ODESSA, Texas – The MOJO is back in Odessa: As Permian prepares for its season opener, head coach Jeff Ellison says he has been pleased with the progress he’s seen during practice.
“You get pads on, you get helmets on – especially with offensive linemen and defensive linemen, you kind of have to start all over again with that contact,” said Ellison. “It’s been a while for them, but they’ve handled it well.”
Offensively, the Panthers will undergo a change at quarterback with Harper Terry taking over for Easton Hernandez. Early last year, while Hernandez recovered from an injury, Terry took advantage of some valuable playing time in several games.
“I feel like that really matured me as a quarterback and just matured me as a leader,” said Terry, who is now a senior. “Being able to have those starts under my belt really just helps so much.”
“You can really tell with Harper his confidence has gone way up,” Ellison said of the quarterback. “We had a good practice on Saturday, started to come together. Offensively, it often kind of takes a while to knock the rust off.”
Terry also benefits from a talented supporting cast. Junior running back Malachi Medlock was named District 2-6A’s Newcomer of the Year after averaging nearly seven yards per carry last season. Sophomore Harris Sewell is another returning All-District selection on the offensive line.
“They make my job so much easier,” said Terry. “They allow me to be calm and cool and collected during the play. I just have so many tools around me. It makes it so much easier.”
On the other side of the ball, MOJO will once again present plenty of problems. The Panthers’ overall athleticism and versatility should be a strength of the team.
“Something about this year is we have a lot of speed,” said senior defensive back Kendyn Armstong. “I’m really excited about that. Everybody on our defensive side can move. It’s going to be interesting.”
“We have a lot of young kids that didn’t play a lot last year,” said Ellison. “I’m really proud of how those young guys have come on.”