Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Thursday, October 29, 1998
Eagle teams look to end long droughts
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Oct. 29 -- The Pecos Eagles ended their long playoff
drought at home last week. Friday night, Pecos will be
trying to stop another group of Eagles from doing the same
thing, and set themselves up for a better bi-district
playoff matchup in the process.
The Eagles, who ended a 23-year absence from post-season
play with their 36-20 win over Clint, will shoot for their
first district championship in 23 years Friday at 7:30 p.m.
CST in Canutillo, against an Eagle team that can end their
18-year playoff drought with a victory.
Canutillo advanced to the Class 3A playoffs in 1980, but
according to coach Mike Craig, "About 1984 or `85 the
superintendent here decided to play a 5A schedule, because
there were no other 4A teams around here (Pecos was the
closest 4A school at the time). So we were playing teams
like Eastwood, Bel Air and Coronado with only 800 kids in
the school and didn't do so well.
"We played as an independent after that and scheduled who
we could find, then the last few years we were in that other
(El Paso) 4A district," Craig said. The Eagles just missed
the playoffs a year ago and were picked to do so in 1998,
but came out of the gate losing their first three games.
But since their bye date, Canutillo has turned things
around, winning four of their last five contests.
"We started out in our first three games putting the ball
in the air. Then we had an open date and said `that's enough
of that' and went back to what we run best, with a
split-back offense and went at it from there," Craig said.
Lopsided wins over El Paso High and El Paso Burges followed,
and after a turnover-plagued 41-26 loss to Clint in their
District 2-4A opener, Canutillo bounced back to beat San
Elizario and El Paso Mountain View the past two weeks.
"They're probably the best football team we've seen in
district so far," said Eagles' coach Dan Swaim. "Their
offense has got its running game going and their defense is
"If you look at the first three games I think we averaged
30 yards rushing. It started turning into a long season, so
we had to do something," Craig said of the change to a more
run-oriented attack. David Rodriguez ran for 127 yards last
week, Gilbert Gonzales had two rushing touchdowns and
quarterback Jaime Navarette ran for 90 yards while throwing
for 85 more on just three completions in their 21-14 win
over Mountain View.
"Navarette throws it deep and hopes the receivers can run
under it," Swaim said, with Ignacio Jurado "the main
receiver they try and get it to."
Navarette has thrown from 1,376 yards, 15 touchdowns and
only six interceptions even though Craig said the junior was
a late arrival this season.
"Jesus didn't come out until school started, and he wasn't
in the offseason program and we didn't know if he was going
to play," the Canutillo coach said. Richard Kastl started
the first couple of games at quarterback before Navarette
Jurado has caught passes from both QBs and is third in the
district in receptions with 37 and second in both yardage
and touchdowns with 980 yards and eight scores.
"When we went from the passing offense to the split back,
we were still pretty sure people were going to have to find
a way to slow him up some," Craig said.
He said that while his offensive line is small this season
-- "It tips the scales at about 180-190 pounds," -- it has
been effective. "We're not real huge and we're not going to
knock people off the ball, but we do have some smart kids,
and that helped us a lot when we changed our offense around."
Craig said the offensive changes also have helped
Canutillo's defense. "Controlling the ball more has kept our
defense off the field for a while, and we've changed up our
defense some from last year. We're running a couple of
different coverages, and it took a while for us to get it
"They took it to Mountain View. They played good defense,"
said Swaim. Canutillo limited the Lobos to 66 yards rushing,
though they did surrender over 280 yards passing, most of
that in the second half.
Canutillo has yielded 1,444 yards through the air this
season. "They've been playing a lot of pass-happy offense,"
Swaim said, while Craig felt that in last week's win, "When
we finally got to put a little pressure on the quarterback
we started doing a little bit better in the secondary. In
the second half, we just didn't get a pass rush on him
(Mountain View's Adolfo Villa)."
Despite that, Swaim said the Eagles will try to continue
using the running game that's been so successful so far in
"We're just going to do the same thing we've been doing all
year long," he said, while adding that weather forecast for
Friday in El Paso call for rain, which will make the running
game even more important.
Thanks two the two-tier playoff format in Class 4A,
Friday's game is equally important for both teams as far as
the playoffs go, but for different reasons.
Canutillo needs a win either this week or in their final
regular season game against Fabens to clinch a playoff
berth, but if they do, they're just about locked in to a
first round game against El Paso Ysleta in the `Big 4A'
division. Pecos needs a win not only to clinch the District
2-4A title, but to assure themselves of a matchup against
the second place team in the `Small 4A' division.
A loss could lead to a three-way tie for first which would
then be decided by a coin flip, which would have no effect
on Canutillo, but could send Pecos into a bi-district game
against undefeated El Paso Riverside instead of a likely
pairing against El Paso Parkland.
Riverside beat Fort Stockton 42-7 the week before the
Eagles defeated the Panthers, 7-3, and also own a 56-21 win
over Canutillo. Parkland, meanwhile, was 1-2 against
District 2-4A teams, beating Clint but losing to Fabens and
"We need to win this game to make sure we're district
champions," said Swaim, whose team closes its regular season
by hosting San Elizario next week.
Astros' Johnson files for free agency
By RONALD BLUM
AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK -- Randy Johnson, perhaps baseball's most explosive
pitcher, is now on the free-agent market. And Albert Belle,
explosive because of both his bat and his temper, is already
Both the New York Yankees and Mets said Wednesday they have
contacted Belle's agent, and other teams are thought to be
It was unclear if the Yankees' interest in the outfielder is
genuine, or if they were just sending a message to Bernie
Williams, who is unsure whether he'll re-sign with the World
Yankees owner George Steinbrenner said he isn't bothered by
Belle's tempestuous past.
``Nobody's history scares me,'' Steinbrenner said. ``We have
a discipline in the organization that has proven itself.''
Belle generally prefers to avoid reporters and would have
trouble doing that in the Yankees clubhouse, where dozens of
writers and cameramen spend hours each day.
Joe Torre's team was been a model of tranquility this year,
and Belle doesn't appear to be a good fit.
``Who comes from deeper problems than Darryl and Doc?''
Steinbrenner said, referring to Darryl Strawberry and Dwight
Gooden. ``Yet they accepted the discipline and accepted the
Mets general manager Steve Phillips said he talked with
Belle's agent, Arn Tellem, but about a different player.
``You'd certainly have to be interested in him offensively
and what he's done,'' Phillips said. ``Any team in baseball
would like to add his offense to their club. But does he
fit? I can't tell you yes or no.''
Belle hit .328 with 49 homers and 152 RBIs last season. He
agreed to a $55 million, five-year contract with the Chicago
White Sox in November 1996, but has a unique clause in his
deal that allowed him to become a free agent Tuesday and
also gave him the option through Nov. 25 of returning to his
White Sox contract.
Arizona general manager Joe Garagiola Jr. said he intends to
have Williams in for a visit next month. Diamondbacks
manager Buck Showalter was Williams' manager in New York
Williams' agent, Scott Boras, is seeking a deal at least
seven years long and exceeding the $91 million Mike Piazza
got from the Mets.
``Here's a player who was the American League batting
champion, a Gold Glove center fielder. I think it would be
useful, if he wants to, to have a conversation with him,''
Garagiola said. ``He is one of the most attractive players
on the market.''
Meanwhile, David Cone and the Yankees postponed a decision
on whether he will exercise a $5.5 million player option for
next season. The deadline, originally midnight EST
Wednesday, was pushed back to Nov. 4.
Johnson, who filed for free agency Wednesday, led the majors
with 329 strikeouts, going 10-1 with a 1.28 ERA in 11 starts
after Houston acquired him from Seattle on July 31. The
Astros have said they want to re-sign him, but the
35-year-old left-hander hasn't said whether he wants to
stay. The Diamondbacks are interested because he lives in
the Phoenix area.
In other free-agent news, the San Diego Padres exercised
their $1.9 million option on postseason hero Jim Leyritz.
Philadelphia center fielder Doug Glanville, who would not
have been eligible for salary arbitration until after next
season, agreed to a three-year contract worth $5,575,000.
Glanville, who led the National League with 678 at-bats last
season, will make $525,000 in 1999, up from a $260,000 base
this year. He gets $2 million in 2000, $3 million in 2001
and a $50,000 signing bonus.
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