Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, September 7, 2001
Eagles hope varied offense produces against Panthers
By JON FULBRIGHT
There could be a little bit of a role reversal tonight at Eagle Stadium,
when the Pecos Eagles take on the Fort Stockton Panthers in their second
game of the 2001 football season.
The Eagles, who rallied in the final minutes of last week's game to
beat Kermit, 25-24, will face the Panthers in Fort Stockton's season opener,
and Eagles' coach Gary Grubbs is hoping that Pecos' late-game success throwing
the ball a week ago will force Fort Stockton to spread out their defense
a little bit more tonight.
"I don't think people will be able to stack the line against us anymore,"
Grubbs said after quarterback Freddy Torres had touchdown passes to Mason
Abila and Jason Gonzales in the fourth quarter, the latter from 17 yards
out with 42 seconds to play. "We threw the second most passes of any team
(in District 2-4A) last week and completed more than anyone else, so I
think the other teams are going to have to back off the line and give our
passing game a little more respect."
It's been 12 years since Pecos threw for over 1,000 yards in a season,
and they gained under 800 yards through the air the past two seasons. Last
season, the Eagles gained 246 yards at Fort Stockton, all but 20 of that
on the ground after quarterback Alex Garcia suffered a separated shoulder.
Pecos rallied from a 20-7 deficit to tie the score on the final play of
regulation, but then botched the extra point kick and lost in overtime,
26-20 when the Panthers hit a key pass over the middle to set up their
score while Pecos was unable to throw the ball in their overtime series.
"Their defense is going to be physical. They've got good size, but I
think what we do offensively negates what a big physical defense can do,
because now they have to worry about us throwing the ball too," Grubbs
Fort Stockton coach Gary Roan failed to return phone calls, but sounded
optimistic about his team's chances this season when talking to the Fort
Stockton Pioneer after the Panthers' scrimmages against Del Rio and
"We really played so power, smash-mouth football against Hobbs," said
Roan. "Our line really pushed them around once they got going. That's going
to be the strength of this football team this season. They're the ones
that should be able to lead us to the Promised Land.
"They're big and they're strong. The injuries really hurt us in the
Del Rio game, but our younger players picked things up," Roan told the
Pioneer, adding that with two weeks of rest, "We've got plenty of time
to get everyone rested for the Pecos game."
"They've got a big front line, and they've got their quarterback back
(Blake Yarborough), but they lost a lot of skill players," said Grubbs,
whose team struggled at times to defend against runs around the end by
Kermit a week ago. Quarterback Josh Jones also threw for 142 yards last
week, while Fort Stockton runs the veer offense similar to Pecos, and figures
to stay more with the running game tonight.
"It's going to be a tough game for us because they're going to be physical,
but their offense is better for us. They try to grind it out instead of
doing what Kermit was doing," the Eagles' coach said.
Ralph Rodriguez takes Ben Barron's spot at tailback this season, after
subbing for Yarborough at quarterback late last season. Cyril Ward is the
Panthers' other quarterback this season, while Ralph Lauderdale is the
new fullback for Fort Stockton, which is seeking to end a 23-year playoff
drought this season.
As in last year's loss to the Panthers, the Eagles had problems with
extra points a week ago against Kermit, converting only once on four attempts.
Kicker Matthew Levario fared better running the ball, gaining 189 yards
on 28 carries and also catching a key 17 yard pass on fourth down in the
final period to help set up Torres' winning TD pass to Gonzales.
"They'll key on Matthew tonight, but that's OK. We've got more than
that," Grubbs said. "We didn't give the ball to Mason (Abila) much last
week, and we've also got Freddy to run and throw the ball."
Grubbs said linebacker Sammy Gonzales suffered a broken hand in last
week's game, but added, "He'll still play with a soft cast on, but Will
Armstrong will start there."
Pecos gridders fall to Fort Stockton squads
The second week of sub-varsity play produced the third tie so far for the
Pecos Eagles, but no wins as of yet, as five of Pecos' six teams were beaten
on Thursday by the Fort Stockton Panthers.
The Eagles' freshman and junior varsity teams, who tied their season
openers with Carlsbad at Kermit, lost to Fort Stockton, the ninth graders
at home by an 18-14 score and the JV in Fort Stockton, 27-14. Meanwhile,
Pecos' eighth graders opened their season at home and were beaten twice
by Fort Stockton, the purple team 16-2 and the gold team 14-0. Down in
Fort Stockton, the Eagles' purple team played a scoreless tie in their
season opener and the gold team was beaten by Fort Stockton, 16-0.
JV coach Brian Gibson said his team had problems even before they got
to Fort Stockton. "Our bus broke down and the kids were drained from the
heat," he said, and it showed in the first half. "In the first half we
didn't show up to play and they did anything they wanted to. We were down
27-0 at the half, and in the second half we showed up and I don't think
they got a first down."
Jose Reyes and Bino Barreno scored the Eagles' touchdowns, with Alex
Orozco getting the two-point conversion for Pecos.
The freshmen allowed Fort Stockton to score twice in a two-minute span
of the second period, the second coming off a bad punt snap, to turn a
6-0 deficit into a 12-6 lead. The Panthers went up 18-6 in the third period
before Rashad Terry scored on a six-yard run and Greg Barrera threw to
Booker Fobbs for the two-point conversion. Fobbs also had the game's first
TD, on a 35-yard pass from Jack Bradley.
The eighth graders' only score in either game came on a safety off a
bad pitch-out, after Pecos turned the ball over on downs inside the 10-yard
line. Fort Stockton's `A' team had touchdowns in both halves of their win,
while the `B' squad got both its touchdowns on the Eagles in the first
The seventh graders also were held without a touchdown in both their
games, but came out with a tie in the second game of the evening. "On the
last play of the game we did a throwback (pass). Our kid was on the six-yard-line,
but he fell down," said coach Keith Windham.
Tonight the Eagles' varsity takes on Fort Stockton in solitary of five
games involving District 2-4A squads. Clint plays its season opener against
Anthony, Fabens hosts Deming, N.M, Canutillo takes on El Paso High and
San Elizario faces Santa Teresa, N.M.
Anthony (0-1) at Clint (0-0): The Wildcats were the only team
the Lions beat a year ago, as Clint dropped its final nine games after
making the playoffs the previous two seasons. The defense and quarterback
Tony Alvarado should be better this season. Anthony opened its 2001 season
up last week against the team Pecos will play next week, Alpine, losing
to the Bucks by a 27-0 score and being outgained by the Bucks, 300 yards
Deming, N.M. (1-1) at Fabens (1-0): Last week's game may have
been a plus for the Wildcats, at least on offense, as they showed they
could put points on the scoreboard without running back Vicente Macias
having to have a big night. Macias, who averaged over 200 yards per game
a year ago, was held to 78, but Fabens still beat Tularosa, N.M., 29-12.
However, Fabens' defense allowed over 300 yards rushing, which could mean
a close game than usual tonight against Deming, who've had trouble themselves
stopping the run over the past several years.
Canutillo (1-0) at El Paso High (0-0): Canutillo's Hector Saldivar
ran for 246 yards and three TDs a week ago against Santa Teresa, while
the Golden Eagles defense actually held Santa Teresa to minus-9 yards on
the night, thanks to a series of quarterback sacks. El Paos High figures
to put the ball up more tonight than in recent years under former El Paso
Mountain View head coach Howard Wells, who makes his debut with the Tigers
San Elizario (0-1) at Santa Teresa (0-1): The Eagles' 33-7 loss
to Parkland last week only lasted 2 ½ quarters due to a severe thunderstorm,
but even that was too long _ San Eli lost fullback/linebacker Santiago
Elizade for the season with a neck injury and receiver Jaime Reyes also
was hurt after catching a touchdown pass. However, the Desert Warriors'
offense is a little less high-powered that Parkland's was, though San Eli
will have to improve on their special teams, which allowed two punt returns
for scores last Friday.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 2001 by Pecos Enterprise