MIDLAND, TX — In a game that decided the District 2-6A title, the Odessa Permian Panthers (Mojo) (7-2)(4-1) traveled to Grande Communications Stadium in Midland to do battle with the ever dominant Midland Legacy Rebels (8-1)(5-0) Friday night, Nov. 5, at 7 pm.
The 1st quarter featured an explosive fireworks display from the Legacy Rebels. The Rebel defense stopped the Panthers cold after only a few first downs to give the Rebels’ offense the ball. Star Running back and Division I prospect, Makhilyn Young, showed out early with a 75-yard touchdown catch on Legacy’s first drive.
With an early 7-0 lead, the Rebels’ defense continued to smother Permian’s triple-option rushing attack. Permian successfully ran the ball inside, but ultimately, they did not move the ball enough to threaten the Rebels with a touchdown. Legacy forced another punt, and QB Marcos Davila and Young went back to work.
The second Midland Legacy drive lacked the explosiveness of the first but effectively and methodically moved the ball down the field. Beginning the drive deep in Rebels’ territory, Davila connected short passes to WR Donny Bishop and Addison Akbar. Young continued to pound the ball on the ground, but for the most part, Permian kept his explosiveness in check. Davila picked up a large chunk across midfield and into Permian territory with his legs, and the Rebels threatened to score again. Davila then connected on two straight passes to WR Chris Brazzle, one for 20+ yards to the 8-yard line, and the second, an 8-yard catch and run to the endzone for another touchdown. Again, legacy flexed its offensive muscles and led 13-0.
Permian continued to struggle offensively on their third drive. Then, disaster struck for the reeling Panthers when QB Rodney Hall put the ball on the turf, and Legacy pounced on the football for their first takeaway in Odessa Permian territory. With time coming to a close in the1st quarter, Midland Legacy continued to grind out another methodical drive in Permian territory down to the goal line.
The 2nd Quarter saw a complete momentum shift for the Permian Panthers. Although, Legacy capped off their offensive drive on the first play of the game with a 3-yard touchdown. Permian stopped Legacy in their tracks after that. Permian had success on the ground pushing the ball past midfield on their next possession. Looking to move into the red zone, Mojo put the ball in the dirt again, and Legacy snatched their second takeaway.
The Panthers had to make a stop on defense to keep the Rebels from running away with the ballgame and Mojo’s defense finally responded. They bottled up Young and forced Davila to hurry his throws and Odessa forced their first punt of the night.
After the punt, Permian’s triple-option attack finally established itself. Starting the drive deep in Mojo territory, the Panthers ground out a long, 68 yard, multiple first-down touchdown drive. QB Hall and the other running backs methodically pounded the ball inside, gaining chunk after chunk of yardage. Finally, with the ball on Legacy’s 20-yard line, Hall connected with WR Ja’Quan Richardson for a 20-yard touchdown. Mojo got on the board but still trailed 21-7.
Permian’s defense forced another 3-and-out from Midland Legacy on the ensuing drive. Time kept ticking away in the second half, but after the Legacy punt, the Panthers had just under three minutes left in the half. After a few successful runs by the Permian, the Panthers pulled out their bag of tricks around midfield. Hall threw the ball back behind the line of scrimmage to RB Zach Wheeler, who then launched the ball downfield to WR Lucas Salazar, who took it to the house. Salazar left the coverage in the dust, and Permian scored at the end of the half to make the game close, 21-14.
The battle for the district title turned into an absolute defensive slugfest in the 2nd half. Legacy faced a worst-case scenario coming out of the locker room. QB Davila threw an interception to a blitzing Permian linebacker who took the ball all the way to the Rebels’ 1-yard line before Davila finally chased him down. Legacy’s defense responded by stonewalling the Mojo offense for three straight plays to force a field goal. Legacy then blocked that field goal attempt, and the Panthers walked away from that pivotal interception with zero points.
The Permian defense did not manage to replicate the magic of their previous outing, and Legacy came alive. WR Bishop and RB Young helped the Rebels push the ball down the field before Young finally capped off the drive with a 17-yard scamper into the end zone. Legacy extended their lead, 28-14.
Permian managed to narrow the lead to seven points in the middle of the 4th quarter. Permian faced a 4th and 16 at the Legacy 41-yard line with the ball in Midland Legacy territory. Hall threw up a prayer, and Permian made an outstanding catch over two Rebel defenders at the 1-yard line. One play later, Mojo punched the ball in on the ground and came back into striking distance of the Rebels, 28-21.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, time marched on, and the 4th quarter ticked away. They had one more chance to stop the Legacy Rebels, but discovered their Midland foes are state-ranked for a reason. A highly efficient drive saw the Rebels put the ball into the end zone for a final time with less than a minute left to go in the game. The Midland Legacy Rebels won, 34-21.
The Midland Legacy Rebels won the District 2-6A title outright with their victory over the Odessa Permian Panthers.
Legacy will open the postseason at home next Friday at 7 pm against El Paso Pebble Hills while Mojo will travel to El Paso to face El Paso Franklin.