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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, October 28, 2005

Eagles’ Martinez 3rd in Abilene golf

The Pecos Eagles girls’ golf team will have their full team in El Paso this weekend for tournament play, after senior Shelly Martinez placed third this past weekend at the Abilene ISD Halloween Tournament.

“Shelly Martinez had an outstanding day, shooting a 4-under-par 67” said Eagles’ coach Tina Doan. “That was her career-best score and only one stroke off the course record.” Martinez shot the 67 at Diamondback Golf Course on Friday, before shooting a 79 on Saturday at Maxwell Golf Course.

“They weren’t really different in terms of length,” Martinez said. “But when you got to the greens at Maxwell, they had more slope and that made putting a little more difficult.” Mansfield’s Rachel Smith shot a 66 on Saturday to win the tournament with a 137 score, while Stephanie Hwang of Rockwall was second with a 71-73-144, two strokes ahead of Martinez.

Doan said Eleanor Mason and Rica Pino were the other two Pecos golfers to make the trip to Abilene. Mason shot a 93 on Friday and an 84 on Saturday for a 177 score, while Pino had a 110-108-218 score.

“Overall the competition was really tough, and the field was mostly 4A and 5A schools, so it was a good learning experience for all the girls, the way they competed,” Doan said. “Snyder was there from 3A, but they took their ‘B’ team,” Martinez said. The Tigers placed ninth in the tournament, while Mansfield placed first and Rockwall second. Snyder’s Shannon Mangis was the only other 3A golfer to make the Top 10, placing ninth with a 152 score.

With only three golfers, the Eagles were one short of the number needed to post a team score, but Doan said she’ll have a full squad for the West Texas Golf Classic in El Paso this weekend. Boys golf coach Kim Anderson said his team would be making the trip to El Paso for a two-day tournament on the weekend of Nov. 11-12.

Eagles to face district rivals, 5A schools at Abilene meet

The Pecos Eagles swim team will be joining schools from the Permian Basin and Panhandle in Abilene this weekend, for the Abilene Invitational, their second full meet of the season. Coach Terri Morse said diving competition would start at 3 p.m. on Friday, while the swimming finals were scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday.

Pecos placed second to Andrews’ boys and San Angelo Central’s girls last week at the Big Spring Invitational, their first full meet of the 2005-06 season. Both those schools will be there, along with the host Bulldogs, and one other District 3-4A rival, Big Spring. The field also includes most of the Class 5A schools from across the area, and Dallas Lake Highlands, which will have the most top seeds going in on the girls’ side.

Morse had to change her lineup around last week due to Saturday’s area band competition. This week, she said the only change would be due to the absence of senior Matt Elliott, who injured his knee in Pecos’ football game last Friday against Greenwood.

“As far as the boys, it will be almost exactly what we did in Big Spring,” Morse said. “The girls will be almost exactly the same as far as the relays.”

The Eagles go into the meet with a few No. 1 seeds. That includes Matt Oglesby in the 200 medley, Kyle Winkles in the 100 backstroke, and Lindsey Shaw in the 100-yard breaststroke. Winkles is also seeded second in his other race, the 100 freestyle, while Ashley Mendoza is seeded second in the 500-yard freestyle.

In the relays, the Eagle boys are seeded third in the 200 medley and fourth in the 400 freestyle races, while the girls’ best seed is a ninth in the 200 medley relay. The boys will also have two ‘B’ relay teams, while the girls will only have one ‘B’ relay on Saturday. “I just don’t have enough girls right now,” Morse said. “I’ve got some of my ‘B’ swimmers swimming in the (200 freestyle) ‘A’ relay.”

Eagles earn on regional cross-country berth

Pecos Eagles’ senior Jennifer Martinez placed ninth on Monday at the District 3-3A Cross County Meet to earn a return trip to the Region I-3A meet next weekend at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock.

Martinez ran the two miles at the Ward County Golf Course in 12:55.59 to earn a trip to Lubbock by placing in the Top 10 at the district meet. Monahans’ Daisy Zamarippa won the race with a 12:09.41 time, while Ramie Stewart of Lamesa was second, with a 12:22.12 time.

“This year was probably the toughest I’ve ever see it,” said Eagles’ coach Rudy Jurado, who added that Martinez didn’t run as well as she had the previous week at the Wink Invitational.

“Jennifer was a little under the weather, so she barely made it in,” he said. “I’m hoping in two weeks she’s be able to run her race, because the week before district she came in 12 seconds behind Daisy.

“I hope she can run her race and get into the low 12s, so she can get a chance to go to state,” Jurado added.

Pecos’ other two runners in the girls division, Heather and Kathryn Lamka, placed 33rd and 37th in the meet, which featured a total of 53 varsity and JV runners. Heather Lamka had a 14:29.66 time, while Kathryn Lamka ran the race in 14:55.25.

“One of the twins made it to regionals last year, and this time it wasn’t close, so the competition was a lot tougher this year,” Jurado said.

Pecos’ girls didn’t have enough runners to earn a team score, while on the boys’ side the Eagles placed fifth with 121 points.

None of Pecos’ boys earned a trip to Lubbock, with the best finish a 21st place by Ray Lee Gonzales, with a 19:48.34 time. Jeremiah Jurado was 25th with a time of 20:11.88; Aaron Mendoza was 30th with a 20:31.52; Javier Paz was 36th with a time of 21:53.75; Jesse Juarez was 37th with a 21:57.38 and Thomas Paz was 40th with a 24:07.47 time.

“The boys did a little bit better as far as their times, but the course was also 200 meters shorter, so that also was why the times were better for everyone,” said Jurado.

Fort Stockton’s David Palma won the race by over a minute, with a 16:08.62 time to a 17:17 by Presidio’s Kevin Tavarez. In the team standings, Presidio won the girls’ title with 26 points to 56 for Seminole, while Fort Stockton took the boys’ title with 25 points to 55 for Presidio.

Eagles look to modernize after loss

First place versus last place didn’t produce any surprises Tuesday night, when the Pecos Eagles closed out their 2005 volleyball season against the Monahans Loboes. Especially with the Loboes returning most of their players off last year’s state championship team.

But Pecos did stay with Monahans for a while in the opening game of their 25-16, 25-11, 25-7 loss to the Loboes, and coach Debbie Garcia will be losing only three players off her team for next year. But Garcia also said that for the Eagles to return to being competitive in volleyball, they’ll have to not only play better, but also play different in the future.

“They run a much quicker style of volleyball. They’re moving it around the court a lot faster and with shorter sets,” Garcia said. “It’s not like it was a few years ago, when it was the days of the big, long pass and the big, long set. Those days are over, and everything is fast, fast, fast.

“We’ve got to get quicker mentally as well as physically. I think one of the things we have to work on is faster reaction, because we’re slow to the block right now,” the Eagles’ coach said.

Led by all-state senior Brittany Hughes, the Loboes had a big height advantage over Pecos going into the match. But coach Patty Dominguez’s team also was able to move the ball to the open hitters far better than the Eagles, especially after the first part of the opening game. Pecos got through Hughes’ first rotation up front unharmed, and did have a 7-5 lead on Monahans, thanks to a pair of kills by freshman Jasmine Rayos. But after Hughes rotated back up front, and after she gave the Eagles their last lead with a bad spike, a couple of missed hits by Brittany Rodriguez put Monahans ahead to stay at 10-9. It also began a 7-0 run for the Loboes that finally ended when Hughes was called on a net violation.

Monahans would stretch their lead to 22-12 before the Eagles staged a mini-rally, cutting the margin to seven on a couple of unforced errors and an ace by Cassandra Terrazas. But a bad serve followed that one, and Pecos was able to score just once more, on a spike by Amber Pando.

Pecos’ leads were brief in Game 2, at 2-1 and 3-2, both on unforced errors. Monahans then went on an 11-1 run, with Hughes collecting four kills during that run. The Eagles also had trouble with the Loboes’ other middle hitter, Allison Miller, after that, as she had a couple of kills over Pecos’ shorter front line, before Hughes closed out the match with a pair of kills. In Game 3, the Eagles had as much trouble with Hughes’ jump serve as they did with her kills up front. She had three straight aces, though by the time she rotated to the back line, Monahans already had a 14-3 lead. Miller, Catherine Cutbirth and Candace Swarb also contributed kills during the run, though Pecos did get a late block by Pando on a Miller kill, before a spike by Miller closed out the match.

“I think they competed well, especially in the first and second games,” Garcia said. “I’m proud of the girls. They didn’t lie down and die, which would have been the easy thing. “We’re still late on our blocks, and you can’t wait, as fast as Monahans gets the set up. That’s why they’re state champs,” she added.

The loss left Pecos with a final District 3-3A record of 0-6, and with an 11-22 final season record. “The good news is we’ve got eight girls coming back and lose just three seniors,” said Garcia, who’ll have a full season as coach in 2006 after taking the job just three days prior to the start of pre-season workouts back in August. The Eagles will lose setter Jessica Flores and back line players Tiffany Tarango and Olga Mendoza, who got into Tuesday’s game after being out for the past month.

“Jessica Flores is going to be hard to replace at setter, and Tiffany Tarango will be gone, so that will be a big hole in our back line,” Garcia said. “But the girls are excited about starting off-season, and they’re already asking about camps and leagues they can play in. I think if we can put together a team as mentally strong as physically strong, we’ll be in good shape next year.”

The win allowed the Loboes to finish undefeated for the fourth straight season in district play. Monahans has not lost a game in any of their 32 matches, and will now draw a first round playoff bye.

Monahans also took Tuesday’s season-ending junior varsity match, by 25-15, 25-6 scores. Fort Stockton downed Presidio on Tuesday, 25-14, 25-13, 25-17 to tie for second in the district standings, both with 3-3 records. The teams will meet at 11 a.m. on Saturday in Alpine to decide the seedings for the bi-district round of the playoffs.

Pecos ends home play with unbeaten Loboes

Things have turned around in a hurry for the Monahans Loboes, one year after missing the Class 3A playoffs.

Meanwhile, the Pecos Eagles’ struggles over recent seasons have continued into 2005, and on Friday, the Eagles will face what could be their toughest test yet, when they play their final home game of the season against Monahans, starting at 7:30 p.m.

Monahans won’t be the highest-rated team Pecos has faced in 2004 - the Eagles had to close out their pre-district schedule against No. 4-ranked Sweetwater, who could be a future playoff opponent for the Loboes. And the Eagles played their best offensive game of the season, scoring two touchdowns in the opening period and coming close to two mote in the second quarter. But Pecos had no luck containing Sweetwater’s running game in what turned into a 52-14 defeat.

That was the only game this season the Eagles have scored more than one touchdown. They didn’t score any two weeks ago at Seminole, which then went down to Monahans and surrendered nine rushing touchdowns to the Loboes last Friday in a 62-13 loss.

The win made Monahans 8-0 on the season, and 3-0 in District 3-3A play under first year coach Mickey Owen, who returned from Ballinger after serving as a Loboes assistant in the 1980s and early 90s. And Owen said he’s surprised at how well his team has done so far in 2005.

“You figure the first season the players will have some growing pains, just learning the offense and defense, so I’m very much surprised,” he said. “I thought we had a chance going into the season to be very good, and I thought we could make the playoffs and be a pretty good team by the end of the season.”

Unlike Sweetwater, which featured two main offensive threats, the Loboes this year have hurt teams both on the ground and through the air. They only gained 143 yards rushing two weeks ago at Lamesa, but quarterback Chase Cornelius threw for nearly 300 yards in a 46-6 win. Last week, Monahans ran for 500 yards in their victory over Seminole, while Cornelius threw the ball just seven times for 60 yards.

Owen credited the Loboes’ big offensive line, which features a pair of 300-pound tackles in Justin Parks and Michael Murphree, as the key to the team’s ability to run and pass with success.

“Our offensive line has probably been our most consistent group all year. That’s why we can do all that,” he said. “We’ve played 9-10 offensive linemen, all year, and a lot of them have played really well.”

Willis said given the choice between the two, the Eagles would focus on defending against the run on Friday, after fullback Sam Graves ran for 246 yards and six TDs.

“We’ve got to stop the run. With 2,302 yards on the ground, that’s what we’ve got to worry about.”

Along with his 917 yards, Graves also has caught five passes for 100 yards this season. “He’s not a flashy kid, but he’s a good tough runner,” Owen said.

Graves’ effort put him within striking distance of Pecos’ Luis Ortega for the district rushing lead. Ortega was held to 75 yards last week by Greenwood in Pecos’ 35-8 loss, though he did score on a 21-yard run in the opening period. He’s run for 917 yards and 19 touchdowns, while Ortega has run for 955 yards, but only three scores due to the Eagles’ offensive struggles inside the 20-yard-line this season.

While Graves ran for nearly 250 yards, wingback Chris Roberson ran for nearly 150 yards and two other scores. “Roberson is also a great blocker. That’s why Sam is as successful as he is,” Owen said.

Cornelius has thrown for 853 yards, but has spread out the ball to a number of different receivers. Chris Collins leads the team with nine catches for 186 yards, while Chris Bates and Russell Covington has both gotten free for long receptions this season.

“They keep it basic, and he’s a good play-action passer,” Willis said. “A lot of times, he just has wide-open receivers, because everybody’s worried about the run.”

“We’ve got a lot of receivers who have caught the ball for us, and they all know Chris and Sam can break it at any time, so they stay on their blocks,” Owen said.

In last week’s game, Pecos already trailed 14-0, by the time Ortega scored, setting up those TDs by failing to fall on a squib kick to open the game, and then fumbling the ball away to the Rangers’ Lane Flowers, who returned it for a score. The Eagles then shut down Greenwood’s offense for most of the middle part of the game, but missed a chance to get back into it when they failed to score on three plays from the 1-yard-line just before halftime.

The loss left the Eagles with a 0-3 mark, and 1-7 for the season. Pecos’ only turnover-free game on offense so far this season was the game against Sweetwater, and Willis said the Eagles would have to play mistake-free football and do a much better job blocking on offense to stay with the Loboes.

“We’ve got to be able to do the things we’re supposed to do,” he said, while adding he’ll also maintain the quarterback rotation between Estrada and Eddie Vela for Friday’s game. Unlike most of the other teams in the district, Monahans has just one two-way starter in Collins, who also plays safety, and that has kept the Loboes’ players much fresher than their opponents, with their defense allowing just 186 yards per game.

“We’ve got a lot of guys running to the ball. We’ve got four or five in on the tackles all the time,” Owen said. “There’s not one guy who, if he goes out, we feel like we’re dead.”

Willis did single out defensive end Steven Richardson as being one of the main people Pecos has to block on Friday. “He’s man. We’ve got to get him blocked, but he’s so quick up front,” the Eagles’ coach said.

“Their secondary also does a good job, (Larry) Jasso is a good linebacker, and both safeties do a good job, so that really frees the others up to stop the run,” he added.

Monahans has all but clinched a playoff spot, and can do so outright with a win on Friday. They could clinch the district title with a victory and win by Lamesa over Greenwood, which goes to Monahans next week to close out regular season play. The Eagles end their season next week with a trip to Fort Stockton, which needs a win at Seminole on Friday to keep its playoff hopes alive.

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