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Monday, January 31, 2000

Eagle boys win ninth swim title

Staff Writer
FORT STOCKTON, Jan. 31, 200 -- The pool was a little hot and the times were a little slow for the District 3-4A swim meet Saturday, but there was an explanation for both and neither ended up making much of a difference in the outcome of this year’s meet.

The Pecos Eagle boys scored an easy win for their ninth district title in 11 years, taking top honors with 127 points to 79 for runner-up Andrews. On the girls’ side Monahans won its third title in the past four seasons, beating out Pecos by a 93-75 final margin.

Even with temperatures outside in the 20s, it was hot and humid for swimmers and fans inside the Fort Stockton High School pool during Saturday morning’s preliminaries. Conditions were a little cooler by the time the finals rolled around at 5 p.m., but for the first time in several years, no new records were set by any of the swimmers.

While the water temperature had something to do with that, Eagles’ coach Terri Morse said the creation of a regional meet for Class 4A and below schools for the first time this year was a bigger factor.

“All the kids who could have set records at the meet, the coaches didn’t rest them before the meet because of the 4A-5A split,” she said. “They want to set things up for the regionals. The only ones I rested were the ones who may not have had a chance to go to regionals.

The boys collected eight of the 12 first place finishes at the meet, including a sweep of all three relays. The 200 yard medley relay team came closest to setting a new mark, finishing with a 1:45.11 time, one second off Pecos’ own district record of two years ago. The 200 yard freestyle team had the closest race, with Cortney Freeman pulling away on the final leg to give the Eagles a 1:37.11 to 1:38.91 win over Monahans, while the 400 freestyle relay team won by nearly 18 seconds over Monahans, with a 3:32.88 time.

Senior Kevin Bates was named the outstanding swimmer on the boys’ side for the second year in a row, though he fell short of breaking his own district mark of 22.07 in the 50 freestyle, winning with a 22.62 time. Bates also just missed his 1999 mark in the 100 freestyle, winning with a 50.20 time, which was .61 behind last year’s record.

Also winning a pair of gold medals was Tye Edwards. He was edged in the prelims of the 100 butterfly by Abilene Wylie’s John Ouimette, but came back to win in the finals with a 58.21 time to 58.43 for Ouimette. Later, Edwards won the 100-yard backstroke with a 58.35 time.

Pecos’ other gold medal came from Randall Reynolds, who won the 200 freestyle with a 2:01.17 time, just .43 seconds ahead of Andrews’ Michael Ashabranner. Reynolds also tied Ouimette for second later in the 500 freestyle, with Andrews’ Justin Waldrop winning with a 5:33.51 time to 5:33.87 for the Eagle and Bulldog swimmers.

Pecos had three other second place finishes Saturday. Freeman was second to Bates in the 100 freestyle with a 23.61 time, Grant Holland was edged by Walldrop in the 200 individual medley, 2:16.13 to 2:16.80, and Jason Lopez was second by one second to Monahans’ Chris Cain in the 100 yard breaststroke with a 1:06.08 time.

Holland placed third in that race, while Freeman was third in the 50-yard freestyle and Lopez was third in the 100 fly. Other Top 6 finishers in the meet, who automatically earned berths at the Region I-4A meet in Lubbock on Feb. 10-12, were Patrick McChesney, third in the 200 freestyle and fourth in the 500 free; Scott Pounds, fourth in the 100 freestyle and fifth in 1 meter diving; Wesley Roberts fourth in 1 meter diving; Mike Howard, fifth in the 500 freestyle; Luis Nieto, sixth in the 100 yard backstroke; and Craig Wein sixth in the 100 yard freestyle.

Pecos’ girls were actually ahead of Monahans in points until the final three races, with the big turnaround coming in the 100 backstroke, were the Eagles had no entries in the finals to four for the Loboes.

“I thought we got a lot closer than I thought we would,” Morse said. “We did a little better in a couple of places than what I though we would do.”

Morse had moved JoAnn Wein out of the 100 backstroke in an effort to get some more points, and that gamble paid off. She won both of the girls’ gold medals on the day, taking the 200 and 500-yard freestyle races by margins of four and 14 seconds, winning with 2:15.82 and 6:04.97 times.

The girls’ 200 medley relay team finished second to the Loboes and the 400-yard freestyle team also won a medal, placing third. Individually, Sarah Flores took home a pair of second place finishes, in the 200 individual medley by two seconds to Big Spring’s Melissa Sheedy and in the 100 yard breaststroke to Monahans’ Autumn Ware by a 3½ second margin. Briar Prewit also took home a medal with a third place finish in the 50 freestyle and later finished fourth in the 100 freestyle.

Rebecca Wein had a pair of fourth place efforts for Pecos, in the 100 yard butterfly and the 200 individual medley, as did Lauren Wein in the 200 freestyle and 500 free. Rachelle Eisenberg was fourth in the 100-yard breaststroke and fifth in the 50 free and in Friday’s 1-meter diving competition, Jenny Alvarez placed fourth.

Sheedy was named the outstanding swimmer on the girls’ side, while Morse earned boys’ Coach of the Year honors, Monahans’ Doug Ward won on the girls’ side and Andrews’ Mike Walden took the new award for Coach of the Year in diving, where the Mustangs took four of the top six spots.

Morse said the regional meet in Lubbock will begin with diving on Feb. 10, with the preliminaries and finals set for the mornings of Feb. 11-12 at the Lubbock ISD pool. The Eagles will face swimmers from El Paso and the Panhandle as well as their other 3-4A rivals, with only the top finisher in each event guaranteed a berth in the state finals in late February.

While the Eagles have faced and beaten all of their regional rivals outside of Monahans’ girls so far this season, Morse didn’t want to take this weekend’s results and look past the Lubbock meet. “What was done in any of the other meets doesn’t matter. These first place finishes can be upset at regionals.

Canutillo controls game in win over Pecos

Staff Writer
PECOS, Jan. 31, 2000 -- First place against last place turned out the way you would expect it to on Friday night, which was bad news for the Pecos Eagles.

The first place Canutillo Golden Eagles came into Pecos, took control early, and cruised to an easy 69-34 victory to close out the first half of the District 2-4A basketball schedule.

Noel Cuevas and Chris Grant got things going with 3-pointers that helped Canutillo out to a 19-6 first quarter lead, and then post Frank Lerma took over, scoring 20 of his 24 points in the middle periods, which ended with the visiting Eagles up by a 54-23 score.

"We didn't come out as hard as we could of in the first half, and that was disappointing," said Eagles' coach Tino Acosta, whose situation wasn't helped when leading scorer Hector Rodriguez took an elbow to the forehead early in the third period and left the court dripping blood.

"He got stitched up, but I love that kid too much to put him back in with stitches in his head," Acosta said after Rodriguez returned to the bench in the fourth quarter.

The game was decided by then, and Canutillo had things pretty much in control by the time Rodriguez went out. Lerma had closed the first half with a steal and dunk, part of a quarter-ending six-point streak by the senior that gave the Golden Eagles a 37-14 lead.

Aside from moving the ball around to the open man all night, Canutillo's defense kept the Eagles from getting many in-close shots in the first half, and the Eagles had trouble hitting those they were able to get off.

"We went out on the court and I could tell there was something wrong in the pre-game shoot-around," said Acosta. "It just didn't feel right. We talked about it in preparation and tried to do some more running before the game, but we still couldn't get it going."

After falling behind 9-1, a three-point play by Rodriguez and a lay-up that followed made it 11-6, but Lerma then hit a 10-footer from the side, and Grant and Cuevas got open for 3-pointers from the right side of the key, and the lead was up to 13 points.

Adrian Rayos was the only Pecos player to reach double figures, finishing with 10 points, and the Eagles didn't help their own cause with a 9-for-26 night from the foul line. Canutillo went to the line just 11 times and hit six free throws, while Cuevas and Jose Rodriguez joined Lerma in double figures with 12 and 10 points.

The loss drops the Eagles to 0-19 on the season going into the final game of their three-game homestand, on Tuesday against Fabens. Pecos did win Friday's junior varsity game by a 61-53 final score, while the freshman lost to Canutillo by a 43-23 score. Richard Rodriguez led the JV with 17 points and Tony Trujillo topped the freshmen with 11.

Rodriguez 4 2-3 10; Flores 1 0-0 2; Cuevas 5 0-0 12; Grant 3 0-0 7; Neal 0 1-2 1; Lerma 11 2-3 24; Bowson 1 1-2 3; Ochoa 1 0-0 2; Hitz 2 0-0 4; Soto 0 0-0 0; Castanon 2 0-0 4. Totals 30 6-11 69.

PECOS (34)
Weidner 1 3-5 5; Cervantes 2 0-0 4; Rayos 3 4-8 10; A. Garcia 2 0-0 5; Chavez 1 1-2 3; Tarin 0 0-0 0; Rodriguez 3 1-1 7; S. Garcia 0 0-2 0; Terrazas 0 0-8 0. Totals 12 9-26 34

Canutillo            21   16   17   15 - 69
Pecos                    8      6     9    11 -34

Three-point goals: Canutillo 3 (Cuevas 2, Grant), Pecos 1 (A. Garcia). Fouled out: Canutillo, Soto. Total fouls: Canutillo 20, Pecos 13.

Rams are No. 1 after stopping Titans at the 1

AP Football Writer
ATLANTA, Jan. 31, 2000 - This was why they invented the Super Bowl.

This one had long touchdowns, record-setting performances, courageous comebacks and a thrilling finish. Nobody could have asked for more than the St. Louis Rams and Tennessee Titans supplied Sunday.

That the Rams held on - by inches - for a 23-16 victory didn't necessarily make the Titans losers. Each team could leave the Georgia Dome with pride.

"It was a fight to the finish," said Rams receiver Isaac Bruce, who caught the 73-yard game-winning pass from Kurt Warner just 18 seconds after the Titans overcame a 16-0 deficit to tie it. "It was one of the best games I've ever played in. I am just proud to be part of this."

As were the Titans, who fell just short when Kevin Dyson was tackled by linebacker Mike Jones at the 1 as time ran out.

"To come this far and be a half-yard short is just a sick feeling," Dyson said. "But this team leaves here winners inside."

They weren't winners on the scoreboard because Jones made a classic tackle on the final play. It was the last of a Super series of second-half plays providing a scintillating finish.

"I said, `This time, no matter who it is, I can't let him in the end zone,"' Jones said. "`We got a chance to win this game. Get him on the ground.'

"They've got the hearts of warriors. They were down 16-0, and a lot of teams would have tucked tail."

At the end, all of these warriors were worn out. The Rams' defenders barely could stand, and the Titans' attackers were just as wobbly.

"Football is the most emotional roller coaster you can be on," Dyson said. "It leaves you with nothing left emotionally."

Tennessee could do nothing in the first half, which the Rams dominated. St. Louis gained 294 yards to 89 for the Titans. The Rams ran 44 plays to 24 for Tennessee. League MVP Kurt Warner, who also won the game's most valuable player award, already had 19 completions and 270 yards.

But it was just 9-0 on Jeff Wilkins' field goals of 27, 29 and 28 yards. Every time the Rams, whose 526 points were the third-highest in league history, got near the end zone, they couldn't get it in.

"We were getting points, but we knew we had to get the ball in the end zone," said Bruce, who would make six catches for 162 yards. "We couldn't win with just field goals."

They stopped kicking for points on their first drive of the second half, when Warner found rookie Torry Holt for a 9-yard score. The touchdown came three plays after safety Blaine Bishop was carted off the field with a neck injury. He later returned to the Dome after going to the hospital for X-rays, which were negative.

St. Louis (16-3), a city that never had a pro football champion, was up 16-0 and looking at a potential rout.

Finally, Steve McNair and Eddie George got on track for the Titans (16-4), who took the difficult wild-card route to their first Super Bowl. McNair engineered a 12-play, 66-yard drive that included 23-yard run to the St. Louis 2. George scored from the 1, but a 2-point pass went behind Frank Wycheck.

Emboldened, the Titans forced a Rams punt for the first time, and George scored on a magnificent 2-yard run on which he broke three tackles. Suddenly, it was 16-13, and when the Rams once more went 3-and-out, Tennessee was in charge.

"In the second half, the guys buckled down and made things happen," said McNair, who showed no signs of a painful toe injury that has plagued him for the last month.

They had to make things happen one more time to even things, and thanks to Mike Horan's 30-yard punt, they did. Al Del Greco made a 43-yard field goal with 2:12 to go, and the first overtime in Super Bowl history seemed likely.

Then again, the Rams don't believe in the probable. After all, this was a team that went 5-11 and 4-12 in coach Dick Vermeil's first two seasons following a 14-year hiatus. This was a team quarterbacked by a former Arena League and NFL Europe player who once stocked shelves in a supermarket.

And this was a team that has struck quickly quite frequently this season. So why not win a Super Bowl that way?

"Isaac is our go-to guy," said Warner, who set a Super Bowl record with 414 yards passing. "He's made big plays for us all year and we knew he could make another one."

Warner came back for a deep pass that was a bit short. Cornerback Denard Walker fell as he tried to go for Bruce, leaving an alley that Bruce sped down for the winning touchdown with 1:54 remaining.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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