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Thursday, January 4, 2001

Swimmers back in action at Stockton

PECOS, Jan. 4, 2001 -- The holiday break ends Friday for the Pecos Eagles swim team, as they travel to Fort Stockton to compete in the Coker Invitational, the next-to-last event before the District 3-4A meet for the Eagles.

“We had some pretty good workouts during the holidays,” said Eagles’ coach Terri Morse. “We had to split our workouts and go a little bit before Christmas because we got out (of school) so early, but the kids have been working hard since they got back.

“I feel like I saw some improvement in some of our swimmers who have not been doing as weel or who have been sick,” she said. “We had a real good workout yesterday. It seemed like everybody did well and really improved.”

Pecos’ boys finished first and the girls second in their last meet, the Seminole Invitational back on Dec. 8. The boys have not lost to a Class 4A school yet this season and will be trying to repeat as Region I-4A champs next month, while the girls, who were second in both district and regional a year ago, will be trying to improve on their results before district and regional meet. The girls have lost to 3-4A rival Abilene Wylie so far this season, and were beaten at Seminole by another Class 4A school, Pampa.

For this weekend, Morse said, “I’m going to make some changes on the girls’ relay and try a couple of different things to see how they do on them. Individually, most everybody is going to swim the same events.”

She added that the new six-week grading period didn’t hurt the team. “We only lost one (to grades), and it didn’t hurt us with anyone in the relays. With district starting on Friday (Jan. 26 in Big Spring) that means anyone ineligible won’t be able to swim at district, so I stressed to the kids how important this six-week grading period was.”

Morse said she didn’t know exactly which teams would be in Fort Stockton, but expected to see most of the Eagles’ district rivals, along with some New Mexico schools. Three El Paso schools – Parkland, Del Valle and Bel Air – are also scheduled to be at the meet, which begins Friday evening with the one meter diving competition. The timed swimming finals start at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

Seminoles' offense gets blanked, OU gets title

AP Sports Writer

MIAMI, Jan. 4, 2001 -  Torrance Marshall and top-ranked Oklahoma made their statement real early.
"I tried to intimidate from the coin toss," the Sooners linebacker said. "I told Chris Weinke that he stole my boy's trophy."
By the end of the Orange Bowl, as Heisman runner-up Josh Heupel stood in the end zone and led the school band in the fight song, all the hardware belonged to Oklahoma.
Marshall earned the MVP award for leading a defense that denied No. 3 Florida State a share of its second straight national title, and the Sooners seized the top prize with a 13-2 win Wednesday night.
Oklahoma (13-0), 10 1/2-point underdogs against the Seminoles (11-2), also made the issue of a split title a moot point. They were a unanimous No. 1 in The Associated Press media poll and were automatically crowned in the coaches' poll under the Bowl Championship Series format.
"Our players recognize that the history of Oklahoma is winning championships," Sooners coach Bob Stoops said. "We already had six, now we have seven."
Oklahoma won its first title since 1985, smothering a team that led the nation in total offense and averaged 42 points per game.
The Seminoles wound up at No. 5 - the first time since the 1987 season they finished out of the top four spots.
"When I look at it now, I think it should have been Miami and Oklahoma," Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden said. "We didn't look like we belonged here."
Miami (11-1), which beat Florida a day earlier in the Sugar Bowl, had hoped a win by the Seminoles would give it the AP title.
Instead, Hurricanes coach Butch Davis watched the Sooners win the lowest-scoring Orange Bowl since Penn State beat Missouri 10-3 in 1970.
"Give Oklahoma credit," said Davis, whose team finished No. 2. "To finish 13-0 against a strong schedule and to perform the way they did this evening is highly commendable."
Only a bad snap over punter Jeff Ferguson's head in the final minute, which resulted in a safety, prevented Oklahoma from handing the Seminoles their first shutout since 1988, a 31-0 loss in the season opener.
"I think we had confidence right from the get-go, right when we found out who we were going to play," co-defensive coordinator Brent Venables said. "We just did a variety of things."
As expected, the Seminoles came out throwing. And when Heisman winner Weinke hit Atrews Bell for a 35-yard completion on the first play of the game, Florida State fans started shouting, and the Seminoles' band began blaring the school's famous war chant.
It would be the last time all night they would be so loud.
By the time Ontei Jones picked off Weinke's pass in the end zone with 16 seconds left, it was all over and the Sooners' band had struck up several choruses of "Oklahoma."
Marshall wound up as the Orange Bowl MVP after making six tackles and coming up with an interception.
"Everybody doubted us all year, but this is a great group of football players here," he said.
Weinke finished 25-for-51 and threw two interceptions. Star running back Travis Minor was reduced to 20 yards on 13 carries.
"We couldn't seem to click or get on a roll," Weinke said.
The Seminoles were minus their top receiver, All-American Snoop Minnis, who was academically ineligible - he could only watch on the sidelines as his team sputtered.
"I was frustrated, Chris was frustrated. They did a good job frustrating all of us," Florida State offensive coordinator Mark Richt said.
Last month, Richt took the job as head coach at Georgia. He stayed on with the Seminoles through this game and admitted his attention was diverted.
"I'm sure that's going to be said," he said. "I did the best I could. I wouldn't recommend it to anybody. It's an awful lot to try to get accomplished for one person. I'm sorry that we just didn't finish on a strong note."
Heupel outplayed Weinke in the matchup of seniors, completing 25 of 39 passes for 214 yards and keeping the Seminoles off balance all evening.
"We don't care what the media or oddsmakers think," Heupel said. "We believe in ourselves."
Tim Duncan kicked two field goals and Quentin Griffin scored the clinching touchdown on a 10-yard run up the middle with 8:30 to play.
The Seminoles' best chance to score came midway through the second quarter. But as has often happened in their past, the kicking game failed.
Brett Cimorelli missed badly from 30 yards, kicking a knuckleball that sailed wide right - of course - and the Sooners held their 3-0 lead.
Oklahoma led 6-0 when All-American linebacker Rocky Calmus made a key play, forcing Weinke to fumble near the Seminoles 20 midway through the fourth quarter.
Roy Williams recovered for the Sooners, and they quickly scored a touchdown that made it 13-0.
"Great preparation, great game plan, great DBs," Calmus said. "We just had to get into our comfort zone and relax. We knew it would be a defensive game."
The Seminoles finished with 301 yards, far below their average of 549.
"We simply could get nothing going offensively," Bowden said. "They did a great job of confusing us defensively."

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