Monday, January 5, 1998
Eagles post Stockton tourney sweep
PECOS, Jan 5 -- The new year has been a happy one so far for the Pecos Eagles, and they'll hope it continues when District 4-4A girls basketball play opens Tuesday night.
The Eagles, who'll begin 4-4A play in Fort Stockton, tuned up there for that game this past weekend by beating the Prowlers, Alpine Bucks and Fabens Wildcats to take first place in Fort Stockton's round-robin tourney.
Pecos opened up with their second victory of the season over Alpine, by a 51-35 score on Friday, then doubled-up Fort Stockton Saturday afternoon, 59-28,. before edging Fabens that evening, 50-45.
"Overall we did real well rebounding and did a real good job pressing," said Eagles' coach Brian Williams. "The girls worked themselves back into condition for those games because when we played in Monahans (a 35-33 victory last Tuesday), we didn't have any legs."
"I think we're ready for district, especially after the way we played against Fabens. It was a nip-and-tuck battle all the way, and we played about a quarter without Lorie (Marquez)," Williams said. The senior still managed to score 19 in the finals, and earned most valuable player honors for the tournament.
Pecos took a 13-8 lead after one period against Fabens, but managed just six points in the second period, as the Wildcats went up 22-19. The Eagles regained the lead after three periods, then held on at the finish.
Earlier, Marquez put in 17 against the Prowlers, as the Eagles built a 31-13 halftime lead, and Erica Orona also had 17 in the game. Against the Bucks, Penny Armstrong would score 15 points while Valerie Lara had 12. Armstrong and guard Marisol Arenivas, who scored 12 against Fabens, were also named to the all-tournament squad.
Beverly Alarcon wound up leading all scorers with 27 points for Fabens in their loss to the Eagles, while Maria Salmon had nine of Fort Stockton's 13 first half points in their loss to Pecos and finished with 11.
The wins lifted Pecos to 10-7 overall, going into Tuesday's district opener at Fort Stockton. "Hopefully we can get some people to come down there, because we're only getting about five or six people to show up for our road games," said Williams, whose team will face Sweetwater in their second 4-4A contest, this Friday night.
Fabens 8 14 11 12 --45
Struggling Packers still sink Buccaneers
By BARRY WILNER
The Packers were ragged for most of their 21-7 victory over the Buccaneers on Sunday. Luckily for Green Bay, the playoff novices from Tampa Bay were in a charitable mood.
``I think we struggled today,'' Green Bay receiver Antonio Freeman said. ``But we did enough to win the ballgame. There is a lot of room for improvement.''
That improvement must come rapidly: the Packers play at San Francisco next Sunday for the NFC championship. The 49ers aren't likely to be as generous.
``They're a great team and it will be the toughest game we've played all year,'' Brett Favre said.
``I think this game will be the game between the two best teams in the NFL.'' added Reggie White.
``I get excited for big games,'' said Dorsey Levens. ``I want to play well and not be a liability. Hopefully, the guys can depend on you and you won't be one of those who blows a game.''
Green Bay (14-3) easily could have blown this one. In their first meaningful game in nearly a month, the Packers' rust showed early. Their tackling was sloppy, they dropped a half-dozen passes, lost a fumble and Favre was intercepted twice.
Luckily, they were at home, where they've never lost in the playoffs (12-0) and have won 27 straight overall. And they were facing a team in its first playoff season since 1982. The Bucs (11-7) also haven't won a game with the temperature below 42 degrees at kickoff; it was 29 at gametime Sunday.
Tampa Bay seemed to have stage fright, particularly on special teams. The Bucs had a field goal attempt blocked, another thwarted by a bad snap and still another error when backup snapper Dave Moore's snap was too high for holder Steve Walsh to handle.
Trent Dilfer went 11-for-36 for 200 yards and was intercepted twice. The previously potent running game behind Offensive Rookie of the Year Warrick Dunn and fullback Mike Alstott stumbled.
``When you're playing a great team, you need to make great plays,'' Dilfer said. ``We came up a bit short. We're not in the upper echelon yet, but we're close.''
The Packers are there, as are the 49ers. Levens, who rushed for a team playoff record 112 yards and a clinching 2-yard touchdown, can't wait for the trip to San Francisco.
``That's the kind of game you live for,'' Levens said.
Levens, who gained 1,435 yards this season after being promoted to first string when Edgar Bennett was injured in training camp, had 88 yards in the second half. He made nearly all the key plays for Green Bay on offense after being held to 98 yards in two regular-season wins over the Bucs.
Schottenheimer, Chiefs beaten by Broncos
KANSAS CITY, Mo., Jan. 5 (AP) -- John Elway and Marty Schottenheimer each have their demons to conquer -- like getting Super Bowl rings.
But when it comes to the Elway-Schottenheimer rivalry, it's no contest. The Denver Broncos and their quarterback have held the upper hand over Schottenheimer, no matter where he has coached.
And so it was Sunday -- Denver 14, Kansas City 10 -- with the Broncos moving on to Pittsburgh for next Sunday's AFC championship game.
``I think Marty's record in the regular-season speaks for itself,'' said Elway, a sometime off-season golfing partner of the Kansas City coach.
Yes, but these are the playoffs, where Schottenheimer is 5-11 after Sunday's loss -- the second time in three seasons that his team has lost its first game at home as the AFC's top seed. As in 1996, when it was Indianapolis that won 10-7, Kansas City had been unbeaten at home in the regular season.
Technically, it was Elway again -- the quarterback who authored ``The Drive'' that tied the 1986 AFC championship game against Schottenheimer's Cleveland Browns and beat those Browns again the following year.
He drove the Broncos into position for Terrell Davis' 1-yard run for the go-ahead touchdown 2 minutes, 28 seconds into the fourth quarter. That marked the 44th time in his 15-year career that he's authored a game-saving drive in the final period.
But Elway wasn't even on the field when the game was won, putting Denver (14-4) one game away from becoming the fourth wild-card team to make it to the Super Bowl and compensating for its first-game elimination last season.
It was the Denver defense that won the game -- Darrien Cordon knocking away an Elvis Grbac pass thrown into double coverage on a fourth down from the Broncos 20 with 12 seconds left.
It was a drive that took just under four minutes while Kansas City had trouble managing the clock. The Chiefs took their last timeout just nine seconds after the 2-minute warning when it could have saved it for later. And Kansas City took more than 20 seconds to get off the last play.
``With all the crowd noise, I couldn't hear the play that was called in from the bench,'' said Grbac, who was 24-of-37 for 260 yards in his first full game since breaking his collarbone Nov. 3. ``I take the blame.''
This was classic tough playoff football -- taking place in Kansas City because the Chiefs (13-4) had turned around the AFC race with a 24-22 victory over Denver Nov. 16 on Pete Stoyanovich's 54-yard field goal on the final play of the game.
Sunday's game had its mistakes.
After a cautious first two quarters, the Chiefs finally appeared to score on Stoyanovich's 34-yard field goal.
But Greg Manusky was called for holding and Stoyanovich, pushed back 10 yards, missed from 44 yards. Then Elway drove the Broncos 65 yards and went ahead 7-0 on the first 1-yard run by Davis, who gained 101 yards on 25 carries.
The Broncos missed another chance to score in the final minute of the half when Elway was sacked and fumbled.
And after Kansas City cut Denver's lead to 7-3 on a 20-yarder by Stoyanovich, the Broncos blew a big chance.
Davis went 41 yards to the Kansas City 11, but had to rest the ribs he bruised last week in the wild-card win over Jacksonville. Two plays later, his backup, Derek Loville, fumbled the ball away.
That allowed the Chiefs to take their only lead -- on a 12-yard TD pass from Grbac to Tony Gonzalez following a 50-yard pass to little-used Joe Horn, who had just two catches in the regular season.
But Denver came right back, helped by another mistake -- an unsportsmanlike conduct call on Danan Hughes on the kickoff.
That gave Denver the ball on the Chiefs 49. A 43-yard Elway to Ed McCaffrey connection put it on the 1 and Davis took it in on his third try.
That led to the final drama, which included a fake field goal by the Chiefs midway through the fourth quarter on fourth-and-6 from the Denver 30. It was a run by punter Louie Aguiar, the holder, that was stuffed by Dedrick Dodge.
``We practiced that play all week where certain people rush and certain people stay back for the fake,'' Dodge said. ``We saw that in the films. Kansas City runs all kinds of fake plays. They have all the tricks.''
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