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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas


Thursday, October 31, 2002

Eagles host Panthers in final home game

Staff Writer

After a shutout loss to the Monahans Loboes last week and a 31-13 loss three weeks ago to the Kermit Yellowjackets, the Pecos Eagles' playoff chances are on life support, going into their final home game Friday night against the Fort Stockton Panthers.

The Eagles need a win, and they also need outside help, to have any shot at post-season play. But after their 18-point loss to Kermit and their 29-0 loss a week ago to Monahans, any chance at all requires a win Friday over the Panthers.

The Eagles are 1-2 in district and 2-6 on the season, while the Panthers are 2-1 and 4-5 after their 21-7 loss to undefeated Midland Greenwood a week ago. The Panthers could clinch a playoff berth on Friday with a win over the Eagles and a loss by Monahans at Kermit, while Pecos' playoff chances rest on wins on Friday and next week against Greenwood and a loss Friday by the Loboes.

Defensively, the Panthers allowed the Rangers only one first half touchdown before Greenwood scored twice in the third period. "They impressed us," said Eagles' coach Fred Carter. Fort Stockton shut out Monahans in regulation the previous week before pulling out a 7-6 overtime win, though Carter said the Panthers had some early problems against Odessa Permian's sophomore football team in a game scheduled to replace their cancelled Oct. 11 game with Presidio.

"Their sophomores scored 21 points in the first half against Stockton," Carter said. "They had them down 21-7 at the half before Stockton's seniors wore them down (in an eventual 36-21 win). We showed the tape to our kids and told them they can be beaten."

Fort Stockton coach Gary Roan did not return phone calls this week, but Carter said the Panthers offense was "very predictable in what they're going to run," though Greenwood's Dawson Wilbur told the San Angelo Standard Times on Saturday that "They came out in the first half and ran a lot of stuff we hadn't seen. It was completely different from what we had been practicing for."

Fort Stockton's changes resulted in a 105-yard rushing game for fullback Logan Hamm, but their leading rusher for the season, Joseph Lauderdale, was held to 49 yards and one touchdown, a five-yard run in the closing minutes of the game. The Panthers were able drive the ball down to Greenwood's 30-yard-line before being stopped on their opening series.

Fort Stockton figures to go back to their regular offense on Friday, or at least to what they ran last year against the Eagles, when they gained 389 yards, 361 of that on the ground, in a 32-8 victory. Pecos' only touchdown didn't come until the final minute of play on a Freddy Torres pass to Matthew Levario. But Torres had his problems early on, as his first quarter fumble was returned for a touchdown while Lauderdale picked off a pass in the end zone later in the period as the Eagles were driving for a tying score, and the Panthers would score on the game's next play for a 14-0 lead on the way to a 25-0 halftime advantage.

The Panthers went on to end a 23-year playoff drought in 2001, but their offense hasn't been as strong this season. However, they helped themselves by not committing any turnovers last week, which allowed them to stay close to Greenwood despite quarterback Cyril Ward's 4-for-13 passing night. He threw for 54 yards, with three of those passes going to Lauderdale for 46 yards.

Carter said the bulk of Fort Stockton's attack goes through Lauderdale and Ward. "Defensively the game plan is pretty easy. We just need to take care of business," he said.

The Eagles, meanwhile, didn't exactly gift wrap two early touchdowns for Monahans last week, but hey made life a lot easier for the Loboes by giving them a short field to score on twice in the opening period. They set up Monahans on their own 42 after failing to punt on 4th-and-7 on their opening drive, then fumbled the ball away on the first play of their next series at their own 43, with both plays helping the Loboes go out to a 16-0 lead.

The Eagles managed just 130 total yards against Fort Stockton a year ago, and the Panthers' defense has played well this year, with the exception of the first half of their games against Permian's sophomores and El Paso Burges, a game that Fort Stockton would rally to win, 21-20.

"They've got some big guys, and they do pursue well, but Permian's sophomore bunch had a lot of success running out of a twins formation," Carter said. He said Odessa was able to throw on Fort Stockton when they were able to get their blocks down.

Pecos had a little success throwing against Monahans a week ago. Torres connected up with Ruvel Carrasco for three completions at the end of the first half, when the Eagles reached the 25-yard-line for their deepest penetration of the night, while Jose Reyes completed three passes to John Parent early in the fourth quarter, but saw his fourth pass attempt to Parent sail high and turn into an interception that was returned for the Loboes' final touchdown.

Parent was knocked out of the game a short time later going for a pass from Torres, but Carter said he should be able to play on Friday.

Junior highs face Ft. Stockton in final home games

The Pecos Eagles' junior high football teams will play their final home games today and the junior varsity squad will be on the road for the last time this season, as all five teams take on the Fort Stockton Panthers.

Pecos' seventh grade gold and purple teams will host Fort Stockton at the Crockett Middle School field, starting at 4 and 5:30 p.m., while the eighth graders play at Eagle Stadium at the same starting times. The Eagles' JV will be in Fort Stockton for their game, beginning at 6 p.m.

It's the second meeting of the month for all of the teams. Back on Oct. 4, the JV lost at home to the Panthers, 18-6, while the junior high squads were all beaten in Fort Stockton, the eighth graders by 16-8 and 20-0 scores and the seventh graders by scores of 6-0 and 36-0.

The junior high teams also lost their games last week in Monahans. The seventh grade purple and gold teams were shut out 12-0 and 22-0 to fall to 3-2-1 and 2-4 on the season, while the eighth grade purple and gold teams are 1-6 and 2-4 after their 27-12 and 56-6 losses at Monahans. Uric Salgado ran a kickoff back for the gold team, while Jesse Hanks and Larry Johnson scored the purple team's touchdowns.

The JV team improved their record to 6-2 after defeating Monahans at home by a 28-12 score. Quarterback Saul Pina ran for two touchdowns and threw to Adrian Barreno for another, while Adam Ybarra scored the Eagles' other TD.

Pecos hunts place to stop before running Saturday

The Pecos Eagles' cross country team will be hoping to have an easier time running in Lubbock on Saturday than coach Rudy Jurado is having getting the team into town right now, when they compete in the Region I-3A cross country meet at Mae Simmons Park.

Pecos' boys team all qualified for regionals after the Eagles won the District 4-3A title on Oct. 21, running over a three-mile route at the Ward County Golf Course in Monahans. The Eagles' only runner on the girls' side, junior Leslie Rodriguez, also earned a trip to regionals with a fourth place finish at district.

Juardo said the Eagles would head for Lubbock Friday evening. But chances are they won't get there until sometime Saturday morning.

"We make have to stay in Hobbs or Brownfield. All the hotel rooms are booked in Lubbock," he said. "I tried Levelland and they're also sold out."

Jurado said Rodriguez might make the trip up on Saturday morning, as may Alex Orosco because of Pecos' football game Friday night against Fort Stockton. The girls are scheduled to run at 12 noon and the boys at 12:30 at Mae Simmons Park, he added.

This is the first time any Pecos girl has reached regionals since 1998 and the first time for any of the Eagle boys in six years, after competing the last four as part of District 2-4A, one of the toughest cross country districts in Texas.

Getting away from the El Paso schools allowed the Eagles to both take the district title and first place individually, as Genaro Mendoza won with an 18:24.50 time, while Jay Dannelley placed fourth.

Jurado said he didn't know how the other district times stacked up going into the I-3A regional, but added, "Hopefully, we can knock down our times to stand a chance," at advance to state competition in the Austin area.

"Genaro's fastest time is 18:17, and he'll probably have to get it down into the low 17s to have a chance to go," he said. Dannelley ran an 18:56.30 time at district, while Jason Sanchez and Joshua Cobos also broke the 20-minute mark for the three-mile course.

Rodriguez ran a 13:25.30 at district, and led most of the way before being caught in the final 330 yards, Jurado said. Kermit's Elizabeth Bell and Lura Hayes placed first and second with 13:16.20 and 13:16.30 times.

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