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Friday, January 21, 2000

San Eli's quickness to test Pecos

PECOS, Jan. 21, 2000 -- The Pecos Eagle boys will face a team more their size, but with a lot of quickness tonight, while Pecos' girls will also be facing a team they match-up against better size-wise than most, when they travel to San Elizario to face that group of Eagles at 7 and 8:30 p.m.

Both Eagle teams head to San Eli with 0-17 records, after four point losses to the Clint Lions on Tuesday.

A blown call on a double-bonus free throw allowed Clint's Polly Wagner to score the winning basket on what should have been a dead ball situation, as the Lions kept Pecos winless with a 49-45 victory. On the boys' side, Pecos wiped out an 11-point Clint lead in the final period, only to see the Lions outscore them 9-4 in the final three minutes of play to win by a 52-48 margin.

"I can understand people being disappointed with our record, but they shouldn't be disappointed with our team. They played their guts out," said coach Tino Acosta.

While Pecos is 0-2 in district, San Elizario comes in with a 1-1 mark and are 14-8 overall. Many of the same players who led them to their first ever disitrcit football title in November _ including quarterback Mike Perez _ are playing key roles for the Eagles, who have used their quickness to offset a lack of size, something Pecos is all-too familiar with.

Pecos' girls are hoping their luck changes tonight against San Elizario, which has been the surprise of District 2-4A through the first two weeks of the season. They upset Clint last Friday, 38-32, and are tied for first place with a 3-1 record.

The Eagles, meanwhile, are 0-4 after a five-overtime loss at Fabens a week ago, and Tuesday's four point loss at home to Clint. "We're going to work hard and practice again, then go down there and work hard to win one in San Eli," said coach Brian Williams, whose team has shot better in their last two games than they have over the first 15 games of the season.

Tonight's game marks the halfway point of district play for Pecos' girls, while the boys will have two more games before they get to the midpoint of their 2-4A schedule. Play will open tonight with the freshmen games at 5 p.m., with the boys' JV game set for 7 p.m.

Rams' defense seeks some respect

AP Football Writer
ST. LOUIS, Jan. 21, 2000 - The St. Louis Rams have a defense, too.

Maybe it doesn't measure up to the team's overpowering offense. Or even to Tampa Bay's rugged defensive unit, led by NFL Defensive Player of the Year Warren Sapp.

It does, however, deserve some credit, even if it tends to get ignored.

"With an offense like ours, it's understandable if people forget about our defense," middle linebacker London Fletcher said as his team prepared for Sunday's NFC championship game with the Buccaneers. "Hey, offense draws everyone's attention, especially one that scores the way our offense scores.

"But we've got some playmakers on our defense, and we've done our share of good things."

-Such as score seven times on interceptions returns, led by outside linebacker Mike Jones and end Grant Wistrom with two apiece.

-Such as get a league-high 17 sacks from All-Pro end Kevin Carter. In all, the Rams had 57 sacks, most in the conference and tied with Jacksonville for the NFL lead.

-Such as rank first against the run, yielding only 74.3 yards a game. No runner got 100 yards on the ground against them.

It will be the chore of Warrick Dunn and Mike Alstott to break that streak. If they can't get something going on the ground, the Bucs could be in trouble with a rookie quarterback in Shaun King and a so-so group of receivers.

Tampa Bay's offense has been good at making even mediocre defenses such as Washington's look intimidating. The `Skins shut out the Bucs deep into the third quarter last weekend before Tampa rallied, sparked by All-Pro safety John Lynch's interception.

This is no mediocre average defense the Bucs will face, however. Like the St. Louis offense, it is aggressive and fast.

"They make plays," Dunn said, "and when you make mistakes they take advantage of it."

Added Bucs coach Tony Dungy, considered a defensive mastermind:

"The thing people do not talk that much about is they have been playing great defense and their special teams and defense are creating field position. This is a well-rounded team."

The Bucs have three All-Pros on their defense in Sapp, Lynch and outside linebacker Derrick Brooks. Carter is the only one for the Rams, but they have several topnotch defenders.

Fletcher, the Rams' leading tackler, is extremely active and gets to the sidelines quickly. Jones is a ball hawk. Todd Lyght has had a strong season at cornerback. D'Marco Farr is a run-stopper at tackle who also can penetrate the passing pocket. Wistrom, who faces backup tackle Pete Piersen, has come on all season and was the Rams' best defensive lineman against the Vikings in last Sunday's victory.

"A lot of people talk about Tampa Bay and all its Pro Bowl players and that is a great defense," Lyght said. "We feel we are an elite defense, too."

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Pecos Enterprise
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