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Thursday, November 20, 1997

Eagles facing crowded field in Monahans

PECOS, Nov. 20 -- Better weather should mean a bigger field this weekend for the Pecos Eagles' swim team to go against, when they travel east for the Monahans Invitational on Friday and Saturday.

Diving competition will take place Friday evening at the Monahans High School pool, with the swimming finals set to begin at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Finals were set for 10:30 a.m. this past Saturday in Pecos, but didn't get started until three hours later, due to the snow and ice that blew into West Texas on Friday. It delayed the arrival of Abilene and Big Spring, while Midland's swimmers skipped the swimming finals completely.

That left 12 teams entered in Saturday's finals, and most of those squads will be part of the 14-team field in Monahans. "They told us there will be about 450 swimmers there," said Eagles' coach Terri Morse.

Pecos' girls used their depth to rack up points last week, taking first place overall without benefit of a first place finish in any individual or relay event.

The boys, meanwhile, won three individual events and one relay, but were out-pointed by Big Spring, which used its depth advantage to claim the team title. It was their second straight runner-up finish, despite having only eight swimmers and fielding only one `B' relay team in the three events Saturday.

Morse said for this weekend, she'll have two new swimmers on the boys' side, but will be without two others. "I'll get Courtney Freeman and Ty Edwards out, but for Monahans Grant (Holland) isn't going because of a family event, and Vincent (Breuls) won't be there.

"For Odessa (Pecos' next meet, on Dec. 5-6), I've got 12 boys going, and that's pretty much a full squad. the girls will also have 12 going to Odessa and 12 going to Monahans."

Morse said she plans to change up the Eagles' relays for the Monahans meet, the first of two there this season for Pecos. They'll go back for the District 4 finals at the end of January.

Eagles swimmer Sarah Flores was mistakenly left off the list of swimmers for the girls' 200 medley relay team in Monday's story in the Enterprise. We regret the error.

Eagle cagers change up home openers

PECOS, Nov. 20 -- Pecos Eagles boys basketball coach Mike Sadler was able to find a replacement on Wednesday for his canceled home opener Friday against the Stanton Buffaloes, while the starting date and time for the girls home opener against Stanton has been set for Saturday afternoon.

The boys will face the Crane Golden Cranes in a varsity-only matchup at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Pecos High School gym, while Pecos' girls will play junior varsity and varsity games against Stanton at 4 and 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the PHS gym.

Both Pecos teams had been scheduled to open their home seasons on Friday night against Stanton, whose boys are ranked No. 4 in the pre-season Class 2A basketball poll. But the Buffaloes also were No. 4 in the final 2A football poll, and after their bi-district victory over Shallowater last week, will face Winters in the area round of the state playoffs on Friday.

As a result, Stanton was forced to cancel their basketball game, forcing Sadler to scramble to find a replacement. He found one in Crane, which expected to still be in the football playoff picture this week, but wound up on the outside looking in after upset losses during District 4-3A play.

"Crane's freshman and JV are in a tournament, but their varsity was open, so I said I'll take that," said Sadler. Crane's boys were ranked 19th in the preseason Class 3A basketball poll and will be playing their first game of the season on Friday. The Eagles opened their season Tuesday with a 58-52 win at Monahans.

The girls' games against Stanton were switched to Saturday to avoid a conflict with Friday's football game, but coach Brian Williams said the freshman game was canceled due to a shortage of players for the Buffaloes. Both teams dropped their openers on Tuesday, the Eagles by a 69-30 score at Odessa High and the Buffs by a 63-50 score at home to Sundown.

The boys have another schedule change next Tuesday, with the varsity and split JV going to Kermit instead of Iraan. The rest of the JV and the freshman team will travel to Balmorhea, while the girls' JV will also face the Bears, while the varsity and freshman teams go to Iraan.

Packers seek solution to Irvin, Aikman, Smith

AP Sports Writer
IRVING, Texas, Nov. 20 -- Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin and Troy Aikman are 8-0 against the Green Bay Packers in the 1990s.

This potent trio in the Dallas Cowboys' offensive arsenal has always played well against the Packers. Seven of the wins have come in Texas Stadium, where weather problems are limited.

Now running back Smith, wide receiver Irvin and quarterback Aikman take on Green Bay again Sunday, this time in the hostile environs of Lambeau Field, where no Dallas team has won in three tries.

Smith, Irvin and Aikman are coming off their best performance of the year. In fact, it's the best game they've had together in three seasons.

Aikman led the Cowboys on a 97-yard drive in the final five minutes Sunday to beat Washington 17-14 to keep Dallas alive in the NFC East championship race with a 6-5 record. Irvin caught a 6-yard touchdown pass after being the target on a 31-yard completion on fourth and 2 from the 50. Smith caught a 2-point conversion pass.

``It was great to see the trio put it together again like that,'' Smith said. ``Now we have to do it again against Green Bay. We have to go out and get our jobs done. We've done it before against the Packers. We have to do it again no matter what the weather elements are.

``We expect it to be very loud and very rowdy. But those fans can't be more rude than the people in Philadelphia and New York.''

The Dallas offense, ranked 19th in the NFL, goes against the No. 22-ranked defense, which is 27th against the rush.

``We've got guys missing like the Moose (fullback Daryl Johnston) who were instrumental in our success against Green Bay before,'' Smith said. ``Green Bay isn't chopped liver -- I don't care what the stats say. Without Johnston and (offensive tackle) Mark Tuinei then it kind of evens things up. We've had to shuffle a lot of people. But we did do it against Washington and have success.''

Irvin said he hopes the way the trio played against Washington will carry over.

``We made that drive for the season,'' Irvin said. ``But we still have to keep doing it. Some people want to know why we can't do that all the time. I'd like to know that myself. But we've always had good luck against Green Bay.''

Aikman said the Cowboys will have a battle on their hands.

``We beat them last year when they went to the Super Bowl,'' Aikman said. ``Green Bay is finding out how tough it is to repeat as Super Bowl champions. It's hard to achieve. I think that drive we had against Washington is something we can build on. We did what needed to be done and Emmitt and Michael made some great plays.''

Mavericks' Green to set record

AP Sports Writer
DALLAS, Nov. 20 -- As a youngster, A.C. Green had an afternoon ritual. He would sit on the porch of his home in Portland, Ore., and wait for his father to come home from his job at a car dealership.

``I remember him being a little fatigued, but I thought that's how you're supposed to feel coming home from work,'' he recalled recently.

From those afternoons, a work ethic was born.

Now 34, Green hasn't missed a day of work as an NBA power forward for 11 straight years, playing through fatigue, food poisoning, torn ligaments and cracked teeth.

Green will be in the lineup again Thursday night when his Dallas Mavericks play the Golden State Warriors. It will be his 907th straight game, breaking an NBA record that has stood for 14 years.

``I don't know if I ever doubted it, but at the same time I didn't focus a whole lot on it,'' said Green, who can't remember an injury keeping him out of a game at any level.

``I work hard, but I make sure I have fun at my job. It's easy to see. That's the persona and synergy I want to give off.''

Green's parents, A.C. Sr. and Leola, will be courtside for the big event, as will about 150 friends and relatives from around the country. Former teammate Magic Johnson is expected, as is NBA vice president Rod Thorn.

So are baseball's Iron Man, Cal Ripken Jr., who drew worldwide acclaim for breaking Lou Gehrig's seemingly unbreakable streak of 2,130 games in 1995; and Randy Smith, whose record Green is breaking.

The game will be stopped shortly after tipoff and Green will be given the game ball. At halftime, a ``907'' banner will be raised to the Reunion Arena rafters, a $10,000 check will be presented to the A.C. Green Youth Foundation and videotaped tributes from former coaches and teammates will be played.

Afterward, Green is throwing a bash at Planet Hollywood. Invitations went out to an eclectic group of celebrities, including Evander Holyfield, Johnnie Cochran, Hammer, Alice Cooper and former Harlem Globetrotter Meadowlark Lemon, but only Lemon has said he's coming. Holyfield told party organizers he would do his best, but he had another conflict.

Some say the celebration is premature because while Green will be going to No. 1 on the NBA list, he has more than a season to go before breaking the professional basketball record. Ron Boone played in 1,041 straight games from 1968-81, but his mark is not recognized by the NBA because the first 662 were in the ABA.

Green's streak also comes up a bit short of the Iron Men in other sports. Ripken's string dates to 1983 and is still going at 2,478 games; Jim Marshall played 282 NFL games for Cleveland and Minnesota from 1960-79; and the NHL's Doug Jarvis played all 964 games in his 13-year career with Washington, Montreal and Hartford.

The only three games Green has missed in his 13-year career were because of benchings early in his second season. Had he played those, Thursday would be his 996th straight game.

Green played eight seasons with the Lakers and three-plus with Phoenix before being traded to Dallas last December. At 6-foot-9 and 225 pounds, and playing a position that demands constant banging, he is routinely matched against players who outweigh him by 30 to 50 pounds.

``I've had to wear thigh pads like a football player because I kept getting kneed,'' he said. ``Every time it would heal, boom, I'd get hit again.''

The closest Green came to missing a game was in February 1995 when J.R. Reid of the New York Knicks elbowed him in the mouth, knocking out two bottom front teeth and fracturing their sockets.

In defiance of a perceived cheap shot, Green played 68 seconds the next night and wore a plastic mask for a dozen games.

``That's the one that got a lot of attention,'' Green said. ``But most of the other things I don't talk about. That's the key -- I play a lot of it off.''

Green also relies on his faith. He doesn't smoke, drink or curse, and he's still a virgin, choosing not to have sex until he's married. He says the same resolve that has kept him true to those principles has kept him on the court.

``It's inside me, like the will of not wanting to take off,'' said Green, who became devout at age 17.

Green has been a role player most of his career, but he's started 64 of 66 games as a Maverick. He had one of his best nights -- 20 points, 13 rebounds -- in a 102-95 loss to Sacramento on Tuesday.

It was Dallas' seventh straight defeat after opening the year 3-0, meaning the Mavericks will be trying to end one streak Thursday night while celebrating another.

``I know it's going to be fun and I'm going to enjoy it,'' Green said. ``But I've been to ceremonial things before and if you don't win, it takes some of the fun out of it.''

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