Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Thursday, August 28, 2003
Eagles debuting new look on offense in opener
By JON FULBRIGHT
New coach. New offense. New opponent. Same results?
Well, the Pecos Eagles will be looking for the same results from Friday's
season-opening football game against the Midland Christian Mustangs that
they had in their season opener a year ago. But they'll be hoping everything
else in 2003 is drastically different after that, when they play their first
game under new head coach Patrick Willis, starting at 7:30 p.m. at Eagle
Pecos started off 2002 in impressive fashion, with a 35-10 victory over
next week's opponent, the Alpine Bucks. But that turned out to be the high
point of the season for the Eagles, who proceeded to lose their final eight
games, earning only a forfeit win over Presidio along the way.
The Blue Devils have dropped their football program, so in an effort
to get a 10th game on the schedule, Pecos turned their scheduled scrimmage
on Saturday against Midland Christian into their season opener. It's one
of six home games for the Eagles, who'll be at home again next week to face
Willis, who spent the past three seasons coaching under Randy Quisenberry
at Abilene Cooper and played against Pecos for Monahans in the mid-1980s,
has switched up the Eagles' offense, going to a one-back set-up and spread
formations. In their only scrimmage of the pre-season, things didn't start
that great - Rashad Terry fumbled away the first pitch from quarterback
Saul Pina - but Terry went on to score on a 7-yard run and on a 70-yard
screen pass reception against El Paso Riverside. Booker Fobbs added a 67-yard
scoring run and Pina connected with John Parent on a 55-yard yard pass to
set up Terry's first score against the Rangers, who had shut out Pecos in
last year's scrimmage.
"I kind of wish we would have had another scrimmage with a game situation,
since the kids haven't been in it yet" Willis said. "But it might be to
our advantage. We might be a little more hyped up to hit someone besides
Defensively in their scrimmage the Eagles had three fumble recoveries
in their first series, but other than that had problems containing Riverside's
offense in the 4-3 scrimmage loss. That's similar to the results Midland
Christian had in their final scrimmage, when they allowed Coahoma four touchdowns,
while scoring two and adding a field goal during the game situation portion
of the contest.
The results may say more about Coahoma - which beat defending District
4-3A champ and state runner-up Greenwood in their first scrimmage - than
it does about coach Greg McClendon's Mustangs, who are looking to bounce
back from a 4-6 season after consecutive TAPPS Class 4A state championships
in 2000 and 2001.
As a private school, Midland Christian has the freedom to play an 11-game
regular season schedule, which allowed them to change Saturday's scrimmage
to a game. The Mustangs already have scrimmaged twice - they faced the Eagles'
District 4-3A rival Fort Stockton two weeks ago and McClendon said his team
can use the extra work under game conditions against Pecos.
"It's no different from playing a 10 straight weeks," McClendon said.
"I would have liked to have scheduled a game against Pecos last year, and
when coach Willis came in with only nine games, he asked "why isn't this
a regular season game," and we made the change."
McClendon said his young team can also use the extra work under game
conditions. "We don't have too many people who started last year who are
back," he said, and the Mustangs lost starters Josh and J.W. Wilson, when
they transferred to Midland High during the offseason.
Still, the Mustangs also had a good scrimmage on offense against Fort
Stockton. "That's been a little bit surprising because we're so young, but
we're still a ways from where we need to be," McClendon said.
"Midland Christian has got a real good receiver-type tight end, and
their quarterback, (Corey Culp) throws real good," Willis said. "They have
a pretty good hard-nosed fullback (Blake Morphew). He's got a squatty build
and runs hard, and their other running back is pretty shifty. They love
to run the draw - it's a real big play for them last year and this year."
Culp, a junior, had a 54-yard TD pass to Clay Hantz in the scrimmage
with Coahoma. "He's getting better every day. I'm awfully proud of him,"
Running back Thomas Minihan had the Mustangs' other touchdown. He gained
170 yards in the Mustangs' scrimmage with Fort Stockton. "He's a senior
for us this year, and it's his turn to shine," McClendon said, though he
was the team's No. 2 rusher a year ago.
"Defensively, they've got good size up front. Their nose guard (Justin
Cannon) is a player. He's a big boy who's going to be tough to handle," Willis
"He's the anchor of our defense," McClendon said of Cannon, while Hantz,
at free safety, is the top player for Midland Christian in their secondary.
The Eagles only suited up 27 players for their scrimmage with Riverside,
with four linemen sitting out the scrimmage due to injuries. Those four
are back, and Pecos has added seven other players to their roster, most of
those on the line, which should at least give Willis and his staff more depth
to work with on Friday.
"Those big boys should be able to help us, but we have to work them into
shape mentally and physically," Willis said.
Pecos gridders go to Midland for JV opener
The Pecos Eagles' varsity football team isn't the only one starting their
2003 season a week earlier than scheduled. Pecos' junior varsity will kick
off its season this evening at 6 p.m. in Midland, with a game against the
Midland Christian Mustangs.
The JV teams, like the varsity squads, were supposed to scrimmage at
Grande Communications Stadium on Saturday, but changed them into their regular
season openers. Tonight's game will be played at Midland Christian's field,
located on Culver Street, west of Midkiff and north of Golf Course Road.
Pecos' freshmen were not scheduled to scrimmage Midland, and they also
won't be playing this week. The ninth graders' regular season opener will
be next Thursday afternoon, when they travel to Alpine to face the Bucks.
The Eagles' seventh and eighth grade teams also will start their seasons
a week from today against Alpine, with the purple squads hosting the Bucks.
The seventh and eighth grade gold teams will start their seasons on Sept.
11, with a pair of games in Monahans.
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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