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Thursday, November 9, 2000 

Eagles seek different results at San Elizario

Staff Writer

PECOS, Nov. 9, 2000 -- They're not looking for a recount, but the Pecos Eagles are hoping  to reverse the results of last year's regular season-ending game at  San Elizario, when they travel their Friday to meet their Eagle counterparts in  an 8:30 p.m. start.

Pecos is in the exact same position they were a year ago going into their game at San Eli, sitting tied for second place with a 3-1 record in District 2-4A and with a 5-4 overall mark. But things are a lot different for the host Eagles, who wrapped up a perfect 5-0 district record and their first-ever championship last season with a 12-0 victory over Pecos.

San Eli had a chance to make tonight's game just as big, had they been able to defeat Canutillo last Friday. But the Golden Eagles used a late touchdown to score a 9-6 win, which dropped San Eli to 1-3 in district, 4-5 overall, and clinched playoff spots for both Pecos and Fabens.

"That's the first game we've played in the three years I've been here I can say we should have won but didn't," said coach Joe Carrillo. "We had the ball four times inside their 10 and scored only three points. Bo (Solis) threw an interception, they blocked a field goal and we had a touchdown called back by a penalty."

Pecos also comes in off a loss, 27-21 at home to El Paso Mountain View; the Eagles third overtime loss of the season. It's a defeat that left Mountain View alone in first place and left Pecos in a slightly down mood going into this week's game.

But while the Eagles would need help from 3-1 Fabens against Mountain View on Friday to earn a share of the 2-4A title, a win would more importantly give Pecos a chance to host their first home playoff game in a quarter century when bi-district play starts on Nov. 17.

"Our kids still have something to play for," said coach Gary Grubbs, who has been kept busy along with the rest of the Eagles' coaching staff devising a defense for San Eli's complicated offensive scheme.

"They run a different set every play," he said. "They run multiple, multiple forms.

"They're tough-looking kids, and I think they're going to get after it, even if they don't have (a playoff spot) to play for," Grubbs said.

Grades cost Carrillo several players just before the start of district, though he said that wasn't the main reason the Eagles will miss out on the post-season this year. "We just don't have the depth. Last year we were using about 15 or more players. Now, everybody has to go both ways."

The loss of running back/defensive back Mike Tapia for three weeks was a blow, but he and all the other San Eli players are back for Friday's game, Carrillo said.

Santiago Elizade emerged as the team's top running back with Tapia's absence and has also been San Eli's mainstay on defense at linebacker. "He's the one that's got to do everything. I can't spell him; he has to go both ways," Carrillo said.

Elizade is fourth in the district in rushing with 550 yards and three touchdowns, and leads his team in tackles with 100 in nine games.

"Defensively, they're playing multiple fronts to try and bring pressure," said Grubbs. "I don't think they're as quick back there as last year, but it looks like they have a little bit more size."

"I'm super-impressed with the way you guys are running the veer. We're going to have to bring our `A' game to stop it," Carrillo said.

San Eli has had a few problems running the ball the past two weeks against Fabens and Canutillo. "They're trying to run a little option on offense, and if that doesn't work, they'll put it in the air," Grubbs said.

Solis threw for almost 300 yards two weeks ago in a 56-27 loss to Fabens, and threw for 100 last week at Canutillo. "Solis is not a bad looking quarterback. He does a good job throwing the football and runs the option game pretty good."

Carrillo said Solis has done a good job trying to replace last year's district MVP Mike Perez, but that the lack of depth has hurt the team's option attack.

"We've never been able to get a third back. We went to more of an option offense, but we couldn't get that third back, and we haven't been hitting on all cylinders since the (El Paso) Bowie game," he said.

"Three-hundred yards (passing) is not what I'd like to do, but sometimes you have to," Carrillo said. "I'd like to play like West Texas teams and grind the ball. I don't think you can go far in the playoffs unless you can run."

Pecos ran for 345 yards last week against Mountain View, but a lack of depth may have hurt them in overtime against the Lobos, who won on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Arturo Muniz to Ebert Munoz after Abe Mendoza was able to catch Pecos' Daniel Terrazas from behind on a 3rd-and-5 sweep when Pecos had the ball in overtime.

Terrazas ended up rushing for 219 yards on the night, and can gain 1,000 yards for the season with a 155-yard rushing effort against San Elizario.

Grubbs said grades cost the Eagles five reserve players this week, but with the freshman and junior varsity seasons having ended a week ago, "We'll take all our eligible JV and freshman kids … We'll have 52 there, and we'll suit up 40."

Pecos in dark on playoff opponent

PECOS, Nov. 9, 2000 -- About the only two things the Pecos Eagles know about next week is:  They don't have to scout El Paso Ysleta this Friday night, and they don't have to  scout El Paso Bowie.

Ysleta, the team that defeated Pecos in the Class 4A playoffs last season by an 18-0 score, can only go into the big school division (Division I) of this year's playoffs, while El Paso Mountain View has locked up the big school slot out of District 2-4A. That leaves the Eagles and Fabens Wildcats fighting for seeding in the small school (Division II) playoff bracket, with the top seed more than likely hosting their first round playoff game.

But neither team knows who their first round opponent will be, because every team in District 1-4A except for 0-4 Bowie remains in the playoff race.

Bowie hosts 2-2 El Paso High this week, while 1-3 El Paso Burges plays at 2-2 El Paso Parkland and 3-1 Ysleta hosts El Paso Riverside, which at 4-0 is the only team that knows it's going to the playoffs.

Ysleta could miss the playoffs with a loss and victories by Parkland and El Paso High, while Burges still has an outside shot at third place if they defeat Parkland while Bowie upsets El Paso High.

Right now, if Pecos wins their game Friday at San Elizario, the Eagles' most likely opponent is El Paso Parkland, if all three favored teams (Parkland, El Paso High and El Paso Riverside) win on Friday. If Riverside loses to Ysleta, Pecos would face El Paso High if they defeat Bowie, but the Eagles could still end up against Parkland or Burges if the Matadors lose to the Mustangs.

If Pecos loses to San Elizario, they could face Riverside, Parkland or El Paso High in bi-district. But if Fabens wins their game on Friday at El Paso Mountain View, the Eagles would go in as the No. 3 seed in District 2-4A and would likely face back-to-back trips to El Paso for their final regular season and bi-district playoff game for the second year in a row.

Eagles' focus on fundamentals for hoop season

Staff Writer

PECOS, Nov. 9, 2000 -- Fundamentals are what new Pecos Eagles basketball  coach Veronica Valenzuela is focusing on, going into the 2000-2001 season. 

And the Eagles will have a while to get those fundamentals down, though they'll get a test this Saturday when they travel to Odessa Permian for a scrimmage against the Panthers.

While high school teams can begin their seasons next Monday, and Pecos' junior high girls teams have their first games of the season scheduled for today at Andrews, the Eagles' season-opening game won't be until after Thanksgiving, when they host Monahans on Nov. 28.

The Eagles dropped a couple of early-season games, including a Nov. 27 contest at Alpine, while the freshman team's season opener against Wink scheduled for this Monday also has been canceled, due to a shortage of ninth graders.

"We had a couple in trouble with grades, so there might not be enough left to start off. We've got six right now," Valenzuela said.

There are 30 players working out overall right now, and seven of those are returnees from last season, when the Eagles finished with a 1-21 record, 1-9 in district play.

"I've got seven back from last year and had two juniors come out this year that didn't play a year ago," Valenzuela said, who had her players practicing dribbling with their left hands on Wednesday.

"I'm focusing on fundamentals. We're drilling fundamentals every day," she said. "I don't think you can do much of anything if your fundamentals are weak."

"Luckily, we don't have any games for a while, because we haven't had any off-season with me being in volleyball," said Valenzuela, who was the Eagles' junior varsity volleyball coach.

Most of her returning varsity players also just got out of volleyball, and most spent the first three weeks of the season with Valenzuela as their coach, while Becky Granado was away from the team. That group includes three starters, Dee Dee Molinar, Alexa Marquez and Philly Fobbs, and Pecos also gets back guard Marisela Arenivas, the team's leading scorer from last season.

That group has to learn some new things this season. "We're running a totally different offense than what we ran last year," Valenzuela said. "We're running a continuity offense for zone … We worked on our zone offense the other day, and it's not what we used last year."

On defense, Pecos has pressed a lot the past few seasons, but has been hurt by blown assignments leading to easy baskets by their opponents and foul trouble for some of the Eagle starters. As far as this season goes, Valenzuela said, "I don't know if we're going to use it as much yet, but if it hurts us more than it helps us, we won't do it until we're good and ready."

Pecos actually played better games a year ago than they did in the 1998-99 season, despite the 1-21 mark. So far in a week working out with the full squad, Valenzuela said, "I can I've seen some improvement in the short time I've had them. Hopefully, we'll get better and better and keep going up."

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