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Monday, November 20, 2000

Too much speed, too few breaks, end Eagles' year 

Staff Writer

PECOS, Nov. 18, 2000 -- Good weapons and bad eyesight were a deadly combination for  the Pecos Eagles Friday night against the El Paso Parkland Matadors. 

Parkland used four weapons — a lot of Artise Cheeks and Matt Austin, a little Melvin Lucas and Michael Jefferson — while a couple of calls by the officials that cried out for the NFL's instant replay rule hurt Pecos as well, and allowed the Matadors to rally for a 31-23 victory in their Class 4A Division II bi-district playoff game at Eagle Stadium.

"That game was a microcosm of our season — we can't get a break," said a dejected Eagle coach Gary Grubbs. "We don't get a call when we should."

Austin ran for 129 yards, and Cheeks gained 116, as the Matadors rolled up 410 yards in total offense on the Eagles in the game. But Pecos controlled both the first and third quarters of the contest, surviving a couple of early long runs by the Matadors' backs to take a 14-0 lead, then taking advantage of a big judgment error by Lucas as a punt return to go back on top in the third period, after Parkland tied the game at 14-all.

But it was the judgment error that Lucas made late in the second quarter that wasn't called that upset Grubbs and the Eagle coaches the most. Up 14-7, Lucas appeared to run up and touch a punt by Daniel Terrazas near the Parkland 30 yard line. The ball bounced back to Jefferson, who also tried to grab it but couldn't, and the ball was fallen on by the Eagles at the 18.

But the officials ruled neither Parkland player had contact with the ball, and the Matadors proceeded to go on a seven-play, 82-yard drive that ended with an Austin touchdown run from 14-yards out. Luis' Rodriguez' extra point then tied the game with 48.5 seconds left in the half.

"He touched it. They both touched it, that's why they both went to go chase it," Grubbs said. "There's no question No. 22 (Lucas) touched it, but that's the way the whole season has gone for us. We couldn't get a break."

The lone break for Pecos came minutes into the game, when Lucas fumbled the snap on a 4th-and-3 play at the Pecos 18, after Cheeks ripped off 52 yards on the Matadors' first play from scrimmage. The Eagles then drove the ball 82 yards the other way for the game's first score, on a 25-yard run by Omar Luna, who had recovered Lucas' fumble. A 13-yard run by Daniel Terrazas on 3rd-and-6 from the 22, and an 11-yard pass from Alex Garcia to Tye Edwards on a 3rd-and-4 at midfield were the key plays in the drive, which also began the Eagles' problems with the referees.

Pecos got themselves into trouble when no one could find the tee for Matthew Levario's extra-point attempt. Forced to go for two, the Eagles ran a pitch out to the left side for Terrazas, who finished the night with 103 yards on 24 carries. He knocked over the goal line pylon with the football before he was tackled by Cheeks, but the side judge ruled Terrazas down before the ball reached the end zone, and Pecos' lead remained at 6-0.

Austin broke five Pecos tackles on the first play of Parkland's next series, going for a 46-yard gain. But the Eagles defense then stopped Cheeks for a two-yard loss, then sacked Lucas for 13- and 10-yard losses on third and fourth downs, giving the Eagles the ball back at their own 40.

This time, it took Pecos nine plays to go 60 yards for the score, the last 14 on a quarterback option by Garcia, who had runs of seven, six and 11 yards earlier in the drive. This time, Terrazas' two point run was good enough to get into the end zone, and the Eagles had a 14-0 lead.

Aside from the ruling on the punt, the two key plays of the game were probably fourth down calls, one made by the Matadors the other missed by the Eagles. Down by 14 and facing a 4th-and-1 from the Pecos' 40, Lucas threw an awkward pitch to Cheeks, who was able to evade one Eagle tackler at the 42 and then get down to the 38 for a first down. On the next play, Lucas found an opening around the right end and went 38 yards to put Parkland on the board.

The missed play came early in the final period with Pecos leading 23-21 when Garcia came up short on a quarterback sneak at the Parkland 30, on a 4th-and-inches play that seemed close enough to measure after third down.

We asked them for a measurement on third down, but didn't get it. I asked that guy a lot of things they didn't tell me," Grubbs said. Parkland then took over and marched the ball down inside the Pecos 10 before stalling, but Rodriguez came on to boot a 25-yard field goal to put the Matadors up, 24-23.

Pecos had grabbed an eight-point lead early in the third period, after Lucas opted to field a Terrazas punt at his own 1-yard-line. He appeared to have been tackled in the end zone by Jason Gonzales for a safety, but the officials ruled Lucas down at the one. While it was another call argued by the Eagle coaches, this one didn't hurt Pecos — the Eagles' defense shut down the Matadors, and the ensuing punt snap on 4th-and-8 went over Albert Alba's head at the back of the end zone.

Up 16-14, Levario returned Rodriguez' kickoff to the Parkland 40, from where Terrazas picked up a first down and the Eagles then went to Luna for three straight plays over the left side, the last going for five yards and a touchdown.

The Eagles then had Parkland facing a 3rd-and-12 from their own 23 after Trent Riley tackled Austin for a five-yard loss when Jefferson began playing a big role in the Matadors' offense. He caught a 19-yard pass from Lucas to keep the drive alive, and then after a series of first down runs by Austin and Cheeks, snared a two-yard TD pass on a fade route to the back corner of the end zone.

Jefferson then made a diving grab of desperation pass by Lucas on 1st-and-10 at the Parkland 45, turning a possible 12-yard quarterback sack into a 13-yard gain. It set up Rodriguez' go-ahead field goal exactly midway through the final period, which came three plays after Luna just missed his second fumble recovery, when lineman Clifford Jackson was able to recover a Cheeks fumble at the Pecos 12.

The Eagles then missed on another fourth down play, when Luna was tackled just short of midfield on a 4th-and-2, and Austin then took advantage of a tiring Eagle defense to score his second touchdown of the night, a 16-yard run with 2:37 left.

That sent a lot of the Pecos fans heading for the exits, even though a touchdown and two-point conversion could have sent the game into overtime. But Pecos was unable to connect on four straight passes from their own 33, and the Matadors then ran out the clock.

The loss ended Pecos' season in the bi-district round for the third year in a row, and gave them a final 6-5 mark, while Parkland improved to 8-3 and will face Andrews, 10-3 winners over Borger, in the area round of the playoffs this coming Saturday at the Mustang Bowl.

The Eagles weren't the only District 2-4A team to suffer  a heartbreaking loss at home on Friday. District-champion El Paso  Mountain View blew a 23-7 fourth quarter lead and lost to El Paso Ysleta, 27-23,  while District 1-4A champ El Paso Riverside blew out Fabens, 55-20, in the  other bi-district playoff contest. 

at Pecos

EP Parkland                 0  14    7  10 - 31
Pecos                           7    7    9    0 - 23

First Quarter
Pec. - Luna 25 run (run failed), 8:32.
Second Quarter
Pec. - Garcia 14 run (Terrazas run), 2:40.
Prk. - Lucas 38 run (Rodriguez kick), 5:39.
Prk. - Austin 14 run (Rodriguez kick), 11:12. 
Third Quarter

Pec. - Safety, punt snap out of end zone, 4:37.
Pec. - Luna 5 run (Levario kick), 6:52.
Prk. - Jefferson 2 pass from Lucas (Rodriguez kick), 10:41.
Fourth Quarter
Prk. - FG Rodriguez 25, 6:00.
Prk. - Austin 20 run (Rodriguez kick), 9:23.

                                              Prk.                        Pec.
First Downs                            21                          15
Rushes-Yds                   42-306                   44-226
Passing Yds                        104                          38
Passes                           7-11-0                    2-10-0
Punts-Yds                           0-0                        2-41
Fumbles-lost                       3-1                         0-0
Penalties-Yds                   2-20                       2-20 

Parkland, Austin 16-129, Cheeks  17-116, Lucas 9-61. Pecos, Terrazas
24-103, Luna 10-64, Garcia 10-59. 
- Parkland, Lucas 7-11-0-104. Pecos, Garcia  2-8-0-38, R. Rodriguez
- Parkland, Jefferson 4-49, Cheeks  2-19, Rascon 1-36. Pecos, R.
Rodriguez 1-29, Edwards 1-11. 
- None. 

Second half by Cowboys cages Bears

PECOS, Nov. 20, 2000 -- The Grandfalls Royalty Cowboys used the running attack of   James Stocks and Ramiro Marquez in the second half of their playoff  game Friday night to defeat the Balmorhea Bears by a 64-23 final score.

The Bears, who had ended a four-year losing streak to the Cowboys earlier in the season, looked like they would have a good shot at beating Grandfalls again at halftime of the game at Wink High School, after scoring three times and getting a late first half safety to take a 23-20 halftime lead. But the Cowboys took the second half kickoff and marched down the field behind Marquez and Stocks, who scored on a 3-yard run to give the Cowboys the lead for good after Isaiah Rodriguez just missed intercepting a pass to kill the drive.

Grandfalls, the District 7-A champion, would add five more scores before the game was over, while the Bears were shut out over the final 20 minutes of play.

The loss ended the Bears' season with a 6-4 mark, while Grandfalls improved to 9-2 and will face 9-2 Wellman in the area round of the six man football playoffs this Friday. Sanderson, which beat out Balmorhea for the District 8-A title on Nov. 10, defeated Sands 44-34 and will face undefeated Highland in the area round of the playoffs this Friday.

Stockton survives Pecos' comeback effort

Staff Writer

PECOS, Nov 20, 2000 -- Close may not count in anything but hand grenades and  horseshoes, but for Pecos Eagles' coach Tino Acosta, coming close on  Saturday was definitely a step in the right direction for his basketball team.

The Eagles dropped their 31st straight game, 53-48 at home to the Fort Stockton Panthers, as the Panthers won after the Eagles rallied from a 15-point deficit to take a 44-43 lead on a Saul Garcia 3-pointer with 2:21 to play. Fort Stockton turned the ball over on their next trip downcourt, but the Panthers then stole the ball from Garcia, and A.J. Gonzales hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 1:59 remaining.

Pecos then missed on their next two trips downcourt, while Fort Stockton added four free throws by John Duarte and a rebound lay-up by Chris Robbins to go back up by eight with 30 seconds left to play.

"We didn't fold. It just comes down to we made a great effort in practice on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday and the kids have to learn to believe in their heart and soul if they give the effort in practice they'll give it in the game.

"As long as we keep getting after people we'll be a good shape," Acosta said.

Pecos was at a manpower disadvantage going into the game _ Fort Stockton had all their players avilable since early last week, after the end of their 2000 football season, while the Eagles were still without five players who were in Friday night's playoff game against El Paso Parkland. But Pecos stayed with Fort Stockton in a foul- and turnover-filled first half, thanks to the scoring of Garcia and Eddie Cervantes.

Both players were shut out in the Eagles' season opening 62-37 loss to Monahans last Tuesday, but combined for 30 points on Saturday. Garcia finished as game-high scorer with 20 points, including four 3-point baskets and 8-for-12 from the foul line.

"As long as we keep getting scoring from all our guards we'll be O.K.," said Acosta. "We're not going to be the kind of team that can depend on one person, everyone has to contribute."

Garcia got two of his 3-pointers at the end of the first period and the start of the second, which gave Pecos 10-6 and 13-8 leads. But the Panthers' Aaron Reyna answered with a 3-pointer and a lay-up to get the Panthers back on top, and the lead changed hands four more times until Fort Stockton began a 21-6 run at the end of the second period.

It began when the Eagles let Jim O'Brien inside to rebound a missed foul shot and score, giving the Panthers a 20-18 lead. Justin Brians then ended the half with a 3-point jumper and after a Cervantes lay-up began the third period, Fort Stockton used a series of turnovers to widen their margin to 39-24 late in the quarter.

Pecos' comeback began with a Cervantes jumper, and continued with four free throws by Garcia and a rebound basket by Cervantes as the fourth period began. Martin Vasquez then hit from the side, Garcia added another two free throws and then the Eagles came up with a pair of steals for baskets by Ezra Varela and Cervantes to make it 39-38.

Manny Espino ended the streak with a rebound lay-up, but Garcia then hit his third 3-pointer of the day to tie things at 41-all, and came back a minute later to hit from behind the line again, after Espino scored to give the Panthers a 43-41 lead.

The loss left Pecos with an 0-2 mark for the first week of the season, while Fort Stockton improved to 1-1. The Eagles will be at home again on Tuesday for their final pre-Thanksgiving game, against the Andrews Mustangs.

Fort Stockton also pulled away late to win Saturday's junior varsity game, by a 49-40 score. Jose Saldana led Pecos with 10 points.


Sanchez 1 1-2 4; Reyna 4 0-0 9; Espino 4 1-3 9; Robbins 2 2-2 7; Lopez 1 0-1 2; Gonzales 2 1-2 6; Holguin 0 0-0 0; Ramirez 0 0-0 0; Duarte 0 4-4 4; O.Brien 2 0-0 4; Barnes 1 1-6 4; Yanes 2 0-2 4. Totals 19 10-22 53.

PECOS (48)
S. Garcia 4 8-12 20; Cervantes 5 0-2 10; Varela 2 0-0  4; Salazar 1 0-1 2; Tarin 0 1-2 1; Ju. Mora 0 0-1 0; Varela  2 0-0 4; Ortega 2 2-2 6; Vasquez 2 0-1 5.
Totals 16  11-21 48.

Fort Stockton      8   15   16   14   — 53
Pecos                  10    8     8   22   — 48

Three-point goals:
Fort Stockton 5 (Sanchez,  Gonzales, Reyna, Barnes, Robbins). Pecos 5 (S. Garcia  4, Vasquez). Fouled out: Fort Stockton, Lopez.  Pecos, Salazar, Varela. Total fouls: Fort Stockton 23, Pecos 24.

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Pecos Enterprise
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