ODESSA, TX —Well, it did not take long for Arlington Martin to find an offensive groove against the Permian Panthers Friday night.
Martin opened the offensive onslaught with three first downs on their first three plays from scrimmage. Starting at their 25, running back Chris Craft-Olayinka picked up 12, then junior QB Zach Mundell found Ryan Wallace on a post to the Permian 32.
A screen to wide out Lenard Lemons had them at the 21. From there, speedy running back Dwayne Williams burst through the Panther defense to the 12. Martin’s hurry up offense had Permian on their heels, and Mundell capitalized with a pretty back shoulder throw to Cal Robinson at the front left pylon for the score.
The 5 play, 75 yard drive took all of 1:15 off the clock.
Permian’s run heavy offense struggled to get going early against Martin’s talented front seven. Led by defensive end Ernest Cooper IV and linebacker Morice Blackwell Jr., Martin forced a three and out.
Permian kicker Carson Roberts booted it deep but allowed Jonathan Carter space to operate on the return. Carter made it to the 46 before being brought down.
Back to back screens had Martin at the Permian 39. All Martin had to do was get the ball in their playmaker's hands and let them outrun Permian. Unfortunately for Permian, Martin had 8 different playmakers to choose from.
From the 39, Mundell handed off to Williams and he outran the defense to the six yard line. Permian was able to get pressure on Mundell on first down for a four yard sack, but, as would be a theme, a good play by Permian would be followed by a better play from Martin.
On 3rd and goal from the 7, Jaden Miles dashed into the end zone to go up 14-0 halfway through the first.
Permian’s second drive went just as well as their first. They picked up two yards, then lost two, and picked up zero on third down. Carter had another good punt return and gave Martin the ball at their 44.
On 2nd and 11, Mundell hit Williams on a screen that he took 24 yards to the Permian 31. Permian kept them in check on the next two plays to make it 3rd and 10 and forced a Mundell throwaway as he was being brought down by a group of Panthers.
Martin tried to catch Permian sleeping with a fake field goal, but Mundell over threw a wide open receiver that was creeping down the left sideline all alone.
1st and 10 Permian from their 31. The Panthers finally got something going when they decided to throw the ball for the first time. Senior QB Easton Hernandez found Neri Carrasco on a hook for nine yards. Two plays later, following a first down run, Hernandez tried to hit Brandon Weathermoon over the middle, but the ball squirted out of his hands as he fell to the ground.
The 3rd and 8 pass attempt was incomplete, and Permian had a decision to make on 4th down. Roberts lined up to punt but threw it to team captain Chase Stell who picked up the first down and some before being tackled at the Martin 33. An Alex Rose run had them at the 17, and Hernandez scored three plays later to cut the lead to 7 with 10:21 to play in the first half.
Permian tried a pooch kick to prevent a good return, but it backfired when Jaden Miles scooped it up and ran it to the Panther 38. Four plays later and they were in the red zone.
A glimmer of hope for Mojo fans came when the 1st and goal snap flew over Mundell’s head for a 21 yard loss. The big defensive play was short lived, and Mundell found Ryan Wallace in the right side of the end zone for a touchdown to cap the three minute drive.
Permian moved the ball well on their ensuing possession and worked their way down to the Martin 37 from their own 30. A chop block forced them to throw, and Hernandez targeted an open receiver across the middle. The pass was thrown high and behind him, though, and was intercepted by Martin’s Placide Djungu-Sungu.
Permian’s defense answered and forced a three and out to get the ball back, but they could not doing anything with it and Carson jogged back on the field on 4th down.
Martin’s speed showed itself once again as they ran past the Permian front line to block the punt. They recovered it at the Permian 30 and score on a 14 yard Miles run three plays later.
Permian headed into the locker room at halftime down 28-7.
They came out of the break with their hair on fire, though, and marched 54 yards down the field behind their big back Malachi Medlock. Medlock capped the drive with a 3 yard touchdown run with 8:39 in the third quarter.
Once again, Permian’s momentum would not last long. On 1st and 10 from their 36, Mundell took a shotgun snap and flipped it beside him to KJ Polk Jr. Polk planted his foot in the ground and was off 64 yards untouched to pay dirt.
That touchdown put them up 36-14 following a two-point conversion. It was at this point that both teams knew what the end result would be.
Mundell hit Cal Robinson for another touchdown immediately after a Permian turnover to go up 43-14 less than a minute after Polk's TD. Mundell then found Wallace for his fourth passing touchdown of the night.
On Permian’s next drive Medlock fumbled and Martin’s Christian Traylor scooped it up and scored to make it 57-14 at the end of the third.
Despite that fumble, Medlock was a bright spot for the Panthers. The sophomore showed his power throughout the game, and proved he has the speed to be a back to look for in year’s to come. He scored his second touchdown of the night on a 55 yard scamper with 3:23 to play in game.
In all, Martin was just too fast for Permian and had too many options that the talented Panther defense had to account for.
Martin had four different running backs score five total touchdowns, and three different receivers score the four through the air. Martin won with a final score of 71-28.
Martin will go on to play the winner of Saturday’s Duncanville/Flower Mound game. It would be a monumental upset if it is not Duncanville.
The loss ends Permian’s fantastic season. They lost their first three games, but finished 7-2 and with a share of the district championship.
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