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Thursday, October 23, 1997
Eagles look to end Mustangs' streaks
By JON FULBRIGHT
The Pecos Eagles will try to do both Friday night, when they host the second-ranked Mustangs in a 7:30 p.m. start.
The Mustangs come in tied for first place in the District 4-4A standings with Big Spring at 2-0, after their 37-14 win over Fort Stockton last week. Pecos stands at 0-2, after leaving the district's other Mustang Bowl with a 17-7 loss to Andrews.
Sweetwater was there the previous week, and held Andrews to just a field goal and Shaud Williams to under 100 yards in rushing. They couldn't keep Jacob Vasquez under 100 last Friday, but did force the Panthers to throw for both their scores. Between the two, Williams and Vasquez have run for 2,400 yards and 29 touchdowns this season, so the two-week effort is pretty impressive.
"I really can't remember the last time someone scored against our first team," Mustangs' coach Tom Ritchey said. "Frenship scored against our second team, and (eighth-ranked) Brownwood got one rushing touchdown," in the team's season opener.
Sweetwater's last regular season loss was a 10-8 decision against Big Spring in 1994, when the Mustangs were members of District 5-4A. Their last District 4-4A defeat came in 1991, when they were beaten by Andrews. The teams tied the following year, but including their two years in 5-4A, the Mustangs have gone undefeated in 35 straight regular season games and in 29 consecutive district contests.
Last year in Sweetwater, the Mustangs struggled, but still scored a 21-0 victory over Pecos, intercepting the Eagles twice inside the 20 while using a 104-yard rushing night by Andrew Boatright to set up two of their three scores. Sweetwater wound up running for 282 yards while holding the Eagles to just 117.
"Pecos defense played well last year. They always gives us a tough game," said Ritchey, though the Eagles' haven't beaten the Mustangs since 1981, and Eagles' coach Mike Belew said he didn't want to settle for another close game on Friday.
"That's like handgrenades. That's the only place close counts, horseshoes and handgrenades," he said. "They're the No. 2-ranked team and they do have the horses, but we're going in there to beat them."
Boatright remains at quarterback for Sweetwater, and has run for 648 yards. But it's the team's new backfield of Willie Amos and Moses Brown that has made the Mustangs' running attack even more dangerous than last year.
Amos' older brother Tyrone was Sweetwater's top runner in 1993, and while Willie also wears No. 1 on his uniform, Ritchey pointed out, "Tyrone was about 5-foot-2. He was just barely there while Willie is about 6-feet."
The sophomore has run for 669 yards and 15 touchdowns, which has been a pleasant surprise for Ritchey.
"To be honest, we knew he was going to be good at some point in time. We just didn't know that he would do as well now," the Mustangs' coach said, though Belew felt "their best running back is Moses Brown.
"Amos is the `I' (formation) back, who is usually featured, but I think Brown is the toughest back they have, he said. "If it goes to a track meet Amos will hurt us, but I think that kid Brown is a tougher runner."
Brown has gained 570 yards, though he hasn't had a big 200-yard rushing night like Boatright and Amos have had. "Brown has been very consistent. Hopefully, all our runners are getting better each week," Ritchey said.
Andrews' Williams burned Pecos for 229 yards and two touchdowns a week ago, most of that on runs outside. The Eagles' interior defense held their own against Andrews' line most of the night, and will have to come up big again on Friday.
"Their offensive line is very good. They average about 220, and they'll just get shoe-to-shoe with our linemen and try to mash us," Belew said. "They're 90 percent run, but just about the time you feel safe to commit to the run, they throw the ball."
Boatright didn't complete a pass either last year against Pecos or last week against Fort Stockton, and Sweetwater lost all-district receivers Jason Blueford, Shedrick Williams and Robert Reed to graduation. But Ritchey said he still has a strong receiver corps.
"We don't have a Jason Blueford, but we've got a good group of kids. We just haven't thrown it that much," he said. Brad Barnes, Eddie Campos and a couple of others, as far as receivers go, probably have the best hands we've had for a while."
Belew said Barnes is their main receiver, with seven catches for 142 yards and three touchdowns so far in 1997. "He's their only two-way starter, and in a program like theirs that doesn't have a lot of two-way starters, that says a lot."
Barnes starts in the secondary, which has been about the only mildly vulnerable spot on defense this season. Sweetwater has allowed eight touchdown passes in seven games, but they've also picked off nine, returning two for touchdowns, including one by Barnes.
"Offensively, we're going to have to be able to pass the ball and show some offensive consistency," Belew said. Jason Abila hooked up with Oscar Luna for five catches last week, and Belew said Fort Stockton was able to hit some rollout passes in the second quarter on the Mustangs, when they cut Sweetwater's 23-0 lead to 23-14.
"They just try to take you out. They stunt with their line a lot, and then the linebackers try to take the running backs out," the Eagles' coach said. He added that defensive end Jarod Shelton "was the consensus among the coaches that he was one of the best players."
Shelton and Barnes are among eight defensive starters back for Sweetwater. "I think they've been able to adjust to other teams better," Ritchey said of the veteran unit, though he added, "It's hard to deal with, when everybody's coming back, living up to expectations. Sometimes that can be kind of tough."
The Eagles will have to go this week without wingback/safety Moses Martinez, whose out with strained knee ligaments. Belew said Jason Payne will replace Martinez on defense and Orlando Matta on offense. However, lineman T.J. Huffman, who was hurt in last week's game, should be able to start on Friday.
Indians' hot hitters earn trip to Florida
By RONALD BLUM
Yes, baseball's not supposed to be played in weather like this.
Sure, shorts and shirt sleeves are preferable to skicaps and scarves.
So the Indians got their wish with Wednesday night's 10-3 victory over the Marlins, which tied the best-of-7 Series at 2-all. The title will be decided this weekend in the warmth of Miami's Pro Player Stadium, but not until tonight's Game 5 is played in Cleveland.
``It was the coldest I've pitched in,'' said Jaret Wright, who allowed three runs in six innings to win only the sixth Series matchup of rookie starters.
It was 38 degrees when the first pitch was thrown, the coldest for a Series game since temperature records started in 1975. The wind chill was 18 and snow flurries fluttered throughout the night. Even the Indians' mascot wore a Santa cap.
``Let it snow, let it snow,'' Sandy Alomar sang in the interview room after getting three of Cleveland's 15 hits and driving in three runs.
On Tuesday night, Florida had taken a 2-1 lead with a 14-11 win, winning a game that most called ugly.
Cleveland didn't let the loss snowball, getting ahead in the first on a two-run homer by Manny Ramirez and an RBI double by Alomar. The Indians made it 6-0 in the third and, after Florida closed to 6-3, pulled away with a run in the sixth, another in the seventh and Matt Williams' two-run homer in the eighth.
``That was important to get going early in the game,'' said Williams, who went 3-for-3 with two walks. ``That goes back to putting pressure on the other team. That was huge. That set the tone from the beginning.''
Wright, at 21 the youngest starting pitcher in the Series since Bret Saberhagen in 1985, showed why Cleveland promoted him from Double-A to the majors in the last half-year. He is 3-0 in the postseason and 9-0 this season when pitching after an Indians'loss.
``He's everything I heard and more,'' Marlins manager Jim Leyland said. ``He has all the ingredients for being a great one from what I saw.''
Brian Anderson followed Sanders with three innings of shutout relief, allowing just one hit and facing one batter over the minimum. He's been an Indians' fan all his life, growing up in Geneva, Ohio, and now he was helping his team move within two wins of its first Series title since 1948.
``Once I got out there, I couldn't tell if I was in Cleveland or Timbuktu,'' Anderson said. ``I just wanted to get guys out.''
While Cleveland's rookies shined, Florida's Tony Saunders failed to come through, allowing six runs and seven hits in two-plus innings. Thirty-five of his 68 pitches were called balls.
``I never gave my team a chance,'' Saunders said. ``They were very patient hitters. I didn't throw many strikes, and they swung at nothing but strikes.''
Florida tried to come back with Jim Eisenreich's RBI single in the fourth and Moises Alou's two-run homer in the sixth, but Anderson made sure this lead wouldn't be wasted, not like the 7-3 advantage Cleveland squandered in Game 3.
Williams capped the big night with a long homer into the plaza behind the left-field seats, becoming only the seventh player to homer in the Series for teams in both leagues. Williams, who won his fourth Gold Glove earlier in the day, hit just .125 in the 1989 Series for San Francisco and had been 4-for-14 in this Series without an extra-base hit.
``It's probably been the toughest year I've ever been through - inconsistent professionally, tough personally,'' said Williams, who went through a divorce. ``It hasn't been good.''
Now the focus shifts tonight to Cleveland's Orel Hershiser and Florida's Livan Hernandez, who will reprise the matchup from Game 1, won by Florida 7-4.
``All the hard work seems to be paying off so far,'' Alomar said. ``We've been down before, and we have come back.''
His teammates, in Alomar's view, are pretty resilient.
``They forget about the losses, the bad games,'' he said. ``They come back the next day and say, `Forget it.' ''
If Cleveland could get over the Game 3 loss, ignoring the weather Wednesday night was no problem at all.
Notes: Marquis Grissom went 0-for-4, stopping his World Series hitting streak at 15 games. ... Devon White's four strikeouts were one short of the World Series record, set by George Pipgras of the Yankees in Game 3 of the 1932 Series. ... White also tied a record with five consecutive strikeouts over two games, a mark last accomplished by pitcher Danny Jackson of Kansas City in 1985.
Eagles girls' hoop schedule lists 27 dates
PECOS, Oct. 23 -- The Pecos Eagle girls basketball team will tip off their 1997-98 basketball season on Nov. 18, with the first of 27 regular season game, in Odessa against the Odessa High Bronchos.
Pecos will have only four home games during November, December and over the first half of January, then close out the season with four of their final six games at the Pecos High School gym.
Along with their five District 4-4A home contests, the Eagles will host Stanton, Alpine and Odessa Permian in pre-district, while the JV and freshmen will also host their own tournament on Dec. 4-6.
Tournament play for the varsity this season will open that same weekend in Crane, and the Eagles will also go to the Monahans Sandhills Tournament in mid-December, and to the Fort Stockton Tournament the weekend after New Year's Day. They'll go back there on Jan. 6 for their 4-4A opener.
Along with OHS and their district and tournament games, Pecos' road trips this season will be to Iraan, Hobbs, Crane and Monahans.
Pecos' junior high teams begin their seasons at home with two games against Crane on Nov. 17, along with a road game at Imperial for Zavala's seventh grade purple team. The junior high girls' own tournament will be Dec. 4-6, and most of the Eagle teams will spend the first two months of the season at home, while going on the road for all but one of their contests in January and February.
Eagles' `97-98 Girls Basketball Schedules
(Home games in bold type)
Crockett Basketball Schedule
(Home games in bold type)
Zavala Basketball Schedule
(Home games in bold type)
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