A return to the glory years appears to be within reach for the real life Panthers of "Friday Night Lights" fame. Odessa Permian is 9-0 going into its regular season finale, the latest into a season they've been unbeaten since 1993.
"What's happening now has been a thing that's kind of brought back the good old days," said former Permian coach John Wilkins, who went 148-16 with two state titles from 1973 to 1985. "The crowds are coming back."
Odessa Permian won six state championships, three of them in the 1980s when the Panthers lost only 11 games. At that point, the assistant coaches were lured to better jobs and the school's pre-eminence gradually faded.
The last title came in 1991, and the vaunted Panthers lost an unthinkable 49 games in a 10-year stretch from 1997 through last season. That included the longest losing streak in school history, a six-game skid in 2004.
But an Eric Taylor-esque young coach — the only one of 11 since 1959 who also played for the school — is turning things around in this small West Texas city known for two things: oil and football.
A return to glory: Odessa Permian - the school chronicled in the book "Friday Night Lights" by H.G. Bissinger - is unbeaten going into its season finale.
Last year, in only his second season, Darren Allman led the Panthers to a 9-4 season and a regional semifinal loss to Southlake Carroll, a school with four state titles in five years in Class 5A, the state's largest.
Gary Gaines, one of Allman's predecessors whose 1988 team was depicted in the book of the same name that inspired the movie and series Friday Night Lights, said the 38-year-old Allman has returned the team to fundamentals.
"He just had a little better insight as to what was needed," Gaines said. "He has just put it all together."
Continue reading this article on Permian from MSNBC ...
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