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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas


Monday, September 10, 2001

Eagles caught in Panthers `trap', 32-8

Staff Writer

There was nothing cute or subtle about what the Fort  Stockton Panthers' offense did to the Pecos Eagles for most of Friday night  at Eagle stadium.

The Panthers ran the option _ a little. They passed _ a little. But what they did over and over again was run the ball right through the middle of the Eagles line for a 361-yard rushing night, on the way to their third straight victory over Pecos, this time by a 32-8 final score.

"They beat us up on the field and controlled the line of scrimmage on offense and defense," said Eagles; coach Gary Grubbs. "They were just trapping us. They executed, did a good job and beat us to the punch."

The Eagles, who won in the closing minute of play a week ago against Kermit, got another last-minute touchdown, this time on a pass from Freddy Torres to Matthew Levario with 22.9 seconds to play. But this score only served to keep the Eagles from being shut out, as they went over 33 minutes without a rushing first down on Friday and were out-gained by Fort Stockton, 389 yards to 130.

In their two games so far the Eagles have allowed over 530 yards rushing, after allowing just 1,005 yards on the ground in all 10 regular season games last season. With two running backs in District 2-4A _ Fabens' Vicente Macias and Canutillo's Hector Saldivar _ already over 400 yards rushing in their first two games, that doesn't bode well for the upcoming weeks. But Grubbs said Pecos would make some adjustments.

"I don't know if we're going to change it (the defense) up, but we're going to find 11 people who want to play football," he said.

Although the Panthers held a 25-0 halftime lead, it was two missed opportunities in the first half by Pecos _ one each in the first an second quarters _ that were immediately turned around and turned into touchdowns by Fort Stockton which set the tone for the game.

The first came after Pecos stopped Fort Stockton on downs at the 25 on their opening series, and then got their initial first down of the night on a pass from Torres to Roy Jimenez. On 2nd-and-9 Jimenez was stopped cold at the line on a running play to the right side, but somehow managed to break out of the pack and head towards the left sideline, only to have cornerback Blake Yarborough sidestep a block attempt by Torres and make the tackle with no other Panther between Jimenez and the goal line.

One play later Torres was hit on a keeper around the left end and fumbled, with Zach Kincaid picking the ball up and returning it 37 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

The Eagles would get the ball back late in the first period, when Justin Evans recovered a fumble by Ralph Rodriguez at the Panthers' 40. Fort Stockton was then hit with an interference call on a fourth down pass from Torres to Ricky Plummer, and then gave the Eagles another fourth down gift, roughing Torres on a screen pass to Levario that was stopped short of a first down.

But on the next play, Torres rolled right and tried to hit John Saenz in the back of the end zone, only to have Joseph Lauderdale step in front and intercept the pass for a touchback. One play after that Rodriguez had a touchdown, as he burst through the middle and raced 80 yards for the first of his two touchdowns in the game.

Rodriguez would do a lot more running up the middle in the second period, finishing with 156 yards by halftime and 235 at the end of the game. Lauderdale also had a big second quarter with 45 yards rushing, including a 7-yard TD run up the middle on Fort Stockton's next series.

Things got worse for the Eagles before they got better. Punter Abel Lopez' kick was blocked by Steven Fuentes after Pecos' next series was stopped, and the Eagles then missed a chance to recover a Lauderdale fumble before Rodriguez went in from 13 yards out to make it 25-0.

The Eagles then fumbled the ball away on their next offensive play, with Mitchell Sanchez recovering at the Pecos 30, but after a 11-yard run up the middle by Rodriguez Fort Stockton coach Gary Roan opted to try a few different plays, which resulted in a holding and clipping call against the Panthers. Linebacker Mason Abila was then able to break through a couple of blockers on a screen pass to Rodriguez from Yarborough on the final play of the half.

Yarborough went the first 2 ½ quarters at quarterback, giving way to Cyril Ward in the third quarter. The junior was shaky at first, but took advantage of a couple of missed tackles to run for two first downs, then connected with Jared Jetter on a 13-yard pass to set up his own 1-yard quarterback sneak for the Panthers' final touchdown with 3:37 left in the third period.

Rodriguez would have one more long run before the night was over, a 35-yarder, but Adam Elrod ended up kicking short on a 25-yard field goal try after Will Armstrong sacked Ward. Torres did start hitting some passes in the final two periods, going 6-for-12 for 60 yards, but a bad snap from the shotgun formation stopped one Pecos drive, and an illegal procedure call negated a 15-yard TD pass from Torres to Plummer before the quarterback hit Levario over the middle for the touchdown in the final minute.

Levario then ran in the two-point conversion, and then recovered the ensuing onside kick by Roger Gutierrez at midfield, but Pecos' chance for another last _minute score were ended when a holding call wiped out a 39-yard pass from Torres to Joey Ortega.

"We weren't good on offense, we weren't good on defense and we weren't good on special teams because we had a punt blocked," said Grubbs, whose team goes on the road for their next two games, at Alpine this Friday and at Presidio on Sept. 21. "We're a young football team and we have a lot of work ahead of us, but we have no excuses, we were a bad football team tonight."

Macias ran for 336 yards Friday night in Fabens' 42-0 win at home over Deming, N.M., while Saldivar, who ran for 246 a week ago, gained 188 on Friday as the Golden Eagles beat El Paso High, 22-7. Clint doubled up Anthony in their season opener, 28-14, in the other game involving a District 2-4A school.

Pecos drops Saturday morning match at Wink

The problems continued on Saturday morning for the Pecos Eagles' volleyball team, as they were beaten on the road by the Wink Wildcats, 15-7, 15-7.

"We were just letting the ball drop. We weren't into it," said Eagles coach Becky Granado. "They said `coach I thought the ball was going out.' We just had no sense of where we were on the court."

The Eagles led only once in the match, at 2-0 in the second game, but in the middle of that game went nine serves on the rotation without scoring. Wink grabbed a 7-2 lead during that span, and after Pecos broke the string and cut the lead to 7-4 the Wildcats then ran off six more points to go up, 13-4.

"I let my underclassmen go in in the second game," Granado said. "I let them play to see if they could spark something up, but it was the same thing. I only had Jessica (Rodriguez) in there setting (among the seniors), and she hustled a lot more when the second bunch was out there, but we made too many mental mistakes."

Pecos trailed 7-4 in the first game as well, after Wink had grabbed a 6-1 lead, when the Wildcats scored six straight points to go ahead 12-4. Pecos narrowed the gap to 12-7 but Wink then broke serve and scored three straight points on their next serve to clinch the victory.

Jessica Martinez had three kills while Christina Arenivas, Leslie Rodriguez and Tiana Terry each had two kills and Terry had the Eagles' only block of the game in the loss, which dropped Pecos to 4-15 on the season.

The Eagles will be at home on Tuesday to take on Fort Stockton and Marfa in a dual meet. Granado said the freshmen would face the Prowlers at 4:30 p.m., followed by the varsity and JV games against Marfa at 5:30 p.m. The Prowlers and Shorthorns will face each other next, and Pecos will then take on Fort Stockton around 7:30 p.m.

Bears go to 1-1 with loss to second-ranked Whitharral

Staff Writer

The Whitharral Panthers staggered the Balmorhea Bears  early in Friday night's game but could not get the Bears to go down for  the count until the bitter end. 

At the end of four quarters the score stood at 50 _ 17 in favor of the No. 2-ranked Panthers, but the scoreboard does not tell the whole story about this game.

Balmorhea kicked off to the Panthers to start the game and the Panthers brought it back to their own 32-yard line.

On the first play from scrimmage the Panthers swept around the right end down the Bear 30 yard line.

The next play Bear defenders forced the Panther QB to scramble only to watch him toss a perfect pass into the arms of another Panther standing in the end zone. The points-after-kick was good and the score was 8-0 Panthers.

It looked like the 45-point rule would be invoked by the second quarter.

The Panthers then kicked the ball out of the end zone on the kickoff and the Bears started on their own 20.

An incomplete pass and a short run off tackle left the Bears looking at third down and 10 yards to go.

Coach Ennis Erickson called a pass and Junior Jourmain Matta hauled the ball down on the Panther 28 to keep the drive alive.

Three plays later the Bears were facing a fourth down and needing 6 yards. Senior running back Adriel Roman got the call and got just enough for another first down at the Panther 12 yard line.

After three plays the Bears had lost about 12 yards and faced fourth and goal from the Panther 23 yard line.

On fourth down quarterback Jerry Mendoza threw a tight spiral into the arms of Jourmain Matta and the Bears were in the end zone. A high snap forced the Bears to run for the extra point and the Panthers led by one point with 5:05 left in the first quarter.

The Panthers found the end zone on their next two possessions and forced the Bears to punt. Then the first for four Bear fumbles began to seal their fate when the ball came lose on the kickoff return and the Panthers recovered on the Balmorhea 30 yard line.

Four plays later the score was 28-7 and the Panthers looked unstoppable.

Instead of hanging up their cleats the Bears put together a solid drive that started on their own 35 yard line and saw them convert on third down and fourth down before getting down to the goal line.

Senior running back Isaiah Rodriguez took the ball in from two yards out and with 6:37 left to play it looked like the Bears might be able to turn things around. The score was 28- 15.

The Panthers added two more scores in the last six minutes, however, and the Bears went to the locker room trailing 42-15.

Balmorhea started the second half with a good drive that landed them on the Panther 14 with a first down and goal-to-go, but the Panthers' defense refused to give up the touchdown and that was the last real threat the Bears were able to mount.

Two more quarters of play yielded one touchdown for the Panthers and a safety for the Bears when senior end Logan Humphries sacked the Panther quarterback in the end zone.

The Bears did prove that they can move the ball on the ground and in the air this year and gained a total of 330 yards _ 113 on the ground and 217 in the air.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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