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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas


Monday, September 16, 2002

Tornadoes' path of damage runs across Eagles' defense

Staff Writer

The Pecos Eagles' four losses during the 2001 football season shared two things in common. In each one of them, the Eagles gave up a lot of rushing yards and a lot of points.

Eliminating that problem was one of the main goals for the Eagles' 2002 football team, but coach Fred Carter and his staff found out there's still some more work to do after Friday night's home opener, when Pecos again gave up a lot of rushing yards and a lot of points in their loss to the Lamesa Golden Tornadoes.

Lamesa's Brandon McCurley ran for 199 yards and averaged over 10 yards per carry, while Joseph Hill gained 143 yards and averaged over 15 yards per carry, as the Tors ran for 412 yards and built up a 26-0 halftime lead, on the way to a 42-26 victory at Eagle Stadium.

"We gave up so much on the defensive end, and we didn't really execute our plays on offense, either," Carter said. "We kind of sputtered on offense in the first half."

Pecos ended the game with 15 first downs, the same as Lamesa, but didn't get their first until there were 4½ minutes left in the second period and the Tors held a 20-0 lead.

"We didn't think they were that tough going in, but they were really quick off the ball," said Carter, as the Eagles were a step behind throughout the first half, until going to the air to score four times in the final two periods.

McCurley and Hill were able to dash quickly through holes for big touchdown runs _ 68- and 30-yards for McCurley and 70-yards for Hill _ while Pecos' first run for over 10 yards didn't come until Freddy Torres scrambled for a 28-yard gain as time expired in the first half.

There were also several other little things that cost Pecos. They helped set up Lamesa's first touchdown with a pair of offsides penalties, and later would miss chances at interceptions and fumble recoveries that could have stopped scoring drives by the Tors.

Hill got Lamesa' first two scores on their first two possessions, the first on a 1-yard dive and the second through the right side of the Tors' line from 68 yards away. Pecos stopped Lamesa's third series, but on the fourth McCurley and then Hill went around the ends for 18- and 19-yard gains to start things off, before Hill went over from 7-yards out five plays later. That came after quarterback Bryan Nowlan broke a tackle behind the line of scrimmage on a 4th-and-1 play.

The Tors' next series started with a 27-yard run by Hill and ended with McCurley's 30-yard TD run 51 seconds before the half, which upped the lead to 26-0.

The Eagles did stop Lamesa on their first series of the second half, and then took advantage of a 31-yard punt return by Matthew Levario to set up their first score, a 16-yard run by Torres on a naked bootleg to the right side.

Torres also ran in the two-point conversion to make it 26-8 with just over three minutes gone in the third period, but a minute later Hill broke through the right side of the line and dashed 70 yards for a score. That came two plays after Pecos knocked a fumbled kickoff by Jeremiah Guerra out of bounds, losing a chance to get the ball back deep in Lamesa territory.

Aside from several good punt and kickoff returns, if there was anything positive to take out of the game, it was the second half passing attack by the Eagles. They threw for 169 yards over the final 1½ quarters of play, with Torres completing 11 out of 15 passes for 144 yards in the second half and Levario also connecting on a halfback option pass to tight end Joey Ortega, who finished with five catches for 109 yards.

None of the passes went for touchdowns, but a 32-yarder to Ortega set up a 1-yard dive by Torres for a score late in the third quarter, and a 34-yard hookup between the two got the ball to the 1-yard-line, where Levario scored on the next play.

That made the score 34-20 with 8:35 left in the game, and a Pecos comeback was still possible. But that hope was ended when the extra point kick was snapped over Levario's head and picked up by Chris Sambrano, who knocked Levario out of the way and ran 72 yards for a rare two-point score for Lamesa.

The Tors then recovered Pecos' onside kick and went 58 yards in two minutes for the clinching touchdown, with Nowlin scoring on a 15-yard quarterback keeper with 6:31 to play. Torres got the Eagles' final points with his third touchdown of the night, a 10-yard run with 2:16 to play to close out the scoring.

"I was pleased we didn't lie down in the second half. We put together some drives and came back, but as they say, `too little, too late'," said Carter, who said he and the other coaches would be making some changes over the weekend to prepare for this Friday's homecoming game against the Brownfield Cubs. The Cubs fell to 0-3 with a 23-6 loss to the Eagles' opponent two weeks from now, Crane.

At Pecos

Lamesa 14 12 8 9 —43

Pecos 0 0 14 12 —26

First Quarter

Lam. _ McCurley 1 run (Miers kick), 7:26

Lam. _ McCurley 68 run (Miers kick), 9:58

Second Quarter

Lam. _ Hill 7 run (pass failed), 5:38.

Lam. _ McCurley 30 run (kick failed), 11:09.

Third Quarter

Pec. _ Torres 16 run (Torres run), 3:04.

Lam. _ Hill 70 run (Nowlin run), 4:05.

Pec. _ Torres 1 run (pass failed), 10:11.

Fourth Quarter

Pec. _ Levario 1 run (run failed), 3:25

Lam. _ Sambrano 72 extra point fumble return, 3:25.

Lam. _ Nowlin 15 run (Miers kick), 5:29

Pec. _ Torres 10 run (pass failed), 9:44.

Lam Pec

First Downs 15 15

Rushes-Yds. 43-412 32-121

Passing Yds. 5 187

Passes 1-5-0 14-24-0

Punts-Yds. 3-36 4-22.5

Fumbles-Lost 4-1 3-1

Penalties-Yds. 9-75 9-68


RUSHING — Lamesa, McCurley 19-199, Hill 8-143, Nowlin 4-42, Carbojal 3-14, Guerra 2-11, Iglesias 6-4, Hernandez 1-(-1). Pecos, Torres 10-70, Parada 8-27, Levario 14-24.

PASSING _ Lamesa, Nowlin 1-5-0-5. Pecos, Torres 13-23-0-162, Levario 1-1-0-25.

RECEIVING _ Lamesa, Addison 1-5. Pecos, Ortega 5-109, Lopez 3-39, Parent 3-33, Natividad 1-14, Carrasco 1-12, Levario 1-(-1).


Bears get scare, but escape with 22-18 victory

Staff Writer

It may not have been a work of art, but Saturday's game for the Balmorhea Bears also wasn't a loss, despite a lot of problems along the way against the Lueders-Avoca Rangers.

Playing in Loop, south of Lubbock, the Bears had to rally from 12-0 and 18-14 deficits to defeat the Rangers, 22-18, on Keith Baeza's 20-yard touchdown pass to Sammy Dominguez on the first play of the fourth quarter. But the Bears then failed to take advantage of two chances later in the period to put an insurance touchdown on the board, and had to survive a late threat by the Rangers that moved the ball inside Balmorhea's 10-yard-line.

"We just played terrible overall," said Bears' coach Ennis Erickson. "We had the effort; it wasn't that we weren't trying. We just weren't doing at time what we should be doing."

The absence of senior end Jourmain Matta from the lineup contributed to Balmorhea's problems. Matta was not suited up after having wisdom teeth removed the previous week.

"We had people who were basically inexperienced, and they were confused about what they were supposed to be doing in some instances," Erickson said, while adding, "We really can't use that as an excuse. We've been practicing all week without him. He had those wisdom teeth pulled out last Friday, so everybody knew he wouldn't play."

At the start, the Bears didn't look like they would have problems with the Raiders. They stopped Leubers Avoca on downs after the opening kickoff, and Urban Baeza ran for 17 yards on the Bears' first play from scrimmage. But the drive stalled at the 30 yard line when Ivan Rodriguez was sacked on fourth down, and on the next play Ernest Gentry burst through the middle of the line and raced 50 yards for a touchdown.

The Bears' next series ended with another loss, and this time Lueders got the ball at the Balmorhea 35-yard-line. Six plays later, quarterback Chad Estes found Bradley Hughes in the end zone for a score, and the Bears were down 12-0.

The Rangers missed the extra point kick again, but the Bears would then miss the ensuing onsides kick, which Estes recovered at the Balmorhea 25. Faced with the possibility of falling behind by three touchdowns, the Bears' defense tightened, and stopped the Rangers on downs at the 25.

Balmorhea finally got their offense going as the first period ended. Rodriguez hit Dominguez with a 32-yard completion, and then, facing another fourth down play, the Bears went to a double-reverse pass, with Rodriguez finding Stoney Iniguez alone in the end zone to cut the deficit to 12-6.

Lueders then gambled and lost on offense, as Baeza deflected a deep pass from Estea to Hughes on fourth down, giving Balmorhea the ball at the Rangers' 32. Robbie Mendoza then gained 26 yards after catching a dump-off pass from Baeza, and after a facemasking penalty was added onto the play, Alexis Lozano scored from one yard out to tie the game.

Baeza then added the two-point kick to give the Bears a 14-12 lead, which is where the score stayed for the rest of the half.

In the third period, the Bears turned the ball over on downs on their first series, but the Rangers then were able to drive the ball downfield, staying mostly on the ground, and retook the lead. Brandon Wingrove went over on a pitch-out from the two-yard-line, and despite another missed extra point, Lueders still had an 18-14 lead.

Balmorhea's next series ended with Baeza's deep pass to Iniguez picked off by Evans at the Bears' 19-yard-line. Wesley Price ran for 11 yards on the next play, but the Bears were able to hold to just one yard on the next three downs, and took over at the Lueders 32. Rodriguez then connected with Michael Dominguez on a first down pass across the middle as the third period ended, and on the first play of the final quarter Baeza came on an lofted a pass to Dominguez, who got behind the Rangers defense for the touchdown that put Balmorhea back in front.

The Bears made the extra point, but would then miss two chances to put the Rangers away. Balmorhea forced a punt which Barry Bordayo returned 35 yards to the Lueders 15, but Rodriguez underthrew Iniguez in the end zone on the next play, and the ball was intercepted by Josh Kitchens at the 5-yard-line.

Evans then completed a long pass to Hughes, but it was knocked loose by the Bears and recovered by Rodriguez at the Balmorhea 27. One play later Baeza found an opening along the right sideline and dashed 53 yards for a touchdown, but it was wiped out by an illegal procedure call.

"The touchdown that was called back was because our guy didn't line up on the line of scrimmage. That's something they should know because we go out and do that every day," Erickson said.

Rodriguez would be picked off on a deep pass two plays later by Hughes, and two plays later he held onto the ball after pulling in a 41-yard pass from Evans. That set the Rangers up at the Bears' 20, but after a 5-yard run by Price Evans missed on two passes, and Josh Jodran was then stopped four yards short of a first down, giving the Bears the ball back at their own nine.

Baeza was able to roll out and find Kevin Machuca with a 37 yard pass two plays later to get the Bears out of a deep hole, and while Balmorhea eventually lost the ball on downs at the Lueders' 12-yard-line, they left the Rangers with only 1:12 to play to go 68 yards. The managed just four on their first three downs and then a desperation pass on fourth down was picked off by Baeza, and Balmorhea was able to run out the clock.

"Our defense, when we had to have a stop, was able to get it," Erickson said. "When the score was 22-18 if they had scored, with the problems we were having I don't know if we would have had enough time to score with the way we were playing. But they came up and made the stop."

The win improved the Bears' record to 2-0 going into their final pre-season game, this Friday in Sands. The Bears defeated the Mustangs in regular season play a year ago, but lost to Sands in the bi-district round of the six-man playoffs. Sands lost to Balmorhea's district rival, Sanderson, by a 50-40 score this past Friday.

at Loop

Lueders-Avoca 12 0 6 0 —18

Balmorhea 0 14 0 8 __22

First Quarter

Lue. _ Gentry 50 run (kick failed), 3:20.

Lue. _ Hughes 23 pass from Estes (kick failed), 7:03.

Second Quarter

Bal. _ Iniguez 25 pass from Rodriguez (kick failed), 0:30.

Bal. _ A. Lozano 1 run (U. Baeza kick), 3:03.

Third Quarter

Lue. _ Wingrove 2 run (kick failed), 5:11.

Fourth Quarter

Bal. _ Dominguez 20 pass from K. Baeza (U. Baeza kick), 0:08.

Lue Bal

First Downs 7 8

Rushes-Yds 36-174 26-10

Passing Yds. 112 224

Passes 5-20-1 15-28-3

Punts-Yds. 2-35.5 0-0

Fumbles-Lost 3-1 1-1

Penalties-Yds. 5-29 3-15


RUSHING _ Lueders-Avoca, Gentry 12-102, Price 12-48, Kitchens 5-20, Sweet 3-4, Wingrove 4-0. Balmorhea, Mendoza 5-14, Bordayo 7-14, U. Baeza 8-0, A. Lozano 4-(-2), Beltran 1-(-2), Rodriguez 1-(-14).

PASSING _ Lueders-Avoca, Estes 4-19-1-117, Wingrove 1-1-0-(-5). Balmorhea, Rodriguez 8-15-2-127, K. Baeza 4-7-0-67, U. Baeza 2-4-1-30, Bordayo 1-1-0-5, A. Lozano 0-1-0-0.

RECEIVING _ Lueders-Avoca, Hughes 3-111, Jodran 1-6, Gentry 1-(-5).

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Pecos Enterprise
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