ODESSA, Texas – Like many other teams across the state, Odessa High has patiently waited for its opportunity to take the field in 2020.

While practices were on hold in August, the Bronchos extended their strength and conditioning programs to put themselves in better physical shape. The time off also provided other opportunities for growth.

“Our team – we had virtual meetings when we were on that, I don’t know what you’d call it – COVID break I guess? We were getting a lot more mental reps, doing quizzes over what we’re supposed to do, and stuff like that,” said senior defensive lineman Caleb Poitevint. “As soon as we hit the field, we’re ready. We just have to get the physicality down.”

On offense, the Bronchos return about half of their starters. One player bringing back some experience is quarterback Diego Cervantes.

In limited action as a sophomore, Cervantes accounted for five touchdowns.

“He was kind of thrown into the fire last year but this year’s he’s had time to really develop into a quarterback,” said head coach Danny Servance. “Time to really – not be in a hurry – but to slow down and spend a lot of time watching film and getting more familiar with reading defenses.”

Servance says the team will still have limited depth in several areas, the Bronchos will have some flexibility up front on defense.

“You’ll see coaches running kids in and out on the defensive line,” said Servance. “That’s important to have guys fresh so that you can get a fresh pass rush so guys can play at their peak performance on every play.”

“Yeah, I feel like we’re more energized, this team is,” said Poitevint. “I feel like when we’re ready to go hit, we’re going to go hit them. We have depth in the backfield now so we can just keep hitting them and hitting them until we’re tired.”