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Van Horn Advocate
The Big Spring Steers have a couple of very good running backs, and they
controlled the line of scrimmage Friday night against the Pecos Eagles,
a combination that made it a long night for the Eagles in their District
Big Spring held the ball for the first 7:31 of the game, driving 80
yards for their opening score, added two more touchdowns before the
first quarter was over, and held Pecos' offense to 44 yards on the
night, as the Steers blanked the Eagles for the second year in a row,
"They're bigger, stronger and faster than we are. That's what it's going
to be like in this district," a disappointed head coach Mike Belew said
As much as anything, Belew was unhappy with the lack of commitment by
some of his players towards getting prepared not only for Friday's game,
but this week's contest at Andrews as well.
Speaking at last Wednesday's Pecos Lions Club luncheon, he said nearly a
third of the team failed to show up for last Monday's practice session,
while on Saturday morning, only half the squad made it down to the field
house to study the previous night's game video and go through their
post-game stretching exercises.
"It's hard to compete at the 4A level with the numbers we have that show
up every day and for off-season," Belew said. "I guarantee you these
kids (other 4-4A teams) are participating in off-season, and these kids
are lifting weights.
"It's not that we don't have the kids, and it's not that we don't have
the athletes, it's just that we need to train on the same level those
kids at Big Spring, Sweetwater and Andrews do," he added.
Things started going downhill for Pecos two plays after the opening
kickoff. John Gutierrez began that half by kicking the ball out of the
end zone to force Big Spring to start at their own 20. He just about
ended the half that way, but unfortunately for the Eagles, Gutierrez had
to kick it out of the back of his own end zone this time, after a punt
snap sailed over the junior's head.
That made the score 30-0. In-between those two plays, the Steers were
stopped only when they tried something fancy, as Oscar Luna picked off a
pair of Gabe Mendoza passes in the second period.
When Big Spring stuck to the ground the averaged nearly seven yards per
carry in the first half. And outside of Antwoyne Edwards' second
touchdown of the game, a 43-yard run around left end, Big Spring's backs
relied more on the work of their line than their speed to get a series
of five- to seven-yard gains.
Along with Luna's interceptions, the Eagles secondary had several good
hits of Big Spring backs, including one that convinced coach Dwight
Butler to keep Tory Mitchell on the sideline for most of the second
half. He finished with 69 yards on 10 carries.
"The secondary played pretty well. Jason (Abila) played good, and so did
Mark (Abila), Oscar and Moses," Belew said. "But when they have to make
Offensively though, the Eagles struggled from the outset. Mark Abila had
a couple of near-first down runs, and Lucio Florez, playing with a
bruised thigh, had one good run in the second half, but Big Spring held
Pecos to one first down in the second half, and to none in the second,
outside of a roughing the kicker penalty against the Steers.
The play wiped out John Lawdermilk's 65-yard punt return for a
touchdown, and the Eagles nearly had linebacker Chris Reyes wiped out by
a blindside hit on the play, after Lawdermilk broke free of six Eagle
defenders. But after several minutes on the ground Reyes was able to get
up and walk off under his own power.
After their opening 80 yard drive ended With Edwards' 5-yard TD run and
his 43-yarder made it 14-0, Mitchell scored less than two minutes later
off a nine-yard run, after Mendoza hooked up with Aaron Boadle for a
35-yard completion. The Steers' third score was a one-yard dive by Brock
Gee, and came after Pecos' lone turnover of the night, a Carlos Chapa
interception of Jason Abila.
Chapa picked that one out of the air with Martinez behind him at the
Steers' 35. It was one of only two good scoring chances for Pecos, the
other coming late in the half, when Abila just overthrew Luna, who had
gotten behind Lawdermilk near the Big Spring 35 yard line.
Mendoza had Big Spring's final score, a one-yard quarterback sneak that
capped a 48 yard drive as the third period ended. Big Spring wound up
with 392 yards in total offense, with 155 of that coming from Edwards,
after running for 160 against the Eagles a year ago.
The loss dropped Pecos to 4-2 on the season, while Big Spring improved
to 5-1 going into their district home opener on Friday against San
Angelo Lake View. The Chiefs outscored Fort Stockton in their district
opener, 30-26, while Sweetwater beat down Andrews, 21-3, in the other
Andrews will be where Pecos goes this Friday for their second district game, before coming home for games against Sweetwater and San Angelo.
Balmorhea wasn't ready to play, for whatever reason -- possibly their
emotional letdown after coming up two points short against arch-rival
Grandfalls the previous week.
The result was a 60-48 loss for the Bears, one which could eliminiate
them from play-off competiton for the first time in four years. They
were favored to win the district this year and rated in the state's top
ten before the season started.
Sierra Blanca has played tough all year, losing by only 20 to
Grandfalls. Balmorhea, after having been on top of the heap for four
years, is a marked team that has been decimated by injuries, suspensions
and loss to grades.
The core of the team remains but depth is limited.
Most people expected the game with Sierra Blanca to be a runaway, with
the Bears doing the running. That's the way the game started, as on the
first play from scrimmage, Zane Rhyne hit Arturo Miranda for 42 yards
and a score and then Rhyne added the PAT to give the Bears an 8-0 lead
with only 12 seconds expired.
Sierra Blanca gave notice that they came to play as they stopped the
Bears on their next possession and then took the ball from their own 33
to score with the TD coming on a 37-yard pass from Tim Bustamante to
senior T. J. Ibrahim. Bustamante attempted the drop kick for the PAT but
it was no good and the Bears still had an 8-6 lead with 55 seconds to go
in the first quarter.
The Vaqueros attempted onside kicks on almost every kick-off, giving the
Bears good field position to start every drive. Only once was the onside
The next time the Vaqueros got the ball they moved downfield, only to
see Rhyne step in front of a pass near the 10, intercept it and run 70
yards for the score. The try for PAT was no good but the Bears had a
14-6 lead with 7:30 left in the second quarter.
Two possessions later, the Vaqueros mounted a drive after having stopped
Balmorhea at the Bear 30 and moved in to score, with Marino Nascarinas
going the final four yards. Bustamante passed to Chuy Mancillas for the
extra point, trimming the Bears' lead to 14-13 with 3:13 left in the
The Bears took their next possession and drove in to score from their
own 38 with Miranda going the last three steps. The try for PAT was no
good but Balmorhea led 20-13 with 53 seconds left in the half.
As the Vaqueros attempted to score in the waning moments of the first
half, Rhyne intercepted another pass for Balmorhea to run out the clock.
Both teams scored on their first play from scrimmage in the second half
with the Vaqueros striking first on a 46 yard run by Nascarinas. Try for
PAT was no good with Sierra Blanca closing the Bears lead to 20-19 with
9:48 left in the third.
Then Miranda answered with a 45 yard gallop. The PAT attempt was also no
good but now the Bear lead was back to seven points with 9:33 left.
Sierra Blanca answered right back as they drove from their own 20 to
score with the TD coming on a 15 yard run by Mancillas and this time the
drop kick by Bustamante was good, putting Sierra Blanca in the lead
27-26 with 8:43 left in the third.
Again the Bears came back, driving from their the Vaquero 37, thanks to
a botched on-side kick attempt, and scored on a 20-yard pass from Rhyne
to Patrick Craven. The PAT attempt was blocked but Balmorhea was back
in the lead, 32-27, with 7:25 left in the third.
Sierra Blanca then took the ball at their own 20 and drove the 60 yards
to score, with Nascarinas going the final five yards. The drop kick by
Bustamante hit the upright and bounced through to give the Vaqueros a
35-32 lead with 3:37 left in the third.
After that touchdown, Bear Coach Ennis Erickson was heard on the
sidelines asking his players, "Can anybody honestly say we're doing the
best we can do?"
No response was heard from the players.
The Vaqueros then recovered their only successful kick, and later looked
like they scored, but the play was called back on a penalty and they
were then were stopped at the Bear 9.
Later, Sierra Blanca got the ball back at their own 29 and did go in to
score with David Arnold gong the final three yards. The PAT attempt was
blocked, but Sierra Blanca had a 41-32 lead with 8:43 left in the game.
Another botched onside kick gave the Bears the ball at the Vaquero 37
and a few plays later, Debiasie Mendoza went 12 yards to score. Miranda
added the PAT to close the Bears to within one at 41-40 with 8:02 left
in the 4th quarter.
The Vaqueros answer quickly with Arnold going 58 yards on the first play
from scrimmage after the kick-off. The PAT attempt was no good and the
score stood at 47-40 with the Vaqueros on top and 7:40 left in the
Next time Sierra Blanca got the ball, they travelled from their own 38
to score quickly with Mancillas going 38 yards of that distance and
Nascarinas running in for the PAT to give the Vaquereos a 54-40 lead
with 5:53 left in the fourth quarter.
The Bears were not done yet at they moved quickly from their own 36,
most of that coming on a pass from Rhyne to Craven to the Vaquero two
and then Mendoza covered that distance on the next play. Miranda added
the PAT, closing the Vaquero lead to 54-48 with 4:24 left.
Sierra Blanca apparently felt they needed insurance with the Bears'
reputation for coming from behind so they gave the ball to Arnold once
again who covered 50 yards on the first play from scrimmage after the
Bear kick-off. The PAT attempt was blocked but the Vaqueros had a 60-48
led and only 4:02 left in the game.
The Bears next effort was foiled by an interception by Bustamante to
close out the action. The loss left Balmoreha with a 1-2 district mark,
while Sierra Blanca improved to 2-1.This week, Balmorhea travels to Dell City for another district contest.
Sweetwater had fought back twice in the first game to tie Pecos at
12-12, only to see the Eagles score not only the final three points of
that game, but go on to shut out the Mustangs in Game 2, as they snapped
their two game District 4-4A win streak and took over third place in the
"We played much better that second game," said Eagles' coach Becky
Granado. "When we had them 7-0, that's when they said their goal was to
not let them score."
Shirhonda Bell, whose put-down of a Sweetwater overset in Game 1 broke
the 12-12 tie, had two more for points in Game 2, including the one that
put Pecos on top, 7-0, while Sherrie Mosby also had two in the 7-0
opening run. At the end, it was a pair of kills by Lori Marqez, plus
spikes by Ivy Thorp and Gail Taylor and a block by Taylor and Mosby on
Christina Bender that helped Pecos post its first shutout game over the
Mustangs in a decade, since a 15-0, 15-0 whitewash in 1987, on the way
to the Class 4A state title.
While the Eagles posted numbers in Game 2 that like those of Pecos' 34-0
squad of 1987, for much of Game 1 they looked like the team that had
lost its last two matches to San Angelo Lake View and Andrews.
"There was no reason to give them 12 points, but we did," Granado said.
"At the beginning we were just out there."
After a Vanessa Lehrmann spike gave Sweetwater a 1-0 lead, the Eagles
fell behind 4-0 on a bad set and a pair of spikes into the net. Marquez
got Pecos on the board after that, hitting a Sweetwater overset then
adding two kills and a tip of another overset as part of an 8-1 Pecos
But after a Mustang timeout, the errors returned, and Sweetwater would
briefly go back out in front at 9-8 off another bad spike by Pecos. The
teams would then sawp points until Bell's tip, then won on an ace by
Shey Lara and a spike by Taylor.
Still, Granado said she wasn't happy when she talked to her team before
the start of Game 2.
"In between games, I told them if you don't want to hit the ball, I'll
send somebody in for you. If you don't want to serve, I'll send somebody
in for you. If you don't want to play defense, I'll send somebody in for
you," she said. "and they did pick it up after that."
Pecos' victory, coupled with Big Spring's 15-9, 11-15, 15-13 victory at
Fort Stockton, gives th Eagles a half game lead over the Prowlers in the
race for the final playoff spot. Pecos is 4-3 in district, 15-10
overall, while Fort Stockton is 3-3 in 4-4A play and Big Spring is 2-4.
Sweetwater remains winless in district, at 0-7 and 10-11.
The Eagles can all but assure themselves their second straight trip to
the playoffs this week, with wins over the Prowlers and Steers. Pecos
hosts Fort Stockton on Tuesday and goes to Big Spring on Saturday. They
also can still catch San Angelo Lake View for second, after the Maidens
lost to Andrews on Saturday, 15-12, 15-12. Lake View, 5-2, hosts Pecos
on Oct. 25 to close regular season play.
Pecos' freshman reversed the varsity's scores in winning their match
over Sweetwater, 15-0, 15-12, while the Eagles' junior varsity lost to the Mustangs, 15-6, 15-6.
The Eagles had won a 9-9 tiebreaker earlier this season over the
Panthers, and Pecos' boys took five of their nine matches, including
four of five split set matches, but Fort Stockton swept the girls
matches on Saturday to get their victory.
"We lost our No. 1 player (Randa Taylor). she had a family engagement,
to go to, so that bumped everybody else up," said Eagles' coach
Bernadette Ornelas. The girls lost two split set matches, a 6-4, 3-6,
7-5 decision by Vanessa Miranda to Kristi Lawson at No. 6 singles seed
and a 6-3, 6-8, 6-4 loss by Rachel Pharoah and Erin Dominguez to Lawson
and Sabrina Ruiz.
On the boys' side, Pecos' top three seeds, Jonathan Fuentes, Mark
Marquez, Tye Graham and Jeff Lam, all won both their singles and doubles
matches. Fuentes and Marquez took a 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 decision over P.J.
Haney and Luke Epps, then downed them in singles play, Fuentes 6-2, 6-3
over Haney and Marquez 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 over Epps.
Graham teamed with Jeff Lam to down Chris Yarborough and John Wayne
Bailey in doubles play, 5-7, 6-3, 7-5, then won a 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 match
Ornelas said with Taylor in the lineup, "I think Fort Stockton and Pecos
are evenly matched," and added the teams may play a non-district match
sometime next month, "just to keep play going," in-between the end of
the fall season and the start of the winter-spring schedule two months
Jonathan Fuentes defeated P.J. Haney, 6-2, 6-3; Mark Marquez defeated
Luke Epps, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4; Tye Graham defeated Chris Yarborough, 6-1, 4-6
,6-1; Jeff Lam lost to John Wayne Bailey, 2-6, 6-7 (7-3) 6-1; Alan
Fleming lost to John Burgess, 6-1, 6-4; David Lam lost to Chris Holguin,
Teresa Minjarez lost to Nicole Holguin, 6-0, 6-0; Nichi Dannelley lost
to Alex Marquez, 6-1, 6-2; Lorrie Minjarez lost to Diane Falcon, 6-2,
6-2; Erin Dominguez lost to Pam Tavarez, 6-4, 6-1; Rachel Pharoah lost
to Sabrina Ruiz, 7-5, 6-2; Vanessa Miranda lost to Kristi Lawson, 6-4,
Fuentes and Marquez defeated Haney and Epps, 1-6, 6-3, 6-1; Graham and
J. Lam defeated Yarborough and Bailey, 5-7, 6-3, 7-5; Fleming and D. Lam
lost to Carrasco and Burgess, 6-0, 6-0.
Dannelley and L. Minjarez lost to Holguin and Marquez, 6-2, 6-2; T.
Minjarez and Miranda lost to Falcon and Tavarez, 6-3, 6-1; Pharoah and Dominguez lost to Ruiz and Lawson, 6-3, 6-8, 6-4.
``Anytime you have No. 22 in the backfield, and No. 88, those guys are
Hall of Famers,'' said Redskins cornerback Cris Dishman, referring to
Emmitt Smith and receiver Michael Irvin. ``Sooner of later, they're
going to get into their offense. Hopefully it'll be another week before
The Cowboys (3-2) are coming off more than a 20-17 loss to the New York
Giants. They're coming off a week in which the supposed fall of their
empire was the cover story of Sports Illustrated. Coach Barry Switzer
then appeared to support the theory, saying age had diminished the
skills of offensive stars Smith, Mark Tuinei and Nate Newton.
In fact, Switzer said one of the best things in the Cowboys' favor right
now is that no one else is tearing up the NFC, either.
``There are a bunch of us 3-2; we're all about the same,'' Switzer said.
``It's how we play from here on in. This is kind of a desperation game
for both of us. Both of us need this one.''
Indeed, Washington (3-2) probably needs a victory tonight more than
Dallas because the Redskins are a young team whose confidence could
shatter easily. It doesn't help that their first Monday night appearance
in four years comes one week after they were run off the field by the
``It's a nationwide game,'' Redskins guard Joe Patton said. ``In order
for you not to look embarrassed, in order for you to get recognition, in
order for you to get some kind of regrouping, you've got to go out and
play a heck of a game against the Dallas Cowboys. We know we squandered
a chance, and you can't squander too many chances.''
While Washington is perceived as a team on the rise and Dallas is
considered in decline, their predicaments on the field are similar. A
slew of injuries means there will be inexperienced starters at key
positions on both sides.
The Cowboys will give rookie Antonio Anderson his first start after
tackle Chad Hennings was lost for up to eight weeks with a groin injury.
Another rookie, Omar Stoutmire, will replace strong safety Darren
Woodson, who has a hyperextended right knee.
With Kenard Lang out and William Gaines questionable right up to
kickoff, the Redskins defensive line rotation could include as many as
three players -- Jamal Duff, Ryan Kuehl and Dan Sasa -- who were cut
less than two months ago.
Each defensive line had already been hit by an off-the-field absence --
the Cowboys' Leon Lett is serving a drug suspension, while the Redskins'
Sean Gilbert is holding out.
``Their front seven guys, there's some things that we feel like we might
be able to do,'' said Smith, who is still looking for his first rushing
touchdown of the season.
On offense, the red zone has been a stop sign for both offenses. The
quarterbacks, Troy Aikman and Gus Frerotte, have been getting hit more
``I don't think that I've played real poorly,'' Aikman said. ``I don't
think that I've played great, either. I think that I've been average,
about like the offense has been.''
The Cowboys-Redskins rivalry, making its debut at the new Jack Kent
Cooke Stadium, lost some of its nationwide appeal during the 1990s as
the teams struggled at various points.
Many on the Cowboys now see it as just another game. Not the Redskins.
They've had this one circled in red since the schedule came out in the
``It's still a great headliner,'' Redskins tackle Shar Pourdanesh said.
``You got two division leaders that are tied for the lead going at it.
You can't beat it. That we both lost last week should make it even more
interesting because we're more hungry now.''
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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