Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Thursday, October 8, 1998
Eagles seek right numbers against Wildcats
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Oct. 8 -- Five-and-O is five-and-O no matter what
path you take to get there. Ninety-eight-fifty-three is also
ninety-eight-fifty-three, and while the Fabens Wildcats want
to see that five turn into a six Friday night, 98:53 is a
number the Pecos Eagles don't want to see get any larger.
District 2-4A play opens for Pecos with their 1998
homecoming game on Friday at 7:30 p.m. against the 5-0
Wildcats, the only 2-4A team that went through their
pre-district schedule undefeated. The Eagles, meanwhile, are
unbeaten at home so far but winless on the road, and that
98:53 is how many minutes have gone by since Pecos' last
touchdown, three weeks ago in their 7-3 victory over Fort
"I figure we'll see an eight-man front, and they'll try to
take away what we do," said Eagles' coach Dan Swaim, whose
team was shut out in Crane two weeks ago, and was held to a
second quarter safety last Friday, in a 13-2 loss to Kermit.
"We're going to have to play real good offensively and keep
it away from them to have a chance to be successful.
The Eagles and Wildcats are familiar to each other, having
played pre-district games each of the past four seasons.
Last year in Fabens Pecos dominated the first three
quarters, but had to make a goal line stand in the fourth
quarter then go 98 yards for the clinching touchdown in a
25-7 victory. Lucio Florez ran for 106 yards, while Hector
Garcia had two touchdowns and Oscar Luna scored once --
though that was as a receiver, not at the quarterback slot
he's played at in 1998.
Fabens was hampered in that game by an injury that kept
running back Mike Morales from seeing all but limited
action. He ended up rushing for 1,200 yards last season and
has gained 686 so far this year, including a five-touchdown,
195-yard effort a week ago against Santa Teresa, N.M.
"Morales is a real shifty running back," said Swaim. "They
have two real big tackles (Freddie Poins and Cesar Escobar)
and their guards are real quick, and that's who they like to
pull (on running plays)."
Fabens coach Ronnie Hernandez said Morales "does a good job
of finding his own holes, and the line helps him some ...
Our offensive line is real young. We only have one returning
starter on the line, so I didn't expect them to play as well
as they have been."
The Wildcats have arguably played the easiest pre-district
schedule of any District 2-4A team, with Presidio, El Paso
Cathedral, Deming, N.M. and El Paso Parkland their other
opponents. But the Wildcats had little trouble with the
first three, rallied late to beat Parkland and scored four
straight touchdowns last week against Santa Teresa, after
falling behind early, 7-0.
"The game wasn't anywhere close to what it should have
been. We had a couple of mental lapses in the secondary that
allowed them to score," Hernandez said.
The Wildcats allowed all four of their scores through the
air, but still outgained Santa Teresa in passing 205 yards
to 83, while Morales led a 246-yard ground attack.
Jaime Valenzuela has thrown for 781 yards and six
touchdowns while completing just over 50 percent of his
passes this season. Hernandez called the senior "really a
surprise. He's throwing the ball real well, and that's why I
think the offense is doing so well.
"We run the ball about 60 percent of the time and throw it
about 40, some games more, some less. Santa Teresa had an
eight-man front in the first half, and we were able to throw
downfield. In the second half, they switched to a four-man
front, and we were able to throw the ball."
The Eagles have had trouble throwing the ball downfield the
past two weeks in against both Kermit and Fort Stockton they
were able to run the ball in-between the 20 yard lines, but
couldn't get into the end zone despite a 76-yard rushing
night last week by Florez, and 200 yards on the ground
against the Panthers.
Swaim said for Friday, the Eagles would make a couple of
changes on offense. "Orlando Orona will start at strong
tackle, and we're going to move John (Gutierrez) to guard
and Francisco Coria will start for us at the other tackle,"
he said, adding that "Mark (Abila) will also be back at the
starting fullback spot," after being used sparingly on
offense last week in Kermit.
While Fabens' offense is averaging nearly 400 yards per
game, their defense is giving up less than 200 per night,
and under 120 yards per game on the ground, although
Hernandez downplayed those numbers.
"we've got a young defense that's still learning. I wish I
could tell you we're real good or that we're real bad, but
we're just kind of in the middle," he said, while adding
linebacker/end Ricky Barrow has played well, along with
cornerback Fernie Martinez.
"We took Fernie off their big kid (Santa Teresa's Jose
Banuelos) and that turned out to be a mistake, because the
bigger kid we had on him got burned. We put him back there
and he did a good job," the Wildcats' coach said. "Ricky's a
good player. He's a very strong, tough kid who goes 100
miles per hour all the time."
Despite the Eagles' 2-3 record and Fabens' 5-0 mark, Pecos
is still picked to win the District 2-4A title, due in part
to the reputation of El Paso-area football. But Swaim said
his players haven't taken the Wildcats lightly this week, or
lose their focus due to homecoming activities.
"They're looking at it as their first district ballgame.
We've had everybody here in practice this week and the kids
know they don't have an easy game throughout the season, so
they need to be prepared."
Sub-varsity teams face Marfa, Wink
PECOS, Oct. 8 -- The Pecos Eagles' varsity won't be in
action until Friday night, but Pecos' junior varsity and
freshman teams will be facing varsity opponents -- or at
least some varsity players -- tonight, while the Eagles'
junior high teams take on one of their former District 4-4A
The Eagles' JV will definitely be facing a varsity squad,
when they travel to Marfa to face the Shorthorns in a 7 p.m.
start. Meanwhile, Pecos' freshman team will be at home for a
7 p.m. game against Wink's junior varsity, but since the
Class A Wildcats are idle this week, some of their varsity
reserves could see playing time this evening at Eagle
Pecos' junior high teams, meanwhile, will face Fort
Stockton today, with Crockett's eighth graders playing at
home while Zavala's seventh graders play `A' and `B' games
on the Panthers' field, at 4 and 5:30 p.m.
After not scoring until their 10th game of last season,
Marfa's been on an offensive roll in 1998. They rolled up 55
points on Presidio three weeks ago -- Pecos' varsity
opponent on Friday, Fabens, scored 49 the following week --
and last Thursday shut out Fort Stockton's split JV squad by
a 42-0 score (the Panthers' regular JV lost to Fort Davis,
69-0). The Eagles' JV also comes in off a shutout win, but
they needed a third quarter punt return for a touchdown by
Mason Abila to beat Kermit, 6-0, to improve to 2-3 on the
Pecos' freshmen also are 2-3, after dropping a high-scoring
50-34 game to Kermit last Thursday. Wink's varsity,
meanwhile, ended a three game losing streak last Friday with
a 35-14 win over Class 2A Coahoma. Tonight's game is the
last at home this season for the Eagles' ninth graders,
who'll play their road opener next week in Crane.
Bull rider honors ex-Pecosite's late grandson
Special to the Enterprise
ALPINE, Oct. 8 -- When Jake Charleston of Odessa College
straddled Bull No. 40 last Saturday night at the Sul Ross
Rodeo, he carried the dream and spirit of a 10-year-old
Australian boy in his hip pocket.
Charleston started an eight-rodeo ride across Texas for Ben
Jeffrey Fletcher, who died in a February shooting accident
at his Australian home in Queensland, Australia. He carried
a pouch containing some of Ben' ashes while competing in the
short go of the bullriding competition at the 53rd annual
National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Rodeo. Although
Charleston did not complete the ride, Ben' journey had an
enthusiastic and appreciative send-off from the Sul Ross
Ben's dream, to be "a bullrider out Texas like you, aye
Dad," has begun through the efforts of Ben's father, Jon
Henry, his grandfather, Jack Fletcher, a former Pecos
resident and 1949 Sul Ross graduate; and Jack's longtime
friend, Sul Ross rodeo coach Harley May.
"I told him (Charleston), that win, lose or draw, God bless
you; you got Ben started on his road," Jack Fletcher said.
During this weekend's rodeo at Vernon Regional Junior
College, the following weekend at Texas Tech, Lubbock, and
through five rodeos next spring, bullriders in short-go
competition will draw for the honor of carrying the pouch. A
successful ride is worth $100 in cash; an unsuccessful
attempt pays $50.
"I'm seeking a cowboy who'll...let Ben come out of the chute
Jon Henry Fletcher wrote in an August letter to May. "Now
whoever this cowboy is may get disqualified for extra help.
Poin-ter's (Ben's pronunciation of `Partner' as a small
child) spirit will give him an iron-like grip and a never
give up attitude."
May expanded the original intent of carrying Ben's ashes in
just the Sul Ross rodeo to the entire season.
"Harley told me, `Poin-ter came a long way just to ride in
one rodeo,'" said Fletcher.
"Everyone has showed a lot of heart and really accepted the
idea, Fletcher said. "They viewed it as a unique, exciting
challenge, and seemed thrilled to do it."
Fletcher said that the reception of the bullriders has
helped to heal some of his pain of loss. For his son,
daughter-in-law Sara, and Ben's surviving siblings -- twin
sister Rebecca and older brother James -- Ben's memory will
be kept alive thousands of miles from home.
"This has been the fulfillment of a mission for Jon and Sara
(Ben's parents), and thanks to Harley's efforts, Ben was
able to ride in a Sul Ross rodeo," said Jack Fletcher, who
received a Distinguished Alumnus award in 1981. He said that
his sons and later his grandchildren had grown up on stories
about West Texas and Sul Ross.
"I certainly express the family's deep appreciation for Ben
to be able to ride in a Sul Ross rodeo," he said.
Caminiti's HR thwarts Braves' late rally
By BEN WALKER
AP Baseball Writer
ATLANTA, Oct. 8 -- This time, the San Diego Padres saved
Ken Caminiti hit a solo home run in the 10th inning and the
Padres overcame a rare lapse by baseball's premier closer to
beat the Atlanta Braves 3-2 Wednesday night in a
rain-delayed Game 1 of the NL championship series.
On an evening when daring running sent the game into extra
innings, Caminiti trotted around the bases after connecting
with one out in the 10th off Kerry Ligtenberg.
It was the fourth postseason homer of Caminiti's career, and
helped him atone for failing to come up with a key throw
that let the Braves tie it.
Ruben Rivera's double and dash home on Jim Leyritz's
dribbler gave the Padres a 2-1 lead in the eighth. But in
the ninth, Hoffman, who converted 53 of 54 save chances this
season, could not protect the edge and gave up Andruw Jones'
tying sacrifice fly.
In fact, Hoffman could not even close out the game. With two
outs in the 10th, he walked pitcher Tom Glavine --
pinch-hitting because the Braves ran out of position players
-- and Donne Wall relieved.
Wall, who had only one save this season, walked Chipper
Jones before retiring Andres Galarraga on a long fly to
Ryan Klesko walked with one out in the Atlanta ninth and
surprisingly tried to take third on Javy Lopez's single to
left. Rivera's throw beat him, but Caminiti did not catch
the throw and Klesko -- his nose bloodied from colliding
with Caminiti's shoulder -- was safe.
Andruw Jones, whose home run gave Atlanta an early 1-0 lead,
swung away on a 3-0 pitch and hit a sacrifice fly.
Hoffman pitched two innings and wound up with the win. The
game ended at 1:43 a.m., pushed back by a two hour, one
minute rain delay at the start
The win was a good omen for the underdog Padres. The last
five teams to win the opener of the NLCS have gone on to the
San Diego sustained a loss, however, when 50-homer man Greg
Vaughn limped off in the fifth inning because of a strained
left quadriceps. His status was day-to-day, and Rivera
Game 2 will be Thursday night, with Braves nemesis Kevin
Brown pitching against Glavine. Last fall, Brown beat
Atlanta twice at Turner Field in the NLCS for Florida.
Steady rain, lightning and thunder threatened to cause the
first rainout in the two-year history of Turner Field. After
a delay of 2 hours, 1 minute, the field was ready and the
game began, though it started raining lightly in the last
The bad weather might have helped hold the crowd down to
42,117 -- about 9,000 short of a sellout and the smallest in
Atlanta postseason history. But even before the storm came,
the game was not expected to be sold out.
Padres starter Andy Ashby and Atlanta ace John Smoltz dueled
evenly into the seventh with the game tied at 1.
Rivera, usually Tony Gwynn's late replacement, opened the
eighth with a double off Smoltz. Caminiti followed with a
fly to medium right-center, and Rivera tagged up and tested
Andruw Jones' strong arm.
Rivera's head-first slide barely beat the throw, though his
momentum carried him a couple of feet off the bag. But third
baseman Chipper Jones was busy raising his glove to show the
umpire that he'd made the tag, and Rivera scrambled back to
That brought up pinch-hitter Leyritz, whose six postseason
home runs included three in the first-round win over
Leyritz tapped a ball to the right of Dennis Martinez, and
the reliever ran to field it. Martinez looked at Rivera, but
elected to throw to first baseman Galarraga.
Rivera immediately broke home and again slid in headfirst,
beating Galarraga's wide throw. Galarraga was charged with a
double error, for leaving the bag early and his bad throw.
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 1998 by Pecos Enterprise