Publication: San Antonio Express-News
Date: December 21, 1991
It’s Marshall vs. Mojo, the old against the new. Such is the scenario when the Rams take on Odessa Permian for the regular 5A state football championship at 3 p.m. Saturday at Texas Stadium. For 15-0 Permian, this is the 10th trip to the title game since the team went for the first time in 1965. The Panthers are 4-4-1 in championship games. Marshall is 13-2 and playing in its first season past the quarterfinals.
“This is a great thrill for us, a great honor for our team and for San Antonio,” Rams coach David Visentine said.
While this is Marshall’s first trip into Dallas Cowboys territory, Permian returns to the scene of its last state title when the Panthers downed Houston Aldine, 28-14, in 1989. Permian was guilty of violating preseason practice rules and was ineligible for the playoffs last fall.
Despite the immense state title experience for Permian and the fact San Antonio teams have been to seven state championship games in the past 27 years, this is the first time an Alamo City club will play Permian since the Odessans downed Lee, 11-6, in the 1965 finals in San Angelo. John Harris of Brownwood, who produces the weekly computerized Harris Ratings for state teams, ranks Permian and Marshall 1-2, respectively. He has made Permian a 12-point favorite and even claims in one of his newsletters that the Panthers, “just might be strongest 5A team ever assembled.” Northside athletic director Dub Farris, though, says the 1972 Panthers were the best he has seen. For six seasons 1970-75 Farris was on the other side of the tracks, so to speak, on the Odessa High staff, the last two as head coach.
“The kids think it is such an honor to be on that team (Permian),” said Ferris. “There is a good player at every position and if a starter goes out he may not get his spot back. “There is good enrollment and great participation as a result of city expectations. They have a feeder program from three middle schools of more than 1,000 students each and good coaches. In fact, they have 16 football coaches for the ninth through 12th grades. “Plus, they are focused the year round on winning the state championship and the community expects them to win, although the ‘Mojo’ (Permian’s battle cry) is more of something for the fans.”
Visentine, who had a Class 4A state finalist at Lewisville in 1972, says Permian is “big, strong and quick.” He said weights listed for starters are fudged on the down side. “They have a lot of team quickness both offensively and defensively, have an outstanding running back (Malcolm Hamilton) and do a good job of throwing the football (with quarterback Stormy Case),” Visentine said. “They are probably as balanced a team as we have seen in a long time.”
Permian has rushed for 4,242 yards and 56 touchdowns and passed for 1,787 with 22 scores. Hamilton has 1,754 yards and 29 touchdowns and John Williams has 1,229 yards and 11 touchdowns out of the Panthers’ wing-T offense. Case has thrown for 1,713 yards and 21 touchdowns. Four receivers are between 303 and 593 yards, including tight end Tony Daniels, whom Visentine tabs a college prospect.
“Their defense is pretty stingy (allowing 1,270 yards rushing and 917 passing),” Visentine said. “They line up in a 4-3 and stay that way. They play error-free football and are probably quicker on defense than offense because they really get to the ball well and have bottled up some real good running backs. “I feel we’ll have to throw the ball more than in the past. But I also think we have the advantage of two good running backs (Anthony Holmes and Carlos Reza), and they are going to have to show they can stop both of them.”
Although held to just 47 yards last week by Aldine, Holmes has 1,935 for the season and has scored 25 touchdowns. Reza had 88 against Aldine for a total of 1,392 and scored his 24th touchdown last week. Visentine says Reza still should be effective even though he broke a bone in his right hand last week and will be wearing a splint for Saturday’s game. Mark Saldana and David Sammon have combined to throw just 74 passes, including 15 in a loss to Southwest when Holmes was out.