Digital Exclusive: Golden footballs impact athletic programs in Basin area

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PERMIAN BASIN, Texas (YourBasin) – According to the NCAA, around seven percent of high school football athletes go on to compete at the collegiate level. From there, roughly two percent of collegiate athletes go on to compete at the professional level. Here from the Permian Basin many athletes have walked to hallways, played on Friday nights, and few have made it to the biggest dance, the Super Bowl.

So, here is a question for you. How many players in the Basin have played in the Super Bowl? Did you guess four? If so, you are correct. That’s one from Odessa High School and three from Midland Lee.

“It’s kind of a hands on experience for our kids. To see those gold balls and to know they are associated with, like a Marcus Cannon, who played for the New England Patriots, who has played in several Super Bowls,” said Danny Servance, Odessa High head football coach.

Marcus Cannon provided his stomping grounds with a gold football. The OHS alum began his career under the Friday night lights of west Texas. Later furthering his career at TCU and getting drafted by the New England Patriots in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL draft.

Servance says that the kids have someone to look up to. This gives the athletes a tangible goal to obtain.

“I think what it tells a kid here is that champions and guys that played in the Super Bowl have walked right through the same halls. This school and field house hasn’t changed. I think that gives a kid an opportunity to look at that and say, ‘man I can do that,'” said Clint Hartman, Midland Lee head football coach

The late Cedric Benson, Ryan Tucker, and Keith Bishop all coming from Midland Lee. Benson reaching the Super Bowl with the Chicago Bears in 2006. Tucker reaching the Super Bowl with the Saint Louis Rams in 1999. Bishop reached three Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos.

Hartman has said the players that have played in Midland Lee have laid the foundation for athletes to follow. For these west Texans, hard work, commitment, and staying focused helped them reach their goals of playing for the grand prize.

Another gold football is at Alpine High School. Alpine alumni Bake Turner played in Super Bowl III with the New York Jets.

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