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Thursday, Oct. 9, 1997

Fireworks in Balmorhea

Grandfalls douses Bears comeback 62-60 in Shootout II

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BALMORHEA - Experts were talking about this game before the season even
started. Balmorhea was picked not only to beat the Grandfalls-Royalty
Cowboys but to coast through the six-man district as district champions.

Friday night, Oct. 3, was a perfect example of why they still play the
games. The Cowboys got the all important first district win at the
expense of Balmorhea, 62-60.

Although both teams put up astronomical numbers as they ran and passed
their way up and down the field, the deciding factor was one of two
extra point attempts missed by the Balmorhea kicker in the first quarter.

Cowboy Roy Vasquez lead the way on the ground for the Big Red offense
with 147 yards rushing on 10 carries including a 58 yard touchdown run
before he was taken out of the game with a minor knee injury in the
third quarter.

"My knee was already hurting a little bit," says senior running back

"It felt good to break a big one (58 yard run) against Balmorhea and it
feels good to get a district victory."

At one point, the Cowboys were threatening the 45-point mercy rule
before the Bears pulled within 10 points late in the fourth.

"We knew we could pull it out," notes junior Sean Franciso, "This was a
really good game. They (Balmorhea) will probably be our hardest team we
play other than Sanderson."

Both teams came out hyped, scoring a combined three touchdowns in the
first three minutes of the game.

"It got scary when we first came out," says senior Jaime Rodriguez, "but
after half-time I knew we could win."

The Bears won the toss and elected to defer till the second half.

The kickoff set up the Cowboys on their own six yard line. Three plays
later Danny Santiago found 60 yards of running room for a Grandfalls
touchdown. Jeff Corean, who went 7-8 on Point- after -attempts for the
night, split the uprights to give Grandfalls an early lead with 8:01
left in the first quarter.

The Cowboys kicked the ball deep in Bear territory to junior Arturo
Miranda who ran the ball back to the Grandfalls eight yard line to the
chant of, "Miranda... Miranda... Miranda," by the Balmorhea field
announcer. The 55 yard return set up the Bears for a quick score to
close the gap to 8-6 with a missed PAT and 7:39 left in the first
quarter of play.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Bears wisely kicked the ball into the end
zone. Unfortunately it fell into the arms of Vasquez whose legs carried
him down the field 80 yards for a Grandfalls touchdown to bump up the
score to 16-6 after the Corean kick went through the uprights with 7:19
remaining in the first quarter.

The defense stepped up their play late in the first quarter. The Big Red
defense held the Bears to a three and out punt and a failed fourth down
conversion, while the Bears held the Cowboys to a four and out.

In the second quarter the Red went back to work putting together a 60
yard drive that ended with Jimmy Ramirez pulling into the end zone with
a 16 yard pass from Ronnie Vasquez. Corean's kick made the score 24-8
with only 9:15 remaining in the half.

The Bears responded with a 24 yard kickoff return to put Balmorhea on
their own 27 yard line. Two plays later senior quarterback Zane Rhyne
connected with Travis Woodruff for a 35 yard touchdown pass and run.
This time the Rhyne kick went through for two, inching the score to

The Bears quickly moved the ball down the field to capitalize on a
turnover scoring on four plays and cutting the Cowboy lead to four after
the missed PAT. The scoreboard read 24-4 with 5:56 left to play in the

On the first play after the kickoff Vasquez struck again, breaking free
for a 58 yard touchdown run to extend the Red lead to 32-20 with 5:38
left in the second.

Later in the second the Grandfalls defense caused a key turnover with an
interception by Alfonso Marquez to set up the Cowboys on the Bear 22
yard line. Once again Vasquez found his way into the end zone for a Big
Red touchdown with only :38 left before the half. The PAT was no good
leaving the score at 38-20.

Balmorhea received the kickoff to open the second half of play.

On a short drive the Bears gave the ball over on downs to set up the
Red offense at mid-field.

On the first play of the drive Vasquez found a 41 yard hole and pushed
it in for another Grandfalls touchdown. Corean's kick was good and the
Cowboys were rolling 46-20.

On the Blue Bears next possession the Rhyne pass found A. Marquez again
for a Cowboys interception.

The turnover lead to a 14 yard touchdown pass from Danny Santiago to
Eric Garcia to increase the Cowboy lead, with 4:55 left in the third
quarter to 54-20 after the Corean kick.

The Cowboys looked as if they would put away their would be opponents
early as they were only 11-points from 45-point-ruling the Bears. But
all of a sudden the Bear offense exploded.

A 24 yard touchdown pass from Rhyne to Dibiase Mendoza made the score
45-28; a 10 yard touchdown run by Miranda brought the score to 54-36; a
27 yard touchdown pass form Mendoza to Miranda moved the score to 54-44;
and turned a near 45-point-rule game into a 10 point game with 3:18
left to play.

The Cowboys wasted no time shutting down the momentum of the Bears on a
23 yard touchdown skamper by Marquez to move the Cowboys a little
further ahead 62-44 with 2:00 left to play.

The Bears would not be denied as they headed down the field to again
pull back within 10 on a 27 yard touchdown pass from Mendoza to Miranda
to make the score 62-52 with 1:16 left to play.
Balmorhea's defense held the Cowboys on fourth down to set up shop on
their own 37 yard line and on a questionable catch the Bears pulled
within two points of the Cowboys with only two seconds left to play.The come back was too little too late.

Green begins defense of title

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Two-and-two heading into the District 3-3A opener Friday at Mountain
View High School in El Paso.

Hobbled by injuries.

Matured by the reality of the Homecoming loss to Fort Stockton where the
Lobo learned football teams win with hard blocking and tackling not with
pregame hype.

That's the scenario this week as the defending champion Monahans High
School Big Mean Green Lobo opens the Desert Six campaign.

Coach Larry Hanna notes the Green are learning and still have their
goals in sight.

Players are stepping in and stepping up.

"With the injuries, we have had, some real competition for starting
positions," says Hanna. "This can be a very good thing."

The running game is better.

Says Hanna: "All of it is just a matter of getting more repetitions. The
running game will improve as the linemen learn the blocking schemes a
little better. The toughest part is picking up stunts."

Against Pecos, the offensive line, considered potentially the best in
the district, controlled Pecos. It can do the job. The goal is

And then there's the Hanna Conditioning program. And it promises big pay
offs in the race to the play offs.

"Our kids' conditioning has really paid off," says the coach. "We feel
like they are in control late in the game."

Fort Stockton gave the Lobo quarterbacks a tough night on Homecoming.
But Hanna is optimistic that the line has improved with the week off and
solved some of its problems.

Recalls Hanna: "Fort Stockton got through on the blitz to put heat on
(Quarterbacks) Brandon (Stephens) and Rocky (Rivera). They didn't have
time to see the field."

The blitz has got to be picked up, the coach notes. And the Lobo now can
expect student body blitzes in each of its district games.

Hanna on those blitzes:

"We have got to get our kids in position to pick these up and hopefully
give the quarterbacks time to get the ball to the second and third

Stephens is still doubtful, Hanna says, for the district opener in El
Paso. Rocky Rivera is ready to run the offense if necessary.

The 4-3 defense Monahans runs this year is new to the Loboes. Last year,
the Green had five people on the down.

Of that defense heading into their championship defense, the coach says:
"We feel like the kids are learning the new system well and are gaining
confidence with it. We have kids hungry to make tackles and big plays."

About that title defense, about playing football in December:

"Our goal is to get better every week. If we play a game where the
starters only play one half, then we will be able to see some of the
backups play," says Hanna.

Copyright 1997 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
Steve Patterson, Publisher
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314

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