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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Eagles trampled by Mustangs in season opener

The season may have opened in the heat of August, but the problems just snowballed for the Pecos Eagles, in their first football game of 2005, against the Midland Christian Mustangs on Friday night at Eagle Stadium.

The Mustangs controlled the line of scrimmage for most of the first quarter against the Eagles, but Pecos was still within 6-0 at that point. And they appeared to still be in the game even after falling behind 14-0, when running back Luis Ortega broke free for a 67-yard run, giving the Eagles a first-and-goal at the Midland Christian 1-yard-line.

But instead of going in, the Eagles went backwards on the next three plays, fumbling a handoff on first down for a three yard loss, then losing the ball when quarterback Miguel Estrada was sacked on third down. Midland Christian recovered, and two plays after that Jamison Berryhill broke free for an 85-yard touchdown run, the first of three touchdowns in a span of four minutes that widened the lead to 35-0 at the half, on the way to an eventual 55-6 victory.

“That was the worst whipping since I’ve been here,” said Eagles’ coach Patrick Willis, who said the Mustangs’ caught Pecos by surprise. “We didn’t know who to block. They gave us that formation and we didn’t block it.”

Berryhill ran for 158 yards on 12 carries, with the 85-yard run being his final one of the night. He scored from three yards out on the Mustangs’ game-opening drive, a 12-play 67-yard effort. The Eagles then came out and picked up three first downs on their opening series, but that drive stalled out at the Midland Christian 17 following two first down passes and a 13-yard run by quarterback Eddie Vela.

However, Vela was also seeing action at linebacker due to in knee injury suffered by Josh Payan in Pecos’ Aug. 19 scrimmage at Coahoma, and on Midland Christian’s second series on offense, Vela was hit hard while trying to make a tackle and sat out the rest of the game with a slight concussion.

“When you don’t have your quarterback, middle linebacker, punter and team leader, it’s kind of tough,” said Willis, who planned to have Estrada see time at quarterback to give Vela a rest. But Estrada struggled after Ortega’s long run. The two collided on a first down handoff on the play following the run, causing a fumble. Pecos recovered, but two plays later against the strong Midland Christian pass rush on a 3rd-and-goal from the 5, Estrada was hit again and this time fumbled the ball away to the Mustangs at the 9-yard line.

Berryhill was in the end zone two plays later, and two plays after that Estrada was swamped by Midland Christian’s lineman again and fumbled. This time, the Mustangs got the ball on the Pecos 18 and on the next play, quarterback Cory Burleson hooked up with Jordan Coulon for the second of his three touchdown passes on the night, an 18-yarder to widen the lead to four touchdowns.

The Mustangs then stopped Pecos on downs and forced a punt, and three plays later Burleson found Grant Davis behind the defense for a 37-yard score and a 35-0 lead. “At first they were just confusing us. Then they started pounding us,” Willis said, as the problems continued at the start of the second half.

Eli Hinojos punted twice in the second period in place of Vela, but Willis said he felt uncomfortable in the role, and when the Eagles were forced to punt after taking the second half kickoff, Joenell Garcia took over. But his punt was blocked and rolled back to the end zone, where David Thomas recovered it for the Mustangs’ sixth touchdown of the night.

Their last two scores came with the backups in during the fourth quarter. Coulon replaced Burleson at quarterback and went around the left end for a 15-yard score, and then Berryhill’s backup, Aaron Goyang, bounced off a tackle behind the line of scrimmage and raced around the right end 38 yards for a score.

That touchdown came after Pecos’ third fumble of the night, as Luis Licon lost the ball following a 27-yard pass play from Estrada, who ended up with 85 yards passing on the night. The two would hook up again for 7- and 13-yard gains on the next series, while a 15-yard penalty for having 12 men on the field by Midland Christian kept the Eagles’ drive alive, and they ended it by avoiding the shutout, when Estrada hit Robert Nunez just inside the goal line on a 9-yard touchdown pass with 14 seconds to play.

“I’m just so disappointed, because we’re a better football team than that,” Willis said. “The team that beat us is a better team, but we’re better than what we showed.” Goyang ended up with 115 yards rushing in his backup role, and Midland Christian wound up with 486 yards total offense on the night. Pecos ended up with 249, with Ortega rushing for 123 on 15 carries. That included a 38-yard run on the late touchdown drive, and the 67-yarder in the second quarter, when Midland’s James Lynch caught him from behind just before reaching the end zone.

“I feel sorry for him, as good a running back as he is and we just weren’t blocking for him,” said Willis, who added he plans to limit Vela’s time on defense more even with Payan’s injury, in order to keep the senior on the field on offense.

The loss leaves the Eagles at 0-1 going into their first road game of 2005, this Friday night at Denver City. That group of Mustangs won by the exact same margin as Midland Christian’s Mustangs, defeating Pecos’ District 3-3A rival Lamesa by a 56-7 score. The Eagles picked up their only win of the 2004 season against Denver City a year ago.

Monahans was the only district team to win their opener, as the Loboes shut out Merkel by a 28-0 score. Post edged Seminole, 27-25 and Fort Stockton lost to Colorado City, 25-7, while Greenwood doesn’t start their season until this Friday, when they face Abilene Wylie, 41-0 winners over San Angelo Lake View in their opener this past Friday.

At Pecos Mid. Christian 6 29 6 14 -- 55 Pecos 0 0 0 6 -- 6 First Quarter MC - Berryhill 3 run (kick failed), 3:25 Second Quarter MC - Hibler 39 pass from Burleson (Lynch pass from Burleson), 1:23. MC - Berryhill 85 run (kick failed), 4:40. MC - Coulon 18 pass from Burleson (Berryhill run), 3:11 MC - Hartnett 87 punt return (pass failed), 5:04. MC - Davis 37 pass from Burleson (Hibler kick), 8:05. Third Quarter MC - Thomas blocked punt recovery in end zone (kick failed), 1:45. Fourth Quarter MC - Coulon 15 run (Hibler kick), 5:32. MC - Goyang 42 run (Hibler kick), 8:01 Pec. - Nunez 9 pass from Estrada (run failed), 11:46. MC Pec First Downs 13 10 Rushing-Yds. 26-117 41-339 Passing Yds 132 147 Passes 9-17-0 8-11-0 Punts-Avg. 5-25.2 1-40 Fumbles-Lost 5-3 3-1 Penalties-Yds. 4-30 3-25 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING - Midland, Berryhill 12-158, Goyang 14-115, Howard 4-20, Coulon 2-14, Cannon 5-11, Stevens 2-11, Midkiff 2-8. Pecos, Ortega 15-123, Vela 3-11, Dunlop 1-(-7), Estrada 8-(-10). PASSING -. Midland, Burleson 7-10-0-136, Coulon 1-1-0-11. Pecos, Estrada 6-13,-0-85, Vela 3-3-0-41, Ortega 0-1-0-0. RECEIVING - Midland, Hibler 1-39, Davis 1-37, Coulon 1-18, Cunningham 1-17, McGraw 1-13, Thomas 1-11, Whiting 1-9, Stevens 1-5. Pecos, Licon 3-54, Grant 3-35, D. Myles 1-21, Tercero 1-17, Nunez 1-9, Dunlop 1-0. MISSED FIELD GOALS - None.

Field tough for Pecos netters in tournament

The Pecos Eagles tennis team picked up a third place finish, a pair of consolation titles and several fourth place finishes over the weekend, in their fall season-opening tournament at Fort Stockton.

“It was an eye-opener for a lot of those kids,” said Eagles’ coach Mike Ortiz. “I think it will make them work harder, now that they see what they have to do.”

“There was two district teams, Stockton and Monahans, and the rest were El Paso teams and Midland Christian,” Ortiz said. “The kids learned a lot, and I think we’re going to be OK. It may take a while for them to gel, but I’m very optimistic about our chances with this group and some others coming out later who are in other sports right now.”

Victoria Montoya and Elsa Martinez won third place in the No. 2 girls doubles division, while Francisco Ornelas and Jessie Hanks took consolation in the No. 1 boys singles division and Cody Zamarippa won consolation at No. 6 boys singles. The wins by both Montoya and Martinez and Zamarippa in their finals matches were by default; Zamarippa’s over Monahans’ Byron Day, while Montoya and Martinez over the Loboes’ Kim Smith and Madison Murray. Hanks and Francisco Ornelas lost their opener to Midland Christian’s Buckey and Bradshaw, then defeated Garcia and Derrick of Montwood, 8-5.

Jerris Rayos placed fourth in No. 2 boys singles, defeating Robert Fournier of El Paso Del Valle before losing to Stephen Molinar of El Paso Montwood and Alex Marquez of Fort Stockton; Imari Ornelas and Crystal Ikeler placed fourth at No. 1 girls singles, defeating Edna Dela Riva and Jasmine Ramos of Del Valle in three sets before losing to Montwood’s Nilsa Ramirez and Stephanie Montes and then to Monahans’ Laura and Wanda Ramirez in three sets; and Ikeler was fourth at No. 2 girls singles, falling in the semifinals to Midland Christian’s Megan Fitzsimmons and then to Kristen Paredes of Del Valle.

Francisco Ornelas lost in the consolation finals at No. 1 boys singles to Monahans’ John Willhelm; Hanks, Curtis James and Derick Barron fell in the consolation semifinals at No. 4, 5 and 7 singles on the boys’ side, while for the girls Imari Ornelas, Montoya, Delicia Ramirez, Hope Mora and Tiffany Boicourt lost in the consolation semis at No. 1, 3 5, 6, and 7 singles. Also falling in the consolation semis were the Eagles’ mixed doubles team of Barron and Sada Orona.

“I only have one senior, so I’m optimistic about the future,” said Ortiz, whose team plays their first dual match on Tuesday at 4 p.m., when they host Monahans.

Young Bears claw Mustangs’ varsity, 49-12

With just 18 players out overall this season for football, the Balmorhea Bears’ junior varsity team that took the field Friday night against the Marathon Mustangs featured several players coach Adolfo Garcia said he’ll need this coming Friday, when the varsity squad opens their 2005 season against the state-ranked Whitharral Panthers.

The Bears got three touchdowns from Benjamin Orozco and pulled away from the Mustangs’ varsity in the second half of their game in Marathon, as they defeated the Mustangs by a 49-12 final score.

“I played my younger kids. I had eight kids suited up,” said Garcia, while adding that due to the overall shortage of players this year, Balmorhea will probably only be able to play a varsity game this week.

“I think I’m going to have to cancel the JV game this week. We only really have six kids this year on the junior varsity, and we’re playing Whitharral, and they’re ranked No. 7 in the state, so it’s going to be a big challenge.”

Garcia said the Bears opened the scoring with a safety by Orozco and Russell Garlick, which was followed by a 43-yard touchdown run by Orozco. Marathon then made it 9-6 with a 47-yard scoring run before Orozco scored on a two-yard run to open the second period. Marathon would answer back with their second touchdown, before Orozco got his third TD, this one on a four-yard run, to make it 22-12 at halftime.

In the third period, the Bears widened their lead to 36-12, on touchdown runs by Sean Enloe from five yards out, and a three-yard run by Eddie Lozano. In the fourth quarter, Garlick would score on a 16-yard run, then closed out the scoring with a 17-yard TD pass to Jonathan Carrasco.

Whitharral opened their 2005 season on Friday night with a 50-18 victory over Wellman-Union. Meanwhile, five of the Bears’ six District 6-A six-man rivals won their season openers on Friday. Grandfalls downed state-ranked Garden City, 28-25, Sanderson defeated El Paso Immanuel Baptist, 59-34, Fort Davis defeated El Paso Jesus Chapel, 64-33, and Buena Vista downed Loop’s JV, 56-19. Sierra Blanca was the only team to lose their opener, falling to No. 3-ranked Richland Springs, 74-26.

Fourth quarter TD costs Eagle JV in 14-7 loss

A strange play helped turn around the Pecos Eagle junior varsity football team’s season-opening game against the Midland Christian Mustangs on Thursday night, as Midland came away with a 14-7 win.

The Eagles stopped a couple of Midland scoring attempts in the first half before allowing the Mustangs to score for a 7-0 lead. But Pecos then took the kickoff to start the second half and tied the game, scoring on a 25-yard run by Jeremy Martinez. The Eagles then stopped the Mustangs on downs and appeared to get a break, when Midland’s punt attempt went off the helmet of the blocking back and back towards the goal line.

But the Mustangs’ punter was able to pick the ball up and run through a group of Eagle defenders for a first down. Eagles’ coach Elias Payan argued unsuccessfully that Midland Christian couldn’t advance a punt blocked by their own team, and while the Mustangs didn’t score on that break, they were able to pin Pecos back in their own end after their next punt, and scored the game winning touchdown following an Eagle turnover on the ensuing series.

Martinez was one of several freshmen that played on the JV Thursday night. Midland Christian doesn’t have a freshman football squad, though the Mustangs suited out about 100 players on their JV and varsity teams at Eagle Stadium on Thursday and Friday. The ninth graders will start their season this coming Thursday at 5 p.m. when they host Denver City, followed by the JV game between the Eagles and the Class 2A Mustangs.

District rivals rally past Pecos in tournament

The Pecos Eagles started off all right against two of their three District 3-3A rivals on Saturday, as host team in the Cantaloupe Classic Volleyball Tournament, but both times failed to follow up on opening game wins and lost their matches to the Fort Stockton Prowlers and Presidio Blue Devils in the quarterfinals and consolation semifinals of the two-day tournament.

Pecos won all their opening round matches on Friday to advance to the tournament’s quarterfinals, defeating Kermit, 26-24, 25-14; Anthony, 25-10, 25-20; and Sierra Blanca, 25-19, 25-21. But early Saturday morning, after winning their opening game over Fort Stockton, 25-16, the Eagles were then beaten by the Prowlers, 25-17, 25-19. Pecos then dropped into the consolation quarterfinals against Presidio, where they again won their opener by a 25-16 score, then lost the last two games to the Blue Devils, 25-20, 25-21. “We just came out and dominated and then we let up,” said Eagles coach Debbie Garcia following the loss to Fort Stockton. “We have to finish the game the same way we start it. “We got behind and then we struggled to get back into the game,” she said. “Fort Stockton didn’t hit the ball real well, but they caught us standing still in the second and third games on some little dinks. No. 3 (Alexis Ramirez) hit the ball well for them, but we got caught in transition a lot of times, and the back line was a little too far back.”

Against Presidio, the Eagles fell behind 9-3 in the opening game, then finally caught and passed the Blue Devils at 13-12 on a pair of kills by Brittany Rodriguez. That was part of an 11-0 run by Pecos, and the Eagles closed out the match with a 5-1 run that included kills by Adriana Armendariz and Amber Pando.

But Game 2 was the reverse of Game 1, as the Eagles saw the Blue Devils wipe out a 9-5 Pecos lead, finally tying and taking the lead at 17-16 on a pair of missed spikes by Rodriguez. Presidio’s Vanessa Armendariz closed out the game with a couple of kills, and Armendariz caused the Eagles the most problems in Game 3, when the Blue Devils went on a 16-2 run to turn a 4-2 lead into a 20-6 advantage.

The Eagles did respond with a 14-3 run behind kills by Rodriguez and a couple of blocks by her on Arely Levario. But after getting to within 23-19, Levario would get the final two points of the game, on a dink shot over Pecos’ front line and a tip of a bad relay that went off Pecos’ Bianca Espudo.

The loss dropped Pecos into a rematch with Anthony for fifth place in the tournament, and the teams did get in one game, which the Eagles won, 25-17. But the match would have been the Wildcats’ fourth of the day, which would have been in violation of UIL rules, and as a result, was called off.

Pecos did play that match without Rodriguez, as Pando was moved into the lead middle blocker/hitter role alongside Armendariz. “Brittany had some pain in her side. Doc (trainer Joel Birch) just wanted to have her rest,” Garcia said. “He didn’t want to take a chance, but I don’t think it’s anything serious.”

Fort Stockton ended up winning the tournament, defeating Wink in four games in the tournament’s title match, while El Paso Parkland earned third place. Meanwhile, Pecos’ junior varsity team took third in their division of the tournament, which was won by Monahans. The Eagles defeated Odessa High’s white team after falling in the semifinals to the Loboes, while Monahans won over OHS’s red team in the title match.

Pecos is on the road this Tuesday, as they travel to Alpine to face the Bucks for the third time this season. The Eagles lost in three games to open the season in Wink, then were beaten in a five-game match by Alpine in Pecos three days later.

The Eagles are then off this weekend, after pulling out of the Seminole Invitational. They’ll go to the Sul Ross Tournament in Alpine instead, on Sept. 16-17, while their next home match is Sept. 6 against Van Horn.

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