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Van Horn Advocate
But Monahans fans are expecting Hanna to match the Loboes' 1996 District 3-3A title and improve on the their post-season results of a year ago, while continuing their 15-year dominance of the Pecos Eagles when the teams meet Friday in Monahans, in a 7:30 p.m. start.
Eagles' coach Mike Belew, meanwhile, will be seeking to go 3-0 on the season and get Pecos its first win in the series since a 31-16 victory back in 1982.
Hanna was a perfect 16-0 last year in Iraan, as the Braves won the Class 2A state football title, before he moved back to Monahans, where he served as an assistant under Gary Gaines and Bren Holland. The move came when Monahans' school board suddenly removed Williams three months ago, after the second-year coach went 9-0 in the regular season before losing in the second round of the Class 3A playoffs to Friona.
"I knew going in it was going to be a challenge," said Hanna. "Coming in late and not knowing the personnel, it takes a little while to get them schooled on what we're doing."
The Loboes dropped their season opener at Big Spring by a 24-2 final score, but were within a touchdown and two-point conversion of the Steers going into the final period. Last week, they were the ones that took control in the fourth quarter, turning a 12-10 lead over Lubbock High into a 27-10 victory at Lowery Field.
Along with Hanna the coach, Monahans also got Hanna's son, Robin, in the bargain. He helped lead the Braves to the state title last season, but sat out preseason due to a foot injury and only saw limited action against the Steers.
"He just played a few plays against Big Spring and had several good runs, and last week he played the whole game and ran for about 150 yards," Belew said. "He's a great athlete and a threat anytime he touches the ball."
The Loboes weren't exactly hurting in the offensive backfield without him. Monahans has third-year starter Brandon Stephens back at quarterback, along with fullback Lucas Jacquez, while tailback Mark Thompson also had a good night splitting time with Hanna against Lubbock High.
"The Stephens kid is an outstanding quarterback. He's a threat to run or pass the ball, and they have him deep on punts, so he can make a lot of big plays," Belew said.
The elder Hanna credited his offensive line for their blocking work against Lubbock High, and said the team is still trying to adjust to the Loboes' new system, which is similar to the one put in by Belew and his staff last year, and to the one Monahans used up until 1995.
"They're doing a good job, but we haven't gotten everything in. We're going to try and involve (Stephens) more and more in the offense and at the same time not get him beat up," Hanna said.
Last season, Jacquez ran for 91 yards and a touchdown while Stephens threw for 118 yards on 6-for-9 passing, as the Loboes beat the Eagles, 28-8, a game in which Pecos lost its leading rusher, Ray Parada, seven plays in with a compound fracture of his leg.
Richard Gutierrez took over as Pecos' main back, and gained 142 yards in a losing effort that night. Last week, the fullback ran for 168, but thanks to a series of holding and clipping calls, the Eagles wound up getting all three of their touchdowns through the air, in a 20-16 victory at Alpine.
Pecos ran for 277 yards last week, after getting 313 in their opening win over Lamesa, and Belew is hoping that success continues.
"We're just going to keep on keeping on and hope we can get better at what we're doing," he said. "It will be a good test for the young men, and I feel confident if we continue to get better and cut down on the mistakes we'll be able to play against a team like Monahans."
He said that since Lubbock High used a `run-and-shoot' type offense, "The film I studied most was Big Spring. Monahans played them pretty tough at times and moved the ball some, but it was Big Spring's speed. (Atwoyne) Edwards just got behind them a couple of times."
"Big Spring is going to do that to a lot of teams," Hanna said of the Steers' long scoring runs, while adding, "I feel like our defense was much more aggressive last week, and the kids are adjusting to the scheme. The biggest change from what he (Williams) had was Monahans had more of an 8-man front last year. We're going with more 7-man in a 4-3 lineup, so we've had to move people places."
If the Eagles do get through the Loboes' defense, they'll be doing something no Pecos team has managed in the past two decades. The Eagles' last touchdown in Monahans was in 1986, and the last time they scored more than a TD on the Loboes' home field was 1978, in a 28-0 victory.
Since a pair of narrow losses to the Gaines-coached Loboes in the early 1980s, the Eagles have been outscored 126-7 in their last four visits. That's a trend Belew wants to end.
"I hope we don't go over there and be intimidated. I don't expect the kids to do that, and I'll be real disappointed if we do," he said. "Hopefully, we're beyond that as a team. I expect the kids to block out any distractions and play the way we're capable of."
Friday's game is the second of Pecos' three straight road games against District 3-3A teams, though Hanna said there's a possibility Monahans will be back up into Class 4A and facing the Eagles in district competition next season. "We're on the bubble right now. We're at between 700-740 kids, so it could go either way."
Annis Rasberry, who is serving as one of the parent coordinators for the rodeo, said five Pecos High School students will compete, along with two other former Pecos students and other from as far away as Del Rio, Abilene, El Paso and Artesia, N.M.
Courtney Clark will compete in the cutting competition Sunday morning, while Trevor Warren, Clay Ryan McKinney and Renea Rasberry will compete both days in team roping. Rasberry and Salem Mitchell also are entered in the breakaway roping and barrel race events, while McKinney will compete in calf roping.
D'Anda Allgood, who now goes to school in Wink, and Randal Barmore, who moved from Pecos to Alpine, are the two other local entries. Allgood will be in the cutting and barrel race events, while Barmore will compete in team roping.
"Most of your PCRA people start in high school rodeo and go from there to college and the pros," Annis Rasberry said. Region 2 is one of 10 regions in the state which hold 12 fall and 12 spring rodeos each year.
The Top 10 finishers in each region in their events then advance to the state high school rodeo finals in Abilene next June. Annis Rasberry said Rene, along with Warren, Barmore and Allgood, advance to state last Spring.
The rodeo, which is sponsored by the Reeves County 4-H Club, begins Saturday with the Queens contest at 8 a.m. followed by the open barrel race at 1 p.m. The rest of the rodeo will start at 5 p.m. at the arena, and a team roping performance will follow the regular events.
On Sunday, after 8 a.m. church services at the rodeo ground, cutting competition starts at 9 a.m. and the second day's other rodeo events begin at 11 a.m. Admission to the rodeo will be $3 per person, Rasberry said.
Balmorhea's varsity got their second homecourt victory in a row, beating Valentine by 15-3, 10-15 15-13 scores, while the Bears' junior high squad posted a 15-1, 8-15, 15-12 victory over Valentine.
Bears' coach James Meredith said the varsity was led by Brenda Dutchover and Selena Rodriguez in their victory, while for the junior high, Tobi Gomez was Balmorhea's main offensive threat, and was helped by Dalilah Nanez.
Balmorhea's varsity will be at home again for their next match, on Tuesday against Marathon. The Bears' junior varsity will also play, while the next junior high match is Sept. 27 at Marfa.
Crockett's eighth graders will be playing on their own field for the first time in several years, when they take on Monahans in games starting at 4 and 5:30 p.m. At the same time, Zavala's seventh graders will be playing their season openers on the Loboes' junior high field.
Crockett's field is scheduled to have the former Eagle Stadium scoreboard installed for junior high games, which will allow Pecos' freshmen to get their game against the Loboes underway tonight at 6 p.m., the same time as the JV will by playing in Monahans.
Both the Eagles' JV and freshman squads are 0-1 so far this season. The JV lost their season opener last week at Alpine, 22-20, while the ninth graders dropped their season opener to week ago to Lamesa, 32-16, and were idle last Thursday.
The JV's season opener at Lamesa was canceled, and two of their next three scheduled games, against Colorado City and Hobbs, N.M., also won't be played due to budget considerations. Both the freshmen and JV squads will go to Kermit in two weeks, while the junior highs play in Alpine next Thursday.
San Francisco owner Peter Magowan said Wednesday it was Arizona's fault, and Diamondbacks owner Jerry Colangelo said it was the American League's problem,
Magowan, trying to prevent owners from putting the Oakland Athletics in the National League, said all the problems could be solved if the Diamondbacks were shifted to the AL West, which would then allow the Texas Rangers to move into the AL Central.
Colangelo said no one had asked him to move, and that none of the plans he had seen would move his team out of the NL.
``I understand his argument why the National League is preferable to the American League, but really he could be very successful in the American League West, too, and it would solve a lot of baseball's scheduling problems,'' Magowan said, adding that the Diamondbacks ``are going to be sold out no matter what.''
Colangelo had lobbied to be placed in the NL West, where his team hopes to develop rivalries with Colorado, Los Angeles and San Diego.
``They did the right thing,'' he said of his team's division assignment. ``Why change it? Because someone else is ... complaining? That's not a reason to do anything.''
Magowan, citing a provision in the NL Constitution that gives him exclusive NL rights to areas within 10 miles of the San Francisco city limits, has threatened to sue if owners try to move Oakland into his league. The A's ballpark is about seven miles from the city line.
``Magowan is pointing to us, we could solve the problem if we go to the American League West. He has his own agenda,'' Colangelo said. ``He's protecting the Giants and what he believes is his interest.''
When owners met last January to decide where to put the expansion teams, the original plan was to put Arizona in the NL West, Tampa Bay in the AL East, shift Detroit to the AL Central and Kansas City to the AL West.
The Royals objected to their proposed shift, gained the support of the Texas Rangers and blocked the plan. Owners then assigned Arizona to the NL West and Tampa to the AL without specifying a division. Tampa Bay, for scheduling purposes, was unofficially assigned to the AL West.
``There were some teams in the American League that wanted to use it to force discussion of major realignment,'' Colangelo said.
Texas, in the Central time zone, has long wanted out of the AL West, where its three opponents are in the Pacific time zone. The Rangers favor the radical realignment plan, in which 15 teams would change leagues.
Realignment committee chairman John Harrington, Philadelphia Phillies president Dave Montgomery and Doug Schoen, who conducted polls and focus groups for the owners, made a presentation Wednesday to a joint session of both leagues.
``The information is just overwhelmingly in favor of realignment,'' Rangers president Tom Schieffer said.
Seven NL teams are prepared to vote against the radical plan, forcing proponents to come up with more moderate alternatives. Many have Anaheim, Oakland and Seattle switching to the NL.
``I think there are a lot of ways to get there,'' Schieffer said, an admission that the radical plan doesn't have sufficient support.
Acting commissioner Bud Selig said he probably won't call for a vote Thursday, when the quarterly meetings conclude. He planned to give all teams an opportunity to speak their minds and open the subject for debate.
``I must have 50 sheets of paper that the clubs have submitted,'' Selig said, referring to the growing multitude of alternatives under discussion.
Harrington hopes Thursday's meeting can eliminate some.
``They'll help us narrow it down,'' he said.
Because of the debate, owners have been unable to issue a 1998 schedule. Usually, teams are given their schedules the previous July. Last year, the owners' debate on labor delayed the schedule until November.
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
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