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Monday, November 10, 1997
Panthers rout Eagles to close grid season
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Nov. 10 -- Give the Fort Stockton Panthers credit. They
don't beat the Pecos Eagles often, but when they do, its in a big
The Panthers beat the Eagles for only the fourth time in the last
19 years Friday night, as Jacob Vasquez rushed for 283 yards and
two touchdowns in a 47-6 season-ending victory.
The win wasn't enough to get the Panthers their first playoff
berth in 19 years, as Big Spring survived a fifth-down field goal
attempt by Andrews as time expired to defeat the Mustangs, 28-25
and earn the third and final District 4-4A playoff spot. But it
was their first win over the Eagles at home since 1987, when they
scored a 34-7 victory. And in their four wins since 1979, they've
outscored Pecos 125-13.
The Eagles were never able to contain Fort Stockton's running
attack, and allowed a season-high 458 yards in offense, all but
nine of that on the ground. Offensively, Pecos was held to just
144 yards, with over half of that coming on their only score of
the night, a 76-yard march after the Panthers took a 6-0 lead.
Vasquez had a pair of first down runs and Jimmy Lopez gained 41
yards against the right side of Pecos' depleted defense on their
opening series, which was capped by a three-yard TD run by Charles
Poage with 7:41 left in the opening period. The Eagles then held
the ball for the next 7:28 on their touchdown march. Jason Abila
scored on a one-yard run, after a pair of key first down runs, and
found Manuel Contreras over the middle for a 10-yard first down
pass, after a pass interference call against the Panthers kept the
But after that, it was all Fort Stockton. The Panthers went on
their own seven-minute scoring march, capped by Scott Fish' two
yard run, and after stopping Pecos on their next series, Vasquez
got the first of his two big touchdown runs on the night, going 70
yards on the first play from scrimmage for an 18-6 lead.
A 32 yard run by Vasquez would set up the Panthers first score of
the second half, another two-yard dive by Fish, and the Eagles
then failed to take advantage of a short punt by Richard Gutierrez
that wound up brushing one of the Fort Stockton players and was
recovered by Robert Gonzalez at the Eagle 43. Willie Woodbury made
three big defensive plays as the quarter ended, and Vasquez then
went through the left side of Pecos' line 67 yards for the score
and a 32-6 lead.
After that, it was a series of broken tackles by the Panthers'
reserve runners that set up their final two scores. Robert Garcia
got the first, from four yards out with 8:03 to play, and Michael
Pules the final one, off a six yard run with 3:45 to go.
Gutierrez wound up rushing for 79 yards for the Eagles, who end
with a 4-6 mark for the second year in a row. The Panthers' 7-3
final mark is their first winning season since 1987, when they
were also 7-3.
Bears get win, lose flip for playoff spot
PECOS, Nov. 10 -- The Balmorhea Bears came close Friday night and
then again on the following morning to reaching the playoffs. But
their three-year run in post-season play was ended by a coin flip
Saturday in Marfa.
Balmorhea did their part Friday, closing their 1997 season with a
36-6 victory over the Imperial-Buena Vista Longhorns, and almost
got some help from Dell City. But the Cougars came up two points
short of the Sierra Blanca Vaqueros, dropping a 54-52 decision to
create a three-way tie for second in the District 8-A six-man
That forced Saturday's coin flip, and it was the third team, the
Sanderson Eagles, that wound up the weekend's biggest winner.
Sanderson, which ended its regular season on Oct. 31, won the flip
and the right to face the Sands Mustangs at 7:30 p.m. Friday at
Balmorhea won its final three games of the season, including a
victory two weeks ago over Sanderson, but their back-to-back home
losses to district champ Grandfalls and Sierra Blanca dropped the
Bears into the three-way tie for second.
Bears' coach Ennis Erickson said Debiasie Mendoza opened the
scoring on Friday, with a five yard touchdown run two minutes into
the game. Billy Lozano then scored from nine yards out on the
Bears' next possession, before the Longhorns got their only
touchdown of the game, on a five-yard run by Zack Braden.
That came with two minutes left in the period, but Balmorhea
answered with a three-yard Travis Woodruff run a minute later,
with Chris Cook adding the extra point for a 20-6 lead.
The Bears' defense then did the job the rest of the way, shutting
out Imperial despite only outgaining the Longhorns by 50 yards on
The Bears would go up 28-8 just before halftime, as Arturo Miranda
scored on a 13-yard run, and got their final score early in the
third period, off a 60-yard pass completion to Miranda from Zane
The Bears ended their season with a 6-3 record, and 4-2 in
district, while Imperial wound up the reverse, 2-4 and 3-7 overall.
Cowboys back at .500 after win over Cardinals
By DENNE H. FREEMAN
AP Sports Writer
IRVING, Texas, Nov. 10 -- Crawling back to .500 isn't a setting
for wild celebration.
The Dallas Cowboys just hope their 24-6 victory over the Arizona
Cardinals on Sunday isn't just a fleeting mirage. They have work
to do like a game against Washington next Sunday in Texas Stadium.
``This is just a start for us and hopefully the start of a big
winning streak,'' said wide receiver Michael Irvin. ``This was the
longest week of my career and I was on some pretty bad teams. If
we were a sorry team and had played the way we were playing it
wouldn't be so bad. But we are a good team and have a lot of
talent. We should be in a better position than we are now.''
Quarterback Troy Aikman agreed with Irvin's assessment.
``It's not possible to get excited over this one,'' said Aikman.
``It should help our confidence, no question.''
Battling injuries and rumors of coach Barry Switzer's dismissal,
the Cowboys got back to 5-5 with nine sacks, two rare touchdowns
rushing and another big play by Herschel Walker.
``It's a game we needed to have, we feel we need all of them,''
said Aikman. ``It's something to build on. We still understand
where we are. We can't get excited yet.''
Dallas beat the team (2-8) that helped turn its season sour with a
25-22 overtime win on Sept. 7. Switzer and owner Jerry Jones spent
the week denying reports Switzer was on his way out.
``As an organization we've learned to deal with any
distractions,'' Aikman said. ``This week wasn't very high on the
list of distractions we've had around here before.''
Switzer was subdued after the game, saying, ``We played hard. We
played good. We scored touchdowns in the red zone, and Troy did a
good job of moving the ball around. The defense pressured them
well and got nine sacks.''
Jones chipped in that he was ``proud of Barry. We have a great
chance for a storybook season.''
Dallas, winners of all four of its home games, has four out of the
last six at home.
``We dug a hole, and one game doesn't bring us out of it,'' said
running back Emmitt Smith.
Rookie Jake Plummer was sacked eight times by Dallas, ranked No. 2
defensively in the NFL and No. 1 against the pass. Kent Graham was
the victim of the ninth sack.
Walker beat linebacker Jamir Miller on an 11-yard touchdown pass
from Aikman with 1:04 left in the half. Aikman hit all four passes
for 58 yards on the 81-yard drive before lofting a perfect pass to
Walker in the corner of the end zone over Miller's outstretched
``Troy made a perfect pass in the corner,'' Walker said. ``I had
to catch it.''
Aikman said: ``Herschel did a nice job on that touchdown play.
Execution was the difference. Now we have to get ready for next
week against Washington. ''
Dallas led 10-3 at halftime and added two more touchdowns in the
second half. Anthony Miller's 51-yard reception set up a 1-yard
scoring run by Sherman Williams, his first of the year.
Fred Strickland recovered Plummer's fumble at the Cardinals 16
and, two plays later, Smith scored on a 5-yard run, only his
second TD of the season.
``Dallas did a good job of disguising its coverages,'' Plummer
said. ``They knew they were playing a rookie quarterback. I know a
lot of people were probably saying, 'Poor little Jakie. He's
getting hurt.' But I was OK. I can take it.''
Dallas defensive back Bill Bates got his second sack of the decade
late in the game.
``It wasn't easy getting through a 250-pound blocker, but it felt
good to get there,'' Bates said. ``I guess I'm used to bulldogging
cows and stuff on the farm.''
``We needed to win and that's what we did,'' concluded Brock
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise