Midland Lee Practice/Jeffrey Gordon
MIDLAND, Texas – The Midland Lee Rebels are back. With players like Avery Akbar, Josh Traylor and Colby Standard on their side, it’s been almost easy on offense.
The Rebels (8-1, 4-1) have led the way with offense, having one of the most explosive cores in the state. Akbar, Traylor and Standard are all on pace to break 1,000 yards on the ground this week.
It won’t come easy against a stout defense, though. The Permian Panthers (7-1, 4-1) are on the other side this week, and the two will meet for the 57th time.
Last year, neither team was great, this year, each is facing off for second in a district that has been extremely tough. For the first time in a while, both communities of Midland and Odessa are excited for this game, as it has something at stake.
Something Lee coach Clint Hartman and Permian coach Blake Feldt made a deal on last year.
“I think it’s really good for both communities,” Hartman said. “In West Texas most of our kids, not all of them, are attached to the oil field some way, some how. Their families are tough and they’re tough…It’s a huge rivalry. I pinch myself knowing that I’m the head coach at Midland Lee.”
Coach Hartman might need to pinch himself again as he is preparing his team for a huge game. The Panthers have one loss for a reason, as its defense and rushing attack have carried it for the season.
On defense, Permian has allowed a district-low 135 points this year, led by Preston Ellison with 64 tackles.
“Their whole defense, they’re kind of like a team defense, they run around and get to the football,” Hartman said. “They may not have the big names but they play really good defense. You can tell by the score they play good defense. They’ll have a plan.”
The Panthers rush attack is also going to be hard to game plan for. Running out of the flex bone, the Panthers will chip away at the Rebel defense. Out of the backfield is Ed Williams, averaging 7.6 yards a carry and 980 on the season, he’s a threat. But Hartman said there’s another guy not getting enough attention.
Brother Miller has 308 receiving, 211 running and has even thrown a pass or two for this season. The well-rounded attacks goal is to get you betting run so it can gash you for big passing plays a few times a game.
“That’s offense is made for that,” Hartman said. “Run, run, run and then throw it deep. They ain’t throwing five-yard stops, they ain’t throwing it short. They’re planning on throwing it eight times and scoring on four, that’s how they think.”
The game is at Grande Communications Stadium in Midland Friday night. With this rivalry hitting a high note throughout the Permian Basin, Hartman knows it’s good to be home.
“Our home field will be packed and they won’t be there to watch me or Coach Feldt call plays. They’ll be there to watch the people on the field. Our kids are the showcase and it’ll be fun to let the kids to go out there and compete. It will be awesome.”
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