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Van Horn Advocate
Friday night at Eagle Stadium, it will be up to Pecos to make them change their minds.
The Tornadoes and Eagles open their 1997 football seasons at 8 p.m. in Eagle Stadium, with Lamesa seeking its fourth straight victory over Pecos and fifth in the past six years.
That's about the only positive record the Tors carried out of 1996, when the opened with a 21-6 victory over Pecos, then lost their final nine regular season games.
The Eagles had several scoring chances early in the game, and Lamesa appeared to be in trouble when starting quarterback Jarred Waston went down with a season-ending knee injury in the second quarter. But Backup Randy Trevino came in and threw for 132 yards and a touchdown on only four completions, as Lamesa took control in the second half.
Lamesa coach Tim James, like Belew in his second season as head coach, was unavailable Wednesday. But he told the «MDUL»Lamesa Press-Reporter«MDNM» that "Having him (Trevino) back is a big strength on this football team. He gained some really good experience last season, and we've been real impressed with what we've been seeing out of him so far this season.
"They hit some big plays on us, but the secondary is one of the strong points on defense for us," said Eagles' coach Mike Belew said. "We've got a couple of potential all-district safeties back there (in Mark Abila and Moses Martinez), so hopefully, we won't give up the big plays this time."
"They run the same thing as last year, but instead of from the `I' (formation), they run it from a divided backfield. And they still run a lot of play-action pass," Belew said. Tailback Rene Hernandez and fullback Justin Jones will try to be the speedy backs that hurt Pecos the way Fonzie Jenkins and Kevin Larry did the previous three seasons. Larry broke free in the second half a year ago for a couple of touchdowns that sealed the victory, and also had two TDs in Pecos two years ago, in the Tors' 42-0 win.
The Eagles actually outgained Lamesa on the ground last year, with Richard Gutierrez running for 115 yards. But Pecos wasn't able to capitalize on their first half chances.
"Defensively, they run the `50', but they also run the `80' defense, which is something new for them," Belew said. Lamesa held Pecos to just 5-for-17 passing a year ago, though that included the Eagles' lone score, a 25-yard pass from Jason Abila to Moses Martinez in the second period.
"The biggest thing we need to work on around here is being more aggressive," James told the Press-Reporter, after a 1996 season in which the Tors' defense allowed 366 yards per game. "We just need to get these guys to start playing with a little more intensity. We want to see our people flying to the football."
The Eagles defense appears to be better than at any time since 1993, which was the last season that Pecos opened with a win over Lamesa. The Eagles' first team defense blanked Crane on their opening 20-play scrimmage series two weeks ago, and the first and second team squads shut out Greenwood a week ago.
James' squad is mostly made up of seniors this year, even though the overall turnout for football at Lamesa was low enough to force cancellation of tonight's junior varsity game.
"I talked with coach James last week, and he indicated that was a problem," Belew said. "We have a lot of similar concerns, being small 4As, where the number of kids is always a concern."
There were no serious injuries last Friday, and Belew said he expects all 39 of his players to be ready for the opener. Several members of the JV also are expected to suit out Friday night, due to the cancellation of tonight's game at Lamesa.
The Tors do have a freshman team, and they'll open their season at 6 p.m. tonight against Pecos' ninth graders at Eagle Stadium. The JV will now open their 1997 season a week from tonight in Alpine.
Balmorhea downed Sierra Blanca 16-14, 15-4, and will face them again today in the first round of the Marfa Invitational, coach James Meredith said. "We had some aggressive play and good offensive efforts by Amanda Lozano and Amy Garcia, and a good serving job by a freshman girl, Terry Hernandez," he said, adding that Edith Bordayo played well defensively for the Bears, who won only one game all of last season.
Balmorhea rallied late for their opening victory. "We had to come from behind. They had us 14-13 and needed only one point to win, but we were able to win the game."
Valentine, Presido, Marathon, El Paso Faith Christian and the Permian Basin Christian Academy, along with the host Shorthorns, are the other teams entered in this weekend's Marfa tournament.
Or all three could be gone by the end of October, based on the early results.
That's because as of now, all six District 4-4A teams have been playing reasonably well through their first 10 to 12 matches.
Maintaining last year's status quo would be fine for San Angelo Lake View, which captured its first-ever district title, while Andrews and Pecos would like to step up a notch or two, but at least want to return to post-season competition this fall.
Meanwhile, Fort Stockton, Big Spring and Sweetwater have given their fans hope through the first two weeks, with the Prowlers trying to take a small step up to catch last year's three leaders, while the Steers and Mustangs seek to make major strides in their recently-struggling programs.
Injuries and grades could affect things between now and Sept. 16, when district play officially begins, but based on early results San Angelo Lake View could be given a slight edge to repeat as 4-4A champs. The Maidens won the San Angelo Invitational this past weekend, and have fared the best so far against common opponents of Lake View, Pecos, Andrews and Fort Stockton.
Junior Hillary Lee was the district's Newcomer of the Year last season, when the Maidens went 9-1 in 4-4A play and 25-7 overall, before losing in the area round to Dumas, and the Maidens also get hitter Stacy Bartz back, who was an honorable mention all-district pick last year. She and Leslie Nichols will fill the holes left by graduating seniors Jennifer Casey and Chasity Harp.
Pecos lost all-district defensive player Denise Camarena and setter Elena Hinojos to graduation, after they earned all-district and honorable mention on last year's 4-4A team. It showed in the opening week of the season, but the Eagles looked a lot better this past weekend in winning the Pecos Cantaloupe Classic over Greenwood, especially on defense in the deciding game of the tournament.
The Eagles get back almost all of their main hitters from 1996's 14-17 squad, 6-6 in district, that lost in the area round of the playoffs to Lamesa in coach Nora Geron's final season. Coach Becky Granado's team is already halfway to last year's victory total, and are again led by all-state hitter Lori Marquez.
The senior got off to a slow start, but came up big late in Pecos' victories over Greenwood and Midland Lee, while senior Ivy Thorp's hitting has improved sharply this season, and senior Marisol Arenivas earned defensive honors at last weekend's tournament.
Pecos is still having some blocking problems up front, and have been hampered by an ankle injury to Gail Taylor and a late arrival of junior blocker Sherrie Mosby.
Up in Andrews, the Mustangs will be seeking their fifth straight playoff appearance, after a trio of second place finishes and a 4-4A title in 1995. Last year's squad went 21-8 overall, and 8-2 in district before falling to Hereford in the area round.
Like Pecos, this year's squad already owns victories over Greenwood and Midland High, and the Mustangs placed second in the Lubbock Invitational the first weekend of the season, falling to El Paso Andress in the finals.
Andrews has the poorest record of the six district teams, but two of their losses were to Dumas and Austin McCallom in tournament play last week in Justin.
Coach Penny Bane's daughter Ali was an all-district pick as a sophomore hitter last season, and the Mustangs also return second-team 4-4A pick Holly Fields, a senior hitter. The Mustangs will be looking to fill holes up front left by last year's district MVP Keisha Ramsey and Prescilla Rampone, along with setter Adrianne Moose.
Fort Stockton lost out by a game to Pecos for the final playoff spot a year ago, and went 12-15 overall. This year's Prowler squad is led by junior Elisa Espino, an all-district pick last season and an all-tournament choice in Pecos last weekend.
The rest of the Prowlers' 1997 squad is all seniors, and includes returning outside hitters Melissa Hughes, Mandy Lujan, and Ashley Creech, who is the Fort Stockton's tallest player, but also doubles as a setter.
Big Spring has struggled in the past to get some of their best athletes to spike some balls instead of dribbling them during August, September and October. That's kept the Steers at the top of the district basketball standings and near the bottom of the volleyball ranks.
Last year, Big Spring was 3-7, and 9-19 overall, but in the opening week of this season the Steers reached the semifinals of the Ector County ISD tournament with a win over Midland Lee, something Pecos and Andrews failed to do, then did the same last weekend at the Denver City Tournament.
Senior hitter Kristi McWhirter was an all-tournament pick in Odessa and was a second team all-district selection last season. She's taking over the No. 1 hitter role held by Tosha Wilbert the past two seasons.
Sweetwater was out of the district for two years, then came back last fall with the minimum six players, and wound up 1-9 in district and 6-17 overall. Winning just one match with only six available players was a feat by itself, and this year's team has a full squad and won its first six matches, equalling 1996's victory total.
The Mustangs return their lone all-district pick, second teamer Vanessa Lehrmann, along with hitters Debbie Torres and Amanda Arelaga. Exactly how much better Sweetwater is than a year ago may not be known until 4-4A play starts, since they've been facing different opponents than their five district rivals.
Practice began Tuesday for the 1997-98 season for the young swimmers at the pool, and are held three times a week, on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. New swimmers can try out, and returning swimmers who have not yet signed up can re-register at those times.
Mike Moralez is the new head coach for the age-group swimmers, who compete in `A,' `B' and `C' level meets during the falls and winter months. Levels are based on each swimmers' ability in their various age levels.
Pecos Eagles Athletic Booster Club president Dennis Thorp said boys and girls with `Bleacher Creature' T-shirts should meet at the south end of the home bleachers at Eagle Stadium 45 minutes before Friday's 7:30 p.m. kickoff. Crockett Middle School cheerleaders will help the students set up their lines in front of the Eagle banner for the run in-between, prior to the start of the game.
Students currently without T-shirts who want to participate can purchase them for $8 apiece at City Cleaners, at Fifth and Oak streets, Thorp said. Money from the shirts goes to the athletic booster club.
CHICAGO, Sept. 4 - Bud Selig is more convinced than ever that major league baseball needs a major realignment plan.
So the sport's acting commissioner and his allies are working hard to sway teams in time for what figures to be an eventful owners meeting in two weeks.
``This was not a group of wild-eyed radicals that just decided that it was time to overthrow a sport with the greatest history and tradition in the world just for the sake of doing it,'' Selig said Wednesday after the realignment committee met with the executive council.
``I think it will be a grand slam for the industry.''
With owners scheduled to vote during the Sept. 16-18 meeting in Atlanta, Selig said there are still as many as five scenarios, with multiple variations. All involve unbalanced schedules - meaning teams would play most games against division rivals - as well as the placement of 16 teams in one league and 14 in the other.
``The real goal isn't to realign. The real goal is to come up with very efficient scheduling which would make the season more meaningful,'' committee chairman John Harrington said.
``Due to the complexities of scheduling ... 16-14 is probably what we would come out with,'' the Boston Red Sox CEO added, ``and all of our teams want unbalanced scheduling.''
Most recent proposals have 16 teams in four NL divisions and 14 clubs in three AL divisions. Several teams would have to change leagues to make for good geographic matchups.
Selig said that with Tampa Bay and Arizona joining the major leagues as expansion teams next season, the time for change is now. He and Harrington favor radical geographic realignment in which 15 teams would switch leagues.
``They talk about, `Those dopes don't know how to grow the revenues,''' Selig said. ``Well, the schedule's the most important marketing factor you have. And if you're not sensitive to that ... you're denying your sport the opportunity to grow.
``The worst mistake we can make is a Band-Aid approach, do a little now. Because we're fooling you and we're fooling ourselves, and in a year or two we'd be back again and that would be unconscionable.''
Philadelphia Phillies owner Bill Giles said simply putting Tampa Bay in the AL West - currently the only open spot - would be wrong because it wouldn't give the expansion team any geographic rivals. And he said most owners favor placing all the Pacific Time Zone teams in the NL, as part of one large division or two smaller ones.
Radical realignment, which would put the New York Yankees and Mets in one division and put the Chicago Cubs and White Sox in another, has drawn the opposition of at least seven NL teams.
``I wouldn't say it's dead,'' Selig said. ``Nothing is dead right now.''
Selig disputed that one or two dissenting owners could block any realignment plan. Owners have said no team would be forced to change leagues against its will.
``That's open to some debate. The lawyers (say) ... that isn't necessarily true,'' he said, without providing details.
Selig said it's likely the designated hitter will remain an AL-only proposition, even though owners last week proposed its total elimination. Most NL owners don't want the DH, and the players association will fight any effort to drop it.
Mac McKinnon, 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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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
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