ODESSA — Three first half Permian turnovers led to El Paso Eastwood taking a 28-14 halftime lead in the home opener for the Panthers. In the second half, Mojo slapped 42 points on the Troopers to claim a 56-34 victory on Friday night in Ratliff Stadium.
Going into the contest, the Panthers owned a six-game winning streak over the Troopers. The last meeting between the two teams was back in 1992 in the Area Round of the state playoffs, where Mojo dished out a 61-8 lashing. The first quarter of tonight's game seemed to find itself on the other end of the spectrum. Eastwood took its opening possession down the field and scored on the eighth play of the drive. Permian used half as many plays to reach paydirt on its first set of downs, which was capped off on a 26-yard touchdown run by Brother Miller to knot the game at 7-7. After each team went through two possessions, the quarter ended with no change on the scoreboard.
Three turnovers by the Panthers in the second quarter were converted into 21 Eastwood points. A Permian fumble at its own 30 was returned to the PHS 4-yard line. One play later, the Troopers took a 14-7 lead. Permian's next possession was good for a pick-six interception return of 58 yards to make it 21-7. Steve Steen and Miller hooked up for a 17-yard touchdown to cut the margin back to seven. The Mojo defense forced Eastwood to punt on the next series of downs, but another intercepted Permian pass setup the Troopers on the Permian 24. Two plays later, El Paso cashed in on the miscue on a 9-yard TD run to make it 28-14 at the intermission.
Four plays into the third quarter, a rejuvenated black-clad team marched 61 yards into the endzone to cut the gap to 28-21. The drive was capped off with a 17-yard Steen pass to Kobe Robinson. The Mojo defense, led by Matt Jones, Preston Ellison, and Seth Higdon, put the clamps on the Troopers. The following Eastwood possession was abruptly ended when Ellison stripped a receiver of the rock to give the Panthers the ball at the El Paso 34. Permian was unable to convert the turnover into points, thanks to a 15-yard penalty and stalled drive. As a result, Eastwood got the ball back near midfield and six plays later was at the Permian 19 facing a 4th-and-1. Higdon disrupted the play and the Panthers took over on their own end of the field. A trade of punts set the Panthers up on their own 29 with a 1st-and-10 to end the third quarter.
Robinson ushered in the fourth quarter fury that was dished out by the Panthers on the Troopers. On the first play from scrimmage, the senior received took an end sweep to the house on a 71-yard romp to tie the game at 28-28. Less than a minute later, an 18-yard touchdown run by Steen gave Mojo its first lead of the game. Eastwood answered with a 10-play, 67-yard scoring drive to knot the game at 34-34. From there, it would be all Black-and-White. Permian regained the lead of a short field goal by Jacob James. Jones, a sophomore linebacker, got into the act and picked off an El Paso pass that led to a touchdown catch by Hunter Hawkins from 19 yards out.
The Mojo defensive ballhawks took over the game with back-to-back interception returns. Christian Tschuauner recorded a pick-six of 49 yards. That would be followed by Ellison's 85-yard interception return to cap off the game's scoring. Steen ended the game with 103 yards rushing and another 129 passing. Robinson also had a 100 yard rushing game, while Hawkins led the Permian receivers with four receptions for 52 yards.
Tickets for next Thursday's Homecoming game against Bishop Timon - St. Jude will go on sale Monday at 8:00 a.m. at the ECISD athletic office. The Tigers will be traveling from Buffalo, New York to the Permian Basin for this non-district contest at Ratliff Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 7:00 p.m.
| BY QUARTER
EPE - Robert Minjarez 26 pass from Seth Ochoa (Diego Reyes kick), 10:04
PER - Brother Miller 26 run (Jacob James kick), 8:28
EPE - Noah Rios 4 run (Reyes kick), 4:33
EPE - Noah Vasquez 58 INT return (Reyes kick), 4:24
PER - Miller 17 pass from Steve Steen (James kick), 2:44
EPE - Rios 9 run (Reyes kick), 0:15
PER - Kobe Robinson 17 pass from Steen (James kick), 10:36-
PER - Robinson 71 run (James kick), 11:36
PER - Steen 18 run (kick failed), 10:47
EPE - Evan Aguilar 10 run (kick failed), 8:00
PER - James 18 FG, 5:26
PER - Hunter Hawkins 19 pass from Steen (kick failed), 3:28
PER - Christian Tschuauner 49 INT return (kick failed), 1:54
PER - Preston Ellison 85 INT return (James kick), 0:22
| GAME STATISTICS
| First Downs
| Total Yards