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Monday, November 3, 1997

Eagles can't hold Tigers at finish

Sports Editor
PECOS, Nov. 3 -- If only volleyball games ended after 13 points, the
Pecos Eagles would have had a great season. And it would still be going

But you need 15 points to win a game, and that was again two more points
than the Eagles could manage Saturday afternoon against the El Paso High

The Eagles, who held the lead at 13 points in the deciding game against
both Andrews and San Angelo Lake View in District 4-4A play, only to
lose both matches, ended their season in equally disappointing fashion
against the Tigers. El Paso rallied twice from 13-12 deficits to defeat
Pecos, 15-13, 4-15, 15-13, in the bi-district round of the Class 4A

Pecos' season-long lack of a killer instinct did them in in the deciding
match. After routing the Tigers in Game 2, the Eagles grabbed a 7-2 lead
on El Paso in Game 3, but then just stopped dead on offense, allowing
Tigers' hitter Rosa Barrios to regain her composure and lead a comeback
that was capped by the match-ending three point rally.

"For our team to have all that experience, we just didn't put it to good
use," said Eagles' coach Becky Granado. "The mistakes we made were
uncalled for."

Both at the end of the first game and in the middle of the second, the
Eagles stopped setting to their hot hitters, Lori Marquez and Gail
Taylor. Taylor outplayed her opposite on El Paso, Nadia Reta, for most
of the night, while Barrios, after starting hot in Game 1 with a couple
of hard kills, was taken out as a factor for a while, after she was
blocked a couple of times in Game 2 by Marquez.

But the Eagles' outside hitters weren't as consistent in getting their
spikes down in Game 3, and while that was happening, Barrios rallied her
team with a couple of kills.

"Without consistent setting, it's hard to do anything," Granado said.
"Our setters have to know who to set to."

She also faulted herself for a bad substitution before Barrios got
rolling again. "I should have put Philonicus (Fobbs) in. We had her
(Barrios) contained, but when they rotated back up, LaChrisha (Molinar)
was already up at the (substitution) line and I didn't change it."

El Paso cut the 7-2 lead to 7-6 before the teams traded points for the
next few minutes. A net violation on a kill by Marquez and two Barrios
spikes would give El Paso a 12-10 lead, before the Eagles rallied, off a
Marquez spike and two bad hits by Reta and Leo Olivas.

But after a time out, the Eagles couldn't maintain serve, and Reta tied
it with a kill. Erika Herrera, who had been quite for most of the match,
then came up big for the Tigers, as she scored off a block of Taylor and
won the match by tipping a low ball back over the net by Taylor off an
El Paso serve.

Those were the kinds of plays the Eagles made in Game 2 and the start of
Game 3, when Sherrie Mosby chipped in a pair of kills, and Ivy Thorp had
the game-winning hit in a 9-0 run, after El Paso High cut an early 5-1
Pecos lead to 6-4. A pair of bad hits by Marquez gave the Tigers the
early Game 3 lead, but she then blocked Barrios twice for points, while
Taylor and Thorp scores off kills as well during the 7-0 run that
appeared to put Pecos in control.

"I told them they were beating themselves and that we could win this
game," said El Paso coach Cortney Gentry. "(Barrios) is our strongest
hitter, and I told them to get the ball to her, especially after she got

"We just gave them too many opportunities," said Granado, whose team
ends its season with a 17-12 record. El Paso High improved to 21-9 and
will face Lamesa in the area round of the playoffs on Tuesday.

San Angelo Lake View swept El Paso Bowie on Saturday in their
bi-district match, 15-10, 16-14, and will now face defending state champ
Hereford on Tuesday. Andrews, which won the District 4-4A title, will
take on Hereford's district rival Dumas in their area round match.

Pecos' punting problems gives Lake View game

Sports Editor
PECOS, Nov. 3 -- Twenty-eight points is a pretty good number to put up
in a football game. But the Pecos Eagles had chances to score 35 more
Friday night against the San Angelo Lake View Chiefs.

The Eagles had 28 points on the board before 17 minutes were gone in
their game with Lake View, and were 21 points ahead. And the Chiefs
would turn the ball over to Pecos four more times inside their own 35
yard line, including twice in the last three minutes.

But the Eagles, who also drove the ball one other time from deep in
their own end into San Angelo territory, could never get on the board
again on Lake View. But the Chiefs were able to convert a blocked punt
and a deflected one into two scores, then came back after a 66-yard punt
by John Gutierrez to drive the length of the field for the game winning
touchdown, as they rallied for a 29-28 victory.

"The punting team just killed us," said Eagles' coach Mike Belew. "That
accounted for half their points."

It looked like the two teams would put up a basketball score after the
first minute of play. After the Eagles recovered a onsides attempt on
the opening kickoff, quarterback Jason Abila went through the right side
of Lake View's line 53 yards for a score with just 20 seconds gone in
the game. But 44 seconds later, quarterback Alonzo Robinson hooked up
with state-leading receiver Jorge Villarreal for a 60-yard TD pass and a
7-7 tie.

"We were in an 8-man front, and they went into a no-back scheme, which
was a good call on their part," Belew said.

Pecos then drove the length of the field on their next possession to go
ahead 14-7. Abila scored from a yard out, after runs by Richard
Gutierrez and Jacob Esparza, and a roughing the quarterback call on the
Chiefs got most of Pecos' yardage.

Then Kendall Jones became a factor. The Lake View senior had a strong
game running up the middle -- when he could hold onto the ball. Jones
rushed for 122 yards had four of San Angelo's five fumbles on the night,
only one of which the Eagles were able to convert into points.

His first, near midfield, didn't hurt, but a snap over Robinson's head
while operating out of the shotgun did. It back Lake View up to their
goal line as the second quarter began, and a 14-yard punt return by
Richard Gutierrez set the Eagles up at San Angelo's 36. One play later,
Abila found Manuel Contreras over the middle for a 29 yard gain, and
Esparza would score on the next play for a 21-7 lead.

The Eagles then made it 28-7 off Jones' second fumble, recovered by Jose
Contreras at the 28. A 13-yard run by Abila got it close, and Gutierrez
went in from three yards out with 7:17 left before halftime.

The Eagles then had a chance to score again, when John Gutierrez'
partial miss on the ensuing kickoff blooped over the Chiefs' front line,
and was recovered by Esparza at San Angelo's 31. But a delay of game
penalty on 4th-and-2 cost Pecos, as did their problems passing. After
two strong games and a good start, the Eagles missed 14 straight passes
after Abila's completion to Contreras, with several short timing passes
to Luna batted down at the line by Lake View's defenders.

"The blocking on Jay's three-step drop wasn't getting it done. And there
were at least three passes I can think of offhand that were catchable
that we didn't get," Belew said.

Abila finally completed a short screen pass to Gutierrez on 4th-and-long
in the final seconds of the game, but before then, it would be punts and
penalties that hurt the Eagles.

A holding call wiped out a first down after the Eagles stopped Lake
View's next series, and John Gutierrez' punt was partially deflected
after he bobbled the snap. The ball went out at Pecos' 29, from where on
the next play Robinson found Isaac Flores over the middle at the 15, and
he was able to cut back the rest of the way to the end zone. Lake View
then got what turned out to be a major break, when Robinson was able to
convert a high snap on Junior Garcia's extra point attempt into a
two-point conversion, as he found Villarreal open in the end zone.

The 6-foot-4 receiver was quiet in the middle periods, after getting
slammed hard late in the first quarter by several Eagles on a short
catch over the middle. But he would make the big play on San Angelo's
winning touchdown drive, catching a 40-yarder on a 2nd-and-13 from their
own five-yard-line.

Villarreal also made the big play on Lake View's other score without
catching the ball, as he came in from the right side to block Gutierrez'
punt, which Bruce Perez recovered at the Pecos 7. One play later,
Robinson pitched out on the option to Jones, who went untouched into the
end zone.

Robinson would score the winning touchdown himself, on a 6-yard run with
9:14 to play. But the Eagles would get three more chances to score, the
first coming after they were backed up inside their own 10. Richard
Gutierrez got a block from Oscar Luna and broke around the left side 54
yards to the Lake View 34, and Jacob Esparza picked up six on the next
play. But Perez and Michael Gonzales would stop Lucio Florez cold at the
line on the next two plays, and he came up two yards short of the first
down on his next carry.

That gave the ball back to Lake View with 3:26 to play, but Jones
immediately fumbled, with Robert Gonzalez recovering at the Chiefs' 32.
But the Eagles had some confusion on offense at first, and then Abila's
deep pass for Luna was picked off by B.J. Brown at the six and returned
to the 20.

Pecos then had to use its final time out with 2:07 left, and all Lake
View had to do was get a first down on 3rd-and-4 to seal the victory,
which Jones appeared to do. But when he went down, the ball came out and
into the hands of Hector Garcia at the 30 with two minutes to play.

But Gonzales then made the defensive play of the game for Lake View,
nailing Esparza for a five yard loss. Abila then spiked the ball on
second down to stop the clock, then fumbled the third down snap, and his
fourth down pass to Gutierrez was stopped 14 yards short of the first
down and this time, the Chiefs were able to end the game.

"We were our own worst enemies at times. We'd have a 15-yard gain and
instead we'd get a 15-yard holding penalty. Instead of 1st-and-10 it
would be first and forever," Belew said, added that the late time-outs
were called when the Eagles lined up in the wrong formation and needed
to avoid a delay-of-game call.

Even if Pecos had won, their playoff hopes would have been ended by
Andrews' 21-7 win over Fort Stockton. That clinched a playoff berth for
the Mustangs, while both the Panthers and Chiefs remain in the race,
though they each need a win by Andrews over Big Spring next week.

Pecos falls to 4-5 on the season and 0-4 in District 4-4A going into
their final game at Fort Stockton. The Panthers cane make the playoffs
for the first time in 19 years if they can beat Pecos for the first time
in 10 years and the Steers lose to the Mustangs.

Offense loses Emmitt as Cowboys fall to Niners

AP Sports Writer
SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 3 -- Deion Sanders dancing to celebrate an
interception. Emmitt Smith limping slowly off the field in defeat.

Those two images sum up the rise and fall of the Cowboys in Sunday's
17-10 loss to San Francisco, a game that confirmed the 49ers' return to
the top of the NFC and highlighted Dallas' deep offensive problems.

The 49ers (8-1) used solid defense, including a last-minute interception
by Tim McDonald to halt a final Dallas drive, to win their eighth
straight game. The other seven victories had come against peers in the
weak NFC West.

``Some naysayers may say we beat the Cowboys on an off year, but the win
says it all,'' 49ers offensive lineman Ray Brown said. ``The bottom line
is we're 8-1 and we beat the teams on our schedule.''

The Cowboys (4-5), who have not had a losing record this late in the
season since 1990, lost Smith in the first half with a strained left
groin. His status is uncertain for this coming weekend.

Sanders, who set up the Cowboys' only touchdown with a 31-yard
interception return in the first quarter, said it was not time to panic.

``Like I say each week, I haven't seen that emergency glass broken in
the locker room,'' said Sanders, who had another interception -- an
acrobatic, one-handed catch -- called back by a penalty. ``But I'm going
to keep my eye on it this week.''

The Cowboys led 7-0 at halftime on a 5-yard scoring pass from Troy
Aikman to Michael Irvin. San Francisco tied it by starting the third
quarter with a 77-yard drive, culminating with Garrison Hearst's 8-yard
scoring run.

Dallas, with the league's second-worst touchdown scoring percentage
inside an opponent's 20, got to the San Francisco 1 late in the third
quarter, but had to settle for Richie Cunningham's 21-yard field goal.

San Francisco's top-ranked defense took over in the final period.

Dana Stubblefield sacked Aikman inside the Dallas 5 and punter Toby
Gowin, standing in his own end zone, shanked a kick that gave the 49ers
great field position. J.J. Stokes made a leaping catch to bring the ball
to the Dallas 1, and William Floyd scored from there to give the 49ers a
14-10 lead.

``The kicking game collapsed in the fourth quarter and created terrible
field position. That was a killer,'' Dallas coach Barry Switzer said.
``We have a fine football team and it's a shame we continue to make
critical mistakes.''

Gary Anderson added a 28-yard field goal with 2:15 remaining -- tying
Jan Stenerud for second on the NFL career list with 373 field goals --
and McDonald's interception sealed the San Francisco victory.

The 49ers survived a scare two plays before McDonald's interception when
officials picked up a flag on what appeared to be a pass interference
call in the end zone. But the officials ruled Rod Woodson's trip of
Irvin was incidental, and not a foul.

Smith, who injured his groin in the first quarter and tried to return in
the second period before leaving the game for good, watched stoicly from
the sideline as the final drive ended unsuccessfully.

``It ain't no pleasant feeling watching your teammates go out to battle
without you. It's frustrating,'' Smith said.

Smith gained 31 yards on seven carries before leaving the game.

``I tried to go back in. I ran a sweep play and I had some running room
in there, but my leg wouldn't do what I wanted it to do,'' said Smith,
who added it was too early to tell if he'll be able to play this week
against Arizona.

Steve Young was 15-of-23 for 180 yards for the 49ers. Aikman went
22-of-36 for 218 yards.

Hearst had 22 carries for 104 yards for the 49ers. He went over 3,000
yards for his career, ending the day with 3,072 yards.

San Francisco and Dallas have met six times in the NFC championship game
and have 10 Super Bowl titles between them. No championship was on the
line this time, but the game revealed two teams headed in different

The 49ers are tied with Denver for the best record in the league. The
Cowboys have seven games left to try to qualify for the playoffs.

Even with the win, the 49ers know their soft schedule will lead to
questions about their ability.

``There'll be doubters until we win the champiinship,'' Young said.
``Who cares? We're on our way.''

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