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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, September 2, 2003 

Late defensive stand earns Eagles 15-8 win

Staff Writer
A football game that originally was scheduled as a scrimmage ended up looking a lot like one at times Friday night. But succeeding on a goal-line defensive effort at the end of Friday's game against the Midland Christian Mustangs was a much bigger boost for the Pecos Eagles than any similar effort in a scrimmage game would have been.

The Eagles and Mustangs combined for eight fumbles, four interceptions and 20 penalties in their season opener, which initially had been scheduled as a scrimmage game on Saturday. There also was one blocked punt in the game, by the Mustangs that set Midland Christian up with a 1st-and-10 from the Pecos 12-yard-line, trailing 15-8 with 2:11 to play.

In a similar situation at the start of the final period, the Eagles had allowed Midland's Thomas Minihan to break three tackles on the way to a 7-yard touchdown run, after Pecos had taken a 15-0 lead early in the third period. This time, the Eagles allowed Minihan a 3-yard gain on first down, pressured quarterback Corey Culp into an incomplete pass on second down, and then - despite a couple of broken tackles - held Minihan to a four-yard gain on third down.

That brought up a 4th-and-3 play with 1:12 remaining, and Culp attempted to pitch the ball out to Minihan on the left side. But the Mustangs' quarterback was hit as he tried to make the throw and the ball bounced off Minihan's shoulder and back past the 10-yard-line, where Oscar Parada recovered the ball with 15 seconds to play. Pecos was then able to run out the clock and preserve their 15-8 victory, their first home victory since the end of the 2001 season, and the first-ever victory as a head coach for Patrick Willis,

"We just put that in last week," Willis said of his goal line defense. "If we had given that game away, I'd have been sick. We tried everything to give it away, but we did come through at the end."

The Eagles, who have had troubles stopping anyone running the ball the last two seasons, had problems at times with Midland Christian, especially in the first half. Parada and the Eagles' other defensive backs ended up having to make several touchdown-saving tackles, but in the end the Eagles were able to shut out the Mustangs for three quarters, and held Midland to just 154 yards in total offense.

Midland's offense did threaten once in the first half, but Culp's pass to Dillon Evans in the back of the end zone was overthrown and intercepted by Parada to kill the threat. "The defense played pretty well, but we missed some assignments," Willis said. John Parent also picked off Culp in the first half, while Booker Fobbs and Joe Marruffo had fumble recoveries, with Fobbs' setting up Pecos' first score.

Meanwhile, the Eagles' offense racked up 322 yards overall against Midland Christian, but hurt themselves with a couple of key turnovers and a series of penalties. That included one wiping out an 11-yard touchdown run by Fobbs, though the Eagles were able to come back and score on a fourth down pass by Saul Pina to Bino Barreno from 5-yards out, the last of three fourth down conversions on the drive by Pecos. The others were a 4th-and-5 pass from Pina to Parent for 11 yards, and a 4th-and-10 completion to Parent for 14 yards one play before Fobbs' score was called back.

Fobbs ended up with 87 yards rushing on the night, while Rashad Terry ran for 54 yards and had another 70 receiving, 58 of that on a screen pass from Pina that set up Fobbs' 7-yard TD run in the third period. Fobbs also had a couple of long gainers that he almost broke for scores, as overall, the Eagles spent much of the night alternating big plays with near-disastrous errors.

Along with the blocked Eddie Vela punt, which a stumbling Shane Horner was unable to corral before getting tackled at the Pecos 12, Midland Christian blew two other scoring chances on defense. Brian Heineman intercepted a screen pass meant for Terry but fell down at the Pecos 40-yard-line in the second period, and Josh Solansky couldn't pick up a Fobbs fumble in the fourth quarter on the bounce, and had to settle for recovering it at the Mustang 33, one play after Pina had hit Parada with a 32-yard completion deep into Midland Christian territory.

Aside from the blocked punt, the Eagles' other special teams problems came on the returns. They almost allowed Clay Hantz to break the opening kickoff of the second half, hauling him down near midfield after he took a handoff from Minihan, and then allowed Minihan to return a Vela punt 26 yards to the Pecos 31, setting up his score to open the final period.

"Penalties and return yardage. We can't play like that in a big game," said Willis, while adding, "I'm very happy to get any win."

Minihan ended up with 92 yards rushing for Midland Christian, benefiting from seeing limited action defensively on the hot, humid night. Terry, Fobbs, Parada, Parent and Victor Reyes all had to leave the game at one point due to leg cramps, though Pecos overall suffered no serious injuries.

The Eagles won their season opener last year, then proceeded to lose all of their remaining games on the field, on the way to their worst record since 1965. That one win came by a 35-10 score at Alpine, who'll be in Pecos this coming Friday. The Bucks started off their 2003 season in strong fashion, putting up five touchdowns in a 3514 win at home over Sonora on Friday night.

At Pecos

Mid. Christian 0 0 0 8 - 8

Pecos 7 0 8 0 - 15

First Quarter

Pec. - B. Barreno 5 pass from Pina (A. Barreno kick), 11:37.

Third Quarter

Pec. - Fobbs 6 run (Marruffo run), 4:55

Fourth Quarter

MC - Minihan 7 run (Minihan run), 0:08

MC Pec.

First Downs 9 15

Rushes-Yds. 35-117 37-174

Passing Yds. 37 148

Passes 4-11-2 7-14-2

Punts-Avg. 3-44 3-29.3

Fumbles-Lost 4-3 4-1

Penalties-Yds. 6-40 14-108


RUSHING - Midland, Minihan 20-92, Kait 7-26, Hantz 1-13, Culp 8-(-14). Pecos, Fobbs 13-87, Terry 12-54, Pina 12-36.

PASSING - Midland, Culp 4-11-2-37. Pecos, Pina 7-14-2-148

RECEIVING - Midland, Hantz 2-34, Evans 1-5, Minihan 1-(-2). Pecos, Terry 2-70, Parada 2-46, Muela 1-16, Parent 1-11, B. Barreno 1-5.


Eagles go to Alpine after tourney struggles

Staff Writer

TGIF? Not this past Friday, as far as the Pecos Eagles' volleyball team was concerned. But Saturday turned out better and they'll be hoping to improve on things tonight in Alpine, against two teams they lost to earlier this season.

After winning their first three games in pool play at their own Cantaloupe Classic Tournament, the Eagles proceeded to drop their final seven, splitting with Kermit and then losing to Fabens, El Paso Ysleta and Snyder, which dropped them into the consolation bracket of the tournament on Saturday.

Going up against the Anthony Wildcats, the Eagles posted a 25-8, 25-16 win to earn the tournament's consolation trophy, while snapping a two-game losing streak in regulation play. Their last loss before that was to the Midland Christian Mustangs, who the Eagles will play tonight along with the host Bucks, who defeated Pecos on the opening night of the 2003 season two week ago.

"I'm hoping once I get everyone back healthy we can come up with a lineup I can stick with, and the girls can get comfortable playing with the same people," said Eagles' coach Becky Granado, who got senior hitter Stephanie Herrera back for the first time this season on Friday from an ankle injury, but was still without senior hitter Bre'Ann Windham, who injured her ankle a week earlier at the Sandhills Tournament in Monahans.

The Eagles survived those absences, plus two other injuries to place fifth at Monahans, but on Friday after beating Fort Hancock and splitting a pair of 15-13 pool round games with Kermit, they lost to Fabens, 16-14, 15-5; Ysleta, 15-13, 15-1, and Snyder, 18-16, 15-9.

"Up until this week we did a good job adjusting. I feel like as we get everybody back we can work on our offense and defense and be a much better team," Granado said.

Herrera had a couple of kills in the opening win over Anthony on Saturday, while Vanessa Garcia and Cassandra Terrazas each had a pair of ace serves in the opening game win. In Game 2, Leslie Rodriguez had two aces and four kills, including one midway through the match, after the Wildcats had cut a 9-2 Eagle lead down to 9-8.

"Some of the girls in the dressing room sat and watched Friday's matches. They wanted to see what they were doing wrong, and they said it helped them," Granado said following Saturday's victory. "We played much better than we did on Friday. We just have moments when we're not mentally prepared."

The four teams Pecos tied or lost to on Friday ended up taking the top four spots in the tournament. Fabens captured the championship, beating Kermit, 25-23, 25-16, after downing Snyder in the semifinals, while the Tigers beat Ysleta for third place, 25-20, 24-26, 25-17. Van Horn defeated Presidio to earn fifth place, 25-11, 23-25, 25-16.

Eagles' back line player Martiza Sandoval was named to the all-tournament team, where Ysleta's Brenda Solis was chosen tournament MVP, Van Horn's Vivian Anchondo as Outstanding Hitter, and Fabens' Jennifer Ramos and Lilly Castro were named Outstanding Setter and Outstanding Defensive Player. Stacy Macias of Fabens also earned an all-tournament spot, while Kermit's Amber Broadway and Danielle Pando, Snyder's Sara Thornhill, Ysleta's April Martinez, Van Horn's Sara Davis, and Presidio's Lina Coffman were the other all-district selections.

Pecos' junior varsity also struggled through their weekend at the Cantaloupe Classic, losing to Odessa High's sophomores and Fort Stockton on Friday, and to Alpine Saturday morning, before downing Van Horn in the 11th place match, 25-14, 25-17. The freshman Eagles ended up third in their eight-team tournament, losing to Monahans in the semifinals, 25-23, 25-19, then beating Alpine, 25-18, 25-14. Both the freshmen and JV teams will also travel to Alpine for matches tonight.

Bears pull away in second half for 70-44 win

Staff Writer

Friday night was a good opening night for the Balmorhea Bears but not the easy blowout that many expected, as the Sierra Blanca Vaqueros traveled to Balmorhea for the season opener.

When the final whistle blew the Bears led 70-44 but several times the Vaqueros made a game out of it, and the Bears only led by two points at the end of the first half.

Balmorhea got off to a quick start under first-year head coach Adolfo Garcia who took over the reins from Ennis Erickson and scored twice in the first quarter to lead 16-0. But the Vaqueros came back strong in the second quarter, however with three touchdowns of their own answered by only 6 points by the Bears.

At least for the night the Bears did improve on what has been a regular problem - the point-after kick. Urban Baeza kicked five of five attempts through the goal posts for ten total points before he was injured.

"We're working on our kicking game every day," Garcia said. "In the past we only worked on it on Thursdays."

Six-man football is exactly opposite 11-man football when it comes to extra points after a touchdown. In a six-man contest a team can pickup two points by kicking but only one point by running or passing the ball into the end zone.

For the past several seasons Balmorhea has failed more often than not when it went for two after a touchdown.

The kicking game is not the only place Garcia is making a few changes.

Garcia said that on offense he is not rotating the backs after each play anymore.

"I'm leaving them in for two to three plays depending on how they look," he said.

Garcia said that the defense has a new look as well.

"In the past several years we have run a 2-3-1. This year we are running a 3-1-2 which gives us more players up front to stop the run and two safeties so hopefully we won't give up as many big plays," he said.

The Bears kicked off to the Vaqueros to start the second half and brought it back to their own 27-yard-line.

On the first play from scrimmage the Vaqueros ran a dive up the middle, but Baeza stripped the ball from the runner on the 30-yard-line and ran the ball into the end zone. He then kicked the points-after conversion and the Bears were on their way to a 36-point third quarter the Vaqueros could not overcome.

The Bears then scored three more unanswered touchdowns before the Vaqueros managed to find the end zone again with 35 seconds left in the third period. Both teams still managed to score one more touchdown in the final 30 seconds of the quarter leaving the score 58-32 going into the final period.

The two teams traded touchdowns in the fourth quarter and neither was able to convert on the point-after attempts.

Statistically the game was closer than it looked with Sierra Blanca gaining 342 yards to Balmorhea's 317. The Vaqueros' ground game was steady and gained 254 yards on 34 rushes while the Bears only managed 183 yards on 33 rushes.

The Bears made up the difference in the passing game going 9 for 15 for a total of 134 yards while the Vaqueros could only manage 84 yards on 17 attempts.

The Bears did a good job of spreading the ball around with three rushers gaining 40-plus yards and three backs tossing at least two passes.

Barry Bordayo led the Bears' rushing attack with 72 yards on 6 carries while Urban Baeza gained 47 yards on 6 carries and Robbie Mendoza racked up 43 yards on 8 carries.

Keith Baeza did the lion's share of the passing going 7 of 10 for 88 yards. Michael Dominguez and Urban Baeza also tossed passes for completions.

Six Bear receivers had at least one catch with Ismael Rodriguez leading the pack with four receptions for 31 yards.

The Bears and Vaqueros will meet again in October, during District 6-A six man play. Balmorhea will play a neutral site game at 5 p.m. this Friday against Bryson, in a game that replaces Marathon on the regular season schedule.

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Pecos Enterprise
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