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Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Garcia takes PHS varsity volleyball job

Staff Writer

Debbie Garcia was scheduled to move up from a junior high to a high school coach for the Pecos Eagles this year. But it wasn’t until five days ago that Garcia was moved into the position of head volleyball coach for the 2005 season.

Preseason workouts began for Pecos today, with Garcia beginning her first day as new PHS coach, replacing Becky Granado, who resigned after serving in the job since 1996. Problems finding a coach with the proper classroom teaching credentials created problems in filling the post, and Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board members turned down a plan by athletic director Patrick Willis to have head softball coach Tammy Walls also handle the varsity job.

That took place in mid-July, and when a job interview with an out-of-town candidate fell through last Wednesday, Garcia took over the post. The school board approved her appointment on Thursday.

“It just kind of fell into my lap, but I’m excited to have it,” Garcia said this morning, just prior to the start of workouts.

She said Willis had talked to her about taking the job before last Wednesday’s interview was cancelled.

Garcia served as junior high volleyball coach for the Eagles last season, and was scheduled to be a high school assistant coach for the 2005-06 season. Right now, she is working with the other Eagle coaches to try and make the transition as smooth as possible.

“We’re all pulling together, the high school and junior high coaches, to get it done,” she said. “The first scrimmage is this Friday. Alpine, Fort Stockton and Fort Davis are coming here, and then we go to Monahans this Saturday.”

The Eagles saw their string of eight straight playoff appearances end last year when they lost a third place playoff match to Presidio. This year’s team returns just over half their regular players, but will have to replace a few starters, including Garcia’s daughter Danielle.

“Right now the main thing we’re looking for is to replace Danielle on the front line and Jessica (Carrasco) on the back line,” Garcia said. “We’ve got all our setters coming back.”

She said the early season work would be the same as what the players have been doing under Granado in recent years.

“We’re going to stick with that. We’ll start with what the girls know, and then see where we need to make changes,” she said.

Coming in on short notice, Garcia said she wasn’t sure how many returning high school players she would have, but about two dozen juniors and seniors were out for the opening practice session at 9 a.m. Monday. Sophomores were scheduled to work out with freshman girls, where Garcia is hoping from a large turnout among the group of eighth graders she coaches last fall.

“We’ve got a lot of freshman coming in. We had a huge group last year with close to 50, but we’ll see how many we get,” she said. Garcia added they would try to field two freshman teams if there are too many girls for one squad.

The juniors and seniors were scheduled to practice from 9 to 11 a.m. ad from 3-5 p.m. this week, while freshmen and sophomores would work out from 10 to 12 a.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. this week. Regular season play for the Eagles gets underway on Aug. 12 with a game against Fort Davis.

Preseason workouts open for Eagles

Turnout what about what Pecos Eagles’ head football coach Patrick Willis expected for the opening varsity practice session of the 2005 season on Monday. But he was disappointed with the number of junior varsity players who attended the first day of two-a-day workouts at Eagle Stadium.

Willis said all but two players out of the 36 who were fitted for helmets last week were on field for Monday’s opening workout, which with the installation of artificial turf was held for the first time on the high school field.

“We had one kid move away who would have been one of our starters, but I felt good about it,” Willis said. “We’ve got some good kids and some smart kids, and defensively we looked good flying around the football.”

The Eagles are hoping an older line helps them bounce back from last year’s 1-9 record. Pecos averaged four turnovers and over seven penalties a game in 2005, and on Monday, the team was working on trying to cut down on illegal motion calls along with their offensive line blocking schemes.

“We’ve just got to get out all the kinks and we’ll be fine,” he said.

Half of last year’s varsity squad returns, and the Eagles have about 20 players moving up from the JV team. However, the new JV squad only had 15 players show up for the first morning of workouts, while over 30 freshman made it for the initial practice session.

“I’m a little disappointed about the turnout for the JV,” Willis said, while adding he wouldn’t break up the incoming ninth grade group in order to fill out the JV team, if that number doesn’t improve.

“We’re going to keep all the freshman together. If we don’t have enough for a JV team, we won’t have it,” he said, adding that he wanted to keep the ninth graders as a single group, after they lost just two games in two years at the junior high level.

“With the numbers we have for the freshman, I want them to all have some success. If you bring them up to the JV sometimes they get beat up,” he said. “But we’ve got some kids who don’t come out until after two-a-days, so I think we’ll have more when school starts.”

Two-a-days will run through this week, and full contact workouts will get underway on Friday. The Eagles’ first pre-season scrimmage will take place before the start of school, when they host Andrews on Aug. 13 at Eagle Stadium. Pecos will go to Stanton the week school gets underway, and then opens its 2005 season at home on Aug. 26 with a game against Midland Christian.

Workouts for the junior high football teams won’t get underway until the beginning of school on Aug. 15. Seventh and eighth graders planning to play football will have to have their physical forms filled out by a doctor and returned to their coaches before they can begin workouts.

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