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Van Horn Advocate
After going up against each other in workouts for the past two weeks, the Pecos Eagles will get their first test against another opponent on Friday, when they travel to Crane to scrimmage the Golden Cranes.
Eagles' coach Mike Belew said the varsity teams would go through two 20-play series and two 15-play series for their first and second teams, beginning about 7 p.m. Before then, Pecos and Crane will scrimmage their freshman teams in 15- and 10-play series starting at 4 p.m., followed by the junior varsity squads in 20- and 15-play series, beginning about 5 p.m.
"We'll be looking at our starters and backups and see if we're looking at the right people on the field," said Belew on Wednesday. "Our No. 1 objective is to evaluate players, and No. 2 is to see if we have the right people on the field in the right positions.
"I feel like our backfield is one place where we have a lot of depth, but we don't have a whole lot on our offensive line, so the key there is in getting the right people in the right positions. so we may be moving some people around to see if we can get them in the right spot," Belew said.
"It's sort of like putting a jigsaw puzzle together," he added. "As far as the offense and defense goes, we'll be looking to see if we can execute our plays correctly. There's no sense in adding on stuff if you can't execute what you have."
Friday's scrimmage will give some indication of how far the Odessa Permian system Belew put in has come since its debut in last year's scrimmage against Crane. Playing in Pecos, the Golden Cranes scored a 3-0 victory under their new head coach, Alan Cherry, and went on to win the District 4-3A title, finishing with a 10-2 record. Crane also won last year's JV and freshman scrimmages, and both those teams went undefeated during the season, so the Cranes figure to be back in the playoffs this November.
"They were really good last year, and I talked with coach Cherry, and he said they have about 25 kids on their varsity, with returning starters six on offense and five on defense," Belew said. "He felt like they looked pretty good on offense so far, though they have a few who are banged up who my not scrimmage."
The Eagles have a couple of players slightly banged up as well, but other than lineman Fernando Rios, injured in last Friday's intrasquad scrimmage, Belew said he expected everyone to play on Friday.
After Friday's scrimmage, the Eagles will scrimmage Midland Greenwood at home on Aug. 29. Regular season play opens for Pecos at Eagle Stadium on Sept. 5 against Lamesa.
Pecos will hit the court at 9 a.m. in pool round play against Midland High, then will face Wink and El Paso Austin at 1 and 3 p.m. at Odessa Permian High School. The top two finishers among those four teams will advance to the tournament semifinals, at either 9:30 or 11 a.m. on Saturday, while the third and fourth place teams will play their consolation semifinals at 8 or 9:30 a.m.
Eagles' coach Becky Granado had her squad working on conditioning on Wednesday, after Pecos split their season-opening matches with Alpine and Odessa High. The Eagles were swept by the Bucks, 15-9, 16-14, then rallied for a 14-16, 17-15, 15-5 win over the Bronchos, after OHS has scored a three-game win over Alpine.
Two of the Eagles' pool division opponents lost their season openers to Pecos' District 4-4A rivals. Midland High was beaten by San Angelo Lake View, 15-11, 13-15, 15-11, after the Bulldogs defeating Snyder, 15-8, 15-9 on Tuesday, while Wink lost to Fort Stockton, 15-8, 17-15, and Fort Davis, 7-15, 15-13, 15-7, in their season openers.
The Eagles could face Lake View as early as Saturday morning in quarterfinal round play at Odessa. The Maidens are in the same pool with Permian, Kermit and Water Valley, while Fort Stockton and Big Spring are the other 4-4A squads in the tournament, in Pool II with Odessa High and El Paso Bowie.
Pecos' junior varsity also will be in the Odessa tourney. They'll face Wink, Abilene Cooper and Permian's sophomores at 9 a.m., noon and 1 p.m. at Odessa High.
NEW YORK - Tony Phillips is back on the Anaheim Angels' active roster following an arbitrator's decision to lift the outfielder's suspension.
Arbitrator Richard Bloch listened to 3½ hours of arguments Wednesday and immediately ruled the Angels violated baseball's drug policy in suspending Phillips, who was arrested Aug. 10 on a felony charge of cocaine possession.
In a highly unusual situation, the owners' Player Relations Committee sided with Phillips and the players association against the Angels, who are operated by the image-conscious Walt Disney Co. Bloch issued his decision orally, saying he would follow with a written opinion in about two weeks.
``It is not for a third party to tell us what our agreements are,'' said Gene Orza, the associate general counsel of the players association. ``If it is true Disney is trying to portray itself as a defender of the forces that want to deal with the problems of drugs in our society, it really is a cheap shot, particularly for people who have no familiarity with all the work we do in this area, the clubs and the players association.''
A high-ranking baseball management official said Anaheim's decision to suspend Phillips on Monday was made by Disney chief executive officer Michael Eisner over the objection of team officials.
Disney has been under pressure since the Southern Baptist Convention voted in June to boycott the entertainment company, which owns 25 percent of the Angels and has an option to purchase the remaining 75 percent from team founder Gene Autry.
``We are deeply disappointed in the decision and believe that we were taking the appropriate course of action,'' the Angels said in a statement. ``We are presently studying and evaluating the decision ... and are considering whether there are other avenues we can pursue.''
In a sign of the hearing's importance to Disney, the company was represented by one of Eisner's top officers, Sandy Litvack, Disney's senior executive vice president and chief of corporate operations.
``The Anaheim Angels embarked on their own course of action,'' acting commissioner Bud Selig said. ``Major league baseball in no way condones the use of illegal drugs. We have in place a drug policy in which a first offense is evaluated by qualified doctors representing the clubs and the players association, who then recommend a program of recovery and rehabilitation.''
Before suspending Phillips, the team pressured him to go on the 15-day disabled list and enter an in-patient treatment program.
``I don't believe the Angels, or more importantly, Disney in this case, believed that they expected they could prevail,'' Orza said. ``The reinstatement of Phillips is not the question. The question is, `Does major league baseball have a program in place to deal with allegations of drug abuse, should it be centralized, should it encourage people to come forward and talk to us, even when they say they don't have a problem?''
Phillips, who attended the hearing, left immediately to return to the team, which played a twi-night doubleheader at home against the New York Yankees.
The 38-year-old leadoff hitter was acquired in a midseason trade with the Chicago White Sox. He is batting .279 with 47 RBIs and 77 walks, but hasn't played since his arrest.
Angels general manager Bill Bavasi wouldn't say whether manager Terry Collins would play Phillips upon his return, but said he's sure he will be welcomed back by his teammates.
``We have to evaluate the kind of shape he's in,'' Bavasi said. ``This group of guys feel that he's probably better off with them than alone, I guess. So I think they're anxious to have him back because they want to win.''
Wednesday's decision marked another in a long line of drug-related suspensions in baseball that were overturned by arbitrators. Ferguson Jenkins (1980), Willie Wilson (1984), Jerry Martin (1984), Pascual Perez (1984), LaMarr Hoyt (1987), Gilberto Reyes (1992) and Steve Howe (1992) were among those whose suspensions either were lifted or shortened.
Now the center of attention in the Dallas Cowboys offensive line is on Clay Shiver and John Flannery to see if they can replace the blocking demon who protected quarterback Troy Aikman.
Shiver is a smallish by NFL standards - 6-foot-2, 294 pounds - a third-round draft pick out of Florida State in 1996. His assets are quickness, leg drive and intelligence.
College coach Bobby Bowden called him ``the best center I coached in 20 years at Florida State.''
Flannery is 6-3, 304 pounds, a six-year NFL veteran out of Syracuse who can manhandle linebackers. He's a former second-round pick of the old Houston Oilers.
The competition has been fierce during training camp to determine the heir apparent to the dependable Donaldson, who got too old, too injured and too expensive for the Cowboys to bring him back.
``I'm not sure who the starter will be but I do know we have a lot of depth at the position,'' Aikman said. ``John can play guard and if we have more injuries and if Nate Newton keeps getting hurt he may have to move over there.
``I really don't have a preference. Both snap the ball well and block well. I think either one will do a good job for us.''
Shiver is inexperienced and wishes the coaches had given him more playing time in 1996.
``It's an unfortunate situation that Ray took all the snaps last year, but that's the way it is,'' Shiver said. ``John and I have had a good competition. We've helped each other out a lot.''
Shiver said he wishes he were as big as Donaldson or Flannery.
``I don't have the strength to just steer somebody around like they do,'' Shiver said. ``I have to handle my job with quickness. I'm not going to overpower anybody.''
Said Donaldson: ``Clay and I have a pretty good battle going. I may have to play some other positions in the line. We'll just have to see what the coaches decide. Clay does a really good job.''
Dallas coach Barry Switzer said it's time for youth to be served in the offensive line.
``We spent a high draft pick on Clay so we need to see what he can do,'' Switzer said. ``John can play and being 30 pounds heavier than Shiver is something we have to consider.''
Shiver has been bothered by sprained knees in the past but has been going all out in preseason workouts.
``Last year I was trying to rehabilitate myself from injuries,'' Shiver said. ``I played at 285 at Florida State and that's what I'd like to play at eventually this year. Quickness, leverage and smarts are the things I have to use.''
The Cowboys have a long history of excellence at center going back to Pro Bowler Mark Stepnoski, John Fitzgerald and Donaldson.
Now, Switzer is waiting for either Shiver or Flannery to step front and center to join the ranks.
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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