a little slower, going neck-and-neck with Bel Air, but after the half, Eastwood accumulated 33 unanswered points.

“Teams better watch out for Eastwood,” sophomore quarterback Chris Castaneda said.

Castaneda ranks as the no. 6 quarterback in 6A with 674 passing yards already, according to Maxpreps. He has a wide variety of targets and weapons to throw to as well. The team has eight different players who have scored one or more touchdowns in a game.

Also, the team can keep it on the ground with Noah Rios and Freddy Contreras. While Rios leads with 234 rushing yards, Contreras is helpful on the team as well, already having contributed 101 yards on the ground.

After the news of Franklin being defeated by this team, head coach Julio Lopez knew that Permian couldn’t be taken lightly.

“We know we’re facing a great team,” he said. “We have to come out and execute.”

The game is slated for 6:30 p.m. Mountain Standard Time at Eastwood’s Trooper Stadium.

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