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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, November 4, 2005

Pecos boys set to hold first hoop scrimmage

The Pecos Eagle boys basketball team will host the Odessa Permian Panthers on Tuesday night, in the first of two pre-season scrimmages, while their regular season opener is set for Nov. 18 in Kermit against the Yellowjackets.

Coach Art Welborn’s team will be trying to improve on last season’s 5-23 record, and 2-10 mark in District 3-3A play. They’ll open district at home this season against Presidio on Dec. 19, and will play their first regular season home game on Nov. 29 against Stanton. That’s also the first of seven home game doubleheaders with Pecos’ varsity girls team. The others are all during district play, with the exception of their final home game, on Feb. 10 versus Fort Stockton.

Like the girls, the boys are short one tournament this season, after Fort Stockton cancelled their tournament scheduled over the Christmas holidays. The Eagles will go to Coahoma on Dec. 1-3 and then travel to Monahans for the Sandhills Tournament on Dec. 8-10. Pecos’ junior varsity will host its own tournament that same weekend, while the JV and freshman teams will have one-day district tournaments on Jan. 28 in Seminole and Fort Stockton. Pecos will also go to Coahoma next weekend, for their final pre-season scrimmage, while their final regular season game will be back in Monahans on Feb. 14.

Bears seek winning season with victory over Sanderson

Two programs that are used to playing for something at the end of the season will instead just be closing out the 2005 season Friday night, when the Balmorhea Bears travel to Sanderson to face the Eagles, starting at 7:30 p.m.

The Bears will be trying to finish 2005 with winning records both on the season and in District 6-A six-man play, after last Friday’s 74-24 win at Imperial over the Longhorns put them at 3-3 in district and 5-4 on the season. It’s the fourth straight season the Bears have missed the playoff, but the first time since 1993 they were eliminated from post-season competition before the final two weeks of the year.

Sanderson, meanwhile, will be missing the playoffs for only the second time since dropping down from 11-man football in 1997. They failed to qualify in their first year of six-man, then began a run of playoff appearances before falling to a 3-6 record this season, 2-4 in district play, following last week’s 70-22 loss to Grandfalls.

“They’re down. They’re very young, like we are,” said Bears’ coach Adolfo Garcia. “It should be a good game, especially with all my kids gone.”

“We had quite a few who were hurt or didn’t play (at Imperial), and who won’t play at Sanderson,” Garcia said. “We’ll only have 10 suited out against Sanderson, and I’ll be without my best athlete, Michael Hernandez. He won’t be playing because he’ll e going to the cross-country regionals (Saturday in Lubbock).”

While the Bears were was minus a number of players last Friday they were still able to race out to an early lead before downing the Longhorns under the 45-point rule. “We led the whole game. I think it was 30-0 before they started scoring,” he said.

No district team has clinched a playoff berth yet, and those will be decided in Friday’s other two 6-A six-man contests, which match 5-1 Grandfalls against 4-2 Dell City, and 5-1 Fort Davis against 5-1 Sierra Blanca. A Grandfalls win will put them in the playoffs, while the winner of the Fort Davis-Sierra Blanca game will automatically earn a playoff spot. A loss by Grandfalls would force a tiebreaker between the Cowboys, Dell City and the loser of the Sierra Blanca-Fort Davis game for the second bi-district playoff berth.

Eagles, Panthers eye better starts, final game win

Opening periods haven’t been much to talk about for either the Pecos Eagles or the Fort Stockton Panthers the past few weeks. But the Panthers have managed to get their offense on track in the second half of their games against the Lamesa Golden Tornadoes and Seminole Indians, pulling out a win over Lamesa and almost wiping out a 35-7 halftime deficit last Friday at Seminole.

This Friday night, both teams will try to avoid slow starts in Fort Stockton, while the Eagles will try to do something they haven’t managed in a while, scoring in the second half, when both teams close out their 2005 football seasons with a 7:30 p.m. game at Panther Stadium. The Eagles have seen early mistakes put them in a two-touchdown hole six minutes into their last two home games, against Greenwood and Monahans. Both times, the Eagles would settle down, and come back with a touchdown, but they never could get their offense going in the second half and lost by 35-8 and 38-7 scores to the Rangers and Loboes.

Fort Stockton allowed Lamesa to control play in the first half of their last home game, but came out trailing only by a 3-0 score, and would push two touchdowns across in the second half for a 13-3 win. Last week at Seminole, the Panthers trailed 21-0 after one period, 28-0 midway through the second quarter and 35-7 at the half before getting a touchdown run and two TD passes from sophomore Sergio Corral in the final two periods. The last pass cut the lead to 35-28 with 2:46 to play, but the Indians were able to hold on for the victory and eliminate the Panthers from the District 3-3A playoff race.

“Seminole was leaving guys wide open on the field, and they took advantage of a couple of interceptions to get into good field position,” said Eagles’ coach Patrick Willis. “Until last week he (Corral) hadn’t done that well throwing the football.”

“We’ve have problems all year long putting two halves together,” said first-year coach Tom Howard, who has changed up the team’s offense from the past few seasons, when the Panthers relied on all-district quarterback Wayne Jefferson to provide most of the rushing and passing attack. “Midway through the second quarter last week we started playing decent ball, and we made some adjustments at the half on both sides of the ball and came out and dominated the second half.”

Corral took over at quarterback for J.J. Hickman midway through the season and has thrown for 363 yards, with four touchdowns and four interceptions. “The last two weeks he’s played extremely well throwing the ball and running the ball,” the Panthers’ coach said.

Howard added that the quarterback change was made more to improve Fort Stockton’s running game than their passing attack. “We had to have a running game,” Howard said. “Our running game was non-existent, and he was our best running back.”

Hickman has run for 524 yards and five touchdowns this season, though Howard said he’s suffered from knee and hip injuries during the season.

“He hasn’t really gotten loose for any big games, but he’s their main player, and we’ve got to get a hold of him,” Willis said.

Howard also said it’s taken a while for Fort Stockton’s linemen to adjust to the new offense, after doing mostly pass blocking with Jefferson at quarterback. “They’re coming around, and finally figuring out how to run block, instead of spreading it out and blocking for the pass,” he said.

At receiver, Alfredo Agredano had a big game last week with two touchdown catches, after a quiet middle of the season following a fast start. He’s second in the district in receiving with 19 catches for 411 yards.

“Their receivers are all good athletes and did a good job improvising, and the Agredano kid did a good job getting open,” Willis said.

Pecos was able to run the ball well at times on first down last week against Monahans, but struggled in several short yardage situations. Luis Ortega ran for 97 yards and threw to quarterback Miguel Estrada for Pecos’ only score of the night. The 97 yards also put him over 1,000 yards for the season, the first Pecos running back to go over 1,000 yards since Daniel Terrazas in 2000.

Ortega lost the district rushing lead by 19 yards to Monahans’ Sam Graves, who leads with 1.071 yards, but with the Loboes taking on Greenwood on Friday, the Eagles’ junior has a shot at winning the district rushing title with a strong game on Friday.

“We’re still going to play both quarterbacks (Estrada and Eddie Vela), and they’re going to try and stop the run for sure, so we’re going to try and throw the ball some more, but we’re not going to get away from Cowboy (Ortega). We want to get him the rushing title if we can.”

On defense, the Panthers have also been up and down. They stopped several Lamesa scoring chances in the first half two weeks ago and shut out both the Tors and Seminole in the second half for the past two weeks, but allowed Greenwood over 400 yards rushing in the game prior to that.

“Half of it has been due to the offense giving them poor field position. The defense has been up against the wall a lot of the year,” Howard said. “Last week we had a bad first quarter and started coming around in the second, then we came out at halftime and completely shut them down.”

He said some missed assignments led to Greenwood’s big yardage totals three weeks ago, and added the defense has been hurt by an injury to linebacker Brazos Peacock. “He’s our leading tackler and has kept things under control back there,” Howard said. “We had trouble getting people to the right spot, but have straightened that out some. It’s amazing what happens when people go to the right spot.”

Pecos has lost its last four games to Fort Stockton, dating back to an overtime loss on the Panthers’ field in the 2001 season. Last year, a shorthanded Fort Stockton squad came to Pecos and beat the Eagles by a 13-12 score, when Pecos gave up a late touchdown following a pass interference call against Hickman on a 4th-and-11 play. The loss left Pecos with an eight game losing streak to end the season, while a win on Friday will allow the Eagles to avoid closing the 2005 season with a seven-game losing streak.

“I feel like we’re better right now than we were last year, even if our record doesn’t show it,” Willis said. “Out of nine teams we’ve played, seven are in the playoffs. I still feel good about the way we ended up playing the last two weeks. There are just some little things we need to overcome.”

Presidio wins playoff match, Stockton falls

The Presidio Blue Devils failed in two tries to clinch the second place playoff berth out of District 3-3A in volleyball, but ended up winning when it counted in the bi-district round of the playoffs on Tuesday, against the Sweetwater Mustangs.

Meanwhile, the Fort Stockton Prowlers, who swept Presidio twice in four days to force a playoff for second and then win the No. 2 spot out of 3-3A, saw their season ended on Tuesday night in Kermit, as they were swept by Midland Greenwood in the bi-district round of the playoffs.

Presidio, 25-18, 25-18, 25-16 losers to Fort Stockton at Alpine last Saturday after falling the previous Tuesday to the Prowlers to close out the regular season, took Sweetwater, the runner-up out of District 4-3A, by scores of 25-15, 23-25, 25-20, 25-22 in Crane on Tuesday night. Fort Stockton, which had won three straight matches, fell in their game to Greenwood, by 25-23, 25-22, 29-27 scores. It was the fourth loss overall this season by the Prowlers to the Rangerettes.

Presidio, 25-14, moved into the area round of the playoffs against District 1-3A champion Canyon, 29-6, with their victory. That game is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday at Odessa Permian. Meanwhile, district champ Monahans drew a first round bye, and will begin defense of its 2004 state title on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Lubbock Monterey against Amarillo River Road. The winner of that game will face either Presidio or Canyon in the Region I-3A quarterfinals next week.

Martinez, Hernandez running for trips to state

Pecos Eagles cross-country coach Rudy Jurado says senior Jennifer Martinez is a little healthier this week, and his hoping she can run a lot faster on Saturday, when she competes in the Region I-3A Cross Country Meet at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock.

Meanwhile, Balmorhea’s Michael Hernandez will be looking to repeat or improve on his effort from a year ago at regionals, when he runs in the Class A meet in Lubbock on Saturday. His race will be at 12:30 p.m., while Martinez will run in the first race of the day, the Class 3A girls finals, starting at 9 a.m.

Martinez, who went into the District 3-3A meet on Oct. 24 in Monahans with the second-best time of all district runners, ended up just qualifying for regionals, getting the ninth of 10 regional berths in the race.

“Jennifer was sick when she ran at Monahans, but luckily she squeezed into regionals,” Jurado said. “I’m expecting a better race on Saturday, and hopefully she can come up and get into state.”

Normally the race is two-miles long for the girls, but Jurado said a layout error at the Ward County Golf Course shortened the district race by several hundred yards and as a result, all the times were season lows, including Martinez, who ran a 12:55.59. That time is about 20 seconds below her actual best time for the year, but about 40 seconds above where she’ll need to be on Saturday.

“Her best time is 13:18 and it will take about a 12:15 or 12:20 to get in. So she’s going to have to drop at least a minute, or it’s going to be hard for her to go,” the Eagles’ coach said.

Monahans’ Daisy Zamarippa won the district girls’ race with a 12:09.41 time, while Ramie Stewart of Lamesa was second, with a 12:22.12 time. None of Pecos’ boys qualified on the boys’ side, where Fort Stockton’s David Palma repeated as district champ, with a 16:08.62 time for the three-mile race.

Hernandez repeated as District 6-A boys champion for Balmorhea last Wednesday in Comstock, winning the three-mile race with 17:58 time. “It was kind of a slow time,” said coach Doug Maynard. “They had three guys drafting off of each other, but in the end Michael did his trademark kick.”

Hernandez placed ninth last year at regionals with a 17:12 time to earn his trip to the state finals in Georgetown. “I expect him to do better than last year when he qualified for state,” said Maynard. “He’s been training hard, hitting the hills, hitting the flats and doing speed work, so I’m expecting another trip to state.”

Maynard said Hernandez was his only varsity runner at district, while two junior high girls, Mayle McElroy and Sarah Yackel, placed seventh and 14th in their division at Comstock.

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