On a dreary night that offered drizzle and a wet field, the victory provided a little redemption for last year’s trip to El Paso where the Spartans knocked the Panthers out of the playoffs in the same Bi-District Round. “What comes around, goes around” or something like that.
Permian received the opening kickoff. Mojo fans were immediately brought to their feet as Ben Saldivar reeled off a 58-yard return to setup the Panthers at the Spartan 38. Seven rushing plays later, Juzstyce Lara was banging his way into the endzone. Adding insult to injury, on El Paso’s ensuing first play from scrimmage, Mojo’s Braden Garcia picked off his first of two passes on the night.
The Permian offense failed to convert the miscue but the punt backed the Spartans up to their own 20. Three Panther penalties aided Pebble Hills in knotting the score on a 16-yard TD pass to end the first quarter 7-7.
Jakob Garcia and Isaiah Welton hooked up to usher in the second quarter. The 7-yard TD strike capped off an 8-play scoring drive. Pebble Hills continued to struggle against the Mojo defense. Permian’s next possession pushed the lead to 20-7 as Lara once again reached paydirt from four yards out.
Three consecutive interceptions left the two combatants heading to the locker room for intermission. The Black Cats owned a two touchdown lead with 24 minutes to play to claim a Gold Ball.
Permian slowed the game tempo with ball control on offense, while the Mojo defense smothered the Spartans in the second half. Running back Uriel Montoya added to the Black Cat tally in the third stanza. The short touchdown run capped off a 14-play, 72-yard scoring drive that ate up over eight minutes of the quarter.
In their last game of the 2023 season, Pebble Hills saved face by making it back into the endzone in the final period. It would take eight plays for the Spartans to score midway into the quarter. A successful onside kick gave them temporary hope as the Mojo defense squashed the drive outside the redzone. From there, Permian simply ran out the clock for the win.
Lara finished the night with two rushing touchdowns, while Garcia recorded one passing TD. The Black Cat defense held the high-powered Spartans to under 200 total yards. Permian (7-4) will advance to the Area Round of the state playoffs and face sixth-ranked North Crowley (11-0) at Abilene’s Shotwell Stadium on Friday, November 17. Kickoff at 7:00 p.m.
| Pebble Hills
PER – J Lara 1 run (J Franco kick), 8:13
EPH – Johnson 16 pass from Ochoa (kick good), 4:12
PER – I Welton 7 pass J Garcia (J Franco kick), 11:56
PER – J Lara 4 run (Kick blocked), 7:29
PER – U Montoya 1 run (Conv failed), 1:42
EPH – Ochoa 3 run (Conv failed) 7:48
|SPORTZ GAME STATS|
Summary and stats – Terry Alan.