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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, September 23, 2005

Pecos 9th grade, JV teams home for Sweetwater

Pecos’ high school sub-varsity teams were the only ones scheduled to be in action on Thursday night, as they faced the Sweetwater Mustangs, while the Eagles’ junior high teams have this week off, but will be in action next week when Pecos’ high school squads have their bye week.

The freshman and JV teams faced Sweetwater at Eagles Stadium, beginning at 5 and 7 p.m. This past week, the ninth grade and JV squads lost their games at Crane, while the junior high teams split, with the seventh graders winning and the eighth graders losing at home to the Golden Cranes.

In three of those four games, the winning team rallied from an early 8-0 deficit. The seventh graders fell behind by that score, before coming back for a 26-8 victory, while the ninth grade lost by that score and the JV fell by a 22-8 margin. Pecos’ eighth graders dropped their game to the Cranes, 39-0, while a combined team of seventh and eighth grade ‘B’ players lost to Crane by a 22-16 score.

Isaiah Patino had a pair of touchdown runs for the seventh graders, who improved to 2-0 on the season, while Ruben Orona had an 8-yard run and Brian Levario scored on a 36 yarder.

The eighth graders struggled in their game against Crane, falling behind 23-0 after one period in their shutout loss, which dropped them to 0-2 on the season.

Hector Ramirez had the freshman team’s score, before leaving the game with an injury, as the ninth graders saw their record drop to 2-1. Crane used a pair of blocked punts to set up touchdowns, grabbing a 20-8 halftime lead.

Jeremy Dunlop, who was moved down to the JV due to eligibility concerns, had the only score of the game, and added a two-point conversion for the Eagles. Crane converted a fourth down play late in the first half for a touchdown to take the lead for good, coach Elias Payan said.

The Eagles used mostly seventh grade players in the combined ‘B’ game, and got their scores on a first half run by Donovan Rodriguez, and a second had kickoff return by Arthur Navarette. The seventh grade ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams are both scheduled to play next Thursday, at home against Fort Stockton.

Eagles’ problems continue against Cranes

The Pecos Eagles volleyball team got a game off the Crane Golden Cranes Tuesday night on the Cranes’ home court, something they were unable to do seven days earlier at the Pecos High School gym. But after evening up their match at a game apiece against Crane, the Eagles ran into the same problems they had a week earlier and ended up suffering a four-game loss in their only match of the week.

Pecos rallied for a 25-20 win following a 25-16 opening loss, but then dropped a pair of 25-13 decisions to Crane.

“We just didn’t pass the ball well,” said Eagles’ coach Debbie Garcia. “Most of that was off serves. When we’d get a good pass and a good set, we’d kill the ball, but we had more missed opportunities and spent most of our time on defense.”

Garcia said that Brittany Rodriguez had six kills and six blocks for the Eagles, while Adriana Armendariz also had six kills and Jasmine Rayos had four blocks in the match. “They did a lot better at moments, but then we would let up, and they’d get a little dink over our front line,” said Garcia. “The back line picked up some of the really hard kills, but then they could not get to the dinks.”

The loss dropped the Eagles’ record to 10-15 going into an off weekend. Pecos then closes out the pre-district portion of their schedule next week, with home-and-home matches against the Lovington Wildcats. Pecos hosts Lovington on Tuesday night, then travels to New Mexico on Saturday to face the Wildcats.

District 4-3A play opens for Pecos on Oct. 4, with a trip to Fort Stockton to take on the Prowlers.

Crane also won Tuesday’s junior varsity and freshman volleyball matches. The JV lost to the Cranes by 25-22, 21-25, 25-21 scores, while the freshman purple team fell by scores of 25-17, 25-12, and the gold team lost to the Cranes, 25-18, 25-16.

Eagles face high-scoring Mustangs in final pre-district game

The Sweetwater Mustangs have been consistent in their offensive output four games into the 2005 football season, which is a good thing.

The Pecos Eagles also have been consistent in their offensive output four games into the season. But in this case, that’s not very good news for the Eagles.

The Eagles, who have scored one touchdown in each of their games this season, close out their pre-district schedule at the Mustang Bowl on Friday against Sweetwater, which is averaging 40 points a game and has moved up to the No. 3 ranking in the latest state Class 3A football poll.

Sweetwater’s offense has been remarkably consistent so far this season. They’ve scored exactly 40 points in wins over Lubbock Cooper and San Angelo Lake View, racked up 42 two weeks ago in a win over Pecos’ District 3-3A rival Greenwood and scored 38 last Friday in shutting out Andrews, their second shutout of the season.

“We’re just trying to spread the ball around,” said Sweetwater coach Kent Jackson, who started the season using not only a stable of running backs, but one of quarterbacks as well, rotating Sonny Birdwell, Kendall Carrillo and Duone Cummings. But both Carrillo and Cummings are out with injuries, so Birdwell handled the job by himself last week against Andrews.

“We’re just fortunate to have kids like that, and we’re grateful to have three who cane get in there,” said Jackson.

Last week’s game was also the first time this season Sweetwater had a running back gain over 100 yards, as both Skye Green and Joseph Banyard surpassed that mark on only eight carries. Green only started on defense for Sweetwater last season, but finished second this past May in the Class 3A state finals of the 100 meter dash in Austin, while Banyard ran for 34 yards and a touchdown in last year’s win over Pecos.

“They’re so danged fast, it’s hard to stop them,” said Eagles’ coach Patrick Willis. “We’ve got to keep them inside, because if Green gets outside, he’s going to take it to the house.”

“They’re going to give it to Skye or to Banyard. He (Birdwell) is not going to run like Carrillo or like last year’s quarterback, Jeremy Thompson,” Willis said. Thompson, who had 117 yards rushing, was the only backfield loss to graduation for the Mustangs.

Sweetwater is averaging just under 400 yards per game on offense, and Jackson said he’s pleased with his rebuilt offensive line. “We lost four out of five linemen, so that was a big concern for us going in. But they’ve done a good job.”

Birdwell got into last year’s game on offense late, as did Carrillo and Cummings, who had a 15-yard TD run and then an 81-yard interception return for a touchdown. While he’ll be out at cornerback, Sweetwater still returns Green and Banyard in the secondary. Jackson said he’s got several two-way starters this season, adding, “Several of them have stepped up and had big performances. We’ve tried hard to spread around the offensive and defense (playing time), and it’s been a team effort.”

Pecos owns one shutout, in their only win so far of 2005, at Kermit two weeks ago. But last Friday they were pushed around by Crane, which scored 21 first quarter points on the way to a 48-7 victory. The Eagles also lost defensive back/wide receiver Andrew Grant for the season with a fractured leg in the game, but will get back linebacker and running back Josh Payan on Friday, after he missed the first four games of the year with a dislocated kneecap.

“He’ll be tired, but he looked good out there in practice,” Willis said. “He makes a difference, especially mentally.”

Willis said he planned to rework his offense some, following last week’s loss to Crane, but still plans to focus on running back Luis Ortega, who was bottled up for the first three quarters before scoring his first touchdown of the season, on a 23-yard run late in the game.

“I think you can run the ball on them, and hopefully, we’ll be able to keep the ball out of their hands,” said Willis, who said his offensive line will have to do a better job blocking than they did in last week’s loss.

“We’re not coming off the ball on the offensive line,” he said. “We’re still going to do our zone blocking stuff, but we need to be more aggressive.”

“Offensively, I feel good about what we’re doing in practice,” Willis said. “We’re going to run our basic stuff, and are going to try and get Cowboy (Ortega) running downhill and get him more into the game. If we engage and lock onto somebody, he’ll find an opening.”

Sweetwater came into Pecos a year ago and shut out the Eagles by a 42-0 final score. Friday’s trip to the Mustang Bowl will be Pecos’ first visit there since 1997, when they racked up over 300 yards on offense, but lost to the Mustangs by a 41-18 final score. That was Sweetwater’s 36th straight regular season win at the time, and with a No. 3 ranking, the Mustangs would appear poised to go on another streak. But Sweetwater isn’t even the top-ranked team in District 4-3A, as Snyder is in the No. 2 spot, while Abilene Wylie just broke into the Top 10 rankings this past week.

“I think our district is pretty unique in that I’ve seen districts in the past who have had more than one ranked, but never to this extent,” Jackson said. “I know we’re going to have to be ready to perform every week in this district.”

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