HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Samuel des Bronchos prepares for changes presented by new coaching staff

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Odessa wide receiver High Terrance Samuel was not immediately convinced what new head coach Dusty Ortiz and his new staff were selling when the transition began in March.

Samuel was hearing things that sounded good, but an underlying loyalty to former head coach Danny Servance made him step back and assess the situation.

“I’ll be honest, I didn’t really agree,” Samuel said. “Then when they started to say they were going to do more passing and changing the offense, I just kind of agreed.”

The Bronchos are very lucky he did.

Offensive coordinator Creighton Reed knew what he had with Samuel, a big play receiver capable of stretching the court and putting pressure on defenses from sideline to sideline.

Samuel also has a soft voice, but Reed needed his senior wideout to be a leader and mentor for some of the younger players.

“We challenged our seniors to be leaders,” said Reed. “I think the most important thing was to bond with them.

“When we got there it wasn’t just about football, we weren’t just talking about football, it was about building relationships with them and finding out who they are as people, who their parents are, who their siblings are and what they are.loves to do and just try to let them know that we care about them and love them more than soccer players.

“I think everyone, once they feel that someone cares and loves them, they will do whatever they can for you on the football field.”

Samuel quickly agrees with Reed.

He’s caught 30 passes for 422 yards and two touchdowns in the first five games this season.

That’s a 400 percent increase in receptions and a nearly 700 percent improvement in distance traveled from the previous season, when he had six catches for 54 yards and one score. .

“It’s a lot more fun now,” he said. “Instead of going out there and blocking every play, they make us do sweeps and that comes from the coaches.

“They gave us more confidence. The receivers are more focused, are not afraid to go get the ball; I like it, feeling that this was what we needed for our attack.

He will have the chance to add to those numbers when the Bronchos host San Angelo Central at 7 p.m. Friday at Ratliff Stadium.

Samuel has taken on the leadership role his coaches have given him, keeping a cool head even as things turn around him.

It also helps that Odessa High appears to have seen the emergence of Ivan Carreon in the wide receiver’s other place, his 6-foot-6 frame making it difficult for defenders to stop him, which they don’t. haven’t done in the first four games of the season.

Last week, however, Midland High managed to get Carreon off the Bronchos’ game plan for most of the night and quarterback Diego Cervantes needed someone to step in and make plays.

Samuel answered the call, catching nine passes for 165 yards in the District 2-6A’s opener. For him, it was just another night on the pitch.

“This is how I play,” he said. “When one of our receivers has such a bad night, the rest of us have to step in.

“If I have a bad night, I expect Ivan or someone else to step up. I think it started in the offseason, then 7v7 and summer.

For Reed, it was the culmination of six months of working on and off the pitch, watching Samuel guide his teammates when needed, and then shaking things up when they weren’t going well in the loss to the Les. Bulldogs.

Reed never saw a change in attitude from Samuel.

“He’s not a vocal kid, he sets an example,” Reed said. “If you watch the Midland game, this kid never did a play off.

“He was out there playing all the games we asked him to do and the level of effort never changed. Before I came here I was a college coach and I think TJ can play at the next level if he really wants to; he’s one of the best high school road racers I’ve ever seen and he has really good hands and I just think he’s going to get better every week.

>> Follow Lee Scheide on Twitter at @OALeeScheide


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