Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, November 16, 2001
Eagles looking to slow down Jefferson, Matadors
By JON FULBRIGHT
Michael Jefferson can fly. And so long as he only does it on Saturday,
the Pecos Eagles will be happy.
Jefferson, the El Paso Parkland Matadors' star wide receiver, will be
flying to Lubbock on Saturday from El Paso to attend Texas Tech's game against
the Oklahoma Sooners, one of several recruiting trips the 6-foot-3 senior
will be taking as he prepares for a college football career after high school.
The Eagles, meanwhile, would like to help Jefferson wrap up his high school
career tonight, when they host the Matadors for the second year in a row
in the bi-district round of the Class 4A, Division II playoffs, beginning
at 7:30 p.m.
Jefferson figures to be the key player on offense for Parkland, and is
rated as one of the top college prospects in the El Paso area this season.
"We put him anywhere we can. He's a talent and we can't waste it," said Matadors'
coach Jerry Walker. "He's got 22 scholarship offers already."
This season, Jefferson has caught 28 passes. While that's half of the
number District 2-4A-leading receiver Royce Hickman pulled down, Jefferson
averages better than 26½ yards per catch, and just under one out of
every three of his receptions has gone for a touchdown.
"He's got 4.2 speed and they try and get him the ball as much as possible,"
said Eagles' coach Gary Grubbs. "They put him in motion a lot and sometimes
they put him in the backfield."
Last week against El Paso Burges, Jefferson caught a 55-yard touchdown
pass from quarterback Melvin Lucas, ran an option pitch from Lucas 35 yards
for another score and then scored the Matadors' final TD on a 42-yard toss
from Lucas in Parkland's 29-8 win that put them in the playoffs for the third
Last year in Pecos, Jefferson was quiet until the second half, when he
out-jumped a pair of Eagles to catch a 19-yard pass from Lucas to keep a
drive alive, and then pulled in a two-yard TD pass from Lucas, after the
Eagles had grabbed a 22-14 lead. On the next series, Lucas evaded Pecos tacklers
13 yards behind the line of scrimmage, and found Jefferson for a diving 12-yard
reception that set up a go-ahead field goal for the Matadors, in their eventual
While the pressure will be on the Eagles' secondary tonight, the defensive
line will also have to contain Lucas. He ran for a 38-yard run for a touchdown
in last year's game, though Grubbs said, "On the film we've seen, he hasn't
been running the ball as much, other than the boot(leg) and the waggle. But
if we lose containment he's going to find Jefferson, because we can't defend
somebody like that all night."
"That was only his second start at quarterback last year, and he's a little
bit more mature at this point," said Walker. "He runs it once in a while,
but he's pretty much been throwing the ball."
While Lucas and Jefferson are back, Parkland did graduate their running
backs, Artise Cheeks and Matt Austin, who both ran for over 100 yards in
last year's playoff win. David Henderson and Cedric Sanchez are the runners
now for the Matadors, with Henderson gaining over 700 yards this season.
"Truthfully, I'm more worried about Sanchez. He's a small back, but he's
a good runner," said Grubbs, whose team was burned for over 200 yards by
El Paso Mountain View's small sophomore back Joey Amaya two weeks ago. "I
don't think their backs are as explosive as the two they had last year, but
they're still pretty good."
"It's hard to say we're slower, but we are," said Walker, "But we're still
pretty fast. Our quarterback, wide receiver and both backs aren't slow."
Still, Parkland did slip to 5-5 this season after going 7-3 a year ago,
including a 34-21 loss to Fabens back in September. The Matadors also allowed
60 points in a loss last month to District 1-4A champ El Paso Riverside,
a game where Walker said, "We just didn't play."
"We had to play around a lot of injuries to the defensive line and we
lost both linebackers from last year, so we had to try and find some linebackers,"
said Walker, who was sidelined himself for several weeks during the middle
of the season for heart surgery. "We were having to play around and see who's
going to play this position and that position. Plus, we had a lot of people
playing out of position."
He said the injuries have healed up in recent weeks, and that 6-2, 270-pound
tackle David Brown has been a standout on the defensive line for Parkland.
Jefferson and Lucas also play on defense for the Matadors, at cornerback.
"They've got about four kids who play both ways all the time," said Grubbs.
"They've still got a good defense, but they miss Matt Austin on defense at
linebacker. He made a lot of plays for them."
The Eagles got to rest many of their starters a week ago in the second
half of their 54-0 win over San Elizario. Matthew Levario ran for 219 yards
in the first half on only 11 carries to go over 1,000 yards for the season,
though Grubbs said things won't be as easy this week for the junior. "It's
going to be tough to break any long runs on them with Jefferson and Lucas
playing the corners," he said. "Lucas was one of the fastest kids in the
region (in the 200 meters) and their other kid is even faster, but he just
doesn't run track."
One thing that could slow the Matadors down some is the on-and-off rain
that has been in the area the past two days and is supposed to continue through
Saturday. "If the field's slow it slows them down, and that's to our advantage,"
said Grubbs. "If we have a wet, sloppy field it will come down to who makes
the fewest mistakes."
The winner of tonight's game will face the winner of Saturday's Hereford-Frenship
game Thanksgiving weekend. The Eagles had a chance to face Hereford two years
ago, but lost to El Paso Ysleta, 18-0. Hereford then defeated Ysleta and
went on to win the Class 4A, Division I football title.
Ysleta, the only team to defeat Mountain View during the regular season,
did it again on Thursday, winning their Class 4A, Division I playoff game
over the Lobos, 33-9. Tonight, Fabens will play in the other Division II
bi-district game, as they take on Riverside on the Rangers' home field, starting
at 8:30 p.m. CST.
Pecos boys take on Stockton in Saturday game
The Pecos Eagles basketball team will be getting in their game against
the Fort Stockton Panthers a day later than planned, when the Eagles travel
to Fort Stockton on Saturday for a 1 p.m. game.
The teams were both scheduled to play their second games of the season
tonight, but that was changed because Pecos and Fort Stockton both have football
playoff games _ the Eagles at home against El Paso Parkland and the Panthers
in Odessa versus Lamesa, their first playoff game in football in 23 years.
The Panthers have done better over that span in basketball, while the
Eagles are hoping the 2001-2002 season is better for them than the past several
years have been. On Tuesday night, the Eagles allowed Monahans to score 23
points in the second quarter, and then saw a couple of fourth quarter comebacks
fall short, as the Loboes won by a 61-55 score.
Jason Sanchez came off the bench to score 18 points for Pecos, several
off turnovers, but the Eagles were hurt by their own turnovers in the first
half, when Monahans jumped out to a 13-point lead.
"We're going to be a pressing ballclub and defense, and we'll live by
the press and die by that," said Eagles' coach Tino Acosta.
Fort Stockton opened their season Tuesday night in Del Rio, where they
came out on the short end of a 76-36 final score. The Rams used a 22-1 second
period to break the game open, after leading 14-10 after one quarter.
Pecos' junior varsity and freshmen teams will also play at Fort Stockton
on Saturday, both starting at 11:30 a.m.
Swimmers to face district rivals in Monahans
The Pecos Eagles swim team won't be sending any divers to Monahans tonight,
and will have a few less entries in the pool on Saturday, when they compete
at the Monahans Invitational.
The swimming finals start at 11 a.m., and coach Terri Morse said all of
the Eagles' District 3-4A rivals, plus one of their main Region I-4A rivals,
will be at the meet. "(Abilene) Wylie will be there and Pampa will be there,"
she said. "I know Lubbock and Hobbs will not be there and Midland won't be
there, but Carlsbad and Hobbs are supposed to come, and Wylie and Pampa will
be the two new ones at the meet."
Pecos faced all of their district rivals but Wylie at home last week,
along with Lubbock and Midland swimmers, with the boys edging Carlsbad and
Big Spring for the meet title while the girls won by almost 90 points over
Morse said all her girls would be out this week, but because of grades
the Eagles wouldn't be able to field more than one team in each of the three
boys relays, while Pecos also will not have any divers this afternoon.
"We lost our boy divers and Cheyenne (Grice) is hurt. She split her chin
open again yesterday afternoon, and I don't know how long it will take to
Saturday's meet is the final one before Thanksgiving for the Eagles. They'll
take a two week break and then compete at Seminole and Fort Stockton before
the Christmas holidays.
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