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Monday, October 26, 1998

Eagles end playoff drought with 36-20 victory

Staff Writer
PECOS, Oct. 24 -- The long playoff drought for the Pecos
Eagles ended Friday night at Eagle Stadium. Now, they'll try
and end their equally long wait for a district title this
week in Canutillo.

The Eagles survived six turnovers to win the battle for
first place against the Clint Lions, as they rolled up 418
yards rushing on the way to a 36-20 victory that clinched
their first post-season berth since 1975. That's also the
last time Pecos won a district title, but they can snap that
streak by beating Canutillo, which improved to 2-1 in
District 2-4A with a 21-14 victory over El Paso Mountain

"This is a great night for the community, for the high
school and for the kids," said Eagles' coach Dan Swaim. "We
did what we set out to do, which was take away their passing
game, line up in a double-tight (end), three-back
(formation) and run the ball and try and control the clock.

The Eagles ended up running the ball a season-high 63 times,
while holding state-leading passer D.J. Check to 123 yards,
180 below his season average.

Check still managed to connect on two touchdown passes, both
coming after Pecos turnovers in the middle periods. That
continued a trend, as for the third time in as many district
games, the Eagles jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead, then
spent the next two quarters in the doldrums before breaking
out in the fourth period.

"Turnovers and mistakes on special teams kind of let the
momentum get away for a while, and we've got to find a way
to come out in the third quarter and put points on the
board," Swaim said.

Motion penalties cost Clint a chance to take the lead on
their opening drive. The Lions were whistled twice after
Check connected with Jeremy Arnold on a short inside slant
pass that Arnold cut back outside and took to the Eagles' 1.
The penalties forced Clint to try a 24-yard field goal by
Albert Montellano which was wide left, the first of three
missed kicks on the night by Montellano.

Pecos then took the ball and drove past midfield on eight
plays, before Len Carson found an opening on the left side
and raced 44 yards for the first touchdown of the night.
Carson would finish with 159 yards rushing and actually ran
for over 240, but had a 60-yard TD run and another 28-yard
run called back by penalties.

"Our offensive line did a good job opening holes for the
backs. We just need to correct our mistakes," Swaim said.
"We need to cut down the penalties and we need to do a
better job holding onto the ball."

Carson's next carry after his TD was Pecos' first of five
fumbles of the night, all of which were recovered by the
Lions. That turnover was negated two plays later when Mark
Abila stepped in front of tight end Patrick Tullins and
picked off Check's pass, returning it to the Eagles' 41.

From there, Pecos would march eight plays to their second
score, a three-yard run by Abila who would add two more TDs
in the final period and finish with 111 yards rushing on the

Pecos' second turnover turned into Clint's first score and
was really a `non-fumble' fumble, as Check's short punt hit
Joseph Torres in the foot and was recovered by Josh Duran at
midfield. From there, D.J. Shephard ran 12 yards and
Montellano turned a short dump-off pass into a 29 yard gain.
Two plays later Check eluded Pecos' rush and found Alonzo
DeLeon for a 5-yard TD pass. Montellano's missed extra point
kept the score at 14-6.

The Eagles countered on their next series to make it 21-6.
Lucio Florez returned the kickoff 62 yards to Clint's 24,
and two plays later got around the left side and went
20-yards into the end zone.

The teams swapped interceptions just before the half, but in
the third period the Eagles' fumble problems gave Clint new
life, as the Lions would score a minute into the final
period on an 11-yard pass from Check to Shephard, after
Richard Powers recovered a Florez fumble at the Pecos 44.

Check then ran in the two-point conversion to cut the lead
to seven, but once again a long kickoff return by Florez got
the Eagles' back on track, and they then went 51 yards on
eight plays, with a 13 yard run by Abila finishing things

The Eagles would force three incompletions and a punt by
Check on the next series, and then drove 62 yards in seven
plays for their fifth TD, with Abila going in from 16 yards
out. Quarterback Oscar Luna then fielded a high-extra point
snap and was able to run into the end zone for a 36-14 lead
with 3:46 to play.

But before Pecos fans could celebrate, Arnold took the
ensuing kickoff back 88 yards for a touchdown, cutting the
lead to 36-20. The Eagles would recover the onside kick, but
were then hit with two more penalties and then saw Jacob
Esparza fumble the ball away at midfield with two minutes to

But Clint went nowhere after that, but did end up losing
Arnold, who was nailed by Abila while going for a deep pass
from Check and had to be helped from the field.

Check ended up only 11-for-34 on the night, his poorest
effort of the season. "We knew we were going to give up some
short stuff. We just wanted to make sure we didn't give up
any big plays," said Swaim, and the Lions' total offense of
205 yards was also well below their season average.

Pecos' win also assured them of their first non-losing
season since 1993, with a 5-3 record, 3-0 in district. Clint
fell to 4-4 and 2-1 and are tied for second with Canutillo,
which could still win the 2-4A title by beating Pecos and
Fabens in their final two games.

Pecos already owns first place tie-breakers over Clint,
Mountain View and Fabens, which stayed in the playoff race
with a 14-12 victory over San Elizario. The Eagles close out
the regular season at home on Nov. 6 against San Elizario.

As things stand, the Pecos will probably face either El Paso
Parkland or El Paso Riverside in the bi-district round of
the playoffs, the weekend of Nov. 13, while Canutillo or
Mountain View will take on El Paso Ysleta in the `Big 4A'
bi-district game.

Netters reach regionals with victories

PECOS, Oct. 26 -- The Pecos Eagles were one match better the
second time around against the Fabens Wildcats and Clint
Lions. And while that just meant an even wider margin of
victory against Fabens, the improvement allowed Pecos to
avoid a tie-breaker and claim an outright win in the
District 2-4A team tennis finals.

Playing in Fabens on Saturday, Pecos defeated the Wildcats
for the second time in eight days, this time by a 15-3 final
score. That moved them into Saturday afternoon's final
against Clint, whom they had beaten on tie-breaker at home
earlier this month. This time, the Eagles were able to pull
out one more victory turning a 9-9 tie into a 10-8 win for
the 2-4A championship.

"The kids were slightly nervous due to the fact that it was
their first district tournament," said Eagles' coach
Bernadette Ornelas. "THey had never participated in a
district tournament before. They were used to just playing
teams once during the season."

The win over Fabens assured Pecos of their first trip to
regionals in four years, and Ornelas said, "They came out
thinking real positive before the (Clint) match. We started
out ahead 9-3, but then we had to wait, and it came down to
Rachel Pharoah's singles match which she won for a 10-8

Pharoah downed Michelle Perez, 7-5, 6-2, to put Pecos over
the top, while No. 6 seed Lorrie Minjarez came back after
missing three weeks due to grades and won her singles match,
6-3, 6-2 over Lori Gody, after she and Tiffany Jarrett beat
Gody and Laura Loera in doubles play, 6-0, 6-1.

The top four seeds on the boys' side, Jonathan Fuentes,
Mark Marquez, Tye Graham and Jeff Lam, all won both in
singles and doubles play against Clint, while the boys swept
all nine of their singles and doubles matches against Fa

Fuentes downed the Lions' Patrick Estrada in straight sets,
6-1, 6-0, and Lam swept Rigo Nunez, 6-3, 6-4, while Marquez
and Graham scored split set victories. Fuentes and Marquez
and Lam and Graham earlier won their doubles matches in
straight sets.

The Eagles and Lions will both move on to the Region I-4A
tournament this Friday and Saturday at Wichita Falls.
Ornelas said she wouldn't know the site or opponent for
Pecos until Thursday, but added the Eagles will play a
second place team from one of the eight competing districts.

Pecos (15) at Fabens (3)
Boys Singles
Jonathan Fuentes defeated Alam Canales, 6-4, 6-2; Mark
Marquez defeated Martin Zavala, 6-2, 6-1; Tye Graham
defeated Adrian Zuniga, 6-2, 6-1; Jeff Lam defeated Daniel
Villagran, 6-0, 6-1; Alan Fleming defeated Timmie Phelps,
6-1, 6-0; Casey Love defeated Ricky Barrow, 6-2, 6-3.

Girls Singles
Teresa Minjarez defeated Rebecca Campos, 6-1, 6-3; Erin
Dominguez lost to Cindy Cordero, 6-4, 6-3; Vanessa Miranda
lost to Melissa Wilson, 6-4, 7-6; Rachel Pharoah defeated
Daisy Gonzales, 6-2, 6-3; Tiffany Jarrett lost to Luz
Sigala, 6-4, 4-3 (suspend); Lorrie Minjarez defeated Jessica
Martin, 7-5 (suspend).

Boys Doubles
Fuentes and Marquez defeated Canales and A. Zavala, 7-6,
6-1; Graham and Lam defeated M. Zavala and Villagran, 6-0,
6-3; Fleming and Love defeated Phelps and Barrow, 6-2, 6-1.

Girls Doubles
T. Minjarez and Dominguez defeated Campos and Wilson, 7-5,
6-3; Miranda and Pharoah defeated Cordero and Gonzales, 7-6,
7-5; Jarrett and L. Minjarez defeated Sigala and Martinez,
6-3, 3-6, 6-4.

Pecos (10) vs. Clint (8) at Fabens
Boys Singles
Fuentes defeated Patrick Estrada, 6-1, 6-0; Marquez defeated
Louie Morales, 6-4, 5-7, 6-1; Graham defeated Martin
Rentena, 4-6, 6-0, 6-3; Lam defeated Rene Nunez, 6-3, 6-4;
Fleming lost to Alvars Chacon, 7-5, 4-6, 6-2; Love lost to
Fernie Mena, 1-6, 6-4, 6-0.

Girls Singles
T. Minjarez lost to Laura Lechuga, 3-6, 3-6, 4-6; Dominguez
lost to Fay Abdelgader, 7-5, 6-3; Miranda lost to Mapiza
Lechuga, 7-5, 6-4; Pharoah defeated Michelle Perez, 7-5,
6-2; Jarrett lost to Laura Loera, 6-2, 6-2; L. Minjarez
defeated Lori Gody, 6-3, 6-2.

Boys Doubles
Fuentes and Marquez defeated Estrada and Nunez, 6-0, 6-3;
Graham and Lam defeated Morales and Rentena, 6-1, 6-1;
Fleming and Love lost to Lizaola and Ortega, 7-5, 4-6, 2-6.

Girls Doubles
Minjarez and Dominguez defeated C. Lechuga and M. Lechuga,
7-5, 6-3; Pharoah and Miranda lost to Abdelgader and Perez,
3-6, 6-2, 3-6; Jarrett and L. Minjarez defeated Loera and
Gody, 6-0, 6-1.

Pecos downs San Elizario for 2-4A title

PECOS, Oct. 26 -- With the way the Pecos Eagles have played
out in the El Paso area this season, it almost seems a shame
that they won't be going back out their again this year.

The Seminole-Brownfield-Lubbock area will be likely site of
their next big game, after Pecos scored their fifth win in
as many Saturdays out in El Paso, 15-11, 15-11 over the San
Elizario Eagles. The victory gave Pecos the District 2-4A
title and a bye in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.

However, with their next match probably against either
Hereford or Dumas, coach Becky Granado is hoping her team is
more aggressive than they were on Saturday against their
Eagle counterparts.

"We passed the ball better, but our hitters were not as
consistent. They tapped the ball over the net instead of
trying to hit it hard," she said. "They were successful, but
it's not the way I want them to be."

The ninth straight win for Pecos after a district-opening
loss to Fabens came against San Elizario, which had won four
straight to clinch the third place playoff spot from 2-4A.
Their last loss was in Pecos, but the Eagles were barely
able to escape with a 15-13 third game victory.

This time, Pecos never let their hosts get to a third game.
Sherrie Mosby led the way of offense for Pecos, while also
coming up with five blocks defensively in the match.

"San Elizario just wasn't as aggressive as they were here,"
Granado said. "Sherrie got about half her kills on oversets.
When we were setting the ball she was just tapping it."

Pecos' No. 2 hitter, Philonicus Fobbs, also struggled on
offense, though Granado said, "Philonicus helped us as far
as blocking goes," with three in the match.

"Lily Payen came in to serve, and she wound up doing a good
job passing the ball. But they gave us a bunch of free balls
that we didn't take advantage of," Granado said.

The win gave Pecos a final regular season record of 17-9 and
9-1 in district, while San Elizario finished at 6-4 in
district and 16-11 overall. San Elizario will now face
either El Paso High or El Paso Bowie in the bi-district
round of the Class 4A playoffs, while second place Fabens
will also face either El Paso High or Bowie later this week.
El Paso Burges won the District 1-4A title and drew an
opening round bye.

The Eagles have the option to play a practice match this
week before their area round contest, but Granado said
because the area Class A through 3A teams are still in
regular season play, that may be tough. Pecos' former
district rivals, Andrews and San Angelo Lake View, still
have to hold a playoff for first place, while Snyder was the
other District 5-4A team to advance to the playoffs.

"I don't know if District 3 (3A) with Lamesa is done. If not
we'll just have a good week of practice and work on our
hitting and serving," she said. Pecos will face the winner
of this weekend's bi-district match between Frenship and
Dumas of Hereford, who play today for the District 1-4A

Pecos' junior varsity closed out their district schedule
undefeated with a 15-5, 15-6 victory over San Elizario. The
Eagles' JV also ended their season with a three game
victory. No score was available for that match.

Swimmers place 5th, 12th at Abilene

PECOS, Oct. 26 -- Pecos Eagles swimming coach Terri Morse is
anxiously awaiting the millennium.

That's when Class 4A schools will finally get their own
regional and state swimming and diving finals, as opposed to
the current set-up, where teams from all classifications are
literally pooled together once district is over.

Saturday's Abilene Invitational was an example of the
Eagles' success at the 4A ranks, but the obstacles Pecos
will face again this year at regionals.

The boys finished first by a wide margin among Class 4A
teams at Abilene, but were fifth overall, with 178 points.
San Angelo Central won with 412 points to 356 for Midland
High, 315 for Lubbock High and 278 for Texas A&M

On the girls' side, the Eagles didn't finish as high, but
their 56 points was still the best among 4A schools at the
meet, and 12th overall.

"We came out better than I thought we might," Morse said of
Saturday's races. "They had some fast swimmers in there.

"I thought it was a good meet for the first of the season
and having some kids out in other sports," she said. "I did
see quite a bit of improvement from some of our newer

Individually, Kevin Bates had a pair of second place
finishes for Pecos. He was beaten out by .24 seconds by San
Angelo Central's Billy Patterson in the 50 free, finishing
with a 22.66 time, then placed second in the 100 freestyle
in 50.49 seconds. The next highest finish came from Grant
Holland, who was fourth in the 100 breaststroke with a
1:09.62 time, while the boys' 200 medley relay team also was
fourth, in 1:51.16, and the 400 and 200 freestyle relay
teams were fifth and sixth respectively, with 3:40.79 and
1:42.95 times.

Matt Ivy, Cortney Freeman and Scott Pounds were 15th, 16th
and 21st in the 100 free, while Pounds and Jason Lopez were
24th and 53rd in the 50 free and Lopez and Patrick McChesney
were 20th and 24th in the 100 breaststroke. McChesney was
also 10th in the 200 medley, Ivy was sixth in the 200 free;
Timothy Harrison was 13th in the 500 free and 17th in the
100 backstroke; Tye Edwards was 13th and Luis Nieto was 22nd
in the 100 back; and the Eagles' 400 freestyle `B' relay
team took 12th.

The girls were also 12th in the 400 free relay, after
placing eighth in the 200 medley relay and 13th in the 200
free relay. The highest 1:51.46 in the medley earned the
girls their best overall finish of the meet, while
individually, Liz Parent's 11th in the 500 freestyle with a
5:08.75 time was the best finish of the day for Pecos.

Parent was also 12th in the 100 butterfly while Jennifer
Martinez was 17th in the 200 free and 20th in the 100 free;
Jo Ann Wein was 16th in the 100 backstroke; Sarah Flores was
13th in the 100 breaststroke; Briar Prewit was 19th in the
200 free and 18th in the 500 free; and Megan Joplin was 37th
in the 100 breaststroke.

"The girls did a pretty good job, since we only had six
swimmers there. for six girls to go out and place 12th
overall is pretty good," Morse said.

"I felt like this meet will give us a little bit of insight
on what we need to work on. It showed us what we're doing
right and we also learned we need to get into shape. Our
kids had a hard time getting enough yardage in practice that
we need to compete at that level."

Morse said she's hoping her team does well enough over the
next several weeks to qualify for an `unofficial' Class 4A
and below state swim meet in Temple, a prelude to the real
one that will begin in the year 2000. "It would be during
the season in January, the week of the Fort Stockton meet
(Jan. 9). I'm hoping most of our kids will qualify, because
if we can qualify as a team we might go there instead of to
the Lubbock Invitational (Jan. 15-16)," she said.

"I feel like one of our problems is we don't go to enough
meets were there are prelims and finals and you have to swim
faster the second time and that hurts us at regionals, so
I'm trying to get more meets like that, but it's tough out
here," Morse said.

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