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Friday, September 2, 2005

Eagles eye rebound against Mustangs

Staff Writer

After losing their season opener by 49 points to a team of Mustangs, the Pecos Eagles will try to turn things around Friday night against a team of Mustangs that won their season opener by 49 points.

But Denver City coach Terry Summers says his Mustangs shouldn’t be confused with Midland Christian’s Mustangs, even though both squads scored impressive wins last Friday night. Midland Christian defeated Pecos by a 55-6 score, while Denver City routed Lamesa by a 56-7 margin.

“Midland Christian is a good team. They could probably hold their own against a lot of their bigger schools down their way,” said Summers, who debuted almost an entirely new offensive lineup last week in their victory over the Eagles’ District 3-3A rival.

Rashaad Williams hooked up on a pair of touchdown passes in the first half to Chris Poe while running for a score, and Bryant McLauren had two rushing TDs for Denver City, which was beaten a year ago by Lamesa in double overtime, 13-7.

“After the game I think they were shocked they did so good,” said Summers, who said almost all his key players were on the junior varsity team last season. “I think they may have still thought they were playing on Thursday night, but with all the publicity they’ve gotten, they may have some reality set in.”

One of the players not on the JV last year was Williams, who recovered a fumble on defense while playing at wide receiver on offense. “That was his first snap and he was probably our biggest surprise, just because he had never played there before,” Summers said. “He was solid and didn’t make any mistakes, and ran the offense real well.”

“He was throwing quick passes,” said Eagles’ coach Patrick Willis, who added the Williams was successful in throwing fade passes to Poe that Denver City wasn’t successful in throwing to Williams, when he was at wide receiver in last year’s 34-13 Pecos victory, their only win of the 2004 season.

“They got down to the goal line and threw the fade to the right side the first time and missed it, then came back with the same thing and scored,” Willis said. “I think our corners are better than the corners we were playing against, but I don’t want to take that chance too many times.”

While Summers was happy with the play of his quarterback, Willis wasn’t sure about the status of his regular starter, Eddie Vela. The senior suffered a mild concussion while playing defense early in the second quarter of Friday’s game.

“Eddie’s still questionable,” said Willis. “He said he feels OK during the day, but in the morning he’s waking up with headaches. Doc (trainer Joel Birch) said if it doesn’t get better, we won’t play him.”

“We’ve got to get something positive out of these games,” said Willis, whose team saw the Midland Christian turn three fumbles and a blocked punt last week into four touchdowns.

Miguel Estrada would start at quarterback in place of Vela. He threw for a late touchdown in last week’s game, after struggling at the outset with fumble problems. As for a backup to Vela, Willis said the Eagles were trying senior running back Donnie Myles in the quarterback role.

“We may just line two running backs up back there and snap the ball to one of them,” said Willis, though the Mustangs figure to be focused on stopping the other running back, Luis Ortega.

The junior ran for 123 yards in last week’s losing effort, and gained 227 yards while scoring three touchdowns against Denver City in last year’s win.

“I don’t know if they’re going to play us like they did last year. They played off us,” Willis said, which allowed Ortega to gain his 227 yards in just three quarters of play. “I don’t know if they’re going to respect us too much with the pass, but we’ve got a couple of things prepared.

Denver City was actually out-gained on the ground by Lamesa, but held the Tornadoes to just 18 yards passing while recovering two fumbles, one of which was returned for a touchdown.

“They’ve got some of the same receivers at the DBs. They’ve got some good athletes, but Lamesa didn’t try to throw the ball very much,” Willis said.

“They turned the ball over to us three times inside the 35,” Summers said of the Tors’ offense. “When you get the ball down there, that’s another thing that made the score more lopsided.”

Summers said like his offense, most of his defensive players are new, and like the Eagles, many are two-way players. “Ray Romo, our middle linebacker, is our only returning starter. He’s a little kid, but he’s real good going to the football.”

Pecos’ defense was touched up for 486 yards by Midland Christian a week ago, and the Eagles’ depth problems have showed since linebacker Josh Payan went down with a dislocated knee in the scrimmage against Lamesa two weeks ago. Vela took his place, and when he was hurt last week, Joenell Garcia moved over from weak side to middle linebacker to take his place, while Lamberto Herrera moved into the weak side position. Vela’s injury also meant more playing time for Estrada, who already was starting at safety on defense.

“I feel like right now we’re in a boat and we had to plug a leak, and we fixed that, but now we have another leak,” said Willis, who hopes to have Vela back no later than next week’s game at Kermit, and Payan back by the time the Eagles open district play against Lamesa.

Netters drop fall home opener to Loboes

The Pecos Eagles’ tennis team did all right at the No. 1 and 2 seeds on Tuesday, in their fall home opener against the Monahans Loboes. But Monahans came up with a sweep of the lower seeds against Pecos and posted a 16-3 overall victory.

“We had a couple of close matches on the boys’ side, and that’s promising,” Eagles’ coach Mike Ortiz said, while adding he was hoping for better overall results in the boys’ bracket.

“I knew the girls was going to be tough, because we have a lot of freshman and she has a lot of upperclassmen,” Ortiz said, as the girls’ lone win came from the doubles team of Imari Ornelas and Crystal Ikeler, who defeated Laura and Wanda Ramirez, 2-6, 6-4, 10-5. The victory avenged their loss to the Ramirezes three days earlier, in the third place match of the Fort Stockton Tournament.

The boys also posted a win at No. 1 seed, as Francisco Ornelas and Jesse Hanks downed Chris Garcia and Michael Derrick, 6-3, 6-1. Rayos also picked up Pecos’ only singles victory on the afternoon, outlasting Garcia, 6-3, 6-7 (7-3), 12-10.

Ornelas lost at No. 1 seed to John Willhelm in an extended match, 2-6, 6-3, 10-8, while the next closest match was a 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-5) loss by Curtis James to Kyle Bean. On the girls’ side, the only other closer match was Ikeler’s 6-2, 7-5 loss to Emily Acker.

“They played better than what they did at the tournament, so they’re coming along,” said Ortiz, whose team will host Odessa High’s junior varsity this coming Tuesday in their next match.

Monahans (16) at Pecos (3) Boys Singles Francisco Ornelas lost to John Willhelm, 2-6, 6-3, 10-8; Jerris Rayos defeated Chris Garcia, 6-3, 6-7 (7-3), 12-10; Jesse Hanks lost to Michael Derrick ,6-4, 6-4; Curtis James lost to Kyle Bean, 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-5); Cody Zamarippa lost to Andrew Orona, 6-3, 6-3; Derek Barron lost to Ryan Day, 6-1, 6-0. Girls Singles Imari Ornelas lost to Laura Rodriguez, 6-2, 6-7 (10-8), 10-4; Crystal Ikeler lost to Emily Acker, 6-2, 7-5; Sada Orona lost to Tiffany Bean, 6-0, 6-0; Victoria Montoya lost to Cheyenne Smith, 6-0, 6-0; Elva Martinez lost to Madison Murray, 8-0; Janette Perea lost to Hannah Beth Cater, 8-1; Deniela Bustillos lost to Wanda Ramirez, 8-1; Bustillos lost to Erin Coldelnay, 8-0; Delicia Ramirez lost to Coldelnay, 8-0; Tiffany Boicourt lost to Amanda Chavez, 8-2; Deandra Bailey lost to Chavez, 8-3. Boys Doubles Ornelas and Hanks defeated Garcia and Derrick, 6-3, 6-1; Rayos and James lost to Bean and Orona, 6-1, 6-2; Zamarippa and Barron lost to Day and Heslin, 6-4, 6-3. Girls Doubles Ornelas and Ikeler defeated Ramirez and Ramirez, 2-6, 6-4, 10-5; Orona and Montoya lost to Smith and Murray, 6-0, 6-0; Martinez and Perea lost to Acker and Cater, 6-0, 6-0.

Shorthanded, shorter Eagles drop match to Bucks

The Pecos Eagles volleyball team got only one game out of four in their match Tuesday against the Alpine Bucks. But playing shorthanded on the front line, coach Debbie Garcia was happy with some of the results of the 25-20, 26-24, 25-15, 25-20 match.

“We didn’t have Brittany Rodriguez. She’s still healing,” said Garcia. “Because of that, we moved up two freshman players who were on the JV.”

Rodriguez missed the suspended final match of last Saturday for the Eagles at the Cantaloupe Classic Tournament, against the Anthony Wildcats after suffering from pain in her side. Garcia’s daughter Gabi and Jasmine Rayos were the players brought up to fill in on the front line for Tuesday’s match.

“Jasmine filled in at middle blocker and did a real good job. She had three solo blocks,” Debbie Garcia said, though overall Alpine’s front line was able to take advantage of Rodriguez’s absence.

“They were able to hit the ball over our middle blockers. Without Brittany, they were abler to take advantage of our middle a little bit.”

She said her daughter had three kills playing at outside hitter, while Amber Pando also was moved from middle to outside hitter for Tuesday’s match.

“Jenny Palomino had a good game playing the libero (back line defensive), and Amalie Herrera did a good job serving, but Alpine did a good job getting the ball over our middle blockers.”

Garcia said in the first and final games, the Eagles stayed close to the Bucks until the finish, while in Game 2 they were able to pull out a two-point victory in a game that also was close all the way.

“In the third game, we just got behind early, but in the last game it was point-to-point until the last five points, after we were tied, 20-20,” she said.

“The girls did much better moving for the ball. There were less balls hitting the court than in the tournament,” Garcia said. “We had better movement and defense, but we were just lacking our big girl in the middle.”

The four-game loss to the Bucks came after a three-game loss in Wink to open the season and a five-game loss in Pecos three days later. Tuesday’s loss left the Eagles with a 7-11 record on the season.

Pecos had been scheduled to open play this weekend at the Seminole Invitational, but the Eagles dropped out of that tournament and instead will go back to Alpine in two weeks for the Sul Ross Invitational. The Eagles’ next match is at home on Tuesday, when they host Van Horn, who they defeated in five games on that group of Eagles’ court last week. Garcia said she would keep both her freshman girls up on the varsity for next Tuesday’s match. “The new girls need to get used to playing on the varsity, but they did a good job,” she said. “I’m going to look at them on the varsity next week with Brittany against Van Horn.”

Alpine also won Tuesday’s junior varsity match, by a 25-23, 25-18 score, while the Bucks defeated Pecos’ freshman girls in three games. No scores were available for that match.

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